Archive for the ‘Marketing & Ads’ Category

Amazon redesigns My Account page

Sunday, October 26th, 2008 - Your Account.png
Amazon has been doing some tinkering again, this time to their Account page. This set of tweaks was long overdue. They didn’t change the functionality of the page; just its organization and readability. But I noticed, as I hit my account this morning for the first time in a while, that it made a big difference in the confidence I felt approaching the page that I was about to find what I was looking for.

Big results like that out of organizational changes are priceless. Studies I’ve done in the past have suggested that if the customer feels that she can easily find what she’s looking for in her account page or section, she’s more likely to visit that page more often with minor questions. But if that page or section is difficult to navigate, she will avoid it, will use customer support channels more frequently, and will generally feel less confident in the site as a service. Clearly this has tremendous implications to customer lifetime value, so from an ROI standpoint, the Amazon account page is probably well justified.

But I haven’t even told you my favorite part of the redesign, yet. It’s on the FAQ page they put together to explain where everything is and why they did it. In answer to the question “How did you decide on this design?” they provide this answer:

We consulted the foremost experts in the field: our customers.

Well played, Amazon. This customer appreciates the effort.

see also:
Amazon site redesign
Amazon email mishap - “please fill in”
Amazon cart “saved for later” items gone?
Update from

But it wouldn’t be speeding if everyone else would just go faster!

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

I hate to copy the post outright but it’s so short, and the whole quote is just hilarious. Because it’s so true.

From Seth’s Blog: “Trying to convince a CEO of anything is a little like trying to convince a cop not to give you a ticket. It’s possible, but rarely worth the effort, given the odds.”

And how.

Believe it or not, it gets better. In the linked interview, he goes on to say:

Instead, just do it. Go fast, get where you’re going. The odds of getting stopped are small, the price of the ticket is small and if you’re doing the right thing in the first place, it’s worth it.

The only quibble I have is that the “price of the ticket” may not be all that small; it could well cost a great deal. I can vouch for that. But I certainly agree that if you’re doing the right thing, it’s worth trying to get where you’re going anyway. One of my favorite quotes is from Tom Robbins, Still Life With Woodpecker:

Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature.

There’s nothing wrong with sobriety, responsibility, or caution; in their place, they make a great deal of sense. But they’re no guarantee of success, and they certainly aren’t associated with many of the great long-term success stories. They’re good tools to have at one’s disposal in times of difficulty, but should not be the default position. Otherwise, what fun is anything?

It’s official: Sitening took me on.

Friday, October 24th, 2008

From the Sitening blog:

Sitening LLC, a bright, growing web marketing agency has hired Internet veteran Kate O’Neill as Managing Director.

Sure, sure, I’m excited about “the focus we’re going to be able to apply” and joining “such a talented group of web professionals.” Whatever. The real reason this rocks is this:

Dude. Coffee goes high tech. I like it.

Look here, youngun. I’m a danged EXPERT, and I say…

Monday, August 4th, 2008

My first article in Circulation Management’s “Monday Morning Expert” column is now up on their web site:

Circulation Management Magazine - kate artice.png

Can’t believe anyone believes a word I say with a promo picture like that. :)

Six Easy Ways to Get Started in Behavioral Targeting

Monday, July 28th, 2008

I got email this morning from an editor at Circulation Management asking for clarification on some of the points from the presentation at the Circulation Management show in Chicago a few weeks ago, and since I was writing up some thoughts for her, I thought I’d put them here, too. Enjoy!

Behavioral Targeting: Six Easy Ways to Get Started

  1. Read your reports for meaningful segments

    Chances are, you’re already collecting data that, when analyzed and applied, could optimize customers’ experience as well as your revenues. Most analytics platforms can tell you about new vs. returning visitors, and can usually further break the latter group down into first-time buyers vs. repeat customers. Chances are also pretty good that each of these groups is behaving somewhat to very differently on your site, and if you don’t figure out what works best for each, you’re leaving money on the table.

    chart up and to right.png

  2. Traditional direct response tactics still work

    Behavioral targeting and marketing approaches are heavily borrowed from the domain of direct response. Meaningful segments, appealing offers, and consistent remarketing are all part of a well-rounded practice.

  3. Focus on your easy-to-segment audiences

    Sometimes you can spot a useful segment, but actually breaking it out for targeting purposes may be trickier than you expect. (Geotargeting falls into this category for many sites). Unless you’re a black belt behavioral marketer and there’s nowhere else to turn for optimization, you probably have lower-hanging opportunities to pursue. Think in terms of both providing the biggest returns and taking on the least daunting setup to find the hidden treasure on your site.

  4. Start wide and optimize campaigns

    It’s likely that you can realize substantial gains in your success metrics by thinking at a high level about audience characteristics, and then monitoring more granular groupings for meaningful patterns. Most of the groupings you follow in any given campaign won’t perform in a way that bears statistically significant differences to your control group, but the ones that stand out can always be segments in a future campaign.

  5. Match message with media and audience

    The beauty of online marketing is the wealth of data and control you can exercise over context. The content you display on your site and in your ad networks can be adjusted based on any number of factors. Look for opportunities to tighten your message and your call to action based on context.

  6. Test, test, test

    The key lesson in all of this is: it depends. It depends on your audience, it depends on your site, it depends on the time of day, the time of week, the time of year, and so on. The only way you’ll know what works for any given audience for any given situation is to test it. And test it, and test it again. Invest in a testing platform and process that provides you with the flexibility and the visibility to act quickly and learn quickly, and it will pay for itself many times over.

Letter from a jilted lover

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

My colleague pointed me to a letter a friend of his wrote to American Airlines, “breaking up” with them.

Dear American Airlines,

I don’t think we should see each other any more.

I know that’s hard to hear. But you’re not the same airline I met a few years ago. You’ve changed. And not for the better. Sure, you say you love me… that you’ll take care of me… that I am “Elite” in your eyes… but those words just seem empty now. I need you to show me that your love is genuine.

There’s more. Lots more. And it’s brilliant. Check it out.

Tree-friendly reads for Earth Day

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

We’ve just launched a promotion on that spotlights titles printed on recycled or sustainably harvested paper. Earth Day wasn’t originally on our seasonal marketing calendar (silly oversight) so we pulled this together on very short notice, and I’m proud of us for making the effort.

We’re in the money!

Thursday, April 10th, 2008

CNN Money, that is.

Omniture put out a press release about some of the success has had using their Test & Target (formerly Offermatica) tool, and it got picked up on CNN Money’s Marketwire.

And look!

“When specifying our testing and optimization goals, we wanted to deliver more personalized content to different types of people who visit our site. We just needed an easy way to do it,” said Kate O’Neill, director of customer experience at “With Omniture we have one platform used by marketers for both testing and targeted content.”


“Everything you think you know and every intuition you have as an online marketer can immediately be tested so you can determine if your marketing is working or not,” said O’Neill. “Omniture Test&Target has brought reliability to our marketing campaigns.”



Also picked up in techrockies:
Omniture Signs

AND in the Huffington Post, complete with a really cheeky video “explaining” what Omniture does.:
Omniture Works Its Mojo For (Luckily, redirects to Whew!)

Do you (MS) Yahoo!?

Friday, February 1st, 2008

Clearly, Microsoft looking to acquire Yahoo! suggests a direct run at Google. And I’ve heard rumblings from people over the years about various Yahoo! products being superior to their Google counterparts: Y! mail, for instance, lead Gmail in innovations for quite some time before Gmail started catching up again late last year. And I’ve heard only good things about Yahoo!’s User Interface Library, though I personally haven’t spent a lot of time investigating it.

But MS and Yahoo! both have struggled to capture the public’s imagination nearly as much as Google continually does. It looks like a long shot to me. But if I were making the decisions at MS, I would absolutely do it. If nothing else, Yahoo! is a far less hated brand than almost anything Microsoft owns. Heck, that’s got to be worth millions all by itself.

What’s next? Will they trade orange for pink?

Sunday, October 14th, 2007

I’m kind of annoyed about the news that Home Depot is opening new stores aimed at women, but not nearly as annoyed as I am that they’re calling them “Her Depot.” I mean, seriously, wtf?

I worked at Home Depot some 12 years ago. I was a head cashier and worked at the special services desk, which was where large accounts and projects were tracked and managed. It was a pretty cool gig, mostly, despite the fact that I was only working there because I was making so little money as the head of the Language Laboratory at UIC. (Seriously, I was making, like $19K in a role that could be described as “head of a department at a fairly large state university”. It was ridiculous.) Even as draining as it was working a nearly full-time job on top of another full-time job, I enjoyed most of my time in the orange apron.

Also, if I may remind you, I own a house with my handyman husband, and said house has needed detailed attention from what amounts to nearly every aisle of the hardware store.

I mention those two things to let you know that I’ve spent more than my fair share of time within Home Depot stores.

And in all those hours upon hours of walking over hard concrete warehouse floors, I really haven’t noticed Home Depot having a problem pulling in female customers. They’re all over the store, though clearly there is a heavier concentration of women in the lighting, appliance, and garden areas. But even so, they’re there. And they’re buying.

So I’m just not seeing where there was this great need to spin off a store just for her. Which again reminds me of my other point: “Her Depot”? For serious? What kind of condescending shit is that?

I mean, not only is it condescending but it’s also short-sighted. It sounds like they’re looking to compete with the retail powerhouse that is Target, but they’re idiots if they 1) think men don’t shop at Target a lot; and/or 2) think men are going to be very eager to shop at “Her Depot.” Except maybe in gay irony or when coerced by the wife.

It’s just such bad decision-making all the way around. Kind of makes me want to go buy screws and power tools at Target, just out of spite.

HT: Consumerist

Keeping ‘em on their toes

Monday, August 27th, 2007

Amazon has introduced a feature called “Lightning Deals” on their Gold Box page apparently as a direct response to the popularity of Cool. I dig it when the hip newcomer (relatively speaking) keeps the old-timer on its toes.

Question for women and other travelers

Monday, April 9th, 2007

Am I being short-sighted not to see the point in the new women’s travel center just launched? I realize there are safety implications for women traveling alone, and I realize there are planning considerations for families, yes, OK. And yes, many times the vacation planner in the family is the woman, but I bet it’s pretty often the man, too, so it would probably be better (from a marketing standpoint) to target that information and those resources and promotions to parents, not women specifically.

So beyond additional “smart solo traveler” safety concerns, what else distinguishes women’s travel needs from those of men?

Call me cynical, but this feels like way too heavy-handed an attempt to court the female dollar. Either that — or possibly in addition to that — and here’s where I hint at my e-commerce geekery — someone at just figured out how to segment their traffic and commerce data by gender, which revealed that women either spend too much or too little time or money on their site (I could speculate either way) and now they’re inventing excuses to draw more women to the site, draw us there more frequently, or draw us there and keep us engaged while we’re there long enough to buy a trip.

None of which are bad things — they’re just obvious. And the obviousness of it feels kind of, I don’t know, patronizing or something.

Or maybe it’s just me. Is it?