“Is moving this graphic from here to here really going to make a difference in your market?” asked Rob Paciorek, senior VP/CIO for Access Intelligence, speaking at a session on The New CIO-CMO Partnership at the recent SIPA 2014 Conference. “I think not, but if you can give us a compelling reason why it would, then we’ll spend the time there. These are the conversations we have. We try to sort through the noise and put some measurements to it. Let’s do a test; let’s do one page where we move it and one page we don’t. Maybe that will help us answer this the next time.”
The key is communication, Paciorek said. He presented with his colleague Heather Farley, divisional president, Access Intelligence. After giving an example of the hard but rewarding work involved in bringing their departments together, Paciorek said with a chuckle, “There’s a reason that our offices are right next to each other; it hasn’t always been like that.”
Here are 9 highlights from this excellent session, available—like all the other SIPA 2014 sessions—to members through the SIPA website.
1. Improve engagement. “This is a huge issue for us,” Farley said. “We spend a lot of time on our web design and user interface. This is where it really starts. There’s a great team that sits in New York and they can go through our sites and say, ‘This is where your content is sticky, this is where people are spending the most time on—this kind of content. Here’s your heat map, here’s how people are moving through your site.’ [If you can] understand those things and be able to tweak both on design and the kind of content you’re using, that gives you that higher level of engagement.”
2. Find the right people. “The holy grail for my team is finding technology people who understand business,” Paciorek said. “For instance, one member found a little team of freelancers to work on things he couldn’t get to. So now he’s also a project manager. There’s a technology person willing to give up a little piece for advancement of the company.”
3. Use quizzes. Access has been very successful with quizzes, provided through a technology company called SnapApp. “These really test your knowledge and have been great engagement tools,” said Paciorek. “It’s fun content.” Farley added that they are also sponsored and provide page views for advertisers. “We also get tremendous feedback. Editors will hear from readership, ‘it’s too easy,’ ‘it’s impossible.’ I hear from our CEO when he gets 100% on his quiz.”
4. Ease conversion. “We’ve been able to use pre-populated forms so that when you come it’s easier for you to buy,” said Farley. “There also might be a way to pay through your Amazon account. The easier we can make it, the better.”
5. Facilitate online chats. Shopping cart abandonment, they both said, can be frustrating. One answer has been the implementation of an online chat service. Paciorek said that might be something you identify more with a Verizon, but it only costs about $200 a month. “And we don’t have a huge customer service team—just 3 or 4 people man the chats for all of our websites, so it’s something you can manage.” He showed a chat that produced a subscription. They use a company called Boldchat.
6. Foster retention. Farley said that not enough attention is paid to renewals. “In our world, we’re totally focused on analytics at the corporate level. Technology needs to work with marketing more on this. It’s the difference between nice to know and need to know. This is what marketers care about. We need more of this [engagement] data. How do we take this piece [of information], boil it down and make it consumable. It helps to get our marketers focused. How do you bring them up the spectrum to understand what the important numbers are?
7. Hold get-togethers. “It’s not always easy,” Paciorek said. He talked about a time when a relationship between a key technology person and key marketing person was broken. “It was costing productivity for [Heather’s] and my team. So we got the best people together for half-day team meeting. We gave both teams the opportunity to express what was happening. There [emerged] a better understanding of what the problems were. We shared expertise. The marketers were impressed by a digital person who said, here’s a cool project I do on my own time. A marketer said here’s all the revenue I drive. The key is we recognized something wasn’t working.” They’ll try to hold these once a quarter now.
8. What if your organization doesn’t have a CIO? “You have to make sure somebody is managing technology,” Paciorek said. “Reach out to all of your friends who found technology solutions. How did implementation go? Did you use a consultant? Create some other kind of group in your company. Use SIPA conferences for this. Reach out. And try to find your own references at SIPA…Do your due diligence.”
9. The new challenge. Farley said that they’ve talked about launching a series of micro-sessions for their employees. Technology might give a demo or show how to analyze a piece of data. “With the goal of moving people up the technology chain,” she said. “Folks under age 35 are so sharp, but technology is the marketing [for them]. Technology can’t be your strategy. So it’s more of a challenge,” especially as more people from that generation join your company.
Again, here’s the link to this excellent session and others like it.
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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering diversity, Newspaper in Education, marketing and leadership before joining SIPA in 2009 , and then SIIA in 2013.