The Summit Sum-up: 3 things you should know if you weren’t at Adobe Summit 2015

March 27th, 2015 by Carly Delisio No comments »

Explore the trends. Learn the tools. Meet the innovators. March 9–13, 2015 | Salt Lake City, UT


Topping the charts in attendance with over 7,000 attendees from different industries across the world, Adobe Summit 2015 was a success, to say the least.  Thank you to our partners at Adobe for hosting this spectacular week full of innovation, inspiration and interaction, which they summed up in this must-see 99 second video:


Now let’s recap!

1. New Releases:

Adobe Primetime and Adobe Audience Manager were revealed to the crowd on Day 1, as the newest additions to the growing marketing cloud. The reality of this cloud-based marketing solution is growing, and it’s growing fast. Primetime allows companies to reach their customers through ‘primetime’ television advertising with the most relevant, timely messages when integrated with Adobe Audience Manager. Audience Manager is a robust audience segmentation tool that provides a centralized data platform to aggregate audience profiles from various sources. This allows marketers to target audiences with relevant messages across marketing channels. Visit Adobe Marketing Cloud to learn more about each of their customer-reaching solutions.


2. Industry Trends:

Attendees were surrounded by the concept of Millennial Marketers and Marketing Beyond Marketing at Summit this year. The idea behind this ‘agile’ marketer is not based on age, but rather the ‘mindset’ or behavior of this generational outbreak in marketing. Companies today are growing and thriving off Millennial Marketers. These so-called future Marketers are focused on “in the moment” marketing, don’t tolerate inefficiencies, and are fluent in the digital world. They are the key drivers behind marketing’s movement beyond marketing. At Summit, a panel session was held to discuss this topic and was captured by #GetRealChat on twitter with social media experts. You can relive the conversation and learn more on how the Millennial Marketer is evolving.


61% say “Audiences are more open to marketing because it’s become a form of entertainment.”


3. Summit Extras:

Props to our partners at Adobe, who host the Summit conference each year. The focus on interaction with peers, colleagues, partners, industry experts, and keynote speakers, was clearly evident. Attending the conference is a networking opportunity in itself, but Adobe took it to the next level this year with the Summit Bash, Depot After Dark, Birds of a Feather lunch, and Community Pavilion.

“The Summit is always an exciting time for us. New ideas, new products and meeting great partners at this event year after year has really enhanced our relationships in the field with Precision Dialogue.  Our friendship and trust has accelerated our business relationships with our clients and enabled our team’s tremendous success.  I am looking forward to another successful year in 2015!” – Phil Gerolstein, Enterprise Account Manager, Adobe

We can hardly wait to see what Summit ‘16 has in store!



Can’t Take My Eyes Off These Cinemagraphs

February 19th, 2015 by Patricio Sapir No comments »

While some people might say that these are just artsy animated gifs, we can’t deny that the way these photos are brought to life is hypnotic and reminds us to the magical pictures from Harry Potter. The concept has been around for a few years, but according to ADWEEK, Facebook is going to be experimenting with Cinemagraphs in their ads.

Here are a few tips you should take into account if you are thinking about implementing Cinemagraphs in your marketing campaigns:

Creating a Cinemagraph

In essence, a Cinemagraph is an animated gif that one could create using tools like Adobe Photoshop or Fireworks. However, there are specific applications that can be used to create Cinemagraphs. Check out Flixel, an application oriented specifically to create these attractive animations in a short period of time.

Using Cinemagraphs

High Quality Cinemagraphs work well in social media sites such as Tumblr, Google + or Facebook. If you are planning to use them in emails, be careful with the size of the generated GIF. Although image size does not affect deliverability, email load time can affect your open and click rates. Also keep in mind that newer versions of Outlook (2007, 2010 and 2013) won’t show the animation. Instead, they will show the first frame of the animation so make sure your first frame has the vital information you want to display to your audience.

Testing Cinemagraphs

Using relevant and fun Cinemagraphs can make a difference on your conversions. Different reports show that using animated gifs in email increased conversions by 20%. A case study recently presented by Dell shows that by using relevant animated gifs, conversions where increased by 109%!

Make sure that you test Cinemagraphs in different campaigns and channels and that you are able to generate report on conversions in order to understand whether this strategy works for your brand.


Although one could say that this technology does not differ much from an animated gif, it does bring a fresher look to static ads, and the fact that Facebook is looking at it means that you should be ready to see more ads done with Cinemagraphs soon.

But enough of my ranting, let’s the images speak by themselves:

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How to Grow Customers with Analytical Modeling

October 27th, 2014 by Joe Kanyok No comments »

As the old marketing adage says, retaining your existing customers is much less expensive (5X less) than acquiring new customers.  Consequently, it is important to focus your marketing attention and budget on developing strategies to systematically maintain and grow your share of wallet.

Step 1: Developing a rich set of customer attributes and behaviors is a key component in this process; the goal is to develop a 360 degree view.  This knowledge provides the foundation for analytical routines and models, allowing for a better understanding of your customers. Customer attributes should be created by combining elements from as many customer touch points as possible, examples include the aggregation of order histories, contact history, website and search behaviors, demographic and other external market appends.  Below are some general categories:

  • Historical spend amounts and associated trends or velocities
  • Recency of purchases
  • Visit or purchase patterns; timing and frequency
  • Depth and breadth of products in a purchase
  • Response to promotions or discounts
  • Historical campaign contacts and responsiveness, opens and clicks
  • Channel preferences
  • Digital data such as website visits and patterns, page views and click behavior, social media interactions, etc.
  • Demographics (age, gender, household income, home value, etc…)
  • Distance to store locations
  • Competitive influences
  • Seasonal influences


Step 2: Turn these attributes into marketing strategies that help us retain and grow our customer base.  Specifically, leverage the newly defined attributes in Step 1 to generate more relevant communications and offers to our customers.

Business Graph


Analytics to enhance future campaign performance

If your objective is to maximize marketing campaign performance, one approach is to develop a two-stage model.  The first stage involves the creation of logistic regression model to predict response to a marketing communication.  The second stage is to create an ordinary least squares regression model to predict spend.

Regression Model


The combination of these two models can be used to identify the most likely responders, with the highest spend, resulting in increased value for subsequent campaigns.  There are a few implementation alternatives to accomplish your goal.  The first is to multiply the two scores together to create a joint score.  This score can then be used to rank individuals based on estimated values, which takes into account probability of response.  The second is to create a matrix using the two original scores.  The Y axis might contain the probability score, divided into quintile or decile groups.  The X axis would represent the predicted value divided into appropriate groups.  We can then calculate the response and value for each cell in the matrix and identify which to target for the next campaign.

Analytics to guide customer interactions (Retention and Growth)

Here are a few tools that can be useful in developing an optimal strategy to retain and grow your customer base.

  • Behavior pattern detection or Association Analysis;   Based on transactional purchase or web behaviors, we can discover combinations of products that frequently sell together.  Identifying these discrete buying patterns directs the development triggers or next best action contacts.
  • Develop models to predict future value or spend (e.g., next 12 months)
  • Determine current value (e.g., most recent 12 months of spend)

Understanding a customer’s current value in combination with their expected future value can guide our customer management approach.  We can identify our ‘best’ customers those that represent a significant portion of our revenue and profit streams, and subsequently focus on the needs of these individuals.   We can increase the number of contacts and tailor the offer to high value individuals.   Alternatively, we may reduce the number of contacts and offers to certain low value individuals.  Ideally, as part of this mix, is to include a forward looking view on your customer base by creating a separate treatment plan for customers with low current value but high potential value.

Life Stage


Within a next best action or trigger program, we utilize transactional or online patterns to both tailor the offer and timing to an individual.  A customers value along with their predicted response to our messages can be used to inform, adjust or arbitrate actions within our trigger framework.

Finally, we encourage test designs that include control groups, to optimize any of these growth strategies.

Transforming Audiences Into Advocates: Using Social Media Advertising to Create Brand Affinity

October 13th, 2014 by Laura Cameron No comments »

One of our online retail clients issued us a challenge: Devise and execute a social media strategy that helps us not only reach consumers who are new-to-brand, but also cultivate true ‘brand advocates’ whose loyalty to the brand will drive them to spread the word online.

Even for well-known brands, long-term customer value relies on cultivating consumer interaction and keeping interest active. While clear social media content and communication plans are essential, social media advertising programs help ensure that branded content reaches a critical mass and drives value.

For our client, we chose Facebook as the primary advertising channel to align with its existing communication strategy. Our goal was to increase post reach in order to attract new-to-brand and brand-lapsed consumers, and reinforce existing relationships with additional exposure. We also wanted to increase page likes and shares (showing engagement with our ads) and indirectly drive online purchases.

Precision Dialogue created a combination of Facebook newsfeed ads and promoted posts. Rather than taking a ‘one size fits all’ approach, we fine-tuned our ad targeting for every single piece of content to reach audiences most likely to be receptive and thus engage with the brand’s content. For example, content likely to be appealing to young parents was targeted to Facebook users who had identified themselves as parents and were within the desired age range. We created multiple targets and A/B tested their efficiency to ensure that the best-performing ads carried the most spend.

We layered in several seasonal promotions and contests and ran sidebar ads in addition to the other two formats to gain further reach.

Results for 2013 were excellent. Our paid advertising program amplified the organic (unpaid) reach of content, with total daily reach increasing from 10,000 people per day to over 70,000 – or 18 million people per year. This reach yielded 350,000 ad clicks, 175,000 page likes and 30,000 website visits. Ultimately, Facebook-referred online sales increased by 60% over 2012 – and at the highest average order value of any referral source.

Facebook 2


As was clear from likes, page engagement, post engagement, and shares, targeted Facebook advertising reached people who were interested in the brand and interacting with it. In addition, testing different targeting methods helped to provide information about the most-engaged groups of consumers, to drive more cost-effective targeting for other digital advertising initiatives.

Email and Direct Mail: Bringing the Two Worlds Together

October 7th, 2014 by Patricio Sapir No comments »

When we think about multi-channel or cross-channel Marketing as a strategy to engage customers and generate revenue for a business, it’s usually difficult to consider offline channels as part of that strategy.

But for that Marketing strategy to be successful, it’s important that our message remains not only consistent throughout every single interaction that each customer has with our brand, but that is also that is highly personalized based on different aspects of data that we have collected for each customer.

Email and Direct Mail are, among others, critical pieces of a marketing strategy and if layered correctly, they can provide a lot of value to your customer.

In this article I will enumerate the five key components to a successful integration between these two worlds:

1.     Strategy

Sounds obvious, right? The first step is establishing a strategy. Set up the goals for your marketing strategy and determine the different interactions and touch points that each customer will have with your business.  Asking yourself the following questions will help you draft this strategy:

        • Are we collecting data about the interactions that the customer has with our brand? (purchases, email behavior, website visits, etc).
        • Are we able to execute a personalized Direct mail campaign with our current Direct Mail Vendor?
        • Are we able to consolidate data from past Email and Direct Mail campaigns to decide the next best course of action?

2.     Data

If you truly want to deploy 1:1 communications, you need to be capturing customer data. If you’re not doing so already, you need a strategy in place to collect customer data. When it comes to email, you should have a preference center website that enables recipients to update communication preferences. Always remember to follow CAN-SPAM rules and offer users the opportunity to opt-in and out of communications. Remember, with this approach, you’re not blasting everyone on your list – you’re selecting recipients based on preferences or triggers that you’re establishing.

3.     Delivery

An advanced platform such as ExactTarget will help you house customer data, deliver email messages and create personalized journeys based on the data you are capturing. Here at Precision Dialogue we specialize in connecting platforms like ExactTarget with our Direct Mail Digital Variable Printing engines, to allow Marketers to trigger Direct Mail communications based on real time triggers and vice versa. For this component, you don’t need to focus only on the technology but also on the team that will execute your Marketing campaigns. This process could be a full time job for several people. It’s best to leverage a campaign management team or an agency to handle the entire coordination and execution of the campaigns.

4.     DAM (Digital Asset Management)

You have your strategy, you have your Delivery mechanism. Now the question is, where do you store all assets for Direct Mail campaigns? And can these assets be also on the same location as my email assets? A DAM such as Widen, enables companies to house all digital assets such as imagery, logos, videos and more to create, manage, share and analyze digital content. If you have a complex approval process, a tool like Widen will allow you to simplify this process with out-of-the-box and easy to use feedback functionality.

5.     Reporting

It’s imperative to track the performance of your campaigns to see how they were received by your targeted audiences. You can acquire basic reporting from your email platform that will provide basic metrics including open rates and click through rates and you can get simple tracking via coupons on direct mail pieces. However, the process of compiling all measurements into one document takes time. Combining this information in a single reporting tool will allow you to spend more time analyzing the information instead of trying to collect it from multiple sources. After you analyze the results from your campaign, it’s best to revisit the strategy and adjust the campaign if needed to achieve better results.


If cross-channel marketing is one of your goals for 2015, be sure to keep in mind that A) direct mail should definitely be included and B) email can be integrated with direct mail to optimize 1:1 customer communications.

Need help integrating these channels into your marketing mix? Please don’t hesitate to contact us to learn how we can help brainstorm a plan to meet your goals!

Precision Dialogue Awarded Partner of the Year at ExactTarget Marketing Cloud’s 2014 Connections Conference

September 25th, 2014 by Marketing Team No comments »
Partner of the Year for Channel Program

Partner of the Year for Channel Program

We are proud to announce that we have been awarded the 2014 Channel Partner of the Year by ExactTarget Marketing Cloud at their annual Connections conference. The Partner of the Year award recognized Precision Dialogue as a company with high customer satisfaction that is committed to ongoing team growth while exceeding revenue generation goals. Precision Dialogue previously won this award in 2010 and is now one of only two partners to have won this award twice.

Precision Dialogue has been an ExactTarget Platinum Reseller Partner for more than 10 years. Leveraging the digital marketing platform, the Forrester® recognized customer engagement firm has achieved several accolades warranting the award’s distinction, including:

  • Partner of the Year in 2010
  • ExactTarget Consulting Partner since 2011
  • ExactTarget Referral Partner since 2012
  • ExactTarget Services 2012 Program Team of the Year
  • Dedicated ExactTarget team of more than 30 professionals with over 250 ExactTarget certifications
  • 4 certified Solutions Consultants on staff
  • ExactTarget Gold Certified in Scalable Data Strategies
  • Creators of Magento-ExactTarget integration, CONNECT and Code in Color HubExchange app, simplifying the creation and editing of HTML and Ampscript code
  • Architects of dynamic messaging solutions that deliver a unified customer experience through the email and direct mail channels
  • Comprehensive ad-hoc analytics and business intelligence services to support acquisition, growth, and retention strategies
  • Precision Experience LabSM offering usability testing, focus groups, eye tracking analysis, and optimization solutions
  • Award-winning creative team that designs and optimizes responsive mobile, web and landing pages

“Our team has, and continues to work hard to exceed our client’s expectations,” said Jonathan Hill, EVP/Chief Technology Officer, Precision Dialogue. “The ExactTarget Marketing Cloud provides a market leading platform to support customer engagement marketing and our team is proud to be named Partner of the Year for a second time.”

Precision Dialogue applies a scientific and measurable approach to their full service email marketing services. The agency has served over 75 clients and manages the deployment of more than 240 million emails on a monthly basis. Some of Precision Dialogue’s more notable clients include, Office Max, Regions Bank, Midas, Estee Lauder and Sherwin Williams.

Connections is the premier digital marketing industry conference, bringing together the most brilliant pioneers and entrepreneurs in the digital sphere, offering three-days of education, inspiration and networking with speakers from, LinkedIn, and more. To learn more about Connections, visit

Customer Experience and Conversion Expert to Present on Eye Tracking and Emotional Testing at Annual Summit

September 22nd, 2014 by Nathan Enzerra No comments »

Precision Dialogue Unveils Groundbreaking Techniques & Technology on Emotional Testing at Retailer-Focused Conference in Seattle, Washington

As famed musician Frank Zappa once stated regarding emotion, “The computer can’t tell you the emotional story. It can give you the exact mathematical design, but what’s missing is the eyebrows.” With recent advancements in research and technology this saying is no longer true. During the Annual Summit, retailers will have the opportunity to attend breakout session “Behavioral, Eye Tracking and Emotional Testing – Maximizing Insights to Improve the User Experience” in which they will learn how recent advancements in groundbreaking emotional testing technology can detect subconscious user emotional states and be used to tell the user experience story.

Cathleen Zapata, Chief Experience Officer at Precision Dialogue will be co-presenting with client Jennifer Biefel, Manager, CRM Program Management at Disney Parks and Laura McFadden, User Experience Architect at Arhaus Furniture. The trio will be presenting on usability testing, usability testing with eye tracking and emotional testing techniques.

Additionally, requested to participate for the fourth year in a row, Zapata will be one of the “doctors” providing expert evaluations in the popular “Doctor Is In: One-on-One Website Critiques” session during the retailer conference. She will be providing 30 minute private one-on-one consultations with registered retailers focused on how to improve the user experience and conversion.

“Usable websites are no longer a differentiator, but rather, an expectation by users. In order to leapfrog the competition, retailers need to not only ensure the site is usable, but that it motivates and persuades users to take action and have an overall pleasant experience,” explained Zapata. “Evaluating not only what your user’s say and do, but also, what they see and feel, allows you to identify conversion barriers and streamline the buying process.”

Cathleen Zapata is currently the Chief Experience Officer at Precision Dialogue where she manages the Research & Customer Experience division’s accounts, service offerings, lab and team. She has nearly 20 years’ experience working with clients to improve their customer’s experiences balanced with business goals to maximize ROI.

Cathy has been published in numerous industry publications including UX Magazine, BAI Retail Delivery and Quirk’s Marketing Research Review. She has worked with clients across industries including Disney, American Greetings, Four Seasons, OfficeMax, Coach, Inc., CVS, KeyBank, Nationwide Insurance and more.

Retailers will also be able to connect with Zapata and others from the Precision Dialogue team at Precision Dialogue’s booth (#1503) in the expo hall. At the booth, you can test the eye tracking and wireless EEG equipment. Precision Dialogue is the only customer engagement firm nationwide with a full suite of owned in-lab and mobile eye tracking as well as emotional tracking capabilities via EEG.

Precision Dialogue is also participating in the big prize giveaway sponsorship and will be giving away a $4,000 Apple Vacations gift certificate. Annual Summit is the digital retail industry’s premier event where thousands of executives gather with the common purpose of advancing their industry through the sharing of knowledge, experience and expertise. To learn more about Annual Summit, visit

To learn more about Precision Dialogue’s Research and Customer Experience solutions, visit

Power Your Journey: ExactTarget Connections is the Event for Endurance Marketers

September 18th, 2014 by Julie Marques No comments »

Are your marketing communications relevant, personalized, and behavior driven? Is your marketing program driven by critical data? Do you have a single view of your customer? Are you maximizing all channels?

While these are goals that all marketers aspire to, the answers for most marketers are “no.” (Or for the ultra-sophisticated, the answers might be, “not as much as I would like.”)

If we all know that’s where we want to go, why aren’t we there yet? There are many different practical reasons, but a big, less practical reason is this: As busy marketers, we rarely allow ourselves to take a step back, evaluate our programs, and strategize real-world ways to make these improvements. We may take the time to read an industry article here and there, but do we really take the time to get inspired about what is possible with data paired with the right platforms? And more importantly, how we can apply those concepts to programs we execute? (Or programs that are so amazing, we haven’t even dreamed them up yet?)

Connections LogoExactTarget Connections is a digital marketing event that allows you to do just that. It’s the premier event from the Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud. The theme for this year is Power Your Journey, and the idea here is that Connections is designed to be the perfect mix of inspiration and enablement.

Connections is unlike most industry conferences. It is not a sales pitch. It is not a big party. It features sessions for all levels of experience and for varying areas of interest (with tracks including Email, Social, Mobile, and B2B). Most importantly, each session will give you practical advice and creative strategies for how to improve your program.

Just because it’s practical doesn’t mean it isn’t also a lot of fun! There are many opportunities to socialize and enjoy entertainment. This year’s entertainment line-up includes, The Script, and DJ Casey Connor.

Connections is also known for powerful and engaging keynote speakers, and featured speakers this year include Marc Benioff (Chairman & CEO, Salesforce), (entertainer), John Green (author), Beth Comstock, (SVP & CMO, General Electric), Gabriel Stricker (Chief Communications Officer, Twitter), and many others.

The conference will be held in Indianapolis on September 23-25. It’s not too late to register! Learn more here.

Upcoming Book Release from Precision Dialogue Board Member

September 3rd, 2014 by Samantha Byrne No comments »

July 2014, a board member of Precision Dialogue; Tim McCarthy, approached the Westlake, Ohio-based marketing firm for marketing strategy and support in an effort to publicize the launch of his upcoming book release, “Empty Abundance: Finding Meaning Through Mindful Giving”. The book is a memoir of sorts, encouraging all ages to service. McCarthy hopes to inspire people to commit from their excess, or abundance, through “mindful giving”.

Empty Abundance Cover

Mindful giving is the movement that has sparked from McCarthy’s thought-provoking message in this book. This movement aims to fill the void left in many people around the world, in this particular case, an enterprise executive with great wealth seeking a greater purpose in life beyond monetary-value and a reputation in the business world of achievement. McCarthy is eager to encourage others who have been blessed, with similar wealth and professional success, to leave legacies that represent far more than materialistic goods and abounding bank accounts.

In an excerpt, author Tim McCarthy explains the theory behind Empty Abundance:

“Whether you are just starting out or have also amassed wealth, my goal in this book is merely to move you by sharing what has moved me.

If successful, this book will prove my theory that there are millions of Tim McCarthys out there: people who are doing well—or are on their way to doing well—materially, but are still looking for more from life.

I hope you will join me on this journey. I’m incredibly grateful for your attention. And so are the many people who will be served by the donation of 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of this book.”

Partnering with McCarthy on this project has ignited an abundance (pun 100% intended!) of thought, discussion and steps of action to pursue philanthropy and the idea of “mindful giving” across the Precision Dialogue campuses.

The official launch date for the novel is set for October 27th, 2014. For more information, or to collaborate, partner or get involved, visit: or follow McCarthy’s movement on social media:

@MindfulGiving on Twitter

McCarthy, T. (2014). Empty Abundance. Ashtabula, OH: Business Ghost.

Mapping the Road to Customer (and Organizational) Bliss

August 27th, 2014 by Jessica Folger No comments »

Despite handing customers the mic and giving them easy access to corporate decision makers, the vast majority of organizations are finding that customer satisfaction is low. How can that be when so many business and marketing professionals are making a conscious effort to monitor their social, digital and customer service channels…and respond accordingly?

While there will always be high-maintenance customers whose needs can never be satisfied, the root of the problem can often be traced back to “broken” organizational structures and processes that can be difficult to repair. Lack of inner-department collaboration. Disconnects between partner agencies. Corporate divisions operating in silos. A lack of unifying goals.


All of these issues create isolated experiences and disconnects for customers who typically derive value and meaning from the total experience. So what can be done to help overcome these challenges?

Precision Dialogue works with its client to facilitate the development of customer journey maps. A customer journey map is an archetype of a customer’s 360 degree experience with a product, service or company. It visually illustrates an individual customer’s needs, the series of interactions that are necessary to fulfill those needs, and the resulting emotional states a customer experiences throughout the process.


Many organizations think they have developed a customer journey map, but instead have created an ecosystem map, which is a foundational element – the first step in a larger process.

Ecosystem maps are typically created through a collaborative exercise involving key internal stakeholders, not customers or prospects, and are in turn assumptive. They are focused more on points of contact and are less customer-centric in that they do not take into consideration needs and emotional states.

While ecosystem maps certainly hold value, in many cases they just aren’t enough. A 2013 Harvard Business Review article revealed that “performance on (customer) journeys is 30% to 40% more strongly correlated with customer satisfaction than performance on touch points.”

Taking an ecosystem map to the next level requires validation through voice-of-the-customer research. Here at Precision Dialogue, that involves taking more functional and operational insights as well as assumptions gathered from key stakeholders, Chatty Cathy'sand overlaying qualitative and quantitative research learnings from exercises with target customers.

Whether you are starting at ground zero, have an ecosystem map in place, or have done some primary research of your own, Precision Dialogue has a variety of services in place to take your understanding of the customer journey to the next level. Changes in organizational structure, channels and technology can all impact the customer experience, and in turn, make a case for revisiting your customer’s journey on a regular basis!


Digital Transformation: Evolve or Dissolve

August 27th, 2014 by Jenna Hunger No comments »

Organizations are faced with a choice: evolve or dissolve. Those who have evolved are defining new markets and disrupting business models. Those who do not, are simply left behind. Some of the most innovative companies in the world are adopting the latest technology for advancing their content management systems (CMS) to continuously evolve and remain ahead of the digital disruption wave. In this blog post, we’ll provide best practices around search, social, the user experience and tips for moving online marketing strategies offline, when launching a CMS site in 2015 and beyond.

Then & Now

Organizations are reinventing business models and now putting digital at the center of their business. They are seeking new technology that supports this transformative vision and our organizations (Acquia and Precision Dialogue, together) believe strongly that Drupal is the platform to support constantly-evolving digital transformation both today and in the future.



We are now in what Forrester calls the “Age of the Customer,” a 20-year business cycle in which the most successful enterprises will reinvent themselves to systemically understand and serve increasingly powerful customers. Surpassing manufacturing strength, distribution power and information mastery, the “age of the customer” preaches the new competitive advantages to be customer knowledge and engagement.  The most successful companies are now customer-obsessed.

They are prioritizing a digital strategy they will help them deliver higher financial returns, secure brand loyalty and build deeper trust.  Research has shown that having a consistent experience across all touch points is a key driver of brand trust – web, mobile, social. Furthermore, customers expect brands to be present.

Being Customer-Obsessed    

Here’s a good example of digital disruption and “change” impact.  Whole Foods, an Acquia customer, built unique digital experiences on a common Drupal platform, but empower store managers to localize each store’s website.

Whole Foods


Best Practices in Launching a CMS Site in 2015 and Beyond

Customers expect brands to be where they are. Similarly, they expect a web experience that is both natural and intuitive. You can achieve this by implementing the following strategies into your website:

Prior to Launch

When designing or redesigning a CMS or website, it is important to lead with a user-centered design approach. Getting user input/feedback in the planning process can go a long way in preparing for success.

We suggest developing wireframes that function as the blueprint of the site, to help define the navigation, layout and interactive experience, before applying the visual design layer. Wireframes should not only follow usability best practices but also SEO best practices, ensuring that the right content fields are accommodated on each page type. SEO during a site redesign or original site creation is critical.

Wireframes can actually serve as a template for multiple pages if they are of similar type, or similar content, for example product pages or category pages.  See the example below, where we have taken a blueprint and then skinned with visual imagery.













During & After the Website Build

Every site should have on-site search capabilities however, most sites lack a predictive search feature.

Predictive SearchTypically, about 30% of visitors will use the search function on your website. Most browsers know what they want, help them find what they are looking for faster by avoiding misspellings and search mistakes.







Being There for Your Customers with Social Media

Social media is no longer just another broadcasting channel, but it is also an instrument to befriend customers, and post and share both content and experiences.

Being where your customers are also means providing superior customer service interactions on social channels, which extends beyond content sharing.

Communities and forums that help solve customers’ questions or give them a hub to collaborate is an engaging way for users to build rapport and ignite discussion.


Shoppers from vibrantly post reviews; naturally-formed communities have evolved from the multitude of inputs on product reviews.


Blending Offline with Online with SMART Direct Mail

In the past few years, technology has introduced the capability to match past browsing, purchase behavior or preferences set by the user – and apply that as dynamic content on the website and within email campaigns.

Now we can take that effort offline and market was is called “SMART” direct mail. We can feed website visitors and customers directly to their physical mailbox with printed direct mail pieces personalized by what we know of them online.

Based on what we know about them, we were also able to modify the offer and messaging per customer.




The sky is the limit for building compelling CMS websites in 2015 and beyond. Through candid insights from the user’s perspective, we can inform the design, content and prepare for an improved experience on the site, including optimized search capabilities, social communities and approaching the customer even when they are NOT online.

At the core of digital disruption is a solid CMS platform. Be sure you’re ready for 2015 – contact me to strategize about how you can take your site to the next level.


Email Marketing Case Study: Accelerating Tria Beauty’s Campaigns on a Global Scale Leveraging ExactTarget

August 13th, 2014 by Marketing Team No comments »
Tria Email Example

Tria Email Example

Managing an email marketing campaign on a global scale can be daunting. However, when you blend a team of email marketing experts with a robust platform such as ExactTarget, a wave of encouragement ensues. Learn how we helped our client Tria Beauty, a global retailer of FDA approved laser hair removal and skincare products, elevate their current email marketing campaign to a global scale. Together, we worked to solidify over 130 post purchase streamed emails that targeted customers on an international level.


In this webinar, you will learn how we implemented and maintained a full service email campaign with examples of the campaign process, which was comprised of audience selection, creative and HTML production, email quality assurance and campaign deployment.

Register Now

What Are Your Customers REALLY Thinking? An Emotional Testing Overview

July 28th, 2014 by Nicholas Michel No comments »

Have you ever wanted to know what someone else was feeling? As things like big data and bulletproof usability become table stakes, we as smart marketers need to push forward to get an even greater understanding of our customers.

To meet this need, we’d like to introduce emotional analysis with electroencephalograph (EEG) technology.


What is Emotional Testing with an EEG?

With EEG technology, you are able to measure electrical activity along the scalp of a customer and analyze what they’re feeling while reviewing content or interacting with your brand.  Tools like this have been used largely in medical research to monitor brain activity in patients for over a century. However, the experience to this point has been very intrusive and very time consuming. Luckily, the technology has advanced to make this tool accessible to the multi-channel research market.

Precision Dialogue EEG

Precision Dialogue EEG

EEG technology allows us to monitor electrical impulses in the brain to measure customer emotions and levels of engagement in real time. This tool can also be combined with eye tracking research to give another level of depth to the research. You can now confidently report on what people do, say, see and feel, with just one test and one output. From understanding engagement, to measuring frustration, an EEG can give you accurate insights into the true emotional state of your customers as they interact with your brand, website, physical products and more.

The tool can also analyze customer facial expressions from brain waves to measure non-verbal reactions, such as smirking, frowning, smiling or furrowing their brow, while they use an interface, review a print piece or handle a product.


How can it benefit a brand?

In a time where customers tend to be inundated with choice and competition is fierce, it is becoming more and more important to know what is really going on in their head. The data from an EEG allows us to dive deep into the user’s true experience and understand some of the triggers for what’s frustrating them or causing them excitement.

We can now understand if content on your website is engaging, or identify times where the user is experiencing frustration where they may not be necessarily verbalizing how they feel or demonstrating frustration through their actions.

You can now see if customers are bored when reading your emails or direct mail or if something excites them about a physical product you offer.

Imagine being able to see if your very expensive Super Bowl commercial is engaging or boring, prior to its final cut.

Want to see if your retail display advertising is truly frustrating during the shopping experience? All these examples are possible with EEG testing.


Why should you care?

There are many reasons why this type of research should not only be considered, but included in your research. A few reasons include:

EEG research with eye tracking

EEG research with eye tracking

  • Customers view websites they find enjoyable as more functional1
  • If initial reactions produce excitement or engagement, customers are more likely to explore, browse products and look at promotions2
  • Research shows a significant positive correlation between emotions and memorability3

The bottom line is, as more and more companies create usable, functioning and high quality experiences and products, to differentiate yourself, your offering has to be enjoyable-not just usable.

With usability testing, big data and other methodologies in place to gather rich insights about your customers, emotional testing with an EEG can take your optimization efforts to the next level.


  1. Chen, H. (2006). Flow on the net-detecting web users’ positive affects and their flow states [Abstract]. Computers in Human Behavior, 22(2), 221-233.
  2. 1. Menon, S. & Kahn, B. (2002). Cross-category effects of induced arousal and pleasure on the internet shopping experience. Journal of Retailing, 78, 31-40.
  3. Mai, L. & Schoeller, G. (2009). Emotions, attitudes and memorability associated with TV commercials. Journal of Targeting, Measurement and Analysis for Marketing, 17, 55-63. Retrieved from:



Emotional Testing: A Deeper Understanding to Improve the Customer Experience

July 8th, 2014 by Marketing Team No comments »
Cathleen Zapata, Chief Experience Officer

Cathleen Zapata, Chief Experience Officer

Nicholas Michel, Research & Customer Experience Analyst

Nicholas Michel, Research & Customer Experience Analyst

Join us as we discuss a groundbreaking methodology into gaining customer insights. Emotional testing, done via cutting-edge EEG technology, allows researchers to track how your customers actually feel and their levels of engagement in real time. Understanding how customers emotionally respond to your website, direct mail piece, email, video, store or branch experience, product interaction or a different channel will refine and perfect the overall customer experience with your brand.

In this webinar, we will provide an overview of emotional testing technology and methodology, discuss what types of insights you can gain, and share why deeper levels of insights are important in creating marketing communications that encourage customers take action.

Register Now

Lessons Learned from Shutterfly’s Recent Email Error

May 16th, 2014 by Laura Liatti No comments »
Shutterfly's email mistake

Shutterfly’s email mistake

“Congratulations on your new arrival”

A very thoughtful subject line, but one that I wasn’t prepared to see in my inbox Wednesday.  I found myself thinking back to my morning and taking a mental headcount of the breakfast table.  My husband had already headed out for the day so there was me, my kindergartener and my (technically) newest arrival who will turn 3 years old in July.

We’re all human, and let’s face it, we make mistakes every now and then.  However, taking important steps to mitigate as many errors as possible in an email marketing campaign will pay-off, and also alleviate potentially public apologies down the road.

Unfortunately, Shutterfly  received a lot of negative attention for their email error, but there are ways to ensure your email campaigns are developed and deployed correctly, if you review each of these checkpoints:

  1. Data Accuracy – Data driven campaigns can only be valuable if you have the right data attached to your customers.
  2. Email Content – Copy and images should reflect the original email design and a thorough spell-check should be completed.
  3. Coding Accuracy – A well-designed email with compelling call-to-actions won’t get you very far if your links are broken or your email isn’t rendering properly on a mobile device.
  4. Deployment Details – Sender profiles, subscriber lists, exclusion lists, …..every detail of the send should be thoroughly reviewed against the specifications for the deployment or you can risk sending to an incorrect audience or having the right audience receive the wrong message.

Documenting each step in your review process and creating checklists will also help alleviate potential errors and help build confidence in your team to press that “send” button to thousands or even millions of subscribers.

Need help in reviewing your email quality testing processes, but don’t know where to start? Check out our Slideshare presentation on “Email Quality Testing Best Practices” as we expand on the key items you should review in your email campaign before deploying to a live audience:


And not to brag, but as for me and my “new arrival,” we are happily sleeping through the night.


Attaining Lifecycle Marketing Success with Drupal

May 15th, 2014 by Patricio Sapir No comments »

The ultimate digital experience is that one that begins anywhere, from any device, and continues constantly, making every single person the protagonist of your story and engaging them in a way that generates not only revenue for your business, but also new opportunities to learn about your customers.

Around 10 years ago, marketing technology implementations and purchase decisions were “an IT thing.” Today, with the introduction of great innovations in technology, the panorama has expanded to start becoming more of a “business thing.”  And that shift has affected the way marketers think about Lifecycle Marketing and how to leverage the power of these technologies to improve the way they do business.


What is Lifecycle Marketing?

Lifecycle Marketing (or Customer Lifecycle Marketing) refers to any type of marketing effort that addresses your customer’s needs as they change over time.

There are 4 main phases to conduct a successful Lifecycle Marketing experience:

  • Attract: Make your customers aware and interested in your brand
  • Onboard: Your customer evaluates and purchases your product
  • Engage: Using personalized communication, customers feel part of your brand
  • Retain: Your customer is now a loyal customer and will pass the word about your brand (This is where social media shines!)

In order to ensure that you are fulfilling these phases correctly, you need to make sure that all the channels that are part of your strategy stay consistent throughout the customer journey. Make sure that not only your content and your branding are consistent, but that the steps in your campaign are followed in the right order by the different communication channels.

Attaining Lifecycle Marketing success in a world with many communication channels can be challenging. When the time comes for you to decide what technologies will be part of your strategy, it will be crucial to find a platform that is flexible, scalable and easy to integrate with other marketing tools. This is where Drupal fits perfectly.

What’s Drupal?

drupal_logo-blueDrupal (/ˈdruːpəl/) is an Open Source Web Content Management System (CMS) created in 2001 by Dries Buytaert as a message board, but gained popularity in 2004 with enhancements by its community until today where approximately more than 1.5 million sites are managed by Drupal including The White House, Harvard University, Beyoncé, ExactTarget and others.

Why Drupal?

  • Open Source: It’s free to download and start working with.
  • Highly Customizable: The open module architecture that supports Drupal, allows you include any type of integration or functionality into your website. There are more than 15,000 community free modules available for Drupal so if you needed something, someone probably built it for you.
  • Easy to Use: There’s no programming language knowledge needed to setup and maintain a Drupal site.
  • Flexible Framework: Drupal is agnostic to the way your website looks. I mean, take a look at the examples I gave above: Beyoncé, The White House…
  • Community: Drupal is supported by a community of more than 30,000 members making it easy to get an answer when you are looking for issue resolutions or recommendations.


Drupal in Lifecycle Marketing

As I mentioned, Drupal is a great solution for your Lifecycle Marketing strategy due to its flexibility and ability to adapt to your customer needs. Here are some tools and features that can be included in a Drupal website to reach success:

Acquia Lift

Acquia Lift simplifies personalization, empowering marketers and site builders to build immersive and automated personalized digital experiences. With Lift, you can setup multiple personalization rules for logged in and not logged in website visitors and track conversions based on these rules. Lift is a product offered by our technology partner Acquia and is getting a lot of traction in the Web Content Management world.

CRM and Social Media Integrations

Drupal has backend integration with most popular CRM and social media platforms such as Salesforce, Sugar CRM, Facebook or LinkedIn. This will allow you to capture and understand your customer insights and generate loyalty through social media. You can find and integrate these modules in the website to get started.

Capture Insights

Drupal’s core functionality will allow you to review how your customers behave in your website. You can extend that functionality by leveraging website analytics inside the tool such as the Google Analytics module. If you are hosting your site with Acquia, you will also get access to extended site analytics to understand your customers’ behavior.



Marketing Technologies selection and implementation has become a key responsibility in the role of a marketer and a success factor to a Lifecycle Marketing campaign. Thanks to the flexibility and scalability of Drupal, businesses can now create unique multi-channel experiences to attain Lifecycle Marketing success.

Precision Dialogue has comprehensive expertise in developing and implementing marketing strategies for clients in a variety of industries. From ExactTarget, to Adobe Campaign, to Drupal, our technology background is continues to grow as we work hard to support marketing solutions that drive ROI. Contact us today to learn how we can help increase your bottom line: or call 877-332-9222.

wearegoingLastly, Precision Dialogue will be sponsoring DrupalCon 2014 in Austin next month where we will be showcasing our user experience testing devices (eye tracking and wireless EEG) and Research and Customer experience processes, so swing by our booth (#923) if you are there too!

Precision Dialogue Wins 2014 Communicator Award for Magento Developed Website

May 14th, 2014 by Marketing Team No comments »
Bon Vital website

Bon Vital website

Congrats to our digital marketing teams who were awarded a 2014 Communicator Award in the health category by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts for their work on the Bon Vital’ website redesign.  The Silver Award of Distinction recognizes that the Bon Vital’ website exceeded the industry standards of excellence in quality and achievement that are displayed throughout the most professional work found on the web. The Communicator Awards is the leading international awards program recognizing big ideas in marketing and communications.

Bon Vital’, a leading manufacturer of professional massage therapy and spa products, enlisted the help of our team to update the eCommerce website leveraging Magento Enterprise. The new site features an interactive display for Bon Vital’s skincare products which supports their overall mission to provide high quality organic products for healthcare professionals. Leveraging Magento Enterprise, we seamlessly integrated Bon Vital’s back-end ERP system while enabling licensed therapists to purchase and utilize training materials that qualify for continuing education credits. Additionally, our Inbound Marketing experts applied search engine optimization throughout the site.

“We are honored to receive this prestigious award from an esteemed group of judges,” said Stephen Kidwell, eCommerce Practice Director of Precision Dialogue. “All of our Magento website redesign projects are comprehensive with a primary focus on the end user. It’s gratifying to receive this recognition for the effort our team practices in delivering compelling websites for our clients.”

Founded in the 1980’s, The Communicator Awards receives more than 6,000 entries annually from companies of varying size, making it one of the largest awards of its kind in the world. The prestigious award program is sanctioned and judged by the International Academy of Visual Arts which is comprised of an invitation-only group of marketing communication professionals from around the world.

With more than 15 years of experience in eCommerce development and design, we provide comprehensive eCommerce solutions focusing on the Magento Enterprise platform. Every Magento implementation is infused with search analytics and usability best practices, ensuring websites are optimized for ultimate conversion. To learn more about our eCommerce services, visit

Opinion Centers America is Now Part of Precision Dialogue

May 2nd, 2014 by Marketing Team No comments »

Precision Dialogue announced that it has acquired the assets of Opinion Centers America, a marketing research company headquartered in Cleveland with services including focus groups, participant recruiting, phone interviews, surveys and data analysis. Opinion Centers America’s staff will relocate to Precision Dialogue Marketing’s location at 905 Corporate Way, in Westlake, Ohio and join the Research and Customer Experience division under the leadership of Cathleen Zapata, Chief Experience Officer.

Precision Dialogue is an analytics-driven customer engagement firm that improves marketing ROI using consumer insights to help clients reach the right audience through personalized, relevant multi-channel messages. Precision Dialogue’s Precision Experience LabSM is a user research facility that enables clients to observe consumer behaviors and decision-making processes through usability studies, eye tracking, neuro feedback via wireless EEG and more. Opinion Centers America is best known for providing best-in-class recruiting services for focus groups and market research studies for a wide variety of brands in numerous industry segments. The company will continue to provide these services under the Precision Dialogue banner at the Cleveland location.

“We are excited that our legacy of providing a highly rated focus group facility and top-notch recruiting services for industry-leading brands will now be taken over by Precision Dialogue – a firm with a solid background in providing customer engagement strategies for brands,” said Kent Maffett, retiree and former owner of Opinion Centers America.

The demand for Precision Dialogue’s Research and Customer Experience services has grown exponentially as more clients look to leverage their customers’ insights to create more relevant experiences. “Acquiring Opinion Centers America and bringing their staff on board adds considerable depth and experience to our research and customer experience team,” commented Tom Ragen, Precision Dialogue CEO. “This transition will be seamless and swift, as Opinion Centers is a natural extension to our already existing market research offerings.”

For more information on Precision Dialogue and their Research and Customer Experience offerings visit,

How Social Advertising is Shaping Up in 2014

March 7th, 2014 by Ashley Buhrman No comments »

Keeping up on the new social advertising tools throughout the year will be crucial to being successful in 2014. Below is a list of the social platforms with advertising programs that plan to change as the year progresses:


As Twitter continues to evolve their advertising programs, companies should invest into this growing platform.  It is estimated that Twitter will hit ad revenue of $1 billion in 2014. To achieve this, they are working to help companies gain more followers and increase engagement on their platform through various advertising options.  Such as, enhancing their promoted accounts to appear in timelines; offering Tailored Audiences (remarketing) and true “broad match” for keyword targeting.  Companies can leverage these new updates to increase their relevant follower base.




Facebook announced that it will eliminate sponsored stories on April 9th. This means that domain and open graph sponsored stories will no longer appear on users’ timelines and marketers will need to look to other advertising opportunities.  So, in place of sponsored stories, Facebook is adding social context next to all ads.  This will include stories that your Facebook friends have read and pages they have liked.  In all reality, it is the same concept as sponsored stories.


Another game changer in Facebook advertising has been the auto-play video ads.  The tricky part about advertising through these ads is that they do not have sound unless a user clicks on them, therefore advertisers should strive to get their message across without sound. It has been rumored  that the cost of a 15-second auto-play video ad ranges from $1 million to $2.5 million.


Promoted pins are changing the way companies are reaching out to their customers on Pinterest.  Pinterest is making promoted pins appear just like any other pin so that they do not become obtrusive to users. However, this can be exceptionally hard since promoted pins blend in seamlessly amongst other pins.  As marketers, we have to think of creative ways to posting content to pinners so that our pins appeal to our target market.




Instagram is still testing advertising with a few brands such as Levi’s to gauge users’ feedback. Instagram allows users to hide ads by clicking on the “…” button and encouraging them to provide feedback on why they hid it.  Instagram advertising is still managed through an account representative with a minimum buy.  Due to the closed nature of current advertising not much is being said on the progress or future of the advertising campaigns.  My expectation is that one day Facebook will look for ways to incorporate Instagram ad buys into the current Facebook ad buying platform. However, for now it seems that they will continue to slowly roll out ads and monitor user feedback.


It is important for marketers to stay ahead of the curve on these social advertising trends in 2014.  Your competitors will be adapting to these new updates so be sure to explore the different social advertising offerings to maintain a competitive edge.

Creating Immersive Digital Experiences with Acquia

March 6th, 2014 by Marketing Team No comments »

Acquia_LogoTo support the continuous evolution of web technology while delivering integrated digital experiences, Precision Dialogue is proud to announce its partnership with Acquia to enhance the marketing firm’s Drupal web development offering.

Acquia provides an open cloud platform, developer and operations tools, and enterprise-class support for Drupal — the open source digital experience platform. Drupal has surged in popularity among enterprises because it offers agility and flexibility for organizations to create digital experiences that unify content, community and commerce.

“Acquia Cloud is our preferred cloud platform for developing dynamic enterprise websites for our clients using Drupal,” stated Patricio Sapir, Director of Interactive Development. “Our agile methodology, combined with Acquia’s Drupal-tuned cloud environment, enables us to develop and manage websites that bring content, community and commerce into one seamless digital experience to deliver more conversions and increased revenue.”

Precision Dialogue’s website development approach is an adaptive, ever-changing, collaborative process between the client and the Precision Dialogue project team, comprised of designers, certified developers, search marketing strategists, and usability experts. Together, they work as one team to plan, design, and execute every task needed for a website development project to be successful. The end result is a state-of-the-art, sustainable Drupal website containing immersive digital content that is viewable on all digital devices.

“Acquia provides the world’s best cloud platform and expertise for Drupal to help Precision Dialogue create high-quality sites for their clients, designed to deliver engaging digital experiences,” said Joe Wykes, Vice President of Global Channels at Acquia. “Drupal uniquely provides organizations with the freedom to build digital sites that integrate key features and systems to improve user experience and drive increased conversions.”

At the core of all Precision Dialogue’s methodology is a User Centered Design approach – a process that is grounded in uncovering a deep understanding of the end user. Leveraging the company’s usability lab and market research facility, Precision Experience LabSM, experts gather user feedback to drive and refine the design and development throughout a project’s lifecycle. Precision Dialogue’s diverse and talented staff ensures that every project benefits from an agile, user centered design approach.

For more information on Precision Dialogue and its web development offerings, visit