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

September 25th, 2014 by Kelly Canfield 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 Kelly Canfield 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 Kelly Canfield 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.