** Tues. #inboundmarketing w/ @Tybouillabaisse Thurs. #abtesting w/ @ameliashowalter

Wow, what a great first week of class we’ve had! (Although I have to admit I’m writing this on Wednesday and delaying publication until Thursday afternoon, so I dunno, maybe Thursday’s class was super boring.) We’re going to talk about two big topics this week, topics that, once you understand them, will immediately put you in the vanguard among digital marketing strategists. (SRSLY) Inbound Marketing and A/B Testing a.k.a “Website Optimization”.

We talked a little bit about Inbound Marketing on Tuesday. It’s the radical idea that firms shouldn’t waste money BROADcasting their promotional messages to people who have no interest in their products or services. With inbound marketing, firms create an ecosystem that encourages potential customers to actively insert themselves into the firm’s sales funnel. A good introduction to inbound marketing is this graphic I once received from noted WWU alumnus @andrewdumont.

BId4avRCAAEN_34.gif-large

Please notice the distinction between tactics and channels, we’ll talk about both. For class, there are two things I’d like you to read about inbound. First, here is the Harvard Business School course pack that I’ve created so that you can buy the case “HubSpot: Inbound Marketing and Web 2.0” for the discounted rate of $3.95. (Hey, @Pearls_World. This is a different case than we read last quarter, sorry about that.)

Second, here is an e-book (a very popular tactic for inbound marketing) created as an introduction to inbound marketing by a competitor of HubSpot, named Marketo. (We’ll talk a little bit more about Marketo when we discuss marketing automation.) In the second half of class we’re going to talk via web chat to a former student of mine Tyler Orfao (@Tybouillabaisse) who works at HubSpot in Cambridge, Mass. When he’s not helping clients maximize their inbound marketing, he’s listening to cool music and playing rugby. Solid dude. For your blog for Tuesday, write about the articles and write about other companies that you think are using inbound marketing effectively.

On Thursday, I am very excited absolutely thrilled to talk to Amelia Showalter (@ameliashowalter) about A/B Testing and optimization. Like I said on Tuesday, one of the greatest strengths of digital marketing in relation to “traditional” marketing is our ability to take the guesswork out of decisions by testing strategies on some small subset of our database and then taking our p < .05 results to our population at large.

But first things first, “What is A/B Testing?” Here is a quick guide from Optimizely that will explain it very basically and here is an academic journal article from a couple of folks from Microsoft (local company, based in Redmond) that gives some good background an introduces the HiPPO.

If you learn nothing else from this day make sure you understand why going with the HiPPO sucks and how A/B testing helps you avoid this awful fate.

Back to Amelia. We’ve had some classy guest speakers come through our digital doors, but Amelia is the first one to be featured in Elle Magazine.  Read this article from Businessweek and this one from TechPresident about the work Amelia and her team did for the Obama 2012 campaign and for your blog, write about what A/B testing is and what businesses can and cannot learn from the work that Amelia and her colleagues did on the campaign.

Have a great weekend! (Please let the Pats win on Saturday … Please let the Pats win on Saturday …)

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