Recent studies indicate that financial advisors expect continued strong demand for their services in the next year.  Russell Investments third-quarter Financial Professional Outlook indicated that Advisors remain bullish about the capital markets looking out over the next three years.

Marketing Volatility and Investor Behavior

Source: Russell Investments

However, they worry about investors’ emotional response to market events that could harm their businesses and their clients’ well-being, The Russell Investments study showed market volatility to be the most common topic initiated by clients.  A Fidelity Advisor Investment Pulse Survey showed similar results.

“When investors make emotional decisions, they decrease the odds of reaching their financial goals,” said John Hailer, chief executive officer of Natixis Global Asset Management in the Americas and Asia.

How can financial advisors set reasonable expectations with challenges like volatility and low-interest rates?…how can they take the emotion out of investor conversations to set realistic goals and stick to them?

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Marketing Team Working on Vendor Selection

Choosing a marketing automation vendor can be challenging. Whether you are jumping into marketing automation for the first time, or are re-evaluating your current system, it can be a difficult and daunting task – especially with how many options are out there these days. Marketing Automation Selection Criteria can help.

The vendor you choose will have an enormous impact on not only your Marketing Department and marketing efforts, but could easily touch other areas as well such as Sales, Customer Service and IT. It is important to consider these other groups when evaluating various vendors, as they may have requirements, obstacles and questions that should be taken into consideration.

To help make the evaluation process a little easier and more effective, here is a recommended process to follow: Read more

Every company will have different ways of measuring a qualified lead, yet there is a set of factors that you can use to map into a lead-scoring model. Many marketing automation solutions, such as Eloqua, Marketo, Hubspot, Pardot, ShaprSpring, and others, have built-in lead scoring algorithms and pass this information into a CRM system like Salesforce and SugarCRM.


These scores can be set up to deliver marketing-qualified leads based on certain criteria and scores, helping sales teams accept the leads (Sales Accepted Leads) and focus their energies on the top prospects.

Marketing Automation and CRM are both important. We use Sharpspring technology for our small business retainer services to deliver inbound marketing programs and integrated marketing. Sharpspring includes an integrated CRM as well as API hooks into leading CRMs so it is great for small businesses. The life of the lead is a great way to see the flow of the lead through time and the lead scoring approach helps sales focus immediately on the top inbound leads.

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It’s all about the customer.  Cultivating and managing your customer relationships is essential for effective marketing campaigns, sales, and repeat business.  But when your contact list becomes unwieldy or you find that several people within your company are reaching out to the same contact, you know you need to get organized.  Customer Relationship Management (CRM) programs enable you to respond to your customer base with timely communication, targeted marketing campaigns and strategic follow up.

3-Tips-to-Using-Email-Thread-for-Smooth-CommunicationMy Pet Peeve: Email Threads

How often have you needed to check a customer detail that was in an email thread you received days or weeks ago? You’re hustling to get to a meeting and just can’t find that all important message.

CRMs centralize, store and organize detailed customer data and history logs for easy reference. Help your salespeople improve their effectiveness by sharing information with your team or designating members to manage a particular lead or customer.

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It has been well over a decade since the digital revolution went mainstream. However, according to Google, 55% of small businesses don’t even have a website. The vast majority of those that do, have a website that lacks key features necessary to make digital a revenue generating channel. A common reason for this lack of focus is the belief that real business comes via traditional channels like referrals.

How to supercharge referrals

The problem is that referrals are heavily influenced by digital channels. Your client base needs to know exactly what makes you great and be energized to make a referral. Digital channels provide the necessary energy. A well thought out digital strategy is vital to guide the referral process.

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John Stone from Revenue Architects asked me this question over lunch. The answer I gave him got me thinking about a conversation I had at a conference a few years back.

I was approached by a business executive who asked me what is the difference between usability and user experience. My answer: Here’s the big difference, user experience is all about ROI (Return on Investment).

Integrated Digital Strategy


The start of any good user experience begins with a clear business goal. Whether it is a mobile app, website, or even a physical product a good user experience fulfills that need. Start by asking yourselves the hard questions – What do I want my users to do? What do I want them to accomplish? What is the call to action? Given that end goal, a good user experience optimizes the path and flow that they will need to take.

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When sales and marketing work together harmoniously, all is well. Marketing builds the brand and drums up leads; sales reels them in and brings them home as paying customers. Yet we know. particularly for sales, that sales incentives are the critical driver for performance focus. With today’s more unified revenue value chain and closed-loop across marketing and sales, you may need to realign your incentive programs to drive alignment and focus on the behaviors and results you seek. Programs need to fit in with your revenue operating model and reinforce team revenue performance.

Motivate Success

handshakeIncentive systems can motivate the right behaviors and align activities across marketing and sales. The incentive model should be transparent and readily understandable while clearly motivating your teams to perform in accordance with the prevailing company revenue strategy. Incentives can be a highly effective way to encourage and motivate, build morale and drive desired behavior. A study called Incentives, Motivation and Workplace Performance showed that a stunning 92% of respondents cited incentives as the top reason they achieved a workplace goal. Incentives can have particularly big impact when the sales and marketing teams devise a program together to effectively drive sales team behavior.

The best, most effective incentive programs are SMART.

  • Specific – target a specific area for improvement.
  • Measurable – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress.
  • Assignable – specify who will do it.
  • Realistic – state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources.
  • Time-related – specify when the result(s) can be achieved.


Begin by identifying your specific and measurable performance goals. Ask focused questions:

  • What exact targets and changes do we want to accomplish?
  • What behaviors would we like to reinforce?
  • How will we measure and track success?
  • How will the incentive campaign be implemented and promoted?

Once you’ve defined core metrics of success and created an incentive program that’s right for your team, there are some additional things you should keep in mind:

Stretch targets. Incent based upon new, desired behavior, e.g. meeting a higher quota, selling a new product, etc. Rewarding existing quotas and behaviors won’t likely enhance productivity.

Find the sweet spot. Don’t set your incentive payout too high, or the sales team will neglect their core responsibilities to focus only on the prize. Conversely, the payout should not be so too low that it doesn’t drive interest. Find the measurable incentive payout “sweet spot” that truly motivates your employees.

Public recognition. Public recognition helps to affirm good behavior, boost morale and foster a sense of friendly competition among the staff by celebrating the successes.

Keep campaign awareness fresh. Send regular reminders to the staff that the incentive is in place.

Choose a long enough timeframe. Consider running your incentive program for a substantial amount of time, not just a month or a quarter. Studies show programs that run for at least a year generate a 44% increase in performance, while programs running for a week or less boost performance by just 20%.

Measure and Track ROI. Establish baseline measurements at the beginning of your campaign so that you can track results and successes back to actual sales.

Promote team spirit.  Team-oriented incentive programs generate a performance increase of around 45% compared with incentive programs geared toward individuals, which yield just a 27% increase. However, both approaches can have a motivating effect, and it doesn’t have to be an either-or decision; experiment with different programs and see what your staff responds to the most.

Good luck and good selling! Are you looking to enhance revenue performance?  Sign up for a revenue diagnostic using our 50-dimension model.


Getting a web visitor to take action is the main objective of any web page. Unfortunately, many businesses see still a website as a brochure and do not take into account the way that web usage has changed and what the real purpose is. They spend all their time on design and not enough on usability and website conversion optimization. Pretty is good but conversion grows a business.

1. Use of Strong Visuals

Images need to have a purpose not just be decoration. Derek Halpen at Social Triggers put together a great article on the effective use of images.

He pointed out the following potential reasons for using images.

-To show a key product or service feature

Derek points out how genius the image of Apple Air in the envelope is. Apple is selling the “thinness” feature and nail it with the image. If you are selling a service, a good graphic can explain your offer.

MacBook Air image example for web conversion

-To direct attention

Images can be used to direct the web visitor’s attention. Images of people looking at or pointing can emphasize a key headline or call-to-action like a sign up form.

-To build trust

Using pictures of real people involved in the business whether they are customers or team members builds trust. Derek points out that people want to deal with real people. Stock images just don’t cut it. Customer testimonials have a lot more credibility if they have an image of the customer with them.

Revenue Architects testimonial example

2. Get the Headline Right

Another key page element is the headline. Copyblogger found 8 out of 10 people read only the headline. The promise of the headline must be compelling enough to turn a browser into a reader and then a sign up. Copyblogger offer a 11 part course to help with this. You won’t get the headline right first time. Optimizely lets you to test different headlines (and images) with no coding required. Testing should be an ongoing process.

3. Be Mobile Friendly

The big movement right now is towards responsive design. This means that a web site will reconfigure to be usable for any device from laptop ti smart phone. Website builders from Virb to Wix and Squarespace now offer responsive solutions. Excellent responsive themes are available for WordPress.

Revenizer mobile responsive web exampleDespite this, only 6% of small business websites are mobile ready according to a recent survey. The same study calculated that the lack of mobile readiness is costing US small businesses $1T each year. Mobile is now 28% of all web traffic. 4 out of 5 of these visitors will leave a site if it is not mobile optimized.

Make sure your emails are mobile optimized also. 70% of users will delete an email if it does display well on their smartphone. 75% of users open emails on smart phones.


Looking for help with improving conversion. Contact us at Revenue Architects.

For more ideas, go to Revenizer for 400+ more tips on optimizing digital + real time stats on your marketing performance.

The article summary is below.

Revenizer web conversion tips

Leading marketers are pursuing multi-channel engagement with their customer and prospect audience as part of an overall Revenue Architecture. When measuring general performance from different on and offline channels, the digital channels are much easier to measure, so a game plan for tracking non-digital media is critical. With an organized plan of attack, firms can measure the results of campaigns across marketing channels and allocate dollars in the most efficient way possible.

A Focus on Customer Lifetime Value (LTV)

Marketing ROI analytics involve a range of variables that ultimately lead to capturing customer value. There are three ways to capture customer value:

  1. Acquire new customers
  2. Retain relationships with existing customers
  3. Expand relationships by increasing ‘wallet share’

All three of these dimensions help drive Customer Lifetime Value (LTV).

Clearly, a business can use their marketing and advertising dollars more efficiently by reaching customers who will engage in more business over time and be more likely to drive customer referrals from their personal networks. Through a lifetime, the customer will experience a wide range of events, offering a business the opportunity to engage at critical moments. Tracking this can be tied to LTV metrics and leading indicators from digital interactions between the customer and the various web, email and social media presence of the business.

However, many businesses attribute too much credit to the ‘last click’ – a single cost-per-acquisition (CPA) metric – and do not adequately consider how much should be invested in acquisition across different marketing channels. LTV helps highlight the value created over a long-term relationship with the customer by fostering an increase in wallet share through targeted marketing. Too often businesses have a single CPA number in mind, yet acquisition budgets could be allocated more effectively by increasing CPA budgets to acquire customers with attractive LTV metrics and reducing CPA investments in less attractive segments.

Campaign Insights

Paid, owned and earned media is a helpful top level framework for developing marketing strategies that capture customer value and drive Customer Lifetime Value. Paid media campaigns drive customers to owned media online properties that provide information, products or services that create earned media buzz that can build among customers through social media, PR and referrals.

Bringing Together Offline and Online Marketing

Digital marketing strategies, such as display and pay-per-click advertising, bring about clear opportunities to measure marketing investment return. Tools like Google Analytics and Adwords provide a rich array of funnel and conversion tracking. Offline programs are typically more difficult to measure beyond tracking broad business impacts (like web visits) that can be attributed to offline campaigns.

By bringing offline conversions online, it’s easier to track and measure the impact of marketing. As each visit is tracked, analytics provide the ability to view customers over their full sales lifecycle rather than through the limited lens of a one-time conversion-based transaction.

Through the implementation of different vanity URLs for offline campaigns, prospective customers can be driven to specific landing pages that redirect to the main business domain in order to measure incremental campaign performance. Other ways of tracking offline advertising related to paid, owned and earned advertising include:

  • QR codes attached to print media and outdoor advertising
  • Phone numbers specific to each campaign and marketing channel
  • Customized discount or offer codes unique to the marketing channel
  • Social media hashtags that connect the offline campaign to how customers interact with it online
  • Annotated analysis of direct traffic surrounding mentions of the business through other offline print media or television coverage

Ultimately, a lead can be tracked from cradle to grave using these techniques, allowing businesses to prioritize LTV while allocating marketing dollars more effectively.

Marketing Performance Measurement and Metrics

For the complex sale typical of B2B and service companies, a range of metrics can help to monitor the health of the marketing-to-sales funnel, enabling businesses to focus their best efforts and identify opportunities and challenges. The following outlines a sample of the metrics our clients are focused on day-to-day.

  • Multi-Channel Funnel (conversion rates across digital channels)
  • Lead Velocity (time for leads to move through the funnel)
  • Path Length (sequence of events and stops in the customer journey)
  • Cost Per Acquisition and Campaign ROI (measuring marketing performance)
  • Marketing Qualified Leads (# and quality of leads generated by marketing)
  • Sales Accepted Leads (# of leads qualified for pursuit by sales)
  • Customer Acquisition and Sales Conversions (sales completion)

Data produced by these interactions can be tracked through a range of tools including marketing automation, Google Analytics and dashboards such as Cyfe, which offers customizable analytics and detailed reports on the conversion process of marketing efforts.


The ultimate goal is to have a single end-to-end view of the ‘life of the lead’ while tracking the impact of a variety of activities within marketing and sales to drive revenue performance.

To learn more about Marketing Performance Measurement and Attribution, please feel free to contact us.





Association NetworkA modern web presence can deliver solid impact for associations and is critical for an increasingly web savvy membership. Associations need to engage their members and visitor audience with the right content and collaboration and be a resource so members feel value and come back for more interaction. Associations need to provide a valuable member engagement facility, facilitate events and registrations, publish content dynamically, manage member profiles, and actively author and publish content.  With about half of user visits engaging over mobile devices, they also need to deliver a responsive and mobile-friendly experience.  

Yet, many associations do not consider a complete picture when pursuing a website design initiative.  In addition to the website as the hub, associations must think about their broader web and digital presence, including social media and applications, email and marketing engagement, to create a more unified brand experience on the web.

When pursuing a digital / web presence project, consider eight critical dimensions of an effective digital presence:

The Digital Experience Framework

A Digital Experience Index (DXI) is based on eight interdependent dimensions.

  1. Brand: The overall positioning with respect to the target audience segments.
  2. Visibility: Optimization major search engines using keywords for greater visibility.
  3. Design: Delivering a professional, modern, engaging, and responsive look and feel.
  4. Content: Ensuring relevant, dynamic, and credible information is offered.
  5. Usability: Personalization, ease of use and accessibility for both users and admins.
  6. Functionality: The applications, tools and web services needed to deliver value.
  7. Conversion: The experiences that deliver calls to action and drive conversions.
  8. Amplification: How well content and messaging is amplified on social media.

Begin with a Self Assessment

The following is an example of some of the the scorecard assessment elements for the 8-dimension model. Analysis could also include a peer review to reveal additional gaps and opportunities against best-in-class peers.  A simple 1-5 scoring can reveal the ‘as-is’ and suggest opportunities for improvement. By using prioritization, like ‘Must’, ‘Should’, ‘Could’ and ‘Won’t’ do (MoSCoW), you can use the DXI to start building a roadmap for a ‘to be’ vision. 

1. Brand

The overall positioning with respect to the target audience segments.

  • Does the website communicate the brand voice and message?
  • Does the experience resonate with each target segment persona?
  • Are visual communications consistent across the digital footprint?

2. Visibility

Optimization major search engines using keywords for greater visibility.

  • Page titles and meta descriptions are the advertisement that users see that they search?
  • Link analysis shows domain authority?
  • Site structure and internal links can emphasize the top converting pages?
  • Consistent NAP (Name / Address / Phone) structure?
  • Alt descriptions provide an opportunity for additional keyword placement?
  • Web platforms help enhance search engine visibility?

3. Design

Delivering a professional, modern, engaging, and responsive look and feel.

  • Does the site deliver a clean and well laid out design?
  • Do images reinforce a value proposition?
  • Is the site responsive for mobile users?

4. Content

Ensuring relevant, dynamic, and credible information is offered.

  • Blog features enable dynamic content to engage audience more frequently?
  • Quality posts with video improve experience and visibility?
  • Resources for members keep people coming back?

5. Usability

How easy the website is in navigation and user interactions and the effectiveness in the delivery of functionality?

  • Mobile experience is not at the same standard?
  • Navigation is clear and easy to understand, with few clicks?
  • Accessibility is appropriate for the user base?
  • The site is optimized for mobile devices?
  • Font sizes reflect audience preferences?

6. Functionality

The right applications, tools and web services needed to deliver value.

  • Functional priorities identify what audience and members most use and value?
  • An appropriate content management system delivers manageability and reliability and easy administration of content?
  • Integration with the right marketing automation platform?
  • A strong hosting environment is tailored to the web platform?
  • PageSpeed insights help optimize the site for speed?

7. Conversion

The experiences that deliver greater levels of call to action conversions.

  • Appropriate pages are conversion focused with a single objective and clear call-to-action?
  • Users can easily identify actions and suggestions?
  • Site navigation and conversion goals are measured and tracked?

8. Amplification

How well content and messaging is amplified on social media.

  • Investment in content is distributed to achieve a return?
  • Google+ influences search ranking?
  • LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are influential distribution channels?