People don’t really read ads, right? They just look at the pictures! Not so, says Jess Cook, the Director of Content Marketing for Marpipe. And she should know — her company is in the business of testing marketing campaigns.
[00:00:00] Seth: Hello and welcome to the Bad Marketing Advice podcast. This is the podcast where we invite marketing professionals onto the show to tell us about the worst piece of marketing advice they’ve ever receive. My name is Seth Resler, I’m your host. I am also the founder of community marketing revolution. We produce branded podcasts and virtual events for companies and organizations.
So if you’ve been thinking about maybe creating a podcast to engage with your potential clients, maybe onboarding for your existing clients, maybe even just for communication within a large organization, please head over to communitymarketingrevolution.com, we’d love to work with you. Our guest today is the director of content marketing at a company called Mar Pipe.
Mar Pipe is a multivariate testing platform for ad creatives. I have no idea what that means. We’re gonna find out. I’m excited to learn. She is a creative director, turn content, marketer, and strategist. She has more than 15 years of experience conceptualizing and executing breakthrough work for brands like Eggo, Rice Crispies, Blue Cross Cotton and McDonald’s she now heads up all things content at Mar Pipe. Welcome to the show. Jess Cook. Hi Jess.
[00:01:20] Jess: Hello! Hi, Seth. How are you?
[00:01:22] Seth: Thank you for joining me.
[00:01:24] Jess: Thank you for having me and this is exciting.
[00:01:26] Seth: All right. So let’s talk about Mar Pipe and what they do. What’s a variant? How do you get multiples of them? How do you test them? Who is your target customer and what is the problem that you solve for them?
[00:01:37] Jess: So most marketers will AB test their ad creative and when that happens, they’re able to understand which ad performed better in front of their audience, but they never really know why and the reason that is because.
There’s so many variables involved. When you AB test two ads, you don’t ever want them to be very similar because you want them to have a lot of [00:02:00] difference and be able to understand, you know, Hey, this really bold concept did really well where maybe the safer one didn’t when you multivariate test what you’re doing is you’re mixing and matching a handful of creative elements to create every possible combination of them.
So for instance, you might have. Say three headlines, two images and two calls to action and what Mar Pipe does is we automate that and so we are taking those, you know, three headlines, two images, and two calls to action, three times, two times two is 12, and we’re automatically making every single combination of those elements for you to create those 12 ads and we’re putting those 12 ads in front of your audience and then, because we have put every variable with every other variable, everything is controlled and we know exactly why someone likes the ad they’ve liked best, or doesn’t like the ad. They like the least and so it just gives you a much [00:03:00] deeper level of understanding in terms of which creative elements are working.
Hey, this image right here performs, no matter what headline we put with it, let’s dig into that a little deeper. This headline never works, right. Let’s try positioning ourselves a different way. So it’s a really, really deep level of understanding and the really nice thing that Mar Pipe does is we create that library of creative data for you.
So now you have all of this information in one place that you can go back to refer to you know, that, you know, pink is your color, right? It’s the color that your audience always gravitates toward and so now we wanna find out exactly which shade of pink let’s dig in there a little deeper. So it’s historical.
It doesn’t just have to be used for your ads. Once you run these tests, you can start to figure out, okay. Let’s apply this to our website, to our packaging anywhere. That makes sense and that’s really the power besides just testing ads. It really is a new form of market research.
[00:03:59] Seth: [00:04:00] So as I understand it, and I have done AB testing as a marketer, and I always try to only change one variable at a time because of exactly what you’re talking about cause otherwise, how do we know which one’s right and the problem with only changing one variable at a time is that it can take forever for you to go through all the different variables and so if I understand you right. What you’re saying is you don’t do AB testing. You basically do A, B, C, D, E, F, G testing all at once to kind of enable people to test multiple different things at the same time and still identify which one is doing the heavy lifting.
[00:04:34] Jess: That’s exactly right.
[00:04:35] Seth: Okay and you are marketing to marketers?
[00:04:38] Jess: Yes.
[00:04:39] Seth: So what is that like? Is that different? When you’re marketing to people who frankly know the tricks.
You know, it’s actually really exciting. I have marketed to tons of different audiences before, and I find this exhilarating, I think because as marketers, we do know the tricks and so we have to be really, really smart about how we [00:05:00] market to marketers.
[00:05:01] Jess: We really have to show how we solve their problems. We have to give great examples and great case studies and prove. That it really does work. It’s funny because we get a lot of flack from creatives actually, right. Where, you know, they’re wary, is it weary or weary, weary, weary.
[00:05:18] Seth: Well, they’re probably both. But yeah.
[00:05:21] Jess: They’re probably both. You’re running, they’re both weary and weary of, you know, all these creative automation tools and yeah, I think the real power of Mar Pipe is that it allows creatives to bring their very best ideas and see which ones work. Right? Like which ones are the most powerful or I always loved when I was a copywriter, like finding out that a line really worked a headline, really worked and, you know, there’s always kind of that moment of like, I knew it I knew that was a good one. Right and so you can really find that out. I always liken this too, you know, that the Apple iPod launch rest and peace iPod, the Apple iPod [00:06:00] launched campaign, right. How powerful that was for people and imagine if we could go back in time and multi bury it, test that campaign and see which background color and which silhouette of dancing person resonated most with different target audiences. I wouldn’t make that campaign any less powerful. It would make it more powerful to the right people seeing the right pieces of creative.
[00:06:23] Seth: Right, right. No, that makes a lot of sense. Okay. You are marketer you market to marketers, so I’m sure you’ve heard a lot of marketing advice over the years.
What is the worst piece of marketing advice you’ve ever received?
[00:06:37] Jess: The worst piece of marketing advice I have ever received is. Don’t worry about the copy. No one reads it anyway and you know, as a copywriter, I really take that oops as an insult, right. You know, I was working for a creative director who is absolutely brilliant and was an art director, his [00:07:00] entire career, right.
An amazing art director and so art was his world. Right and so it made sense for him to think, you know, it’s the visual, it’s a visual world and people are gonna come and they’re gonna come for the design. When I say to that is, people come for the design, but they stay for the copy. It’s not that people don’t read copy.
They don’t read uninteresting copy and so you really have to, you have to have a hook, you have to speak in the terms your audience uses. You have to be able to give them almost a smile and a nod that you understand their world and their problems and that you are the only solution. Right and so that is kind of my answer to that, you know?
Yeah. People might not read, copy that isn’t any good, but people read, copy, you know, long form is not dead and it’s actually one of the most important marketing skills around.
[00:07:53] Seth: Right. So, you know, I often hear people say it, when it comes to the web people scan, they don’t read [00:08:00] and I think that’s probably true initially, like, you know, but then once they get to what they’re looking for they do go deep and the copy does matter. Right.
[00:08:08] Jess: Yeah, absolutely. I think actually the deeper down the funnel, you bring someone, the more likely they’re to read your copy, right? Because they’re trying to get the details at that point. If they’re further up the funnel. Yes. You make sure your H one S and your H two S and your blog posts make it so that they can easily skim that they can basically get the full story without reading the whole thing but as they get further down the funnel, they get closer to purchase. They’re needing more details.
They need to understand exactly how this is going to work and exactly how it’s going to fit into their workflow or solve their problem or how they’re gonna work with other people in order to use that and so that’s when the copy becomes crucial to, you know, to a potential buyer and they’re really more likely to read it the closer to the they get to purchase.
[00:08:51] Seth: Got it! Now as a somebody who basically tests, you know, different things in marketing, do you actually have evidence for this? Is this something that you can see [00:09:00] in, you know, your own results, your own multivariate testing?
[00:09:02] Jess: Yeah, absolutely. So I think that’s one of my favorite things about Mar Pipe and our marketing is that we’re really transparent with the data that we see on our platform. So our social feeds are full of just interesting little nuggets. I’ll give you a few, for instance, so something we saw recently was, you know, we have a couple of SAS brands, so B2B SAS brands that test religiously on our platform and something that they found was that they would show, you know, like a screenshot of their UI.
They would test it in that exact same screenshot in dark mode and light mode and what we found was that dark mode is actually better for purchase but light mode was better for engagement. So depending on the KPI you’re going for and a good evergreen campaign should have a little bit of both, right?
You are gonna wanna know that you might wanna know, okay in order to get, you know, kind of an engaged audience, I’m gonna need to show that light mode in order to get purchases, I’m gonna [00:10:00] wanna use that dark mode and I should probably have a little bit of both. In my evergreen campaign, something else we’ve found is for our D to C apparel customers.
You know, something that I think you learn coming up in marketing and advertising is that, you know, show it on an aspirational model, show the piece of clothing or show the makeup or beauty product or whatever an aspirational model using it and usually that means someone young and good looking right.
Through our testing, our customers have found that is not always the case, that sometimes just, for instance, laying a really great looking jacket in a pile of, you know, fall colored leaves really will boost your conversion rate.
[00:10:41] Seth: Because sometimes I look at someone I’m like, I can’t pull that off.
[00:10:44] Jess: She, you know exactly like there’s level of, yeah. I could never compete with that and again, like it’s not true for all pieces of clothing underwear, for some reason, people like to see it on the model.
[00:10:57] Seth: Right.
[00:10:57] Jess: So no, so these are the things, again.
[00:10:59] Seth: That’s [00:11:00] do for a completely different reason.
[00:11:02] Jess: Totally and so these are the things that multivariate testing is the only way to learn that.
Right? Because you are, again, like you said, you’re able to just change one variable at a time. One really, one more really fascinating statistic. We had a customer of ours that has a beauty tool. They tested eight ads in their test and one of the variables was down the center of the ad. They had a straight line at the edge of their kind of text box and another variant of that was like a wavy line down the center and when we looked at the results after the test had been run, we found that the straight line increased add to cart rate by 350% and again, this is something you would ever know from an AB test because that’s probably not one.
You wouldn’t only change one thing in an AB test and two, there would be so many other different [00:12:00] variables in the AB test. You wouldn’t know that it was the lying down the center that was making that change. Again, we’re seeing all kinds of incredible statistics like this insights that, you know, our customers are getting at a rate that you just couldn’t get any other way.
[00:12:14] Seth: This is fascinating to me. I mean, I could talk to you for hours about this stuff. I just love the fact that, you know, marketing, which has long been in art is becoming in a lot of ways, a science, because we are starting to learn things like this. So if people wanna know more, they, of course can go to your website.
It is marpipe.com. And thank you Jess so much for being here. Jess Cook the director of content marketing at Mar Pipe. I really appreciate you coming on and giving us terrible advice.
[00:12:40] Jess: Thanks for having me, Seth. That was fun.
[00:12:43] Seth: I am Seth Resler don’t forget. If you are interested in a branded podcast for your company or organization, you can head over to communitymarketingrevolution.com until next time.
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