Critical Thinking Process Diagram Funnel

Performance-based marketing has been around for less than a decade. We’re barely three years into having experience with tools that effectively measure mobile campaign performance.

In such a new industry, it is only natural that pieces are still missing and user data is siloed and broken. As vendors, we are exposed to many user acquisition processes, which allows us to see the cracks very clearly. Some of those cracks:

  • In most cases when we launch a new campaign for a client, we get very little information about the user (whom our client clearly knows very well).
  • During the campaign, we get a lot of data that the client hardly ever uses.
  • As clients experiment with re-engagement or email campaigns for example, those particular vendors start from scratch. Whatever user data they gather tends to reside in their silo.

The good news is that our industry is maturing by presenting new tools that paint a more holistic view of the user’s journey in mobile apps and products. In this post, we’ll break down how marketers can stay in close touch with their users as they move through the five-step mobile funnel.


Learn the 5 touchpoints

First and foremost, marketers need to consider each touchpoint both individually and as a holistic experience. We need to maximize each point along the journey while connecting them cohesively. The following graphic maps the main steps of the user journey; we’ll describe each step and add a brief review of tools and best practices for each.

Step 1 – Go prospecting

Good prospecting requires us to gather everything we already know about our user and process this info into an effective search for new users.

Best practice: Provide your media-buying team with access to your CRM data or export this data using one of the many vendors who offer this service. Your media partners will be able to use this data to create lookalike targeting that hunts for new users who closely resemble your existing customers.


Step 2 – Plan your buying / cover your bases

Make sure you have a coherent plan of how to acquire new users by testing all available acquisition channels.

  • Search
  • Social
  • Influencers
  • RTB
  • Mobile networks

Map the type of users each channel is driving to your service. Use this mapping to set up the right KPIs and creative for every channel.


Step 3 – Push your user down the conversation funnel

Go live with new user acquisition campaigns utilizing your new segments!  Your goal is to drive the user effectively down the conversion funnel.

Here’s a hypothetical flow:

Banner ad → app store page → app install → app on-boarding → app usage  

Best practices:

  1. Use dynamic creative to increase banner ad conversion rate by generating the most effective message to each user, in real time.
  2. Don’t forget ASO. The app store page is a critical stop in the user’s journey towards your app; don’t forget to make sure it’s optimized for maximum conversion.
  3. Measure the effectiveness of your onboarding process. A clumsy sign-up process might cost you a client you worked to win! Use growth hacking techniques to find the optimal onboarding flow for your product or service.


Step 4 – Implement growth hacking

Growth hacking is a marketing technique that uses creativity, analytical thinking, and social metrics to generate growth. Hackers care more about what needs to get done than how it should get done. As a result, hackers often come up with innovative ways to get things done quickly and effectively.

Growth hacking shifts the weight from marketing to the product team, who is tasked with finding ways to make the products more engaging and keep the users involved.


Step 5 – Remember to re-target

That said, even the best growth hacking in the world can’t keep all users engaged. Don’t give up on those who’ve lapsed! Remember that it usually costs less to bring back a former user than to acquire a new one.

Best practice: Segment lapsed users by the stage they left at, and call them back with the right message. For example: offer the user a special benefit to complete the sign-up process or deliver a unique discount for executing the first purchase, highlight the product the user was interested in, in the past to make her buy again, etc.

Rinse and repeat

If you got to step 5, the user data you have is far more robust than what you had when you started. Don’t forget to processes this info into data that can be used to segment and target the next round of new users – when this round ends, feed your learning in again, and again, and again.

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Your value proposition is the reason people buy from you.

It is all of the tangible and intangible aspects of your offering.

There’s a reason we placed it at the center of the LIFT Model®. The stronger you can make your value proposition, the greater your potential conversion rate.

In this article, I’m going to show you how to create your kick-ass, knock-em-dead, no-holds-barred, kill-the-competition value proposition.

But first…

What is a value proposition?

Here’s how I think about it:

Your value proposition is a cost vs. benefits formula that is evaluated subconsciously and automatically in your prospect’s mind when they encounter your marketing touchpoint.

Think of it as an equation, balancing the perceived benefits and perceived cost of transacting with your brand.

If your perceived benefits outweigh the perceived costs, your prospects will be motivated to act.

Notice the word “perceived.” It’s very important to understand customer segmentation. Your benefits hold different weight for different people. You need to find out which of your benefits are perceived to be most important to your unique prospects.

For example, to some of WiderFunnel’s clients, it’s very important that we offer full service design and technical implementation for the tests we plan. For other companies with lots of talented employees and resources, our growth strategy, database of previous tests and insights, and experiment plans are more important.

One of the biggest benefits [of our partnership] has been WiderFunnel’s ability to take the debate out of a testing decision. They’re able to evaluate testing ideas with a points structure, saying, ‘We think this would be the most valuable for you, for your industry, for what we’ve seen with your competitors, this is the site you should run it on, we think it would be best on mobile or desktop, etc.’ And we can rely on WiderFunnel’s expertise and say, ‘Let’s do it.

– Sarah Breen, Global Ecommerce Product Lead, ASICS

For the companies that value all of it, well, they perceive the most value in what we do.

You need to discover your best value proposition to have the best chance to close the most sales. Emphasizing the most important parts of your value proposition will maximize your conversion rate.

How do you find your best value proposition?

At a simplistic level, think about the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?).

Every marketer understands the WIIFM concept. You have an idea of how to address your customers, understand their needs, and speak in their language. That’s the entry price to understanding marketing.

The WIIFM are all the features and benefits your prospects could get from your products and services. But you can’t communicate them all at once. If you try to emphasize everything, you’ll say nothing.

So, how do you know which features are most important to your customers?

You Should Test That!

There’s a reason that’s the title of my first book, published by Wiley.

Traditionally, marketers have relied on their own thinking to come up with the right features to emphasize. Sure, they may get input from customers with surveys and focus groups, but there are many reasons those focus groups aren’t as great as they seem. (Note: you can learn about the seven risks of qualitative marketing studies here.)

There’s a better way: By testing different value proposition approaches, you can find out what works best with statistical certainty before committing to one assumed positioning.

The following case study gives an example of how.

Case Study: A business-impacting value proposition insight for EA

Electronic Arts (EA) needed to increase game registrations through their game launcher tool within the desktop The Sims game. Registrations for their game community are a critical revenue driver, enabling further marketing, upsells, and cross-sells.

WiderFunnel designed an optimization program that would reveal their gamers’ motivational triggers. Some experiments isolated the types of incentives that would maximize signups, investigating, in particular, the types of game upgrades gamers wanted.

In addition to more than doubling EA’s community signups (128% lift!), the experiments led to a total redesign of their user interface, and revealed the most powerful offers that drive their players’ actions.

They learned that tangibility is more powerful than choice. Specific game add-ons were much more motivating than awarding users free “Sims Points” that they could use to ‘buy’ any add-on.

The offer insights were so powerful, EA’s management changed their organizational structure to create more of the right types of game assets. The growth optimization program had delivered massive customer growth, valuable customer insights, and improved interface designs!

But your combination of prospects, products, and competitive environments is unique. How do you decide what could be valuable to test for your customers?

To find out what works best, you need to create great value proposition hypotheses to test and validate.


You need advanced Value Proposition optimization

The “POPs, PODs and POIs” framework is useful for identifying new positioning ideas to test.

Kevin Keller discussed a similar concept of points of parity versus points of difference in his article for Harvard Business Review, “Three Questions You Need to Ask About Your Brand.” He used it with respect to brand positioning, product development, and brand extensions. For existing products and brands, I believe it is also a useful tool for thinking about the features to emphasize and validate with A/B testing.

Because I’m a visual thinker and find diagrams helpful for learning, I created this Venn diagram to show how to think about your Points of Parity (POPs), Points of Difference (PODs), and Points of Irrelevance (POIs):

  • Points of Parity (POPs): These are the features you offer that are important to your prospects that you also share with your competitors. Most marketers spend their time here, loudly trumpeting how they can do what their competitors do too, only *better*! That’s a strategy to fail.
  • Points of Difference (PODs): Here’s where you can win the game. These are the features that are important to your prospects and not available from your competitors.
  • Points of Irrelevance (POIs): You may have spent a lot of effort developing great features, but if nobody wants them, you should kill them.

Your PODs are where you should focus. These are the features you can emphasize that will move your prospects to action. They are your differentiators.

You can use your PODs to destroy your competition.

But all PODs are not created equal. Some will be more important than others and some will only be important to certain customer segments.

No matter how much effort you’ve put into researching and brainstorming your value proposition points, you should test them to validate whether they’re best!

At WiderFunnel, we often run experiments where we create and test value proposition alternatives for our clients. When combined with data from customer surveys and market perceptions, these tests add quantitative validity to qualitative insights. The learning from these value proposition tests often generates powerful marketing insights that impact the overall marketing strategy.

Pro Tip: Landing pages are your best Value Proposition test opportunities

Your best opportunities for testing your value proposition are with first impression visitors. These are usually new visitors to your high traffic landing pages or home page. When I refer to landing pages, I’m specifically talking about website entry pages. These are the first pages your visitors see when the arrive on your website.

By split testing your alternative value propositions with new visitors, you’ll reduce your exposure to existing customers or prospects who are already in the consideration phase. New prospects have a blank canvas for you to present your message variations and see what sticks.

Then, from the learning gained on landing pages, you can validate insights with other target audience groups and with your customers to leverage the learning company-wide.

Landing page testing can do more than just improve conversion rates on landing pages. When done strategically, it can deliver powerful, high-leverage marketing insights.

All value propositions have varying degrees of value depending on how they’re interpreted and how they’re communicated. Your benefits hold different weight for different people―it’s all about finding out which of your benefits are perceived to be most important to your prospects.

– Michael St Laurent, Optimization Strategist, WiderFunnel

How do you optimize your value proposition? How do you know which features are most important to your prospects? How would you discern your POPs from your PODs? Add your comments below.

Craft a killer value proposition with our 3-page worksheet!

Dig into what makes your company unique and what your customers value most about you with this helpful resource.

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