The site is falling! The site is falling! Mobilegeddon is here!

Posted by on April 23rd, 2015

Lead GenerationWhat do the websites for the British Monarchy, David Beckham, Nintendo©, Versace™, and the UK’s Daily Mail all have in common? They’re about to be “left behind” during “Mobilegeddon” which began Tuesday. Yes, the horns have blared, the stars are falling and the end is nigh as the four horsemen of page rankings charge forth.

What is “Mobilegeddon” you ask? Supreme being… I mean Google®, is updating its search algorithm. And many a doomsayer predicts this will wreak absolute havoc on the world as we know it. Everything from ad revenue to search results will be impacted.

As with anything like this, it’s hard to say absolutely what the final result will be. On the surface, Google’s ambition certainly seems benign. Their update aims to ensure sites are optimized for viewing on mobile devices (i.e., smartphones and tablets). So what’s the fuss? The “negative” part of this equation is that Google will begin penalizing sites which aren’t optimized. Some are estimating this could equate to 40 percent of top websites (1).

So “mobile-friendliness” will be part of Google’s overall ranking methodology for displaying search results on mobile devices. So therein lies the issue. Many fear that the cost/time of updating sites, in particular for small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs), means many will be unable to keep up and comply quickly. As a result, they’ll begin to appear less often on mobile search results pages (2).

Searching on mobile devices accounts for around 50 percent of inbound traffic to Google (3). A non-mobile-friendly business excluded from search results will potentially miss substantial click activity to ads/sites. That means fewer eyes on a company’s products and solutions, lost revenue and all manner of negative repercussions. And given that 68 percent of US Internet searches are performed via Google (4), it is flexing its muscles to ensure an optimal mobile experience as 89 percent smartphone uses worldwide are searching via their engine (2).

As for the British Monarchy, David Beckham, Nintendo, Versace, and the UK’s Daily Mail websites, according to one analysis, all of those are examples of sites that despite having apps or “mobile sites” aren’t considered “mobile-friendly.” They, of course, have the resources to get things updated and resolved quickly. But what about the SMBs out there that may not even know what this all means? To stay competitive, time and money will have to be invested to update sites to ensure compliance.

Mobile usage is only going to continue to grow and Google is interested in owning search and its related ad revenue. Staying on top of the way it serves up results is critical. Based on Google’s estimates, it’ll take about a week before everything kicks in fully (5). So by the end of April, early May, mobile search will be changed for everyone, and businesses large and small will be scrambling to adapt or measuring the hit their bottom line will take for non-compliance.

If you haven’t done something about your site, there’s no better time to correct the situation. Need help? HCD can provide strategic consulting and guidance on how best to optimize your website and email programs to ensure optimal mobile-friendliness.


1. ‘Mobilegeddon’ could be bad news for 40% of top websites

2. Google to websites: Be mobile-friendly or get buried in search

3. Why Mobile Web Still Matters in 2015

4. Google Search Engine Market Share Nears 68%

5. 5 things to know about ‘Mobilegeddon’


Where Do I Go With All My Branches?

Posted by on April 21st, 2015

Many bank and credit union executives are noodling over their branch networks. Do we grow them? Shrink them? Reduce their size? What’s one to do?

Since 2008, the number of bank branches has fallen by more than 4,000 locations. Before you get alarmed, realize that history tells us that over the past 50 years, there have been two periods of branch consolidation. The first followed the savings and loan crisis of the late 1980s. The second, as evident in the accompanying chart, came on the heels of the 2008 recession.

Outside of those two time periods, the number of bank and credit union branches in the U.S. has increased.

Banks Opened Graph
*Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

As we recover from the latest financial crisis, it is likely that we are coming to an end of the most recent branch consolidation period. So much so, that a recent study done by The Financial Brand states that one out of every three financial institutions report they will grow their branch network, while less than 10 percent expect to close branches in 2015.1 But there will be one difference — brick and mortar locations will more than likely be three times smaller than the facilities of the past. Although the size of the branches will decrease, we must keep in mind that account holders enjoy visiting their financial institution’s locations, especially if these account holders are satisfied with the online banking experience.

So what is the best approach for financial institutions moving forward? They must ensure account holders can access their accounts through a network of channels, including branch, telephone, online and mobile. At the same time, it’s time to seriously consider the case for the universal banker.

Account Holder Graph
*McKinsey and Company


1. The Financial Brand


Effective B2B Acquisition Strategy Development

Posted by on April 16th, 2015

Lead GenerationRecently, I have been working with some of our banking and non-banking clients on supporting their B2B marketing initiatives. Our clients are aggressively looking to grow their small to mid-size business portfolios with qualified new relationships. We’re consistently working to develop effective acquisition/lead generation strategies to support the client’s goals. The use of data, analytics, multi and integrated communication channels and a robust communication delivery platform are all critical components to successful B2B acquisition/lead generation efforts.

As we begin to develop a B2B marketing campaign, the first priority is to determine clients’ objectives and how they define success. Gaining a solid understanding of the campaign objectives will determine the overall scope of the engagement. When building an acquisition/lead generation program, it’s necessary to fully understand how the client determines a qualified lead. Upfront collaboration with the client is necessary to establish a solid foundation of program requirements, from which our strategy can then evolve.

A significant amount of time and data is used in characterizing the best prospects for the campaign. Specifying the target audience relates back to the stated goals as well as how the client defines a successful lead. Analytically-based exercises are employed to create targeting tools to identify the best candidates. Profiling analysis, which leverages multiple firmographic, transactional and behavioral business data associated with previous qualified leads is conducted to hone in on the target audience. Results from past campaigns and industry knowledge is used to refine targeting criteria. Response or purchase propensity models are other tools that are effective in identifying the ideal target audience. Geographic industry data also comes into play to support the targeting effort. The more access to relevant data sources one has, the more successful this exercise will be.

The messages we send to our prospects along with the motivational factors (offer) are also important elements of a successful acquisition/lead generation campaign. When it comes to the message, it is vitally important that it’s relevant, consistent and well-timed. Each campaign touchpoint a prospect receives must reinforce and support the main focus. Regardless of the channel, the communication experience should be consistent.

Traditional, digital, mobile and telemarketing channels should be leveraged to deliver a relevant and timely message that generates an impact as well as creates meaningful dialog. Managing these relevant touchpoints using multiple marketing channels requires a well thought out communication strategy. Utilizing a robust decisioning and delivery platform or marketing automation system helps to manage the contact flow. A well-designed and maintained marketing automation platform delivers a steady stream of qualified leads to the appropriate small to mid-sized business sales team. It’s been determined that a marketing automation platform can improve the sales effort. According to Forrester Research, B2B marketers experienced a 10 percent increase in sales pipeline contribution when marketing automation was implemented.1

Marketing automation platforms help us to understand the prospect behaviors and leverages that insight to execute refined and relevant follow-up contacts. In addition, campaign reporting can easily be consolidated and automated within the platform

A successful B2B acquisition/lead generation strategy in today’s marketing environment has many moving parts. It’s imperative to understand the objective of an initiative. What does the initiative need to achieve success, and what defines success? Then, finding the best and most responsive prospects is a time-involved process, but when done correctly, it can yield great results. It’s important to find a motivator to give the prospects a reason to listen. A solid communication strategy plan needs to be devised to speak relevantly to the audience at the most opportune time and using the best channel for each touchpoint. Combining all these elements of data/data sources, targeting rules, communication strategy, channels, reporting, etc. into a marketing automation platform allows for a more efficient process for managing the campaign.

Follow these guidelines and best practices and then you’re ahead of the pack in supporting your B2B marketing efforts.


1. Forrester Research. Market Intelligence Report:  B2B Marketing Automation Platforms 2015: A Marketer’s Guide.



Posted by on April 14th, 2015

InspirationIt’s easy to get lost in day-to-day tasks. You fall into a routine where you complete your work and produce whatever you are assigned to produce. It’s efficient, but can be monotonous. And after a while, everything looks and sounds the same.

When I feel this way, I know I need some inspiration. It doesn’t have to come from the same well as the work you do every day. It can come from anywhere. I’m visual, so I am affected by everything I see around me. I try to surround myself with creative things that make me smile, so that when I look up from the computer, I see something that offers me a mental break and has a positive effect on my daily work.

Need some inspiration? I have some for you.

For new words and ideas:

Fast Company, Co.Create. Daily

Creative inspiration in a corporate environment:

Orbiting the Giant Hairball

Sometimes instead of looking for a font to suit a project, I look at fonts and think, “what can I make with these?”

My current favorite, the lovely Piel Script.

Seeing how someone else puts together a newsletter gives me ideas:

Webby Awards: Email Newsletters

Practical, and yet, not boring at all:


Random Inspiration:

External Heart Drive

Today’s soundtrack:

This Must Be The Place: The Talking Heads

I hope my sources of inspiration are useful to give your work some color, meaning and flair. Look in the mirror and see yourself as a bright spot in a sea of uniformity and don’t be afraid to add a little pizazz to your next email design.


Living The American Dream…. In Debt?

Posted by on April 10th, 2015

Financial Literacy MonthFor many Americans, money-related decisions are made on a daily basis. But, if asked, they could not confidently say they have budgeted out their yearly, monthly or even weekly finances. Without an umbrella of financial protection for a potential rainy day, many people are moving away from financial stability and slowing slipping towards a financial black hole. Americans today are technologically savvy, digitally communicative and innovatively advanced, but, when it comes to money and knowledge on important financial topics, they are missing the mark.

More than 75 percent of American families say they live paycheck to paycheck.This staggering statistic illustrates the need for financial education, especially considering more than 25 percent of Americans have no savings at all.These same people often worry about their financial futures, but do not have the proper guidance from financial institutions to ensure financial stability and awareness.

Proper financial education isn’t something that is taught to students at an academic level, and many Americans lack direction due to a poor understanding of important financial topics. The need for financial education is evident. In fact, in a financial literacy survey, 40 percent of adults gave themselves a grade of C, D or F on their knowledge of personal finance.3

April is financial literacy month and a great time for financial institutions to advocate healthy financial living. The Federal Financial Literacy Commission — comprised of 20 government groups, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) — promotes five essential areas of focus for account holder education. These topics include: earning, borrowing, saving and investing, spending and protecting. Digging deeper into these topics and taking action to educate account holders can help them attain financial well-being and security.

Properly educated Americans can plan for the future, eliminate debt and resolve any financial issues they may have. By providing guidance and offering relevant information, financial institutions can help account holders achieve financial stability.