The 8 Un-Trends for Scaling Marketing in a Rapid Growth Company

One of this morning’s excellent keynotes at the 2014 Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit featured Sean Murphy, EVP of e-Commerce at CustomInk.  CustomInk is one of the DC region’s biggest success stories.  Last year, sales at CustomInk were $170MM (up 50% over 2012).  This year, CustomInk plans to blow through $200MM.  CustomInk has printed and delivered over 50MM t-shirts and recently celebrated their first $1MM day.

Given this success, Sean shared his eight Un-Trends to scale marketing in a rapid growth company.

Un-Trend #1: Search is Still King

CustomInk’s search traffic mirrors their revenue line.  Mastering search is one of the most critical marketing tactics that moves the revenue needle for CustomInk.

Un-Trend #2: WYSIATI (What You See Is All There Is)

WYSIATI is a mental short-cut that we all take when making a decision. People rely on the information in front of them (and only that information) when making a decision.  To marketers that means, if your customers don’t see it on your site, you must not offer that service or product.  Marketers need to make sure that the information on the website is comprehensive enough to meet their customer’s needs.

Un-Trend #3: Own Your Industry’s Data

Sean’s team enriches their sales database with other data to inform their product development and marketing efforts.  Data such as color preference, reason for purchasing and the seasonality of purchasing habits for different types of groups or teams is critical information for the CustomInk team.  Today’s marketers need to evaluate their own data to identify patterns for their industry.

Un-Trend #4: Half of Branding is Familiarity

People want to do business with companies and people that they’ve heard of. Make sure you’re getting your name out there.

Un-Trend #5: Testing

As an e-commerce company, testing is absolutely critical.  Sean is a huge proponent of testing – for both usability and marketing campaigns, and CustomInk has identified a handful of tests that give them a substantial increase in usability and lead conversion.

Un-Trend #6: What Won’t Change

Base your strategy on things that appeal to basic human nature.  At CustomInk, Sean’s team taps into the great feeling of cohesiveness that comes from being part of a group or team (especially if that means matching t-shirts).

Un-Trend #7: Fix the Difficult Things

Customers expect two things when something goes wrong:

1. That you’ll fix the problem, and

2. An assurance that this won’t happen to anyone else.

Though this seems obvious, it’s very hard to deliver on this promise. Great customer service requires that the front line is empowered to do the right thing and an organizational commitment to ferret out the root causes to systemic problems.

Un-Trend #8: Have an Octopus as Your Logo. Design Matters

Sean attributed part of their recent growth trajectory to a rebrand that happened in 2011 (and the introduction of Inky, the CustomInk octopus in the logo). Truly great design can be anything – except uninteresting.