Q&A with Olivia (Ross) Taylor, Director of CRO at Directive Consulting

MEDIA 7 | June 25, 2019

Olivia Taylor, Director of CRO at Directive Consulting has 10 years of working experience in graphic designing and has expert knowledge in CRO/UX in landing pages and websites designing.

Olivia was recently nominated for the Orange County Business Journal's Top 25 Women in Business Awards.

MEDIA 7: What’s your superpower?
OLIVIA TAYLOR: I would like to think my superpower is empathy. That’s part of what CRO is: figuring out and understanding what’s going on through people’s minds and finding out what people need and want.

M7: Does it point to user intent, a term generally used in Account Based Marketing?
OT: 
Yes, exactly that. Because I’m able to basically understand where the consumer and the buyer is coming from, I can better optimize my clients’ websites, change that language in the headline and the subhead to relate to the customers’ pain points and better describe the benefits of what my client can provide to them.

M7: Your career spans an impressive 8 years from a Graphic Designer to being a Director of CRO at Directive Consulting. What attracted you to this industry, and how does Directive Consulting fit into your story?
OT:
I became a designer because all other subjects in school were boring. 2+2 will always be 4, but with design, there are so many possibilities - so many different solutions to a problem. Plus, I always loved drawing and creating.
While going to school, I worked as a designer at a few different places. Then upon graduating, I worked at a tech company in-house but it just wasn’t for me. I moved on to an agency that was full-service, but that also was not the right fit. After that job, I ended up at a PPC agency where I learned about CRO. I started there as just a designer and left there as the Director of CRO.

Using the skills I learned there, I was able to join the upstanding company that is Directive where I’m learning so much more, and doing so many more awesome things than I did at any other job and it has been amazing. It’s so wonderful to work at a place that is professional and that takes the work so seriously, only striving to be the best at being different. 


"The best way we can convince the customers is that we need to address what our client does, that no other competitor can do."

M7: Could you tell us about your best practices for creating an ideal customer experience?
OT: 
A functioning website that loads quickly
Easy navigation and user experience
Clear offerings and clear unique value propositions (what is it that you do that no competitor does?)
Great social proof (testimonials and case studies from current clients, awards, etc)

Great customer service: prompt support, regular email check-ins to see how your customer is doing, offer deals and promotions - all of these things keep a customer coming back for more.

M7: While creating a unique value proposition, how do you drive in the utility? In other words, how do you convince the customer about the uniqueness of your service?
OT: 
We definitely have to utilize this through the headline and anywhere in the hero section of the landing page or the homepage because that’s where people are landing first and you need to be able to grab their attention in the first five seconds. So, the best way we can convince the customers, is that we need to address what our client does, that no other competitor can do.

If you can say we’re the only platform that does x, y, and z, that is a great unique selling point. Another thing to consider is backing up your clients with data. If you are offering some sort of platform that will save me time on the implementation of a process, then tell me how much time I’m going to save. If you say, “Cut down your execution time by 90% with our platform” that’s a unique value proposition. That shows the benefit to the user there, and that will entice users to click through and complete the form. So, gaining conversions is usually based around giving real data that explains exactly what value the visitors are going to see or how much money is going to be made or saved, and how much time is going to be saved to solve a problem with this solution. The other side of the coin is “we are the only ones that do x y z” and that will basically set a business apart from their competitors.

M7: How does collaboration and communication come into play in your role?
OT: 
It’s the entire job. I oversee a design team and I need to make sure my team is not only communicating with me but communicating with other departments. PPC, SEO, and CRO must all work together to get the job done and we’re stronger together than apart. I have daily follow-ups on different accounts, weekly meetings, client sync ups - whatever it takes to make sure that I and the rest of the team have complete transparency into what is happening with these accounts so that we can assist in whatever way we can. We want our specialists and account managers to own their strategy, but the directors are responsible for approving the strategy and improving it if needed.


"As designers, we need to remember that form follows function, so we must be sure that this information is easily accessible, that the message is clear."

M7: What are the biggest mistakes you see businesses making when attempting to optimize their site to increase conversions?
OT:
These companies spend tens of thousands of dollars on a rebrand which will be done by a branding agency that has no knowledge of designing a site for increased conversions. Too many times we’ve had clients come in that just had a rebrand done and their conversions plummeted. So we will go in and audit the site to find out what is causing the problem. Too often, design takes over function but we must always remember that form follows function. As an example, the white space in the new site may be beautiful, but none of your visitors can even see what you’re offering until they get halfway down the page. Things like this are the biggest issues we see.

Also, with too many changes implemented at once, it makes it harder to pinpoint what caused the drop in conversions. It’s often times all of the things combined together that caused the problem. If a company is going to focus on increasing conversions, the changes need to be based on data and not on whims or best practices. Data doesn’t lie.

M7: What is the most challenging part of doing a conversion optimization project? What type of resource commitment do you require from your team?
OT:
The most challenging part is that the results cannot be guaranteed. Our tests are based on data but they’re just that: a test, a hypothesis. Nothing is written in stone. 9 out of 10 times I will be right in my hypothesis, but there will always be a test that fails. We still celebrate the failure because we still learn from it. We can find out why the test didn’t work and use it to narrow down on what will work.

As far as resources are concerned, we want to make sure that we’re testing at least a few things each week per client. We use Hotjar for qualitative research as well as Google Optimize for on-page testing, and Instapage/Unbounce for landing page testing. Reporting is a big part of our deliverable so a good amount of our time is spent gathering the data and providing insights to the client.

M7: According to you, what prompts a visitor to scroll down to the bottom of a webpage?
OT: 
Usually you would have to have a message that entices them in the hero section of the landing page. Just like we discussed about the UVPs, we need to show the customer right when they land on the page, that this is the solution for your problem. That will entice them to scroll down. You can sometimes kind of coax people to scroll down: I like to use false CTAs to get more information and if they click that CTA, it will scroll down to the benefit section on the page and that will get people to start scrolling. And from that benefit section you could have a CTA linking to the case studies on the landing page and get them to scroll down even further on the page.

The main issue is people think of redesigning their page to look better and they see horrible conversions because it may be beautiful but it’s not functional. The messaging is vague and does not relate to what it is they do as a company that’s better than anybody else. They don’t adjust the benefits, and they’re too stuck on this flowery and technical language that a lot of SaaS companies like to use. So, the biggest thing is being very upfront with what you do in layman’s terms, making it as clear as possible to the lowest common denominator, so that you have a potentially larger pool of leads versus only having that technical jargon that only a few may understand. This usually relates a lot to B2B and SaaS clients. They get really hung up on their own language that’s very technical but the common man that needs their service doesn’t understand that...just tell them what the benefit is.

So, to summarize that long rant: basically, make sure that the messaging is clear about the benefits right away, then use CTAs on your page to entice people to keep scrolling so they continue to learn more. Keep people engaged and reading, section by section.


"Gaining conversions is based around giving real data that explains what value the visitors are going to see or how much money is going to be made or saved, and how much time is going to be saved."

M7: In a world where anyone can start a web-based business, generating trust is more important than ever before. Considering this, what impact does design have on revenue?
OT: 
It has a huge impact. If you land on a site that is poorly designed - it’s ugly, it’s confusing, you have no idea what they sell - do you think you would stay on that site for long? No, you’d go to a site that has a clear hero image showing the product and how it works, and a headline that explains what sets it apart from any other competitor product. The way information is presented is just as important as what information is being said.




One-size-doesn’t-fit-all and I’ve seen pages that - funny enough - looked horrible but converted better than the redesign we did, just because the form was more readily available. All the information was above the fold and it looked really scrunched. However, the customers got whatever they needed right away and that was what was important. So even when you’re seeing this image of bad vs good, we could argue that maybe the option on the right still won’t convert because it’s not quite explaining any unique value composition. It has a lot of beautiful imagery but it’s not getting to the point. Although these full-width websites with huge images is the trend, I think it needs to be taken with a grain of salt and used sparingly; and it needs to be dialed back a bit when it comes to conversions. You have these big beautiful images and people have to scroll very far just to get down to the first paragraph which is not good for conversions even though it’s trendy. As designers, we need to remember that form follows function, so we must be sure that this information is easily accessible, that the message is clear and if it is, then great! The beauty comes after that, but messaging has to be clear, concise, and easily understood.

M7: Directive Consulting ranks #1 on Google for “SEO Agency”. What SEO strategies and tools does the company leverage to channelize its sales campaigns?
OT: 
On page SEO and targeted guest posting with keyword driven anchor text. Then we continually write content around SEO and internally link back to our core SEO page.

M7: As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
OT:
I wanted to be a speleologist (a cave scientist) for years. I was obsessed with caves, stalactites, and stalagmites. I’ve always been interested in maths and sciences, but there are dangers tied to being a cave scientist so I gave up on that. I still sometimes wonder what would have been if I had gone into the sciences instead of design. Maybe I’ll try it out in a few years!

M7: That sounds interesting! Have you visited caves in your earlier days?
OT: Yes, I did visit just a few caves, nothing big like the Man of the cave or Carlsbad cavern but as a child I was very interested in science – Biology, Zoology, Geology just the world around me and caves are interesting because they’re the dark places that not many people go to. I love history, I love biology so I think caves are kind of that interesting combination of both cause they’re ancient and they have these creatures that are so bizarre you know, like these blind salamanders which is like a different world there. I got very fixated on that for a few years as a child, reading all the books I could about it. I had my mind set, this is what I was going to do and I didn’t take into account the dangers of being a cave scientist. You’ll have to get into tight little spaces and there could be cavemen, you could get lost and stuck. Me being a homebody and kind of a bookworm, I decided, you know, maybe this is not the path for me, but I was also an artistic child. I was drawing all the time and that’s how I ended up in design school instead. So a very different path, but I still love science and history so I might dabble in it later in my life but for now it’s been design.

ABOUT DIRECTIVE CONSULTING

Directive does beautiful search marketing for B2B and enterprise companies that share our values. We redefine the global standard for how marketers work, live, and grow. We are a group of SEO, PPC, and content experts who are passionate about working with the best B2B brands in the world. When we are not executing ROI driven campaigns, you can find us drinking cold brew, volunteering in our community, or playing an intense game of ping-pong.

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SUPPLY CHAIN

Introducing Movement by project44™, the Supply Chain Visibility Platform that People Need to Make Supply Chains Work

project44 | September 29, 2022

project44, the connective tissue of the global supply chain announced the launch of Movement by project44TM, a game-changing platform that gives all supply chain partners — including shippers, carriers, logistics professionals and more — the transparency and collaboration they need to make supply chains work. For the first time, Movement by project44 combines the power of the entire project44 product suite, including its internally developed products and acquired capabilities, into one cohesive platform. People, organizations and economies depend on the efficient movement of goods around the world, but the past few years have shown how volatile demand capacity is, how difficult it can be for carriers to find the right loads and how unpredictable delivery times are, said Jett McCandless, founder and CEO, project44. "Movement enables visibility, agility and workflow automation, but most importantly, it fosters collaboration. That is the key. Because together, we can make supply chains work, improve lives and ensure access to the goods the world needs. Movement empowers teams to manage exceptions, streamline shipment operations, automate manual processes and collaborate to resolve customer issues, all from a single platform. It delivers value by providing complete order-level visibility across all modes globally, including multimodal estimates, from raw material to consumer door. It provides insights and workflow capabilities end to end — before, during and after transit. Everyone in the supply chain can use it, regardless of role, and it can deliver data to any person or system. The intuitive interface and unified APIs simplify issue resolution, and Movement enables seamless, data-driven operations. As the largest brewer in the world, it is up to us to pave the way for the food and beverage space by investing in technologies that will bring the most value to our customers while navigating unpredictable supply chain challenges," said Andreea Calin, Logistics Operations Transformation Manager, Anheuser-Busch InBev Europe. "With Movement, we hope to easily manage logistics operations in one user-friendly place and exceed customers' rising expectations in an efficient, reliable and sustainable way. Movement has the largest network of connected carriers, logistics service providers, shippers, technology providers and consumers in the industry and can create connections for those who are not already part of the network faster than any competitor. project44 also has the most robust dataset and the most sophisticated data science technology in the sector and provides the greatest breadth, depth and quality of visibility available anywhere. We owe it to our customers to provide specialized cargo solutions based on their individual requirements and schedules," said Paul Foster, Vice President of Development and Integrations, JAS Worldwide. "Global supply chains can be unpredictable, and to address customers' needs, we need innovative technology that is user-friendly, reliable and informative. Movement will give us the end-to-end visibility we need to manage high-level logistics to meet and exceed customer expectations. With Movement, shippers can increase lead time reliability and improve on-time delivery to cut costs and improve customer satisfaction. Logistics professionals can use Movement to improve data accuracy and increase productivity to grow revenue. Movement enables carriers to drive digital adoption, increase data accuracy and improve efficiency through automation to become more competitive. Drivers can reduce check calls and dwell times, providing real-time visibility and securing more profitable loads while gaining advantages as a preferred carrier. "As Girteka, the largest asset-based transportation company in Europe, we have a clear aim to be the obvious first choice for clients, colleagues, partners, the community, and shareholders, As a company, we have developed a solid foundation towards shaping the future intelligent enterprise and strategically investing into technologies that support our vision to become the market shaping, Top 10 European logistics leader. We have a strong long-term partnership with project44, and already leverage their market-recognized RTV solution. The next step is to leverage the Movement platform which will allow us to better manage data from carriers and customers enabling greater collaboration, access to real-time insights and streamlined workflows across the supply chain." -Edvardas Liachovičius, CEO of Girteka Holding Movement's user interface is highly adaptive and more intuitive and useful to a broad audience, and project44's ecosystem partnerships and API-first architecture makes Movement compatible with any third-party or system. Both the back-end architecture of the product and UX have been redesigned to optimize customer experience. The partner of choice for more top global supply chains than any other technology, project44 is a market leader, as recognized by independent analysts and in user and customer reviews. This gives project44 the insight, scale, skills and partnerships necessary to build a single platform capable of making supply chains work for everyone: Movement by project44™. Most visibility vendors offer a single mode or narrow set of capabilities, McCandless added. They talk about a 'single pane of glass,' but without the ability to adapt to a user's preferences, these solutions are one dimensional, which is a thing of the past. Movement is the future. It's multidimensional, where each facet presents a unique perspective tailored to the user's requirements. This level of configurability, value and collaboration is necessary to tackle the world's biggest supply chain challenges. The name 'Movement' represents the part we all play in solving them, inside or outside the industry. About project44 project44 is on a mission to make supply chains work. As the supply chain connective tissue, project44 operates the world's most trusted end-to-end visibility platform that tracks more than 1 billion unique shipments annually for over 1,200 of the world's leading brands, including top companies in manufacturing, automotive, retail, life sciences, food & beverage, and oil, chemical & gas. Using project44, shippers and carriers across the globe drive greater predictability, resiliency and sustainability. The undisputed leader in the market, project44 was named the Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant, #1 in FreightWaves FreightTech 2022, a five-time leader in customer satisfaction on G2's Supply Chain Visibility Grid, one of SupplyChainBrain's 100 Great Supply Chain Partners of 2022, and the Customer's Choice in Gartner Peer Insights Voice of the Customer report. project44 is headquartered in Chicago with a diverse team spanning 23 global offices including Austin, Amsterdam, Kraków, Paris, São Paulo, Shanghai and Tokyo. Learn more at project44.com.

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FREIGHT

Telegraph Partners With Watco To Streamline Rail Logistics

Telegraph | September 27, 2022

Telegraph, a Chicago-based startup building next-generation software for the freight rail industry, and Watco, a highly diversified transportation company, recently announced their new collaboration. The combination of Watco's decades of rail logistics experience and Telegraph software is helping shippers solve their toughest logistics challenges, especially rail transportation. The enhanced technology provides customers visibility of their railcars beyond Watco facilities or tracks. "We recognized a distinct need for software designed for the rail-centric supply chain,The industry presents unique challenges that this collaboration allows us to address. Together, we're making rail a more compelling option for shippers." -Telegraph co-founder Shachar Astor. Telegraph helps railroads, shippers, logistics providers, and railcar lessors work more efficiently via a singular platform. The company uplevels the consumer experience, making it easier for businesses to incorporate rail into their procurement and execution processes. Telegraph's tool helps us be more effective and efficient so we can focus on solving common rail issues for our customers. It is quick, it is easy, it is powerful," said Watco Vice President of Logistics Sales Michelle Bowling. "We help our customers keep their freight moving and provide cost-saving opportunities such as rate negotiations and demurrage risk mitigation. Telegraph provides exceptional predictability and visibility for carload and intermodal shipments. Leveraging EDI, API, and telematics integrations, the platform delivers best-in-class forecastability and pipeline management. To date, the company has saved customers thousands of hours in manual work and millions of dollars in accessorial charges. It's a pleasure to build alongside the team at Watco. Both organizations share an operational grit and customer focus that has unlocked immense value. We're excited about our shared pursuit of making it easier for everyone to incorporate rail into their supply chain, added Telegraph CEO Harris Ligon. About Telegraph Telegraph provides a cloud-based operating system for railroads, shippers, logistics service providers, and railcar leasing companies. With an innovative platform that provides price transparency, shipment visibility, and proactive business intelligence, Telegraph empowers customers and makes shipping by rail easier and more effective. For details, visit www.telegraph.io About Watco Watco is a leading transportation service and logistics company that provides transportation, material handling and warehousing, logistics, railcar repair, and design and development for customers throughout North America and Australia. For details, visit www.watco.com

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TRANSPORTATION

Destination IAA: Cummins unveils new technology for zero-emissions power solutions

Cummins Inc | September 23, 2022

Cummins Inc. (NYSE: CMI) is showcasing its platform of zero-emissions technologies this week at the IAA Transportation show, the world's largest mobility show, in Hannover, Germany. A range of new Cummins technologies and the recently acquired Meritor ePowertrain technologies are available publicly together for the first time. With over a century of experience as a global power leader, Cummins is solidifying its commitment to providing comprehensive zero-emissions technology on a global scale."Cummins has deep application expertise, and we are uniquely positioned to deliver solutions that truly fit the needs of commercial applications," said Amy Davis, Vice President and President of New Power at Cummins. "Realizing a net-zero future will require a range of technologies. Our extensive zero-emissions portfolio is how we will meet varied customer demands across the hardest-to-abate industries and make the energy transition possible." One key zero-emissions product Cummins revealed at IAA is its fourth-generation hydrogen fuel cell engine. Designed to meet the duty-cycle, performance and packaging requirements of medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses, the fuel cell technology is available in 135 kW single and 270 kW dual modules. Scania in Europe and Daimler Trucks North America have each announced collaborations with Cummins to develop and integrate these next-generation fuel cell engines into demonstrator vehicles. The systems use fourth-generation variable pressure technology to provide higher power density, power nodes and operating temperatures for easier system integration into vehicles. They also have strong operating cycle efficiency and durability for a lower total cost of ownership. “We know our customers have diverse needs and complicated duty cycles to support, which is why we focus on continued innovation and improvement, We’re developing hydrogen fuel cell technology that demonstrates the capacity and flexibility required to meet or exceed the power needs for on-highway commercial vehicles – proving hydrogen as a viable solution to decarbonize the economy.” -Amy Adams, Vice President of Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Technologies at Cummins. Attendees at IAA will also get the first glimpse of a drivetrain assembled with a newly introduced Cummins lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery pack, Meritor’s 17xe ePowertrain and Meritor’s Power Control and Accessory System (PCAS). Cummins recently added the ePowertain and PCAS solutions to its portfolio through its acquisition of Meritor. The ePowertrain leverages market-leading technologies in the axle, motor and inverter, delivering performance, efficiency and packaging advantages at a competitive cost. Additionally, the PCAS provides power where needed and control of necessary sub-systems while reducing packaging size and simplifying integration. Cummins is adding an LFP battery to its line of lithium-ion battery products to expand support of electrified commercial vehicle applications. The LFP solution gives customers access to faster charging and longer-life batteries, targeting the medium-duty truck and school bus markets. By using a multi-chemistry strategy, Cummins is positioned to expand its manufacturing capacity further and diversify its supply chain, providing customers with more cost-effective electrification solutions. We are giving customers options to enable them to adapt to a zero-emissions future faster, said Brian Wilson, General Manager of Electrified Components at Cummins. With the recent acquisition of Meritor and our new multi-chemistry approach, we will be able to tailor our solutions and offer a one-stop-shop for customers' powertrain needs. Cummins' portfolio includes four batteries, each of which targets a different duty cycle and use case and complement each other. In addition to the LFP option, this includes three nickel manganese cobalt (NMC) batteries – the BP95E, BP74E and BP30E. The BP95E is Cummins’ next-generation solution that prioritizes greater energy density in applications for customers who need more weight-sensitive solutions or have longer ranges. The BP30E is ideal for meeting limited-space applications and rugged demands, and the BP74E is the foundation for Cummins’ BEV innovation and progress. About Cummins Inc. Cummins Inc., a global power leader, is a corporation of complementary business segments that design, manufacture, distribute and service a broad portfolio of power solutions. The company’s products range from diesel, natural gas, electric and hybrid powertrains, and powertrain-related components including filtration, aftertreatment, turbochargers, fuel systems, controls systems, air handling systems, automated transmissions, electric power generation systems, batteries, electrified power systems, hydrogen generation and fuel cell products. Headquartered in Columbus, Indiana (U.S.), since its founding in 1919, Cummins employs approximately 59,900 people committed to powering a more prosperous world through three global corporate responsibility priorities critical to healthy communities: education, environment, and equality of opportunity. Cummins serves its customers online, through a network of company-owned and independent distributor locations, and through thousands of dealer locations worldwide and earned about $2.1 billion on sales of $24.0 billion in 2021. See how Cummins is powering a world that is always on by accessing news releases and more information at https://www.cummins.com/always-on.

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