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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KubeCon Co-Located Cloud Foundry Day Schedule Announced with Mix of Introductory Sessions and Technical Deep Dives

Cloud Foundry Foundation | September 17, 2022

The Cloud Foundry Foundation today announced the schedule for Cloud Foundry Day with anynines GmbH and VMware among the organizations taking center stage at the event. "We are very excited to hold our first in-person Cloud Foundry event after a three year hiatus, The event is meant to showcase the extensibility of Cloud Foundry. All the latest improvements to the core platform and various Cloud Foundry projects will be highlighted at the event. We are striving to create a balance for those who are experienced with Cloud Foundry as well as those who are looking to adopt it afresh. Cloud Foundry events are a great opportunity to meet hands-on practitioners and facilitate collaboration and discussions." Chris Clark, program manager at Cloud Foundry Cloud Foundry Day will be held on Tuesday, October 25, co-located with KubeCon + CloudNativeCon NA in Detroit. For this one-day event, the Cloud Foundry Foundation has joined forces with the program committee to curate a program that fosters collaboration among attendees and offers an interactive platform for education. "At the event, we have strived to put together an agenda that presents the best of Cloud Foundry," said Ram Iyengar, chief evangelist at Cloud Foundry. "Due to the broad nature of Cloud Foundry projects, our program committee had a hard time choosing what to showcase. Attendees will get to learn about the latest open source innovations happening in the areas of core Cloud Foundry, as well as extensions to Kubernetes in the form of Paketo Buildpacks and Korifi. The agenda is also a good mix of introductory sessions, technical deep-dives, and community updates." Sessions include: A Keynote from Cloud Foundry governing board member, Catherine McGarvey Introducing Korifi: The Evolution of CF on Kubernetes Cloud Foundry Technical Governance: Past, Present, and Future What's new with Paketo Buildpacks? Recap: Ten Years of Working With Cloud Foundry Grappling with Kubernetes Eventual Consistency in Korifi App Runtime Interfaces Extravaganza! New Features in BOSH: Improved NATS cert rotations Remote Debugging of .NET Core applications with Paketo Buildpacks + Visual Studio Code Stemcells are now Jam-packed with Jelly(fish) How we modernized and reduced the infrastructure costs for running CFZ The Future of Logs and Metrics in Cloud Foundry The registration fee for Cloud Foundry Day is $50, or free to attend online. Attendees can register for the event here. Cloud Foundry is an open source technology backed by the largest technology companies in the world, including, HCL, Huawei, IBM, SAP, and VMware, and is being used by leaders in manufacturing, telecommunications and financial services. Only Cloud Foundry delivers the velocity needed to continuously deliver apps at the speed of business. Cloud Foundry's container-based architecture runs apps written in any language on a choice of cloud platforms — Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP), IBM Cloud, Microsoft Azure, OpenStack, and more. With a robust services ecosystem and simple integration with existing technologies, Cloud Foundry is the modern standard for deploying mission critical apps at global organizations. About Cloud Foundry Foundation The Cloud Foundry Foundation is a non-profit open source organization formed to sustain the development, promotion and adoption of Cloud Foundry as the industry standard for delivering the best experience for developers at companies of all sizes. The Foundation projects include Cloud Foundry, Paketo Buildpacks, Korifi, Eirini, BOSH, Open Service Broker API, CredHub, and more. Cloud Foundry makes it faster and easier to build, test, deploy and scale applications, and is used by more than half the Fortune 500, representing nearly $15 trillion in combined revenue.

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SoundHound Unveils Full Suite of Edge and Cloud Connectivity Solutions to Boost Accuracy and Privacy in Voice AI

SoundHound | September 19, 2022

SoundHound AI, Inc. (“SoundHound”), a global leader in voice artificial intelligence, today announced the availability of a whole suite of Edge and Cloud connectivity solutions that will allow brands to voice-enable almost any product, device, or service. Businesses looking to deploy voice AI can choose from options that match their available processing power and end-user needs. These include fully-embedded Edge technology (including a new EdgeLite option), exclusively Cloud-connected technology, or a hybrid combination of Edge+Cloud. The new offerings mean that automakers, smart device manufacturers, and service providers can select for faster and more accurate response delivery, reduced manufacturing costs, and improved flexibility. Businesses embracing these connectivity options include car brands like Hyundai and prominent smart device manufacturers. SoundHound’s selection of on-device Edge solutions allow brands adopting voice technology to grant their end-users greater levels of privacy by keeping data stored locally, so it never reaches the cloud. For cloud connectivity, SoundHound allows brands (and not third parties) full control over data privacy so that they can communicate transparently with their users about how information is managed. “Voice technology is now a must for products destined for the consumer market, but that doesn’t mean it’s one-size-fits-all. Here we’re offering a range of connectivity options that deliver fast and accurate voice AI to meet different needs, The availability of more Edge options will allow businesses to store and protect sensitive data locally – which could help brands build customer trust. Our hybrid options help supercharge speed and accuracy. So whatever the use case or computing capacity, we can match it for optimal results.” James Hom, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer at SoundHound Available connectivity options: EdgeLite With this fully-embedded voice solution companies can process data locally without cloud-related data privacy concerns. Developers have access to natural language commands with less memory and CPU impact, a bundled wake word, and the ability to instantly update commands. EdgeLite+Cloud All the capabilities of EdgeLite, with the added flexibility to access the cloud to answer queries or push product updates. Edge Fully-embedded voice AI solution with as much Natural Language Understanding (NLU) capabilities to meet customer demand for hands-free convenience – without cloud-related data privacy concerns. Includes full accessibility to custom commands and the ability to create custom domains for proprietary on-device functionality. Edge+Cloud The capabilities of Edge with the flexibility and power of cloud connectivity. Allows companies to deliver the level of cloud connectivity that best matches their products and users. Cloud-Only Equips voice assistants with real-time data and information from the cloud for delivery of the most relevant responses to user queries, with no restrictions from device CPU and memory capabilities (while retaining ownership of your customer relationships and access to data and analytics). SoundHound’s Edge+Cloud solutions use Active Arbitration™ technology to ensure that – regardless of the query – the voice assistant will always return the most accurate answer, fast. Before Active Arbitration, users had to settle for solutions that took several seconds to search one platform and then the other looking for a response. SoundHound's Active Arbitration technology delivers a query to the cloud and the embedded system simultaneously, which facilitates a faster, more accurate conversational experience. “Increasingly, consumers are using their voices to interact with products and devices, and yet many brands are still struggling to settle on the best path when it comes to adopting voice AI,” says Keyvan Mohajer, Co-Founder and Chief Executive of SoundHound. “We’re providing this range of solutions to help any company meet customer expectations of speed and accuracy, with results delivered in the style of natural conversation. And with the right technology in place, voice quickly becomes a new channel to strengthen a brand’s relationship with its customers.” From EdgeLite to Edge to Cloud-only, manufacturers can now use the same implementation software to provide any level of voice-enablement possible. For small device manufacturers and those looking for a smaller processing footprint, EdgeLite solutions allow them to add voice commands to make their equipment safer and easier to use—and the users of the product more efficient. Our EdgeLite+Cloud and Edge+Cloud is ideal for circumstances where a cloud connection may not always be reliable—but where the voice user interface is still required to control the equipment or get critical information. Both solutions also use our Active Arbitration technology to get the best, most accurate results by sending the query to the Cloud and embedded system simultaneously. About SoundHound SoundHound a leading innovator of conversational intelligence, offers an independent voice AI platform that enables businesses across industries to deliver best-in-class conversational experiences to their customers. Built on proprietary Speech-to-Meaning® and Deep Meaning Understanding® technologies, SoundHound’s advanced voice AI platform provides exceptional speed and accuracy and enables humans to interact with products and services like they interact with each other—by speaking naturally. SoundHound is trusted by companies around the globe, including Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Pandora, Qualcomm, Netflix, Snap, Square, LG, VIZIO, KIA, and Stellantis.

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