Eight By Eight CEO Amy Africa Talks About Digital Marketing Trends, Failure, and Her Top Optimization Pet Peeve

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Today we have Amy Africa, the CEO of Eight by Eight. Amy Africa has been in the forefront of web usability studies, web design improvement, and successful e-commerce for more than 15 years. Her intensive experience in field testing and web user studies has made her one of the most in-demand usability and ecommerce experts. She has worked for American Express, Dell, Microsoft, Better Homes & Gardens, Coca Cola, and many more.

Amy is one of the best web marketers you’ll ever get a chance to know. In fact, she has pioneered many successful web marketing initiatives in navigation, email marketing, remarketing and shopping cart abandonment recovery that have made her clients much more profitable.

Read on to learn Amy’s thoughts on the most important trends and challenges for digital marketers this year, what you can expect from her keynote at Conversion Conference, and her top optimization pet peeve.

ConvCon: What do you think are the trend/s which will define digital marketing this year and how can digital marketers best take advantage of it?

Amy: I think we’re in for one Hell of a ride for the next five years.  Most people are sort of like the frog-in-the-frying pan about it — the heat is getting turned up slowly so they don’t know how hot the pan really is and when they finally realize it, I imagine they’re going to get burned in a BIG way!

Both visual and voice search have the potential to knock the search world upside down (or right-side up, depending on how you look at it.)  Chat is changing communication in a pretty dramatic way that very few people realize because 99% of us don’t track it adequately.  Merchandising has become more and more of an art — and the way you sell the products — and your story — are now all a true part of the mix.  Email is increasingly sophisticated – things like personalized email (with dynamic content), realtimes, and triggers are making the regular ole’ spray-and-pray emails look like child’s play (and not in a fun Play-Doh or Legos way!) The advances in neuromarketing are off the charts.

I could go on and on but the point is that almost every element of business-as-we-know-it seems to be dramatically changing.  It’s exciting but it’s hard for most folks to keep up.

ConvCon: What’s the biggest challenge for digital marketers today? Can you give us a short advice on how marketers can solve or overcome this problem?

Amy: Dog brains. I believe it was Anne Lamott who said that you have dog brains when you think that what’s right in front of your nose is reality.  The world is really changing — and technology is leading the pack in terms of rapid pace. I feel that we’re living-in-the-90s all over again with the way that mobile is hitting the web world.


Mobile is NOT part of ecommerce, just like ecommerce wasn’t part of catalogs/direct marketing.  It’s a separate entity and needs to be dealt with as its own element, not just sandwiched into a division of online marketing.

ConvCon: What can attendees look forward to during your keynote?

Amy: Frank discussion about failures.  I’m opening the kimono on some of the things I’ve done that have completely failed.  People — especially consultants — tend to avoid talking about failures because they often think it makes them look weak but the truth is that I’ve learned way more from my (many) failures than some of my biggest successes.

ConvCon: Lastly, what’s your top pet peeve when you’re optimizing a website and why?

Amy: Personal opinion.  I know. I know.  People want a website that they like and can feel proud of.  The problem is that the majority of time you are not your customer and so your personal opinion is not only NOT a help/benefit to the process but it’s often quite the hindrance.

I respect folks who do what’s best for their customers/prospects regardless of whether or not it’s pretty.  I also REALLY appreciate people who are analytical in their approach and fast in their actions when it comes to web optimization.

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