Ion Interactive’s Mary D’ Alatri on CRO Planning, Testing Button Colors, and Chicago-style Pizza

Editor’s Note: With Conversion Conference Chicago just around the corner, we thought it’s about time you get to know more about our speakers. From this day until the conference, we’ll be featuring a speaker and their answers to conversion and event-related questions.

You can join in and engage our speakers in pre-conference networking by sending in your own questions through email, Twitter, or our Facebook Wall. Big thanks to @In4mationHQ and @gtslawfirm for sending in their question (see question no. 2). Just like them, you too can have your burning questions for our speakers answered and featured here!


What’s a good way to start a Monday? Well, meet Conversion Conference Chicago speaker Mary D’ Alatri over coffee – virtually, that is 😉 With the conference just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to say hello and start planning to join Mary at her session.

Mary D’ Alatri is the Director of Account Services at ion interactive, the company behind Liveball, a cloud-based platform for creating and optimizing post-click landing page programs. Before leading ion’s client services team, Mary played an identical role at an online marketing agency focused on SEO and paid search.  That said, you can trust her to give sound advice not only on client relationship-building but also on digital marketing opportunities (or, heaven forbid, threats!).

Without further ado, here are Mary’s answers to our burning questions:

1) What do you think is the biggest challenge encountered by folks who are new to conversion rate optimization? 

This is a great question and one that we deal with quite a lot. In fact, it is really the basis of my entire session at conversion conference. In my session, I review the four most common hurdles to CRO but for people who are specifically new to this, I think the biggest hurdle is creating that road map to success. Some folks get the starting point right on but then struggle to keep their momentum. Others haven’t a clue where to begin but if given a little direction can really build a program.

Conversion rate optimization can be so simple to start (Hey, let’s test a button color!) that people often forget that in order to have long term, optimal success, you need a plan for testing and way to document and learn from past tests. In this field, a little strategic planning can go a long way to seeing your conversions continue to increase over time and avoid hitting frustrating plateaus. Building this type of strategic plan also helps to ensure that people new to CRO have the necessary buy in and support of the rest of their organization.

Finally, having a defined plan in place prior to jumping in with both feet, can also help to reduce the impact of future challenges. If you hit at string of unsuccessful tests, you have a map new waters. If you’re struggling for budget approval, you have long term conversion goals to share with your team. If you need to expand your program to new media, you can schedule these enhancements to provide ultimate impact with minimal resources.

Whether you’re new to conversion rate optimization or are far into your own plan, building a roadmap will always help to keep your long term goals and success at the forefront of everything you choose to do.

2) What’s your favorite color for encouraging conversion? Why?*** 

Hands down, my favorite color for encouraging conversions is whichever one proves to convert highest! I know that’s not a very specific answer, but it’s true. With hundreds of clients and thousands of tests, I’ve seen every color from red, blue, yellow, and green help to increase conversions. So many factors can influence this, imagery, background color, color of elements on the page, branding….all of it can make one color convert higher over another. The key here? Test, test, test!

3) Which speaker(s) are you most excited to hear, beside yourself, at Conversion Conference Chicago? 

I’m truly excited to hear so many of the speakers and am looking forward to a lot of the sessions! However, I’ve recently taken a larger interest in visitor psychology and the factors that contribute to conversion that go far beyond just the landing page itself. Consumer mindset, dissonance, confusion/anxiety, it all has such an enormous impact on your conversions and is absolutely vital for your entire organization to understand, especially your designers! Because of that, I’m particularly interested in hearing Dr. Weinschenk’s take on intuitive landing experiences.

4) What’s your favorite Chicago hangout? Why?

Having only been to Chicago for a few total days, I can’t say that I have a favorite hangout. With that in mind, can I just say anywhere serving Chicago style pizza and hotdogs? I know, I’m easy to please!

Got a question for Mary that can’t wait till the Conference? Post it on the comments section below, tweet it to us, or post it on our wall and we’ll make sure she gets it.


About Mary

Mary leads ion’s client services team and is responsible for client strategy and satisfaction. Mary brings a strong understanding of the online space and the opportunities it brings to marketers.

Prior to joining the ion team, Mary served as the Director of Client Services and Development for an online marketing agency focusing on Search Engine Optimization and Paid Search. This has given her extensive knowledge of the entire online buying cycle and how to create an impactful integrated marketing plan. She has been a frequent speaker at leading industry events and has a passion for client education and satisfaction.

Her agency success has revolved around building solid client relationships, leading an empowered team, and always striving to surpass expectations. Mary graduated from the University of Central Florida with a B.A. in Advertising and Public Relations.


See Mary Live!

Join Mary in her session on “Busting Barriers: How to Overcome Testing Program Obstacles” at Conversion Conference 2012 on June 25th and 26th in Chicago. See the full agenda and read more about this session. Follow Mary on Twitter to say hello and do some pre-conference networking.

P.S. Regular Pricing for Conversion Conference Chicago ends this Friday, June 22, 2012. Don’t wait the last minute, register now to enjoy some savings while you still can (and before passes are gone!).

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