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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Verizon Business Selected to Transform Astellas Pharma’s Global Network Infrastructure

Verizon Sourcing LLC | August 10, 2022

Verizon Business has been selected to manage Astellas Pharma Inc’s global network infrastructure. The network transformation will enable Astellas to harness advanced technologies to help reduce drug development timelines, healthcare costs and drive new revenue opportunities for the Japanese pharmaceutical multinational. Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, Astellas is a global pharmaceutical company involved in the research, development, manufacture, and marketing of innovative new drugs under the vision of “Stand on the forefront of healthcare change to turn innovative science into VALUE for patients”. The company employs 14,000 employees worldwide. The company has identified digital transformation as a key driver of its business growth and began the search for a global partner to transform all aspects of its global technology infrastructure including building, designing and executing a next-generation secure network. In particular, Astellas was looking for a scalable and predictable platform that could seamlessly manage tens of thousands of devices and endpoints across Astellas’ 70+ global locations across a virtualized multi-sourced environment. Verizon’s relationship with Astellas stretches back more than a decade. In 2016, Astellas successfully deployed Verizon’s Secure Cloud Interconnect solution to provide a high-bandwidth secure connection to its Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure cloud services. Verizon’s current remit includes the build and deployment of Astellas’ global integrated network with a full suite of managed services, including Managed Wide Area Network, Local Area Network, Managed Security Services Secure Gateway, Zero Trust Network Access and Unified Communications and Collaboration as a Service. “From R&D to sales, we are seeing enormous amounts of data and intelligence flow through our business, across our 70 locations around the world. We want to ensure that we have a future-proof network in order to utilize cutting-edge technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, machine learning and robotics to make data-driven decisions to deliver better value for our patients. Our network transformation will underpin the next phase of our growth.” Shinya Suda, Senior Vice President, Information Systems, Astellas “The network is transformative in its ability to enable innovation and growth and Astellas is changing the way they are using the tools at their disposal to completely revolutionize their business. This is truly a watershed moment for the pharmaceutical industry as companies grapple with the pressures of reducing time and costs for the development of drugs while improving patient care and value. We’re proud to have been a part of Astellas’ growth journey for more than a decade,” said Robert Le Busque, Regional Vice-President, Verizon Business Group, Asia Pacific. Today’s announcement builds on the company’s network-as-a-service foundation and supports its private networks, mobile edge compute and business solutions vectors of growth. Verizon Communications Inc. was formed on June 30, 2000 and is one of the world’s leading providers of technology and communications services. Headquartered in New York City and with a presence around the world, Verizon generated revenues of $133.6 billion in 2021. The company offers data, video and voice services and solutions on its award-winning networks and platforms, delivering on customers’ demand for mobility, reliable network connectivity, security and control. VERIZON’S ONLINE MEDIA CENTER News releases, stories, media contacts and other resources are available at verizon.com/news. News releases are also available through an RSS feed.

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U.S. FDA Accepts Astellas' New Drug Application for Fezolinetant

Astellas Pharma Inc | August 19, 2022

Astellas Pharma Inc. announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has accepted the company's New Drug Application for fezolinetant, an investigational oral, nonhormonal compound seeking approval for the treatment of moderate to severe vasomotor symptoms associated with menopause. VMS, characterized by hot flashes and/or night sweats, are common symptoms of menopause.1,2 The PDUFA target action date is February 22, 2023, following use of a priority review voucher (PRV). Astellas booked ¥13.1 billion of amortization of the intangible asset relating to PRV as R&D expense in the first quarter of fiscal year 2022. "The FDA's acceptance of our NDA for fezolinetant brings us one step closer to advancing care for women in the U.S. who experience VMS. We look forward to the FDA's review of our application, and the potential to offer a first-in-class nonhormonal treatment option to reduce the frequency and severity of moderate to severe VMS associated with menopause." Ahsan Arozullah, M.D., M.P.H., Senior Vice President and Head of Development Therapeutic Areas, Astellas The NDA is supported by results from the BRIGHT SKY™ program, which included three Phase 3 clinical trials that collectively enrolled over 2,800 women with VMS across the U.S., Canada and Europe. Results from the SKYLIGHT 1™ and SKYLIGHT 2™ pivotal trials characterize the efficacy and safety of fezolinetant for the treatment of moderate to severe VMS associated with menopause. Data from the SKYLIGHT 4™ safety study further characterizes the long-term safety profile of fezolinetant. Within the NDA, Astellas proposes a 45 mg daily dose, which is subject to the FDA's review. Fezolinetant is an investigational nonhormonal selective neurokinin 3 (NK3) receptor antagonist. The safety and efficacy of fezolinetant are under investigation and have not been established. The impact of this acceptance on Astellas' financial results of the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2023, is expected to be minor. About the BRIGHT SKY™ Phase 3 Program The BRIGHT SKY pivotal trials, SKYLIGHT 1™ (NCT04003155) and SKYLIGHT 2™ (NCT04003142), enrolled over 1,000 women with moderate to severe VMS. The trials are double-blinded, placebo-controlled for the first 12 weeks followed by a 40-week treatment extension period. Women were enrolled at over 180 sites within the U.S., Canada and Europe. SKYLIGHT 4™ (NCT04003389) is a 52-week double-blinded, placebo-controlled study designed to investigate the long-term safety of fezolinetant. For SKYLIGHT 4, over 1,800 women with VMS were enrolled at over 180 sites within the U.S., Canada and Europe. About VMS Associated with Menopause VMS, characterized by hot flashes and/or night sweats, are common symptoms of menopause.1,2 In the U.S., about 60% to 80% of women experience these symptoms during or after the menopausal transition and, worldwide, more than half of women 40 to 64 years of age experience VMS.3,4,5,6 VMS can have a disruptive impact on women's daily activities and overall quality of life. About Fezolinetant Fezolinetant is an investigational oral, nonhormonal therapy in clinical development for the treatment of moderate to severe VMS associated with menopause. Fezolinetant works by blocking neurokinin B (NKB) binding on the kisspeptin/neurokinin/dynorphin (KNDy) neuron to moderate neuronal activity in the thermoregulatory center of the brain (the hypothalamus) to reduce the frequency and severity of moderate to severe VMS associated with menopause.7,8,9 The safety and efficacy of fezolinetant are under investigation and have not been established. There is no guarantee the agent will receive regulatory approval or become commercially available for the uses being investigated. About Astellas Astellas Pharma Inc. is a pharmaceutical company conducting business in more than 70 countries around the world. We are promoting the Focus Area Approach that is designed to identify opportunities for the continuous creation of new drugs to address diseases with high unmet medical needs by focusing on Biology and Modality. Furthermore, we are also looking beyond our foundational Rx focus to create Rx+® healthcare solutions that combine our expertise and knowledge with cutting-edge technology in different fields of external partners. Through these efforts, Astellas stands on the forefront of healthcare change to turn innovative science into value for patients.

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Novavax Submits Application to the U.S. FDA for Emergency Use Authorization for Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine,

Novavax, Inc. | August 16, 2022

Novavax, Inc. a biotechnology company dedicated to developing and commercializing next-generation vaccines for serious infectious diseases, announced that it submitted an application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for Emergency Use Authorization of its protein-based COVID-19 Vaccine, Adjuvanted for active immunization to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 as a homologous and heterologous booster in adults aged 18 and older. "It's important for people to have a choice as they evaluate how to stay protected against COVID-19, and boosters are an invaluable tool to build upon immunity obtained from previous vaccinations. Based on the data presented to the FDA's VRBPAC and the CDC ACIP, we believe our vaccine offers a broad, long-lasting immune response against a range of variants." Stanley C. Erck, President and Chief Executive Officer, Novavax Authorized Use The Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine, Adjuvanted is authorized for use under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to provide a two-dose primary series for active immunization to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in individuals 18 years of age and older. About the Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine, Adjuvanted (NVX-CoV2373) The Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine, Adjuvanted is a protein-based vaccine engineered from the genetic sequence of the first strain of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 disease. The vaccine was created using Novavax' recombinant nanoparticle technology to generate antigen derived from the coronavirus spike (S) protein and is formulated with Novavax' patented saponin-based Matrix-M™ adjuvant to enhance the immune response and stimulate high levels of neutralizing antibodies. The Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine, Adjuvanted contains purified protein antigen and can neither replicate, nor can it cause COVID-19. The Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine, Adjuvanted is packaged as a ready-to-use liquid formulation in a vial containing ten doses. The vaccination regimen calls for two 0.5 ml doses (5 mcg antigen and 50 mcg Matrix-M adjuvant) given intramuscularly 21 days apart. The vaccine is stored at 2°- 8° Celsius, enabling the use of existing vaccine supply and cold chain channels. Use of the vaccine should be in accordance with official recommendations. About Matrix-M™ Adjuvant Novavax' patented saponin-based Matrix-M adjuvant has demonstrated a potent and well-tolerated effect by stimulating the entry of antigen-presenting cells into the injection site and enhancing antigen presentation in local lymph nodes, boosting immune response. About Novavax Novavax, Inc. is a biotechnology company that promotes improved health globally through the discovery, development, and commercialization of innovative vaccines to prevent serious infectious diseases. The company's proprietary recombinant technology platform harnesses the power and speed of genetic engineering to efficiently produce highly immunogenic nanoparticles designed to address urgent global health needs. The Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine, Adjuvanted, the company's COVID-19 vaccine, has received authorization from multiple regulatory authorities globally, including in the U.S., European Union and with the World Health Organization. The vaccine is currently under review by multiple regulatory agencies worldwide, including for additional indications and populations such as adolescents and as a booster. In addition to its COVID-19 vaccine, Novavax is also currently evaluating a COVID-seasonal influenza combination vaccine candidate in a Phase 1/2 clinical trial, which combines the Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine, Adjuvanted and NanoFlu*, its quadrivalent influenza investigational vaccine candidate, and is also evaluating an Omicron strain-based vaccine as well as a bivalent format Omicron-based / original strain-based vaccine. These vaccine candidates incorporate Novavax' proprietary saponin-based Matrix-M adjuvant to enhance the immune response and stimulate high levels of neutralizing antibodies.

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Verizon Business Selected to Transform Astellas Pharma’s Global Network Infrastructure

Verizon Sourcing LLC | August 10, 2022

Verizon Business has been selected to manage Astellas Pharma Inc’s global network infrastructure. The network transformation will enable Astellas to harness advanced technologies to help reduce drug development timelines, healthcare costs and drive new revenue opportunities for the Japanese pharmaceutical multinational. Headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, Astellas is a global pharmaceutical company involved in the research, development, manufacture, and marketing of innovative new drugs under the vision of “Stand on the forefront of healthcare change to turn innovative science into VALUE for patients”. The company employs 14,000 employees worldwide. The company has identified digital transformation as a key driver of its business growth and began the search for a global partner to transform all aspects of its global technology infrastructure including building, designing and executing a next-generation secure network. In particular, Astellas was looking for a scalable and predictable platform that could seamlessly manage tens of thousands of devices and endpoints across Astellas’ 70+ global locations across a virtualized multi-sourced environment. Verizon’s relationship with Astellas stretches back more than a decade. In 2016, Astellas successfully deployed Verizon’s Secure Cloud Interconnect solution to provide a high-bandwidth secure connection to its Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure cloud services. Verizon’s current remit includes the build and deployment of Astellas’ global integrated network with a full suite of managed services, including Managed Wide Area Network, Local Area Network, Managed Security Services Secure Gateway, Zero Trust Network Access and Unified Communications and Collaboration as a Service. “From R&D to sales, we are seeing enormous amounts of data and intelligence flow through our business, across our 70 locations around the world. We want to ensure that we have a future-proof network in order to utilize cutting-edge technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, machine learning and robotics to make data-driven decisions to deliver better value for our patients. Our network transformation will underpin the next phase of our growth.” Shinya Suda, Senior Vice President, Information Systems, Astellas “The network is transformative in its ability to enable innovation and growth and Astellas is changing the way they are using the tools at their disposal to completely revolutionize their business. This is truly a watershed moment for the pharmaceutical industry as companies grapple with the pressures of reducing time and costs for the development of drugs while improving patient care and value. We’re proud to have been a part of Astellas’ growth journey for more than a decade,” said Robert Le Busque, Regional Vice-President, Verizon Business Group, Asia Pacific. Today’s announcement builds on the company’s network-as-a-service foundation and supports its private networks, mobile edge compute and business solutions vectors of growth. Verizon Communications Inc. was formed on June 30, 2000 and is one of the world’s leading providers of technology and communications services. Headquartered in New York City and with a presence around the world, Verizon generated revenues of $133.6 billion in 2021. The company offers data, video and voice services and solutions on its award-winning networks and platforms, delivering on customers’ demand for mobility, reliable network connectivity, security and control. VERIZON’S ONLINE MEDIA CENTER News releases, stories, media contacts and other resources are available at verizon.com/news. News releases are also available through an RSS feed.

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