Digital analytics teams have made great strides in driving value through testing and optimizing. But many are still working in isolated digital channel silos — and that leaves money on the table.
For example, one team may be optimizing email click-throughs using CRM data, and a team down the hall is working separately to optimize purchase conversions on the e-commerce site.
A more mature approach, which would drive value more quickly, is to collaborate across the email and e-commerce teams. Align insights to determine which customers are most likely to purchase, and then optimize the email lists and content to drive those customers to click through to the site.
Of course, the teams would continue testing and optimizing emails, the site experience and their continuously refined view of the customer.
A Framework for Effective Testing and Optimization
A Forrester survey of about 120 users of online testing tools showed that digital testing and optimization is still heavily web-centric: only 22 percent of firms are seeking to integrate online testing and optimization across digital channels such as email and search.
In today’s world of device-hopping customers with constantly changing behaviors, that must change. The firms with more mature, cross-channel strategies will win.
The framework below shows four dimensions of an effective testing and optimization strategy and an overview of “what great looks like” for each one. The maturity of your program scales along these four dimensions:
1. The proportion of digital interactions you apply digital testing to.
Less mature programs test a smaller portion of experiences across the digital channels — and more strikingly, show limited ability to drive testing and optimization of the digital experiences that matter most to business outcomes.
What great looks like: Your testing program leverages every single opportunity to optimize the digital experiences that matter most in and across digital channels, including fixed and mobile web, apps, email, social, text messaging, digital advertising, etc.
2. The phases of the customer life cycle you apply digital testing to.
Less mature programs focus on one or two phases of the customer life cycle, typically the “explore” and “buy” phases.
What great looks like: Testing and optimization occur across the entire customer life cycle. Tests are run on customers who are discovering and exploring your brand through digital marketing, ads or are navigating sites and apps; customers who are buying, using and seeking support for products or services digitally; and those who are reengaging with your brand in digital channels.
3. The ability to continuously improve your customer understanding and meet their changing expectations – across all digital channels.
Less mature programs struggle to get and maintain a well-rounded view of the customer across demographic, behavioral and other relevant data.
What great looks like: Your digital analytics program (all channels, all capabilities) has a unified view of the customer across key digital channels (e.g., web, mobile, email, digital advertising) and is able to segment customers and prioritize the digital experiences that matter most to business outcomes.
4. The breadth of online testing techniques you apply to digital experiences.
Less mature programs use A/B testing only, with occasional forays into multivariate testing and segmentation.
What great looks like: Your program uses segmentation extensively, A/B/n and multivariate testing, and ultimately automates to manage and scale testing, such as to generate test variants, run tests and/or apply the results of tests.
A testing and optimization program can’t mature to greatness in one giant leap, but mature it must.
Survey respondents report that lack of resources gets in the way of their ability to advance their testing and optimization maturity. That probably sounds familiar to you, too.
So what can you do right now to mature your program?
Optimization That Focuses on Results
An executive at a digital analytics platform firm said this about how to drive optimization maturity: “Teams must quit counting what their customers are doing and start counting the impact they’re having on customer experience.”
You can squeeze more from what you already have. What it takes is focus on showing and telling marketing, e-commerce, product management and customer service and support colleagues about the value that optimizations created — optimizations made based on testing.
What did customers do differently? Which customers? What were the business outcomes? What’s the next step to drive yet more value?
You want stakeholders to understand the results that testing and optimization drive. As you build that understanding with your colleagues, you’ll drive support for your next request for additional resources. Because testing and optimization is about the business outcomes it drives.
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