Testing, Testing…is This Thing on?
Let’s be honest, compared to personalization, testing gets no love.
Don’t get me wrong—as someone who has specialized in personalization and built part of my career on advocating for it, I understand why personalization is a growing part of organizations’ digital marketing strategies. But it perplexes me why testing in customer experience, marketing, and campaigns is often overlooked.
In my years at various agencies and working in-house at Sitecore, I consistently heard from customers that they felt they were only using 10% of the functionality in the tech they invested in. In my opinion, testing is one of the more straightforward strategies you can embrace to get executive buy-in while also proving your return on investment (ROI) for MarTech investments.
To get started with personalization, there is a lot of foundational work that you need to do. First, you need to define your personas and target audiences. Then you must understand and document their journey to identify where personalization will have an impact. You also need to define your business and digital goals so that you can map and measure the impact of personalization on your desired outcomes. Next, you must create personalized content for identified audiences, and start implementing it. This is thorough and valuable work, but it requires commitment from multiple teams and can take time to get off the ground.
While personalization is critical to an impactful customer experience (CX) strategy, A/B testing should absolutely be something that marketers take advantage of as well. All the big names are doing it—Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Booking.com each perform over 10,000 controlled testing experiments every year. And why wouldn’t they when the results speak for themselves? Take Dell for example—they reported a 300% increase in conversion rates from A/B testing alone!
A/B testing or split testing takes significantly less time to get up and running and delivers equally valuable information. With A/B testing you are comparing two versions of a webpage, component, app, or call-to-action against each other to determine which one performs better, and in turn, which one delivers more value and drives more engagement with your target audiences. Testing functionality in systems like Sitecore Personalize, Optimizely Web Experimentation, and Adobe Target provides statistical analysis to determine which variation performs better for a given goal.
When it comes to optimal customer experience and digital marketing, it’s all about knowing who your audiences or customers are. There’s no better way to get to know your audiences than validating what you’re saying and how you’re delivering your services with testing that demonstrates what resonates the most with them.
Running A/B tests lets you ask focused questions about changes to your website or digital experience and then collect data about the impact of those changes to ensure you’re delivering the most effective experience for your users.
Earlier this year I wrote a blog post about the shift from digital transformation to digital evolution—this notion that transformation isn’t a one-and-done process. To survive in today’s digital economy, organizations need to constantly learn and change to meet audiences’ expectations. Testing plays a critical role in this process of digital evolution.
So, this is my plea—please make testing part of your digital marketing strategy. Keep personalization in there but if you feel your teams aren’t ready for full-blown personalization, start with some A/B testing to take the guesswork out of your website optimization. It will empower data-informed decisions that can shift conversions with your teams from “we assume” or “we think” to “we know!”
Want to find out how you can get started with A/B testing? Contact us. Our data analysts can help you understand the available tools, work with you to select the right one for your organization, and configure tests that deliver valuable insights about your audiences.