A culture of testing is nothing new. Most of us will undertake some form of testing today at lunchtime. “Penne arrabbiata or carbonara”? Whilst this test may not be a major contributor to the evolution of clean energy for the entire human race, it will at least make you feel happy until dinnertime.
Medical research, civil engineering, automotive manufacturing, large-scale cereal crop productions have all been developed, refined and revolutionised by testing. Iterations of compounds, materials, products and methods have allowed scientists, engineers and farmers to learn through experience, resulting in what we now accept as the modern car or your favourite breakfast cereal.
However, testing’s latest eminence belongs to marketing, specifically full-funnel marketing or growth marketing as it’s frequently coined. This type of marketing is inherently digital and has been developed in line with Web Analytics platforms, cloud-based CRM’s and of course an explosion of digital advertising options. These technologies combined have made it possible for marketers to occupy the upper and lower ends of the funnel; not just generating leads but nurturing prospects to convert.
Where do I start?
There’s plenty of literature on conducting tests, but we’ve boiled it down to four essential components.
1. Hypothesis. It wouldn’t be a test without one.
- What are you testing?
- What are your expected findings
2. Infrastructure. You need to be able to collect and store data.
- Do you have the correct tracking on your website or app?
- Is your data accessible and in a format that is easily understood?
*Your tests should never revolve around your current capacity to collect data. If a test is worth doing, you need to build the infrastructure to accommodate it.
3. Methodology. Collect data in a manner that enables you to identify trends.
- Is the timeframe for your test going to provide you with unbiased and useful insights?
- How much data do you need to be able to analyse the results?
- Will your analysis provide clear insights after testing?
- Have been able to prove/disprove your hypothesis?
By achieving all four of the points above, you’re in a very good place to start running tests across a range of marketing tactics. This will enable you to apply learning from one tactic and test to see if it applies across another. This will lead you to develop workflows and techniques that improve outcomes for your campaigns whilst upskilling your team.
Don’t get too bogged down early on
But… hold your horses! It’s easy to get caught up with testing efforts and the strive to upscale tests. Larger multivariate tests do quickly assess lots of factors at once, however, cross-examining all data sets against the hypothesis becomes increasingly more difficult, more time needs to be invested and this is where assumptions rather than conclusions are often made, leading to unexpected outcomes.
Our clients find that split testing 2-3 variations generally works best to quickly evaluate, change and implement the test’s findings and we do recommend this is where you start. Test small, singular iterations in silo from one another which then contribute to a major change – for example, a landing page. Start with two variations of the call-to-action, once you have determined which CTA works best, eliminate the other. This then enables you to test the colour of the CTA button, then the hero imagery/video, where to place the CTA/form, until you have a high converting page.
Building a testing culture
The advantages of testing like this go far beyond an effect on conversion; developing a testing culture which improves job satisfaction and the accompanying workflows:
- Provides a learning purpose to every task
- Developing a hypothesis and testing it provides a deeply constructive purpose to even the most repetitive tasks
- Drives a deep understanding of what’s working and what’s not
- This helps identify new opportunities faster and reduces the time and money spent pursuing lesser performing efforts
- Result in wins
- The last point is crucial, both for the team and the organisation. It develops skills and culture to be curious and push boundaries to continuously improve. From this, new benchmarks are set, organizational norms are developed and new directions are being identified-which results in wins against targets.
In short, to build a testing culture is to build a team that is confident and empowered to try new things whilst benefiting from the support of a controlled process. They’ll learn quickly and often. With outcomes against KPIs being at the forefront of the teams’ daily tasks means this culture leads organisations to success.
If you’d like more information on where to start with your marketing tests, get in touch with one of our experts or give us a call 01273 041111