#15 How to Create A Conversion Rate Optimization Culture
December 24, 2020
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In this week’s episode, we are going to talk about how you can establish conversion rate optimization as a priority throughout your organization. Think about it: every marketing effort ultimately comes down to a successful conversion or a failure, so no matter what you are doing, the conversion rate will ultimately influence the result. With that in mind, let’s dive in and find out how you can create a conversion rate optimization culture to get better results from all your marketing strategies and tactics. 


Conversion Optimization Rate Culture as an Operating System


What is conversion rate optimization (CRO)? It is not a magic tool that you point and shoot like a wizard’s wand. It is more like a realization that everyone in the organization should recognize a duty of care focused on the final results – sales and loyal repeat customers.  Is conversion rate optimization a marketing strategy or a tactic? Yes, you can classify it like that, but you can get better results if you think of it as something larger and more pervasive, a system in which other strategies and tactics are proposed and tested. Think of CRO as a goal supported by an infrastructure that facilitates cooperation between all your team members to push together for the goal. When you spread this value throughout your organization, you help everyone make better business decisions and deliver better experiences to your customers. 


Components of CRO Infrastructure: Tools

We can consider CRO infrastructure as consisting of two broad categories of elements: tools and culture. Analytic packages for data collection and analysis are one of the most powerful tools. User testing software is another useful tool. Less direct tools also serve the CRO goal. For instance, tools for sharing the data developed with analytics and user testing tools can be very helpful. Providing the tools for every team to do experiments to test the effect of their approach on conversions is an essential step. Once every team can design and execute their own tests, the next step is to ensure that they all have access to a tool to record, categorize, and share the knowledge that they create. 


Components of CRO Infrastructure: Company Culture

One person focusing on CRO can make a difference, but many hands make light work. An entire company focusing on CRO can make a bigger difference.  To spread a new attitude throughout your company, you will need to make an active effort to change the culture. Appoint people to act as evangelists throughout the company. Have them explain why everyone needs to keep an eye on conversion rates and explain how they can do so. Make sure people understand how to create a test. Make sure employees understand that CRO insights help everybody, email marketing, SEM, SEO, UX design, IT, and Engineering can all benefit from CRO insights. 

Tools are only useful if people know how to use them and feel safe doing so. If you give your employees hammers but they just use them for hammer throwing fights you have not accomplished much. You should assess your organization’s tolerance for failure and communicate that. For many marketing teams, it is ok to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. Teams should feel comfortable cooperating and sharing suggestions without feeling like they are getting thrown under the bus if another team finds something that can be improved. 

Encourage teams to create their own internal guidelines and education programs and participate in external education programs. 


Approaches to CRO: Centralized

Perhaps the most common approach to CRO is to centralize efforts. One manager designs and runs all the testing. In a centralized model, there is clear guidance and a clear goal, but it is not shared throughout the organization. For many businesses, there are better approaches. 

A Decentralized Approach to CRO

Many companies built on the software as a service model have embraced CRO. For these companies, CRO activity is often spread throughout the organization. Every department has their own research, testing, and analytics. There is often no centralized source of guidance or standards. Nobody is putting together the big picture. It is fast and cheap, but its also potentially a bit chaotic and gains can be left on the table. 


The Hybrid Model – CRO Centers of Excellence

The “Center of Excellence” (COE) model is popular for driving change in organizations that is used by HP and Microsoft, among many others. In this model, a central team is responsible for providing information, education, and tools to the other teams (or team members in a smaller organization), guiding them and enabling them to run tests on their own with some advice from a central authority with more skills and knowledge. The COE team will make sure people understand how to use the tools and explain how and why to design experiments to test propositions that can impact CRO. By spreading commitment to CRO throughout your organization while maintaining a central guiding authority to put it all together and push it forward, you can ensure every effort your teams make is as effective as possible. So find out what happens when you stop thinking of conversion rate optimization as an activity and start thinking of CRO as a core value of your organization.


These digital marketing tips only work if you use them

We hope you find this insight on digital marketing excellence useful. This knowledge can improve your results, but you have to put it into action. So find a way to apply it and test it. Take a baseline measurement and compare your new improved outcome. Join the Viral Octopus collective and share and discuss your results with others who are striving for excellence. And come back and join us next week for more powerful new marketing tips and tricks. Don’t get left behind: Mind The Gap.