Building a culture of growth through testing and optimization: 3 tips for B2B marketers

16 June 2017

Advances in computing power and connectivity have driven huge increases in the data generated by marketing campaigns.

This wealth of data presents an opportunity for marketers to test and optimize the activities they are running, and smart organizations are increasing the effectiveness of their marketing investments by adopting a structured approach.

Reaping the rewards from testing and optimization requires focus and discipline. With that in mind, here are three tips to achieving success.

1. Building a culture of growth requires (continual) testing and optimization

Growth relies on innovation: marketing technologies and techniques are constantly changing, and marketers need to approach and explore these changes proactively.

While industry best practice should guide strategy, marketers must run their own tests as their products, solutions and audiences are unique to them.

In a recent Google report on establishing a culture of growth, Max van der Heijden – a User Experience & Conversion Specialist at Google – said, “even though you may read that other people have done something that works very well for them, that doesn’t mean that it will work well for you. It might actually make your experience a lot worse than it was before. There’s only one way to tell: You’ve got to test it.”

2. The payoff can be big (but you need to be brave)

Testing and optimization aren’t always about tiny incremental gains: through the effect of compounding they can be transformational, driving huge increases in the effectiveness of marketing spend.

While some marketers may be comfortable with the status quo, achieving exceptional results requires constant testing and optimization.

In the same Google report, Adam Levelle – Chief Growth Officer at Merkle – comments that, “if you spend all your time merely trying to optimize things you already know work, you likely will not achieve exceptional performance.”

We have many examples where bravery paid off big for our clients, including a recent project where a client's dogged persistence to overcome internal roadblocks and drive through a test for a lead capture form resulted in an 8x increase in leads captured.

3. Success requires a structured plan

Successful testing and optimization is built on process, and marketers need a framework for how new technologies and techniques are tested and measured.

In a 2013 interview with Business Insider, Rob Shelton – then Global Innovation Lead at PwC – commented that, it's about having a hypothesis, and testing it. If the results don't match your hypothesis, you've got data. If the results do match your hypothesis, then you have a discovery.

Google’s advice is to: “start simple, be incremental, be scalable”. In our experience, small wins can help articulate the benefits of testing and optimization, and play a key role in achieving management buy-in to the process.

Such management buy-in is critical, as expectations need to be set that:

  • Testing and optimization should be continuous (and never end).
  • There will be failures (and there is a great deal to learn from them).
  • Success should be shared widely to foster a culture of innovation.

On this last point, Google recommends instituting a “quarterly failure report”, but we find this job can equally be done through engaging dashboards and a regular cadence of sharing via email.

This is an area where we have plenty of experience. If you need help building a strategy for testing and optimization – or would like to see examples of how we partner with our clients in this area – please get in touch.