13 - Strategic Marketing Optimization
Optimization can be done on various pages in a completely random and coordinated manner, but that is naturally not the best approach. A single action or transaction is a brief moment in the relationship between a firm and its customers.
Optimization also reaches beyond the interaction with a web site, to the business practices that facilitate that interaction, and in some instances studying the customers' interaction online will yield insight into opportunities that will require broader changes in the organization to exploit.
With these things in mind, it should be clear that optimization should be approached in a strategic manner, with an eye toward improving the firm's service to the customer.
Aim for Marketing Insights
The author characterizes the sue of optimization as "eking out small conversion-rate bumps" in the online channel, whereas the insights gained have much greater potential. What "works" online reveals insight about the way in which customers behave in a buying situation, which has much broader implications about what is motivating them to purchase, and what obstacles cause an interested buyer to leave the shop and go to a competitor.
Chances are, much of the insight gained is not restricted to the online channel and improvements are portable. The message that convinces most prospects to visit a site is likely going to speak to the same motivations that would convince them to visit a store, the information that gets them to add an item to their virtual shopping cart would likely convince them to add it to a non-virtual one if it were communicated by signage or a knowledgeable clerk.
The potential of optimization to boost revenues across all channels and improve all interactions should no be overlooked, but echo throughout the firm.
(EN: This is high drama, but there's likely a sensible middle-ground between being totally ignored and being worshipped far and wide. This is where networking comes in handy, and the ability to report relevant insights to colleagues while refraining from boring them with self-aggrandizing and irrelevant information becomes a skill ... which should be approached in the same manner. )
The Optimization Manifesto
(EN: The author presents a mission statement for optimization, which is full of emotional language and puffery. It adds nothing of value.)
A bit more puffery, then some random tips for gaining political support.
- Seek senior-level support for testing. In particular, know who has the authority to sign off on the budget to do the work and make allies of them.
- Speak the language of success. Talk in terms of dollars earned and products sold rather than abstract statistics. A "10% conversion lift" means less than "an additional $50,000 per month in sales"
- Speak to problems. Likewise, frame problem in terms of the financial impact to the organization rather than user behavior on the site, even though the latter is the reason for the former.
- Leverage customer feedback. A quote from a customer about something they like or would like carries more weight than an analysts' suggestion of the very same thing.
- Fly under the radar - To demonstrate potential, pick a few pages with "low political visibility" and test them on your own dime, to generate some quick wins that will lend credibility to your claims of potential.
- Share Results Far and Wide - If others aren't talking about your success, blow your own horn.
- Take leadership - If they're not coming to you for help, go to them and offer it. Look for opportunities to present at meetings, and otherwise drum up business from within the organization.
The author suggests that some organizations will be galvanized against optimization and may be resistant to do anything different to business as usual. Once you've put in a fair effort, tried and tried again, then be prepared to make an exit. In the present day and age, firms that are not responsive to their customers are heading for extinction and it's better to jump ship than go down with one that won't change its course when it's headed for the reef.