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Posts Tagged ‘test planning’

Marketing Process: Managing your business leader’s testing expectations

June 25th, 2013
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Every Research Partner wants a lift, but we know sometimes, those lifts aren’t achievable without learning more about their customers first.

And often, our biggest lifts are associated with radical redesign tests that really shake things up on a landing page. That is because the changes are more drastic than a single-factor A/B test that allows for pinpointing discoveries.

So, how can you strike a balance between using these two approaches while still delivering results that satisfy expectations?

You can achieve this by managing your client’s or business leader’s expectations effectively.

It sounds easier said than done, but there are a few things you can do to satisfy a client’s or business leader’s needs for lifts and learnings. 

 

Step #1. Start with radical changes that challenge the paradigm

At MECLABS, we often recommend a strategic testing cycle with radical redesign testing (multiple clusters as opposed to a single-factor A/B split) to identify any untapped potential that may exist on a Research Partner’s landing page.

However, you must make sure you are not making random changes to a page to achieve a radically different control and treatment, but are truly focused on challenging the control’s paradigms and assumptions currently being made on the page by testing with a hypothesis.

For example, Sierra Tucson, an addiction and mental health rehabilitation facility, found with a radical redesign from a landing page focused on luxury to a landing page focused on trust resulted better with its target audience. The company also generated 220% more leads with the test to boot.

 

Step #2. Zoom in on general areas your radical redesign test has identified as having a high potential for impacting conversion

Next, we suggest refining with variable cluster testing, also known as select clusters.

If you identify a radical shift in messaging to be effective, as Sierra Tucson did, you might next want to try different copy, different designs or different offers, just to name a few options.

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Testing: 3 common barriers to test planning

June 14th, 2013
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Sometimes while working with our Research Partners, I hear interesting explanations on why they can’t move forward with testing a particular strategy.

And as you would expect, there are a few common explanations I encounter more often than others:

  • We’ve always done it like this.
  • “Our customers are not complaining, so why change?

And my personal favorite…

  • We already tested that a few years ago and it didn’t work.

While there are some very legitimate barriers to testing that arise during planning (testing budgets, site traffic and ROI), the most common explanations of “We can’t do that” I hear  rarely outweigh the potential revenue being left on the table – at least not from this testing strategist’s point of view.

So in today’s MarketingSherpa blog post, we will share three of the most common barriers to testing and why your marketing team should avoid them.

 

The legacy barrier – “We’ve always done it like this.”

Legacy barriers to testing are decisions derived from comfort.

But what guarantee does anyone ever have that learning more about your customers is going to be a comfortable experience? So, when I receive a swift refusal to test based on “We’ve always done it like this,” I propose an important question – what created the legacy in your organization in the first place?

Generally, many companies understandably create business constraints and initiatives around what is acceptable for the market at a given point in time.

But what happens far too often is that these constraints and initiatives turn into habits. Habits that are passed on from marketer to marketer, until the chain of succession gives way to a forgotten lore of why a particular practice was put in place.

This ultimately results in a business climate in which the needs of yesteryear continue to take priority over the needs you have today.

So, if you find yourself facing a legacy barrier, below are a few resources from our sister company MarketingExperiments to help you achieve the buy-in you need to challenge the status quo:

What to test (and how) to increase your ROI today

Value Proposition: A free worksheet to help you win arguments in any meeting

 

The false confidence barrier  “Our customers are not complaining, so why change?”   

The false confidence barrier is built on the belief that if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it – or at least it isn’t broken that you’re aware of.

This is especially important if your organization is determined to use customer experience in the digital age as the metric of success when evaluating a website’s performance – and this happens more than you would think.

So, considering for a moment a hypothetical customer is having an unpleasant experience on your website, ask yourself…

What obligation does a customer have to complain about their experience to you?

My recommendation in this case is to never assume customer silence is customer acceptance.

Instead, take a deeper look at your sales funnel for opportunities to mitigate elements of friction and anxiety that may steer customers away from your objectives, rather than towards them.

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Test Planning: Create a universal test planner in 3 simple steps

May 2nd, 2013
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One of my responsibilities as a Research Analyst is to manage ongoing test planning with our Research Partners and at times, keeping tests running smoothly can be a challenge.

This is especially true when you consider testing is not a static event – it’s more like a living, breathing continuous cycle of motion.

But even with so many moving parts, effectively managing test plans can be made a little easier with two proven key factors for success – planning and preparation.

Today’s MarketingSherpa blog post is three tips for test planning management. Our goal is to give marketers a few simple best practices to help keep their testing queue in good order.

 

Step #1. Create

Creating a universal test planner everyone on your team can access is a great place to start.

For our research team, we created a universal test planner including:

  • Results from prior testing with our Research Partner
  • Current active tests
  • Any future testing planned
  • A list of test statuses definitions that everyone on the team understands – (test active, test complete, inconclusive, etc.)
  • A brief description of what is being tested (call-to-action button test, value copy test, etc.)
  • A list of who is responsible for each task in the test plan

 

Step#2. Organize

As I mentioned in the previous step, the status of a test can change and, based on the results, so will the ideas and priorities for future testing.

Some tests will move forward in the queue, and others will be pushed back to a later time.

So, to help keep our team informed of changes in the testing environment, we update the planner throughout the day and in real time during brainstorming sessions based on results and Partner feedback.

This allows us to focus our research and testing strategy efforts on expanding on discoveries versus chasing our tails to keep up-to-date.

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