In the penultimate article in my series on conversion optimisation, I will explain how the global dominance of the German national football team through their commitment to success in all areas of the game, can be compared to a successful business using CRO to secure their position in the market.

Say what?

Germany, 2014 World Champions. A story about optimising for success.

The German football team’s success has provided me with a perfect analogy for this article; how putting in place strong foundations leads to long-term growth and success.

To be blunt, without the right foundations, approach and process, the odds are stacked against your business being able to achieve long term growth and success through data driven optimisation. 

In this article, I discuss the four differing mentalities towards testing and optimisation prevalent in businesses today.

Mentality is at the centre of whether or not your business can produce real, sustainable growth through optimisation.

To continue the German national team analogy, they had a defined development programme with buy-in from the highest levels of the governing body which has led to their domination on the national scene.

Compare that with the floundering England team, who are without direction and never realised their full potential. The same can be said about businesses and conversion optimisation.

Business mentality and its importance for conversion optimisation

Here are the insights our team at PRWD have gained around business mentalities; specifically, the different types and how they can help or hinder efforts to become truly data and insights driven.

Through our work, we have had the privilege of collaborating with a wide range of businesses, both in size and industry.

It does not take long to gauge the company’s stance on conversion optimisation and from here, we can typically put them into one of these four groups:

1. The “go on then let’s give A/B testing a go” mentality

These businesses haven’t done any type of A/B testing before but they have heard about it, read about it and after a little research, feel ready to dip their toe in.

Here are some quotes we have heard from these types of business:

  • A/B testing is about button colours and changing headlines, right?
  • We’ve got a bit of budget available so let’s just use this up on A/B testing.
  • Getting more traffic to our website is the way forward.

Fundamentally there is a significant (and in many cases almost an insurmountable challenge) in getting these types of businesses and business owners to realise the potential that optimisation can have for their business.

2. “Let’s do some A/B testing for a few months” 

In many cases, these are businesses that have some budget left over that needs to be spent and have decide that they may as well make some investment in starting to do (or continuing to try) A/B testing.

The main characteristic of these businesses is that they are willing to invest in some resource, skills and tools, but not as an on-going activity for their business.

Here are some quotes we have heard from these types of business:

  • Optimisation and A/B testing activity is just a tap we can turn on and then turn off again in a few months.
  • We will take out trials of tools that feel relevant, with no process or understanding behind using them.
  • We expect to see big impact results almost immediately with very little effort. After all, we have seen plenty of case studies with record-breaking conversion rate improvements!

In summary, these types of businesses are jumping on the bandwagon without really believing in the long-term importance of optimisation for their business.

Unless they get big results straight away, their opinion quickly changes to ‘CRO isn’t really that important for businesses’. Worst still, some believe CRO is a fad that will probably die away over the next few years.

3. “A/B testing could be quite important for our business”

We are now moving into the group of businesses who may well have been doing testing for six months, up to a few years.

They recognise that A/B testing, data driven optimisation and personalising user experiences to improve relevancy and conversion, are all important areas that they need to be explored and invested in.

Here are some quotes we have heard from these types of business:

  • We will have someone leading testing internally.
  • We will invest in the necessary skills and expertise to ensure that we are increasing the probability of growing our business through testing and optimisation.
  • Where necessary, we will invest in tools which will directly impact the effectiveness of our testing efforts.

In summary, these types of business are either engaged in improving business performance through testing and optimisation or, they have begun to lay down the foundation necessary to give their optimisation investment the best chance of success for their business.

4. “Data & research driven testing will be a central strategy for our long-term growth”  

Finally, we get to the fourth and most progressive businesses regarding optimisation.

These are the businesses that fully understand the importance of data driven testing and optimisation and are either currently using an on-going programme to reap the benefits, or are preparing to fully invest in one to enhance their business growth.

Here are some quotes we have heard from these types of business:

  • Testing is currently revolutionising how we go about optimising our digital experience.
  • Our whole business is beginning to understand the importance of data driven optimisation.
  • Optimisation isn’t going to just be an area or division within our business; it will be represented at the highest levels of the business and we are prepared to restructure in order to gain the maximum benefit.
  • We will invest what is required to develop and build a sustainable approach to data driven optimisation, such as expertise, education, resource, tools and overall changes to our culture.

This elite group of businesses are leagues ahead of the majority of their competitors because they understand the importance of data driven optimisation being at the core of their business growth aspirations.

So what mentality does your business have and what are you doing about it?

I am genuinely fascinated in the difference between the varying mentalities on testing and optimisation and the perceived impact it can have on businesses growth trajectories.

So which of the four groups do you feel your business is in? Are you like the German football team, who have invested fully in optimising their programme, from the grassroots level all the way to the World Cup winning national team? Or, are you more like the underperforming English national team, an example of wasted potential due to years of directionless strategy?

If you are like Germany, congratulations. You are probably reading this, laughing to yourself and watching the money roll in. If not, what are you doing to change your business’s mentality and are you aspiring to be a business with a culture in line with #4 in this article?

Conversion optimisation series

This article is part four of a five part series exploring key areas businesses need to consider and focus on for long term growth through optimisation.

Here is the series:

1)      Conversion optimisation – assess the maturity of your current approach

2)      Five characteristics of businesses ready to grow through data driven optimisation

3)      The four critical areas for long term growth through optimisation

4)      What the German football team can teach us about conversion optimisation.

5)      Vanity or sanity: metrics in conversion optimisation.

Join our training course

After our last Econsultancy partnered training day sold out, Matt Lacey (Head of Optimisation) and I have newly added dates for ‘Conversion Optimisation: How to Deliver Digital Growth’.

This one-day course shows you how to implement a robust conversion optimisation strategy and process which can deliver major uplifts in sales revenue and profitability, as well as changing the way you develop your brand, innovate your offering, and revolutionise the website redesign process.

The next date is August 21st and more details on the course and how to sign up can be found at https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/conversion-optimisation-developing-your-growth-strategy/

Paul Rouke

Published 6 May, 2015 by Paul Rouke

Paul Rouke is Founder & CEO at PRWD, author, creator of the CRO Maturity Audit, and a contributor to Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or hook up with him on LinkedIn.

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