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The Development of an Optimization Culture

Posted By Brendan Regan On March 19, 2009 @ 10:37 am In Improving Conversion,Optimization Tactics,ROI Marketing,Six Sigma,Website Optimization | 16 Comments

[1]One of the things that makes being a Persuasion Analyst at FutureNow fun is watching clients –> partners –> friends grow as an organization.  Many start off skeptical about the process of site optimization, or unrealistic [2] about what can be gained in a given time frame.  But after working through some of the challenges, it’s great to see them thinking about their sites and their businesses in completely different (read: better) ways, and subscribing to a culture of continuous improvement [3].

Here’s my take on some of the stages in developing an optimization culture:

  • Acceptance – this is the stage where a business realizes that Optimization has value, and in order to reap the rewards, the status quo isn’t going to work.  Something additional has to be done, which calls for some combination of the following: a shift in focus, additional resources, new tools, and working with outside experts [4].
  • Testing the Waters – this is the stage where the business starts testing and optimizing, and often gets some big wins [5] just by making minor changes to their site, or removing basic conversion roadblocks.
  • Infatuation – after getting some wins from “low hanging fruit,” our clients sometimes become fixated on testing and optimization.  They check their test dashboards multiple times a day, they cheer when they see Google Website Optimizer’s green bar, and they wring their hands when they see any yellow or red indicators.  The less-disciplined business [6] will often lose focus at this point and miss out on all the fun/profit.
  • Thinking About Resources – after things have settled down, there have been a few wins, and a few inconclusive tests (inconclusive changes still give you incredibly valuable data and piece of mind), the business starts to think about how to support an optimization process long-term.  They realize that this process isn’t free; it takes hard work and resources to create and administrate tests.  They evaluate their current teams and whether they can properly support a culture of continuous improvement.  This is a magnificent stage to witness, and once a business knows their resources, it’s much easier to stay OnTarget [7].
  • Getting Analytical – once in the habit of optimization, we start to see clients question their assumptions, their vendors’ assumptions, and generally why the data is the way it is.  This is when things get fun.  Often, clients write me with test ideas or analysis of their very own, and I know that the training wheels have officially come off. :)
  • The New Way of Doing Business – this stage shows our clients becoming calm and nonchalant when a site change gives them double or triple-digit improvements.  They are equally happy when a test has a negative or inconclusive impact, because it’s all part of the continuous improvement process.  They realize that even single-digit increases achieved on a regular basis [8] will have incredible effects on their bottom line, like compounding interest in a bank account.

I hope this proves helpful, and I hope that more and more of our readers will develop an optization culture. Just please let us know if you need any help.

Article printed from Conversion Rate Optimization & Marketing Blog | FutureNow: http://www.grokdotcom.com

URL to article: http://www.grokdotcom.com/2009/03/19/the-stages-of-becoming-an-optimization-culture/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.grokdotcom.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/30381235.jpg

[2] unrealistic: http://www.grokdotcom.com/2008/11/10/realistic-expectations-for-conversion-rate-optimization/

[3] culture of continuous improvement: http://www.wilsonweb.com/design/continuous-incremental-improvement.htm

[4] outside experts: http://www.futurenowinc.com/why_futurenow.htm

[5] big wins: http://futurenowinc.com/clients.htm

[6] The less-disciplined business: http://www.grokdotcom.com/2009/02/23/money-for-nothing-clicks-for-free/

[7] stay OnTarget: http://www.futurenowinc.com/ontarget_ready.htm

[8] increases achieved on a regular basis: http://www.grokdotcom.com/2009/03/12/document-conversion-rate-wins-every-month/

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