Online Marketing Optimization: Does my 95-year-old Grandmother Understand Split Testing Better than your CMO?


Explaining what I do for a living to my grandma is a challenge. Luckily, the chemical engineer in her is comfortable enough with technology to understand some of the basics.

Of course, the advantage I have when explaining it to my Baba is that she doesn’t have any preconceived notions about what “should” work. For many marketers I talk to, they don’t have the same luxuries when trying to internally sell the idea of testing and optimization to their bosses/clients/investors.

So, I was really excited to see this commercial about getting people to use stairs instead of the elevator clearly and succinctly explain to the layperson what optimization testing is all about…

Volkswagen has built an entire campaign around this simple topic: discovering, through testing, what will get people to prefer one option over another. Isn’t that the objective of marketing in the first place…to influence the customer to prefer your product to the competition? Which gives me the idea –when trying to sell testing and optimization internally, try to paint an analogy to something outside of the expertise of your bosses/clients/investors.

If you start by trying to convince them that there is a better way to design online lead generation forms, and they have 30 years of experience in lead generation, you may hit a brick wall. So start by discussing one of these non-business related split tests (make sure to point out that you are not trying to hint about getting a company car).

Get them open to the idea of split testing. Then slowly work in a few of your specific business challenges. The allegorical example just needs to get you to the point where you have the freedom to test. From my experience, once you start driving more revenue, everyone begins to see the light.

How did you introduce testing in your enterprise? Share your triumphs and ideas in the comments section of this post or start a conversation with your peers in the MarketingExperiments Optimization group.

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