Two Nuggets That Define A Truly Data-Driven Testing Culture

Jake Sapirstein

In the digital marketing arena, data-driven testing cultures tend to be winners.  But do organizations that test – or even test often –automatically qualify for such a distinction? It’s easy to think “yes” – but actually a truly data-driven testing culture requires a bit more than just a lot of tests. Here are two nuggets that act as a good litmus test for such a qualification.

Being organized and staffed to implement proven experiences soon after testing is concluded

Testing is one thing. Implementing what testing determines to be worthy of implementation is very much another. What good is it to test if it takes many months, if not years, to implement the winning experience? It’s a detail that is often overlooked these days, particularly with rigid Web content management systems that don’t play well in the experimental arena of A/B and multivariate testing.

It’s great to see the increased focus on testing these days – putting more resources in place to do testing and running more tests. But unless the organization is set up to adopt what is proven to work well in a reasonable amount of time (three to four months, maximum), the increased testing energy starts to turn into a poor return on investment.

Having the courage to bend design guidelines

Design guidelines are important – they ensure a consistent look. But what if that look isn’t producing? The testing concept is to experiment with something different to see what can improve the performance of your digital property. The design guideline says don’t go there.   Something has to give. If in the testing effort itself one cannot bend the guidelines, then it becomes hard to understand what it takes to improve performance.

Organizations that are forward looking and open to experimentation – even if it means bending the boundaries of a design guideline – are the ones that win and keep winning. It starts with and requires a mindset and a general culture. You either have it or you don’t. And the difference is significant.

One aspect of design you can’t overlook is ensuring online and in-person customer experiences complement one another. Learn more in the report Our Digital Planet: See It, Click It, Touch It, Buy It.

About Jake Sapirstein

Jake Sapirstein is the Senior Director of Digital Marketing and Head of Innovation Lab at SAP. Launched in 2011 as SAP Test Lab, the program has become a comprehensive testing and optimization engine that uncovers and communicates valuable insights. In 2014, the program has evolved into Innovation Lab, where it additionally serves as a platform to test and validate innovation projects.