While optimization testing may provide a framework to validate or disprove a hypothesis, there is no substitute for real listening.
The immediacy of the data. The stark nature of the results. The ability to select a "winner." For many, this allure of A/B and multivariate testing has elevated the practice of site optimization to a Holy Grail. Content, offers, creative imagery, pricing, device, and time-of-day are all fair game for optimization. For better or worse, with a few simple mock-ups and some readily accessible software, just about everything can be tested. And when all goes well, a clear option emerges.
But what happens when the data gets a bit murkier? When it's not completely clear why one version is surging to the top? When it's not just one variable that drives the decision? Why what seems like the obvious winner is, in fact, losing? In a world of data-driven marketing, where everything must have a root cause and scientific correlation, this lack of clarity can send marketers into a tailspin.
What About Listening to the Customer?
While optimization testing may provide a framework to validate or disprove a hypothesis, there is no substitute for real listening. Yes, actually asking customers directly for their opinion and point of view. And listening to what they have to say, good or bad. In this era of testing and automation the thought of reaching out and listening has become an anathema to modern marketers. And while not all marketers have the luxury of time or budget to create elaborate focus groups or live customer tests, basic listening and survey tools are available to support marketers of all sizes.
Options for Listening
A wide spectrum of engagement tools makes customer listening - active or passive - a necessity for a truly informed decision-making cycle.
Whether you are looking to validate your testing strategy, validate internal points of view, or even clarify ambiguous data, all conversations need to start and end with the customer. Without knowing your audience, and their evolving needs, you cannot truly optimize your marketing impact.
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