CRO & The Growth Strategy That’s Being Ignored

CRO & The Growth Strategy That’s Being Ignored

building an A/B testing plan using the test and learn approach

Why is CRO failing to get traction in the boardroom? and why is it that Amazon Prime converts 74% of the time on Yet the average Ecommerce retailer only converts 3.1% of the time?

According to research by Millward Brown Digital, even non-Prime customers convert 13% of the time. Bryan Eisenberg, CRO expert and thought leader suggests that Amazon’s secret is to do with developing a culture of customer centricity and experimentation. It is deeply embedded in the culture of the organisation from the C-suite level down.

Given the success of Amazon with applying the principles of CRO to drive business growth, why is it that in many organisations there is little, if any, engagement with CRO at the top level of management? This is the conundrum that the book ‘The Growth Strategy That’s Being Ignored’ seeks to answer.

Why should you read it?

Although this is a short read, Paul Rouke, from CRO agency PRWD has managed to gather contributions from 17 global CRO thought leaders. Even including Chris Goward, Roger Dooley, Brian Massey, Peep Laja, Bart Schutz, Oli Gardner, Talia Wolf and also Tim Ash. These are people with a huge amount of experience of successfully applying CRO strategies in large ecommerce organisations.

The book focuses on the key reasons for the frequent failure of organisations to fully benefit from CRO. Also why optimisers often find themselves stuck in the “trough of disillusionment”. I’ve previously written about the Dunning-Kruger effect. The initial success with CRO often creates overconfidence in the optimiser’s skills and abilities to create successful tests.

What is the cause of the despair that many CRO teams experience?

The Dunning-Kruger effect is a cognitive bias that is the result of people over-rating their level of competence in an area of expertise. This means we have a tendency to become over-confident about our knowledge and ability to comprehend and interpret data related to a topic. In CRO this is not helped by the creation of silos within the organisation to optimise the digital experience. This can act as a barrier to collaboration and the sharing of knowledge. It can also create an environment which allows the Dunning-Kruger effect to flourish.

A number of reasons are given for the lack of adoption of a CRO philosophy at the executive level. Including the name and a lack of change management skills in the team. The most frequent cause is the perception of CRO as a short-term tactic rather than a strategy for long-term growth. As a result CRO thinking is often not embedded into the culture of the organisation from the C-suite downwards. This automatically relegates CRO to a tactical solution to short-term problems by a silo in marketing or some other department in the organisation.

Talia Wolf, Founder & CEO of Conversioner

“The majority of marketers run meaningless tests without any strategy or hypothesis. The results are hard to analyse and scale”.

What you won’t get from this book is any insight into the detailed process of CRO or tips for experiments to increase your conversion rate. This book is solely about why CRO has failed to be successfully embedded into the culture and processes of many digital organisations.

Andre Morys, Co-founder & CEO at Web Arts

“The ego of the optimisers makes 90% of tests results a lie”.

I have to agree that this is a problem. Being an optimiser in an organisation where there isn’t a culture of experimentation and senior management support can be soul destroying. It feels like there is a constant battle to get resources and co-operation from product, MarComs and marketing. You need to employ change management skills and engage internal stakeholders first before trying to communicate your strategy.

Who should read this book?

The problem in the book is clearly with communicating the benefits and implementation of CRO to executive level management. This is an ideal read for C-suite management and CRO managers seeking to establish a culture of CRO within their organisation. This is likely to help counteract the Dunning-Kruger effect.

What next?

The book should be a wake-up call for many CRO specialists and executives who are allowing their sites to fall further behind the leaders in customer centricity and experimentation. According to RedEye, companies spend on average $92 on driving traffic to their website and only $1 to convert those visitors. This is not a sustainable approach. Sites will increasingly be squeezed out of the market by the likes of Amazon, and other companies that recognise the benefits of a strategic approach to CRO.

Technology is speeding up the optimisation process by allowing massively complex multivariate testing. Companies that embed CRO into their culture as a strategy for growth will exploit these tools much more effectively than organisations it as a tactical tool.

Value for money:

With such a star-studied list of contributors you might have expected more detail on how to implement a strategic approach to CRO. However, the contributors do make some very valid points. There are plenty of other books to read if you want advice on the optimisation process. Given the potential audience of CEOs and CMOs brevity is also a bonus. They won’t want to read anything too detailed or long about what they perceive to be a specialist subject. My advice is buy the kindle version for your smartphone or e-book reader as it’s only £2.99.

Related posts:

CRO Strategy – 9 mistakes companies make with website optimisation

CRO Implementation – How smart is your approach to conversion rate optimisation

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