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Building a Culture of Testing and Optimization: Planning (Part 1)

by Kim Ann King  |  
January 15, 2013

Whether you have been testing for years or you are just getting started, building a successful optimization program depends on careful planning, implementation, and measurement.

This is the first in a three-part series of articles that looks at the steps involved in creating a successful optimization program. In it, we'll look at three critical elements in optimization planning:

  1. Forming a great testing team
  2. Getting your stakeholders on board
  3. Writing a formal test plan

Forming a Great Testing Team

In Web analytics, one good analyst can provide great insights, but not so in testing. The testing process is typically too political and requires too many resources to be executed by just one person.

Consider what is often involved in making a change to a website:

  • Someone decides that a change is warranted.
  • Management needs to review the change request.
  • If the changed is approved, management initiates the change management process.
  • Depending on the change, developers, designers, marketers, and copywriters may be required.
  • Information Technology needs to deploy the change.
  • Quality Assurance needs to test the change.
  • Analytics needs to validate the change.

Now, compare that to a situation where a testing program is already in place. Instead of someone deciding a change needs to be made, marketers regularly ask themselves, "What would happen if we changed X, Y, or Z, or even all of them?" And although the best testing solutions help to minimize the need for some of the resources required—most commonly developers and IT—there is still a need for a cohesive group to create and run tests and analyze their results.

Address that need by forming a testing team of appropriate resources within your organization, then give that team a mandate for making improvements and allow it to incrementally prove its value and earn the right to test increasingly large projects.

Assign your internal superstars to the team to couple their insights with technology and process to allow them to measurably demonstrate their brilliance. Give the team access to other internal resources, at least as long as they continue to produce results.

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Kim Ann King is the CMO of Web and mobile optimization firm SiteSpect. A B2B software marketer for nearly three decades, she is the author of The Complete Guide to B2B Marketing: New Tactics, Tools, and Techniques to Compete in the Digital Economy (May 2015).

Twitter: @kimannking

LinkedIn: Kim Ann King

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