Company: Siemens Medical Solutions
Contact: Inga Broerman, director global interactive, customer communications
Location: Location: Malvern, Pennsylvania
Annual revenue: $12,000,000,000
Number of employees: 41000
Siemens Medical Solutions, which provides imaging systems, patient monitors, and other medical instruments for hospitals and doctor's offices, considered itself perhaps the most proactive unit of Siemens AG. It rolled out almost 1,000 marketing campaigns a year, but getting buy-in from other entities within the organization for all those campaigns could be difficult.
Siemens Medical's customer communications group decided to roll out a test to prove an industry theory about landing pages—that too many links on a landing page distract from the main offer.
If the tests proved that Siemens Medical Solutions were correct, it would have evidence that would reduce internal push-back on future campaigns and allow for the creation of a new template for landing pages while simultaneously increasing conversions.
Siemens Medical Solutions is a highly matrixed organization, reporting both to Siemens USA and to parent Siemens AG in Germany. Because Siemens tightly controls its brand, there is little room for testing and experimentation in terms of how campaigns must look.
"We have a very locked-down style guide," said Inga Broerman, director global interactive, customer communications for Siemens Medical. "We have set font types, set placement of the image. So testing must be more related to the content and the offers."
One element that the team was able to play with, however, was the presence of navigation on landing pages. Based on industry best practices, the landing page should have no extraneous information, no extra links. "You want to provide the best chance for someone to give you lead information without distraction," Broerman said.
However, she and her team often ran into skeptics internally, who questioned, "What if the main offer isn't of interest to the viewer?"
The skeptics worried that Siemens was losing leads by limiting landing pages to a single offer. They reasoned that even if visitors clicked on non-lead generating links might they not come back into the Siemens Medical Solutions pipeline and become leads at a later date. So Broerman decided to run a test to see whether conventional marketing wisdom (and the wisdom of her team) held true.
Working with Web site testing and optimization company Offermatica, Broerman's team designed a test restricted to a single email campaign and blasted it to an industry publication. The email contained a high-value offer for a virtual image book. The results were then divided to test Broerman's theory.
Step 1. Create two landing pages and divide traffic
Broerman's team created two landing pages: one was a short page with just the high-value offer; the other had multiple offers—the single lead-generating offer (for the image book) and eight non-lead-generating offers (links to whitepapers, videos, case studies, etc.).
Traffic was divided, with half going to the short landing page and half seeing the page with multiple offers.
Step 2. Assign value to all possible actions
Tracking the test was trickier than simply seeing which page had higher clickthroughs to the main offer. Knowing that clicks on the non-lead-generating links also had value, Broerman's team needed to assign them a value, even though they didn't generate immediate leads.
To assign value, they went back to all campaigns since 2003 to find out what was successful at pulling customers into the pipeline for leads further down the road.
"We could see that video and case studies are not very good at generating leads, so they got a score of 1," explained Broerman. Certain whitepapers were more successful at bringing in future business, so those were given a score of 4—the same score given to the high-value offer.
Results were tabulated not on an ROI basis but were instead given a predictive value based on the scores of each landing page.
The short page—with the single offer and no extraneous links—won by a mile: It achieved a score of 1,500, whereas the long page with multiple offers achieved a score of 999.
Both pages had nearly the same conversion rate, "but on the short page they were all for the lead-generating offer because it was the only offer on that page. On the long page, only 33 percent went to the lead-generation offer," Broerman said.
By eliminating all but the high-value offer, "we worried we might be sacrificing [leads], but, rather, we proved the industry right," she said. Broerman's team plans to apply the learning across the board, limiting navigation on offer-based landing pages to just that of the offer.
"It gives us ammunition with our internal customers," she said. "When I have people saying, 'I have so much content that people are dying to read,' I can say, 'Put it on the thank-you page.'"
1. Use known data to establish your benchmarks.
Because so much of what Siemens does is data-driven, had her team not used strict guidelines for assigning values to each of the links in the long page Broerman could have faced push-back from internal customers about the results of the test.
"If we say this has a value of 2.5, they're scientists so they'll be saying, 'How did you assign that value?'" Broerman said. Because her team used a leads value system based on the actual history of Siemens Medical campaigns, internal customers were satisfied that the values were arrived at scientifically.
2. Agree on your goals beforehand
Because Siemens Medical Solutions runs so many campaigns and tests, Broerman knew from experience that it was important to define the goal of the campaign—and everyone involved needed to agree with the goal before the campaign began.
"You must speak the same language of the people who are assigning the budget," she noted.
Note: Siemens Medical Solutions annual revenue is 8.3 billion euros; the above figure, in US dollars, is a conversion according to rates as of Nov. 5, 2007.