If you have the unlimited budget to outsource testing operations or your marketing operations team is sitting around looking at cat memes waiting for something to do, this post isn’t for you. I’m looking for the folks who are scrapping to get it all done. It’s the people who never have enough time in the day to do ALL THE THINGS. Some call them marketing magicians, I just call them: almost all marketers ops people I’ve ever met. A lot of this comes from my experience in migrations, before automated testing, when you had to decide what got migrated to the new instance and tested first.
Even if you are using automated testing, you still need to prioritize what you should do first (see above reference to no one having time to do ALL THE THINGS). Each effort has a cost. It costs time, dollars and creates noise for your team every time you test. Most marketing ops leaders need to pick frequency and prioritize order of creation to reduce the chaos.
When we are creating a baseline analysis for either testing or migration, here’s a list of things we consider in order of priority:
Expected Customer Experience
You can’t shortchange this one. That’s why it’s #1. When these things end up with errors, everyone notices and you can say “bye-bye” to whatever accolades or bonuses you might have seen coming your way.
An important point to consider while you are looking critically at the customer experience is you should not, and i’ll say it again for those in the back, SHOULD NOT confuse expected customer experience with desired customer experience. If you have promised something to a customer, or an activity is based on a common expectation, make sure you are delivering it. A few obvious ones:
- If they request unsubscribe, don’t email them.
- If they request to join a livestream or event, tell them how to access (or tell them they are excluded)
- If they request a call back, call them back
- If they click on a link the link should take them to the expected place.
These might seem like basics, but these types of oversights happen all the time. They are critical and common failures. Even if you think you have these buttoned up, check again. It’s worth it.
Revenue Channels & Efforts
Money. Revenue. Whatever you want to call it, you need to know what is driving conversions. Are the landing pages, forms, whitepapers and webinars adhering to those critical points we addressed above? Make sure you have a plan and then a backup plan for ensuring that these are regularly tested. Otherwise, whatever is driving your primary MQLs, might be taking a sweet little ride right off of a cliff.
High Profile Internal Hot Buttons
I had a boss at a Fortune 500 here in Seattle who’s hot button issue was 404 errors. To me that meant my phone was ringing. And in the age when everyone communicates electronically unless it was an emergency (perceived or otherwise), I went out of my way to avoid that. You should too. Know what’s important to the people in your organization and test for those things so you can pick up the phone with confidence.
Customer Journey Attribution
Another thing that might not necessarily be transparent to your customer but would be painfully obvious to your internal teams, is broken customer journeys. Think about the content or channels that get attributed to the sale. Do a correlation analysis of content that influences sales but might not be first or last touch attribution. Broken links in the middle of the chain of conversion on any channel could lead to lost revenue (see above).
Desired Customer Experience
Not to be confused with the expected customer experience (see above), sometimes customers take complex journeys from awareness to conversion. Marketing tries to control this process as much as possible. When you’ve invested countless hours in interviewing customers, diving into research about your market and building the best product or service out there and you want to build something that works. When done right marketers have a strong hold on what drives their most profitable customer through the funnel and to put it bluntly, you better make sure that shit works. Something you’ll hear me harp on during this process is the fundamental idea that your marketing should work as expected. Customer journeys are critical to successful marketing so you can optimize.
Tracking Code and Tags
For all that is holy and good, are your pages tagged? Is your munchkin code firing where it should be? When you’re working in the vast ecosystem of mad- and martech, there’s no time to half ass tracking. I’ll spare you the often used Martech Technology Landscape image, but the reality is when you’re building campaigns and tracking customer interactions, all of your the data you’re collecting that will help you make the right case to the right stakeholder will be gone.
And this doesn’t stop at your run of the mill links. It should also include attribution management. I know I got a little excited in the last paragraph, but I can only tell you how many times I’ve seen something so critical fail to be tested and then lead to some serious stuff. The good news is you can learn from my experience. On that note, 90% of the customers we talk to (that’s a made up statistic, but it really is the majority of customers) have inconsistencies in their attribution tagging and are creating broken Google Ad Campaign attribution. What does that mean? Broken revenue reporting, attributing improper revenue to the wrong campaign and general anarchy. We can do better. How? Testing.
Sum it Up
Hey, have you picked up that I’m passionate about testing? Good. It’s true. It’s one of the single most time consuming and/or overlooked functions in marketing and it’s one that we need to and can get better at.