How to Get to Innovation Faster
In today’s fast-paced digital world, marketers need to embrace change before it leaves them in the dust—particularly in the realm of customer experience (CX). Consumers expect the latest and greatest from marketers, and they’ll leave if you don’t offer it.
So how can marketers keep up with the blazing pace of change? By implementing a policy of test and learn, a philosophy of constant testing and optimization. In this blog post, we’ll show you how we use test and learn with the digital projects we work on at GLG and how you can, too.
Test and Learn
When GLG is asked to work on a strategic digital project, we expect to prototype multiple versions, whether the deliverable is a website, a mobile app, or a social media ad unit. It takes a bigger initial investment to get so many prototypes up and running, but by concurrently testing different options, we’re able to gather comparative data that shows us exactly how to tweak the CX in real time.
And if a feature doesn’t test well, we don’t have to go all the way back to ground zero, as with a linear development cycle. Since we’ve already developed different versions of the final product, we can adapt and pivot immediately. That gets us to better CX faster.
The basic philosophy of test and learn sounds simple, but the truth is that many marketers aren’t willing to accept its central tenet: that many of your tests will fail. It requires a cultural shift to approach projects with the mind-set that not all of your work will make it to market, and that’s OK. That doesn’t mean that the work was without value.
By embracing failure, you become open to testing early and often. As a result, you anticipate problems and can solve them earlier in the development process, when it’s easier and less expensive to do so. At GLG, we like to use lightweight prototyping tools like InVision to test continuously throughout the lifecycle of a project. We often encounter failure, but we expect to, and we’re able to turn it into opportunity.
In the case of our client American Tire Distributors (ATD), an InVision prototype allowed us to gather feedback on a range of features we wanted to implement for a mobile app. Some of those features were well received, and others, not so much—but we knew long before we went into final production what mattered to customers and how we could keep making it better.
Involve Many Departments
Finally, innovation in CX is coming from all different directions these days. Trying to improve CX in just one domain slows down innovation. While your tests should always aim to change just one variable at a time, it’s worthwhile to make those variables be of different types.
To diversify our test variables, we consciously aim to get diverse input into what makes for good CX. To do so, we create teams with members from different departments. For instance, GLG began our website work with the Bellevue Arts Museum with a guided design charrette, inviting members of design, user experience (UX), web development, market strategy, and media. Everyone was asked to do sketches of what they believed would be an engaging online exhibition experience. The drawings were quite different, helping us to identify multiple axes upon which to run our tests. As a result, we tested across more areas, getting us to innovation faster.
Nothing to Lose
In the end, a test and learn approach is what keeps digital marketers flexible when engineering solutions in a constantly changing environment. With a bigger pot of ideas to try out, we can uncover more areas where we can improve the CX and act on those ideas faster. That enables us to offer the innovative digital experiences that today’s consumers demand.