D&B Takes the Guesswork out of Its Marketing Messaging

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Many marketers who have ventured down the path of A/B testing will never veer off course. They've come to realize and reap the benefits of applying data-driven decision-making and the consequences for not approaching each campaign and website design with an analytical eye.

Many marketers who have ventured down the path of A/B testing will never veer off course. They've come to realize and reap the benefits of applying data-driven decision-making as well as the consequences for not approaching each campaign and website design with an analytical eye.

When marketers adopt the philosophy of testing, they open the doors to revolutionizing their campaigns and driving more business, as the data gleaned from A/B testing leaves no unanswered questions as to why customers behaved the way they did and about the specific content and design that led them down the path to purchase. Questions around content, color, and placement, become an indisputable discipline, and A/B testing essentially becomes a compass for all their messaging decisions.

I was recently told about a marketing leader in an organization who tasked her team with rewriting the rules and developing new marketing content without having any knowledge of her audience's needs or behavior. The danger in that could mean losing a portion of customers which could ultimately translate to increased clicks, greater engagement, and higher revenue.

Such risks are low at D&B. There, A/B testing has become the foundation of the company's success. Jeannine D'Allegro, leader of D&B's digital properties, recently told me at the Adobe Digital Marketing Symposium in New York City, that testing is ingrained in how the company delivers every aspect of its customer experience. "Everything is based on science," she said. D'Allegro's team even created a testing calendar that includes funnels and flows to maximize their testing.

The team actually analyzes every outcome and decides whether or not it's a win, D'Allegro said. Decisions aren't based on guesswork. Rather the team puts the metrics from the outcomes through a valuation formula which requires them to meet certain criteria. Her team also meets weekly to discuss the qualitative analysis of the outcomes and then monthly to discuss the qualitative outcomes, which includes the customers' feedback from the company's voice of the customer efforts. "You need the qualitative and quantitative to be successful," she said.

D'Allegro said that now her team can understand why exactly customers looked at something specifically. And they've created a messaging matrix that maps all marketing messaging to business rules that combine customer personas with behavior. Laying this groundwork helps the team to deliver personalized messaging geared toward individual customers.

Retention at D&B has gone up, which proves that testing can drive a company's business and turn it into a trusted resource. Testing at D&B has become ingrained in the culture and a catalyst for other departments to try new initiatives around the customer experience, as D'Allego's team demonstrates wins across the business. She explained, "This was about, 'how do we take this digital exchange and transform the whole business, not just the marketing business.'"

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