The Staffing Challenge
As marketing pioneer John Wanamaker famously declared, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” The good news is that it is relatively easy to prove the value of an optimization program compared to other marketing initiatives. Testing is an objective way to measure the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. However, to set up an effective optimization program, you have to overcome several obstacles.
In my many past stints setting up optimization programs at different companies, one of the biggest challenges was hiring the talent required to carry out the program. Considering most optimization programs started out with one or two people in the company with the goal of finding opportunities to improve website conversion, I had to beg, borrow, and steal to get any resources and usually used free testing tools from the web.
When the program is small, which means two to three tests per year, it is feasible for one person to carry out multiple functions. But when the program starts to scale, you will need a team with different and varied talents. However, finding skilled team members to execute the program is incredibly difficult. This is due primarily to the type of skills required to execute an optimization program properly. At minimum, you need the following skills:
Testing tool specialist
Quality assurance (QA) analyst
Many optimization initiatives originate in the marketing organization. Yet, few marketers understand the complexity of what is required to develop seemingly easy asks. Finding, managing, and setting a long-term career path for an employee is not easy. In fact, it was one of the biggest challenges in managing the program.
Many organizations attempt to think outside the box by “borrowing” resources in an effort to save costs. This approach has its challenges. As I have experienced with shared or borrowed resources, you lack control, which leads to compromise on the design, development time and quality of the campaign. Ultimately, someone else is writing the performance review of your borrowed resource, not you!
I suggest that you determine the core competencies in your program and allocate your best resources to them. Also, consider outsourcing missing or less efficient functions. By allowing the firm to find and manage the skill set you need, you and your team can focus on what is really important. This improves employee morale, retention and overall program effectiveness. Working with a firm also gives you access to a team of talent that offers insights and best practices across industries. You are essentially hiring a team for the cost of two or three full time employees. This approach worked very well for several of my large-scale optimization programs. The value to me was that my team was not burdened with low-value tasks, could focus on designing the next winning test and leveraged learnings from peers that lead to improved website, email, and digital advertising conversions.
About the Author:
Charles Hua is a solution strategist focused on ensuring client success and effective communication. A digital optimization professional, Charles applies his extensive B2C and B2B knowledge to understand each client’s customer experience and then defines the optimization strategy, scope, and process across mobile and web activities.