Embrace risks to build a culture of marketing experimentation

Emerging technology has disrupted the way marketers plan and implement any strategy. Whether it is investing in virtual or augmented reality (VR/AR) to bring a campaign to life or implementing artificial intelligence (AI) to manage and analyse data, technology is firmly ingrained in the daily lives of marketing teams.

However, with budgets squeezed and expectations mounting from executives, the pressure is on to provide a real return on investment. As a result, marketers have begun focusing purely on appeasing bosses rather than making bold, sometimes risky decisions which could dramatically improve the bottom line.

It’s time to take a step away from how things have ‘always been done’ and take action. Otherwise, innovation and therefore progress, will continue to be stifled.

Changing perceptions at the very top

By focusing on ticking boxes, businesses are limiting any opportunity to grow exponentially. If you consider the likes of Amazon and Google, these giants trample on the competition. You don’t get to their position through complacency. They do this by experimenting and trying new tactics to attract prospects and improve the customer experience. By testing feature and product changes securely, companies can determine the reaction customers may have before committing to an official roll out at scale. With this option, businesses can respond and make changes that firmly put the customer first and give them more certainty than a leap into the unknown.

However, asking employees to adopt experimentation can be difficult if those in senior positions are not embracing it. C-level executives need to openly adopt the new initiative in order to breed creativity throughout the organisation. This is critical if employees are expected to explore innovative ideas to compete in their industry.

Face the fear of risk

What kind of emotions arise when you see the word ‘risk’? Fear or anxiety, maybe? This is the case for most people. From technological or security vulnerabilities to financial and legal risk, there is an entire industry built on helping avoid a potentially hazardous situation. However, experimenting with a new process or testing a new product does not need to put the business in jeopardy. Mitigating these ‘risks’ for marketers means making decisions based on real data rather than guesswork. Gathering insights from surveys can provide some information but can often be limited and restricted to a single point in time, whereas testing live customer engagements is far more accurate. It enables marketers to tap directly into what the customer is feeling and how they are acting today, rather than three months or even three weeks ago.

Customers at the centre of it all

Customer demands are constantly evolving due to technological advancements. This has made it increasingly difficult for businesses to keep up. When a disruptor enters the field and delivers a solution that is a resounding success, businesses across the board race one another to implement the same process. With experimentation under their belt, these businesses can take steps to become a leader for the industry and not a bystander.

If organisations stand still, they risk becoming irrelevant to their customers in a very short space of time. Embracing experimentation and making the effort to test any new process such as a web page change or large-scale product update, can ensure that any wide rollouts are done with the peace of mind that it will likely be a success, helping put the business on the map and generate more leads.

Technology will continue to disrupt and wade through every aspect of the business, and it’s clear that marketing is no exception. Encouraging employees to engage with testing methods will largely rely on the level of input from senior executives and the opportunity to lead decision-making with real insights. With this in mind, businesses that embrace experimentation and overcome fears of risk-taking will see creativity grow and as a result, businesses will see strategies succeed and customer expectations met. It sounds like a simple equation but it is one that many businesses are yet to crack.

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person?

Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.  

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