What are CRO and CXO?

In simple terms, CRO is the practice of data-driven experimentation to influence a website or app visitor to take the desired action. This is essential for businesses looking to spend money on driving traffic to their website in the short term. There are, however, different levels of CRO. At the micro-level, brands will test small iterations of a single element on a page, such as changing the copy on a button. At the macro level, company’s take a more holistic approach and consider multiple touchpoints in the user journey to reduce friction.  

On the other hand, CXO is a longer-term and cross-functional process that takes all of the organisation’s customer touchpoints into consideration. Not only does this impact the overarching customer experience, but is measured by brand perception, customer sentiment, customer lifetime value, customer retention, reviews, Net Promoter Score, Customer Satisfaction Score and more. Digital CXO outputs could be anything from design changes, information architecture shifts or the creation of brand new features. 

How to identify the differences 

Even though these services often collide due to their focus on data and experimentation, getting started with CRO and CXO differs significantly. Ultimately, CRO begins with research, as businesses need to fully understand their customers and the way they behave on their website or app. It’s recommended that brands start with quantitative research to gather their primary research to find out what they want to optimise, what’s performing well and what isn’t working. 

Partnered with qualitative research, businesses can gain behavioural insights to identify where users are having problems on the website and gather the optimum data directly from the customer. Whilst this research is taking place, organisations will be able to accumulate a list of actions that need testing before deploying any permanent changes to their website. 

Whereas, initiating CXO requires companies to take this to the next level by building a complete picture of each customer type, with the help of a Customer Journey Map. These maps will help brands to spot customer needs and opportunities to solve any problems that customers may have when interacting with them, the website or an app. 

Considerations for brands

With CRO processes, businesses aim to get more out of their existing website traffic while ensuring they are targeting qualified leads. For those looking to implement a CRO strategy, a key recommendation involves creating text-based CTAs within blog posts. Marketers are now up against banner blindness, which relates to website visitors becoming accustomed to ignoring banner-like information online. In fact, a recent study from HubSpot found that regular end-of-post banner CTAs contributed an average of just 6% of leads that a blog post generated, whereas up to 93% of a post’s leads came from the anchor text CTA alone.

Brands need to also consider that some visitors may want to skip the traditional buyer’s journey and immediately make a purchase online. With this, there are specific actions that need to be taken to encourage these high-intent visitors to become marketing qualified leads and ensure they can take action quickly with compelling landing pages and smart CTAs. Organisations need to run a series of tests to find out what generates the most customers, before optimising that process for a seamless user experience. 

With CXO, businesses must develop a strong operational model which dramatically improves and enhances user website experience. The first step is to understand the visitor journey by taking advantage of user insights. Tools such as heatmaps, form analytics and session recordings can offer an in-depth view of elements that are making or breaking a visitor’s journey. This will enable brands to optimise their products or services and refine their website across all touchpoints.

In addition, one of the best ways to evaluate a customer experience is to speak to the people that matter most: the customers. Brands can consider gathering customer feedback in real-time to better understand what they think with post-interaction surveys or polls. Whilst they may not get responses from every customer, the users that respond can help the business to provide the best possible experience for them. 

Future of optimisation

Whilst CRO and CXO provide a plethora of different benefits to brands, there is a place for both processes within any organisation. Across the macro and micro level, CRO will improve a business’ conversion rate in the short term and they will see a better return on their marketing investment.

On the other hand, CXO will take longer but can accelerate a company’s competitive advantage by allowing them to offer a unique customer experience. In today’s digital marketplace, brands should look to use a blended approach that involves cross-functional teams that drive towards the same objectives.