DxO is the next evolutionary step beyond conversion rate optimisation (CRO) which uses simple A/B testing to improve the customer journey online and acquisition conversion rates.

One of the key aspects of DxO is experimentation. If it’s undertaken effectively throughout the entire digital customer journey, then it helps to drive acquisition, retention and ongoing recurring revenue.

Why brands should aim for maturity with DxO

There are three main benefits to reaching full maturity with DxO. Firstly, it can help marketers to sustainably grow revenue – vital with new customer acquisition being expensive. Secondly, DxO can be used to effectively interrogate and validate major business decisions and strategy. Finally, it aids marketers in defining and delivering a customer-centric experience that makes their brand stand out. All three benefits are vital for those seeking to grow within this challenging economic climate.

However, to reach full maturity and maximise the performance benefits DxO delivers requires brands to follow four stages.

Four stages to DxO maturity 

  1. To begin with, every organisation that sets out on the path to optimisation maturity needs a keen advocate of experimentation and optimisation internally – someone who understands the value it can bring in helping to drive the performance of the business. The advocate will be working to deliver quick wins to prove the value of an experimentation and optimisation programme to key decision makers internally. The advocate is most likely to be a marketer who has optimisation bolted onto their existing job role.
  1. Once the advocate has achieved some level of buy-in to experimentation and optimisation internally at a senior level, a formal testing programme needs to be established. This is the start of the second step to DxO maturity, the assembly stage. At this time the advocate is organising and establishing industry best practice processes, and building infrastructure to scale the optimisation programme. A good place to start is with pop-up surveys. These can be a goldmine of data on what customers are thinking and can inform the testing of content for key landing pages and conversion flows, through to onboarding and retention activity.
  1. The next step is collaboration. At this point, with standards and best practice procedures in place, the optimisation programme starts to expand more rapidly. Cross functional teams within the business start to work together to deliver objectives based on DxO activity. They see the opportunities in experimentation and collaboration. For example, the marketing team starts to work closely with the retention team in testing and using the learnings to improve customer relationship management (CRM) and drive revenue from customers across the entire journey. There should also be a small, dedicated optimisation team who start to collaborate with others within the organisation to support all testing and optimisation activity to drive brand performance. 
  1. At the final, cruise stage, optimisation and experimentation is embedded throughout the entire organisation to help inform all decision making, from top to bottom. Everything from product, pricing and new features are experimented, with a shared framework and organisational-wide objectives. It’s at this point that the brand reaches maturity in DxO.

The process from advocate to cruise stage doesn’t happen overnight. The speed at which the process takes place depends on a number of factors.

How to quickly maximise performance from DxO / reach maturity:

The right team

At the beginning of the journey, organisations must have the right team in place to efficiently deliver DxO. To strive towards optimisation maturity this should be a standalone DxO team with strategists, designers, developers and researchers. The goal is to have this unit become the centre of company-wide testing, with all website changes made by them. This is a significant investment and won’t happen overnight – unless the business is making some big organisational changes – therefore often the best approach is to use agency support to bolster the in-house team. Experts in experimentation can help to increase test velocity and build a business case for further investment. They can step in to support with training, and then handover and step back to enable the organisation to manage everything internally, when they reach maturity.

Tools & technology

Secondly, it’s vital to have suitable tools and technology integrated into the business. At this stage data for experimentation must be gathered from multiple different sources and be analysed by team members using the applicable analytics and insight tools to inform business and marketing strategy. Of particular importance to deliver and analyse effectively is an optimisation testing tool such as Optimizely or Google Optimize. This can be set up by an agency partner if needed – but with full access and ownership to enable organisations to build their knowledge and delve into the data and insight themselves.

Good governance

This requires having DxO processes in place that ensures experimentation occurs at all levels of the business, with testing focused on answering business questions. Additionally, experimentation KPIs need to be focused on improving CLTV.

A culture of experimentation

Having the right culture within the business is critical. Without the right culture that is fully supportive of optimisation and experimentation, the investment won’t be available for the brand to reach DxO maturity. There must be a culture that grows DxO advocates throughout the business and motivates those in the organisation to get behind DxO, particularly amongst the c-suite leadership, to promote and maintain a customer centric testing culture. Only then can DxO become an essential part of business strategy and adopted throughout the organisation.

Third-party audit

To maintain an appropriate level of financial and stakeholder investment for DxO maturity, it’s important to audit all your optimisation activity to ensure it’s delivering the level of performance it should, and is maximising return on investment. A good place to start is to get a third-party to audit and review your current programme. This will spot gaps – in terms of manpower, new  technology and governance.

A centralised operating model

Finally, make sure you have the appropriate operating model for optimisation in place. Ideally, it should be centralised, so insight can be shared effectively throughout the organisation. The best approach is to have a centre of excellence for DxO within your business that provides stewardship over other departments within it. As mentioned above, you can work towards this with third-party support, if required. However, it is important to have this end-goal in mind.

It’s time for those in marketing who have started to embrace experimentation and optimisation across their digital channels (DxO) to improve their performance and maximise return on investment (ROI) from their marketing and wider business practices to target reaching maturity with DxO.

By following four important stages from advocacy to cruise it’s possible to reach DxO maturity and unleash growth. However, the speed at which this is reached is defined by the time and investment that has been put into the team, tools, governance, and building the appropriate culture internally.