What would you rather have: a 32-inch flat screen TV for $100 or a 72-inch flat screen TV for $150? After considering the first 32 inches cost $100, you would probably pay the additional $50 for another 40 inches.
This same principal can be thought of in terms of testing and optimization, with one caveat — you have to buy the 32-inch TV first.
A discovery, not a lift
Many attempting to optimize and test within webpages want big lifts; however here at MECLABS Institute, we always say the goal of a test is not to get a lift but to gain discoveries about customer behavior. This makes sense on face value, but to be honest, when I first heard the expression, I thought to myself, “Well sure, that sounds like a good backstop in case you don’t get a lift.” However, I soon learned that it is more than a backstop or worse — an excuse.
As the curator for Dr. Flint McGlaughlin’s personal website, I often come across insightful observations. This next excerpt speaks particularly well to this topic of optimization and testing to obtain more than just a lift:
Too often, marketers are focused on results instead of reasons. We need to move deeper than ‘how much,’ into ‘why so,’ to answer an even more important question: What does this tell me about my customer or prospect? And so the goal of an optimization test transcends the notion of a lift and asks for learning. With sufficient insights we can obtain the ultimate lift. The more you know about the customer, the easier it is to predict their behavior. The easier it is to predict their behavior, the more you know about your value proposition. — Flint McGlaughlin
I have bolded what I think is the most important part of that quote for the sake of our discussion today. I am going to repeat it because it is so significant: “The goal of an optimization test transcends the notion of a lift and asks for learning. With sufficient insights we can obtain the ultimate lift.” — Flint McGlaughlin
Now we may ask ourselves, “What is the ultimate lift”? Some may think it is the biggest or most important criteria on some arbitrary scale. In my opinion, the “ultimate” lift is gaining insight about your customer and your value proposition that can be leveraged across all marketing channels.
Value Proposition 101
Before we go any further, if you are reading this article and do not know what I mean when I say “value proposition,” I urge you to investigate our research specifically around value proposition. However, for the sake of brevity (and this blog post), here is the oversimplified crash course:
A company’s value proposition is essentially trying to answer the question “If I am you ideal prospect, why should I buy from you rather than your competitors?”
The answer should be a “because” statement that stresses the appeal and exclusivity of the offer in a clear and credible way. The offer also needs to be supported by factual claims which will add to the credibility of the offer.
Testing for the “ultimate lift”
Now that we have a basic understanding of a value proposition, here is an example from a past MECLABS research partner. In this experiment, we achieved the “ultimate lift” because of customer discoveries gained through value proposition testing.
Experiment ID: TP1306
Background: Provides end-to-end market solutions for small and medium-sized businesses.
Primary Research Question: Which page will obtain the most form submissions?
First, here is the control:
After analyzing the offer on the page, MECLABS analysts identified the following value proposition for the offer.