Coming from traditional marketing roles, I really didn’t know what was in store when I said yes to a digital coordinator role at then startup, Fixed Price Car Service.
Off the back of seed funding, there were a lot of new staff members and everyone was trying to find their feet, all at the same time. Usually when you take on a new role, you have access to employees that have been working in that organisation for years and know the company’s systems, procedures and operations inside out. You can usually soak up knowledge and experience from these long-termers and learn a lot about the company in a short period of time.
In stark contrast to previous roles where there had definitely been a lack of desire to step out of the comfort zone and push the boundaries, the exciting element in joining a marketing team with four fresh faces was that the product was new to all of us, and we each had our own unique ideas to contribute to this green fields pasture.
Soon after joining, our digital strategy evolved and I quickly took on the role of Digital Marketing Manager. Two years on, and with a rebrand to AutoGuru, the lessons I’ve learned on the job could never have been taught at university. We have radically matured in the way we develop products and embark on new opportunities.
I wanted to take the opportunity to share with you a few of the lessons I’ve learned and I hope they in turn will help you.
Lesson #1: A/B Test Everything
Even if the control version of a webpage is horrendous and your gut tells you the new version will hands down win, split test it!
There have been a number of times where we identified pages that needed tidying up, or a fresh coat of paint, so we’ve gone all-chips-in with a new design and not seen a positive lift.
We’re now much more strategic and hyper-analytical when it comes to testing. We’ll only ever swap out one element at a time so that we can be absolutely certain of what caused the impact.
We’ve been using VWO for a couple of years now and found their A/B testing and split testing functionality to be critical for product development, and this helps us employ a ‘test first and validate’ approach.
Lesson #2: Know the Numbers and Make Them Accessible to Everyone
As any digital marketer knows there are many different ways you can cut data, so it’s critical that everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet, so to speak.
Fixed Price Car Service was bootstrapped out of our CEOs digital agency, so once seed funding came through there were a few legacy leftovers, one of them being our administration and reporting. We went through a cycle of about 6 months of continual design and flow changes but could never attribute lifts or declines to anything in particular.
Our project manager took the initiative to trial Microsoft’s Power BI tool, which has become our bible, and been widely adopted by our Call Centre, Sales, Marketing and Finance teams. It has fundamentally changed the way the business operates; everything is measurable and everyone know the numbers inside and out.
From Average Transaction Value to Average Commission Value, Lead to Booking and Site Conversion, the entire company has access to all our metrics.
It’s been exciting to see how transparency creates buy-in and motivation from all staff. Each week the marketing team generates a performance report for the whole company so that we’re all accountable and know what we’re working towards.
The final piece to the puzzle is sales funnel reporting. Our site traffic has more than doubled in the past year as a result of focusing on content creation and SEO optimisation. With the creation of new directories we started to see different consumer cohorts on our website.
In order to take a consumer driven marketing approach we needed to understand the behaviours of these consumers and how they interact with the site.
We’ve just started using Heap Analytics to measure our sales funnels from all site entry points and the insights we’re getting are mind blowing!
Lesson #3: Test and Test Again
I’m very hands on with our IT and product development team and think the convergence of consumer behaviour, UX, tech and data are super important in creating products that ultimately meet the customer’s need, provide a great experience, and most importantly, convert.
This year we formed a growth team, and while we still maintain a product roadmap, we alternate between growth and product on a fortnightly basis. This allows more ideas to see the light of day as we’re building MVP tests. Now the growth team’s aim is to increase the testing tempo and guide the product roadmap based on successful tests.
I’m sure many of you reading this can relate to some of the learnings I’ve experienced, within your own organisations. And if you’ve thought about applying some of the above-mentioned principles then now is the time to make a start.
Combining agile marketing and data has proven its value, we move quickly and most importantly learn quickly.
Now is a good time to be a marketer, happy testing.
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