Business Performance Conversion Testing

Who owns Conversion Rate Optimisation in your company?

“Who owns the website?”

It’s a simple question, but one that is difficult to answer. I couldn’t say for sure, when I was asked it this week. If you asked the same question to people from different departments across your organisation, I expect you’d get many different answers. The majority of which would be along the lines of “I/we do”.

Perhaps the answers differ because each department has a different understanding of the question. IT builds and maintains the product/website, so they own it. Sales are selling the product, so they own it. Marketing are promoting and attracting the customers, so they own it.

So if it’s hard to answer the question at such a general level, how do you answer the second question:

Who owns conversion rate optimisation?

Who is responsible for making sure that your product is converting as many of your site visitors into customers?

Let’s look at what may go into adding a new product or feature to your website (this will vary considerably, of course, across companies. Use your imagination!).

A solution to a customer need is identified. It is evaluated (business / strategic fit, cost benefit analysis, etc.), a business requirement drawn up, a technical spec produced. Wireframes sketched, code written, design created. Tested. Launched.

Throughout that somewhat whirlwind tour of the development cycle, it touched people from multiple disciplines and departments. Commercial people, technical people and creative people.

So who is responsible for making sure the new product converts?


If you’re producing the wireframes for the process flow and the page layouts, you’re heavily involved in conversion rate optimisation. Do you own it?

IT Development

If you’re writing the code that produces the pages and functionality within a process, you’re heavily involved in conversion rate optimisation. Do you own it?


If you’re responsible for driving the traffic into your site and ensuring as many convert (register, buy, subscribe, etc.), then you’re heavily involved in conversion rate optimisation. Do you own it?

You’re probably sensing a trend here.

Conversion rate optimisation clearly affects people across many areas of a business, making it very difficult to pin ownership on one department or person.

And when no one owns an activity, it usually goes one of two ways.

1.       It either gets neglected and doesn’t happen, or

2.       You spend a lot of time arguing and achieved nothing

So, how do you determine who owns it?

I don’t have a definitive answer – though I do have an opinion – but I’d love to know how it’s done in other companies. I know there are some very bright people out there who must have gone through this thought process before, so it’d be great if you could share your opinion in the comments.

So, my opinion?

I think you need to go back to a question I asked earlier:

Who is responsible for making sure that your product is converting as many of your site visitors into customers?

Who actually tracks and is measured by site conversion performance? Find that person in your organisation and you have your answer.From one company to the next that person could sit in different departments. In my current organisation it is a Marketing person, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you told me something different.

The department doesn’t matter as much as the person. They need to have an inquisitive mind, a need to delve in and understand why. They need to understand cause and effect, and what makes people tick. They need to be excited about the concept of continuous optimisation and grin from ear to ear when their percentage points trek northwards.

No true journey is best done alone however.

Conversion optimisation is at its most effective when a business and its people are working together to achieve it. Not wasting time about who owns it – that has been decided – but bringing together their talents and skill-sets in a coordinated movement to improve processes and designs in the areas they touch. So it’s a cultural thing too.

So, who owns conversion rate optimisation in your company? I’d love to hear your thoughts or about your experiences overcoming the same question. Or maybe you have a totally different way of viewing it – I can’t wait to hear that 

Business Performance

Your website stinks!

Picture this internal monologue in the mind of a prospective customer…

Argh, time to renew my home insurance again.

What was the TV ad I saw with the special deal if I switch to them? The one with the singing pig…

Bah, I’ll Google it…’l-o-w c-o-s-t h-o-m-e i-n-s-u-r-a-n-c-e’…

Hmmm, was it this one? [click]…that rings a bell…not sure though…

What about this one? [click]… No, don’t think so but it has kind of got the same deal…can’t be bothered to keep searching, I’ll give it a go…

What you were just privy to there, was the thought process of your potential customer as they walked out the [digital] door.

The galling thing was that it was your website they were looking at first. They looked but didn’t stop because they weren’t sure it was the one they were looking for. There was no reference to the deal, and no pig in sight. This happens every day, across all industries and products, no matter whether its ads on TV, print, radio, or outdoor media.

Why? What’s missing?


Follow your nose

We’re not talking some kind of new fangled sniff-o-vision or those perfume inserts in magazines. Scent refers to the visual clues that the individual uses to connect – and carry over – brand elements from one medium to another. This can be images, taglines, logos, calls to action or any other significant identifier that is used consistently.

Scent is essential when drawing customers from your offline media to online, as there is inevitably a chasm in the process where they must leap from the advert to your website. Those that are smart build bridges to aid the customer across – they place the URL in the ad – but even that is reliant on memory or the ad being to hand. It is the scent, the recognition of the visual clues, which reassures and builds confidence within the customer, presenting opportunities for conversion.

With digital media the problem is slightly different. Thankfully, the hero of the internet – the humble hyperlink – not only carries them across the bridge, it does so in the blink of an eye, removing – or at least limiting – pesky distractions.

No, the problem digital media experiences is less Herculean than the path the offline conversion treads. It’s laziness. Unfortunately, despite the ability to harness the power of the link to carefully shepherd the customer down our conversion funnel, we internet marketers have a tendency to brain-fart at times and take our carefully segmented, behavioural targeted prospects and dump them on our generic, catch all homepage.

Whilst the potential customer knows they’re on the right website, it hardly helps the conversion process if they experience no correlation between the two mediums.

The Sniff Test

Whether its on- or offline media, we need to ensure the scent flows from one media to the next  – consistency is key.

If you run an ad campaign – TV, print, email, display, whatever – featuring a singing pig, make damn sure that pig is smiling up at you when you hit the website. If your pig has a witty ‘bring home the bacon’ catchphrase or strapline, then get it in your Google Adwords copy (and yes you need to be bidding on ‘pig advert’ too – sadly they won’t always remember your brand, no matter how big your budget).

Then make sure your homepage and your bespoke landing pages feature our perky, pink friend to reassure your customer as you tempt them down the path to conversion.

The true test to you as a marketer is to get all your ducks in row (sorry more animal metaphors). Your customers have a multitude of ways into your website – are they all telling the same story?


(and full disclosure, I worked on this campaign)

You have a TV ad (or print, billboard, etc.) running offline.

Your audience may see it away from their computer, so you continue the theme on your mobile site:

You use the same wording from the TV creative in your PPC ads:

And finally you repeat the messaging / imagery on your website’s homepage:

The path is complete. Throughout each touchpoint you’ve been consistent with your message, your imagery and your brand, leaving no doubt in the mind of the potential customer.

So what do you think? Do you have any great – or poor – examples of scent in campaigns you’d like to share? I’d love to hear your thoughts.