Conversion Conference 2016: Are You The Brat, The Square, or The Sheep?

We are surrounded by conversion on a daily basis; buy this product, try this service, cheer for this team, move to this neighborhood, eat at this restaurant, stay at this hotel… and the list goes on. It was definitely the hot topic of conversation over at Conversion Conference this year – for obvious reasons. However, despite the fact that we are inundated with all this conversion talk, my three takeaways from Conversion Conference are quite basic and perhaps even remedial, but nonetheless important.

The big struggle
Even large companies struggle every now and then; big brands can struggle to convert customers just as much as the little guys. One of my favorite analogies from last week came from Tim Ash, CEO of SiteTuners, who likened a big brand trying to change direction for a product to that of an aircraft carrier making a 180 degree turn. Do you know how long that takes? Even when all the right turbines are running the correct way - power is stopped to some and full bore on the other ones - it takes at least a mile for an aircraft carrier to turn around. Even one of the most sophisticated machines in the world takes 5,280 feet to start going the opposite direction. 

The point is, even the biggest brands have issues converting consumers if they decide to go in a different direction. There is more red tape to get through, more teams and decision makers to vet ideas, and more bureaucracy. Who says it’s easy being one of the big guys?

Size doesn’t matter 
Little brands don’t need to struggle as much as you might think. Much like the struggles of switching directions for the big brands, one of the themes from Conversion Conference was the following: just because you’re a small company, doesn’t mean you can’t collect and measure data effectively to help convert your customers. 

One of the most informative sessions of the conference touched on other effective ways to see what your customers respond best to other than A/B testing, such as heat mapping, feedback boxes, online surveys, etc. The idea that big data is all you need to make informed decisions can be overrated. While it’s most definitely a huge factor, any information you gather on consumer behavior can be quantified and qualified to help you better understand them and how to adjust your plan for your business. Don’t be stuck with a round peg and a square hole, think outside the box and find what works for you and your business.

Check your attitude 
Perhaps my favorite session of the entire conference didn’t necessarily talk about the right or wrong things to do with data or how to measure or analyze it. It looked at attitude. Assessing your team’s attitude toward your business can vastly improve results. Mona Patel, CEO of Motivate Design, spoke about what she calls “BS Excuse Personas,” eight personalities which are common in many organizations. Chances are, you fit into one or more of the personas, which is not a bad thing. However, not being able to recognize and adapt might be more detrimental. These eight personas all have the potential to cause issues within your organization. 

Here’s a quick rundown: 

  • The Brat - thinks they know everything; not open to new ideas
  • The Bullied - doesn’t stand up for their ideas
  • The Bottlenecker – thinks all decisions must go through them; slows the process to a grinding halt
  • The Scaffolder - takes an easily answered problem and makes it ten times more difficult
  • The Square – isn’t open to other ideas; cannot think outside the box
  • The Sheep - follows others in the organization; the ultimate “yes person”
  • The Blamer - points the finger at someone or something else if there is a problem
  • The Slacker - lets others do the work for them; doesn’t take responsibility

The point behind her talk was to help identify these archetypes and to make sure moving forward that these personas do not hold your organization back. What I loved so much about this session was that while this makes sense in the business world, it also translates into everyday life. These “BS Excuse Personas” can have such a negative effect on how people operate their day-to-day lives whether it is at the office, at home, or at play. All in all, these are simple and pretty self-explanatory, but also easily remedied. If you find yourself exhibiting the characteristics of any of these archetypes during a project, take a step back and adjust. It’s that simple. 

Much like conversion, let’s not over complicate things. If it works, keep doing it. If it doesn’t, take note and try something, anything, different - even if it’s small. Who knows what you might find out? It might be the answer you were looking for all along. 

Want to learn more about how small changes via testing can have a big impact on your bottom line? Check out our blog sections on Testing & Optimization

By Steve Ropers
About the Author:

Steve Ropers is a Solutions Consultant at Stratigent 

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