To ensure your customers are engaged ongoing and you meet a higher proportion of your product business cases adopting a test & learn culture in the early stages (and throughout the product life cycle), is fundamental. By empowering product teams to foster a mindset of experimentation, organisations can ensure that the products built will be more aligned to customer needs and ultimately, business success.
Leaders that sponsor this approach, create a culture of less talking, and more action, with decisions that are based less on opinion and more on evidence.
Recently, there has been a significant shift towards embracing a test and learn culture in the market. In the past, large enterprises prioritised meticulous documentation and strict adherence to predetermined plans. Persevering was considered the sole path to success, even if the needs of the business and customers had changed since the final approval. Unfortunately, this approach resulted in a high failure rate for newly launched products within their first year in the market.
In response to the surge in digital technologies and the growing competitiveness of the market, organisations have acknowledged the pressing need for a dynamic and data-driven approach.
Consequently, there has been a notable cultural shift where persevering is no longer the only path to success. The decision for teams to pivot or perish a product, or change after validation, is as valuable for long term success. Numerous tools and approaches have emerged to support this mindset, including new upfront quantitative and/or qualitative research techniques, pretotyping (e.g., fake front doors), prototyping, A/B testing, Low-Code Development, and utilising AI to increase productivity across the product development process.
According to Gartner survey analysis, organisations that significantly outperform their competitors are almost twice as likely to make testing and experimentation a priority. This highlights the vital role of testing and experimentation in driving competitive advantage, and serving more value to the end customer.
Salesforce partnered with one of our partners Optimizely, to accelerate experimentation leveraging A/B testing. This has enabled Salesforce to become the customer success managers, answering more complex customer questions by empowering their product teams through the adoption of best practices. For growing and scaling organisations, Optimizley’s A/B experimentation tool is the key to continuous customer experience improvement and delivering the best business results.
“Experimentation is a core value to those of us on the digital experience team and Optimizely is a key partner for us. I think one of the major things that I have seen since we partnered with Optimizely is the number of tests we do, the sophistication of those tests.” – Eric Stahl, SVP Digital Experience at Salesforce
Airbnb created a fake front door website with photos and descriptions of their own apartment, positioning it as an opportunity for users to find affordable accommodations. By pretotyping the idea, they were able to mitigate the risk of over-investing in a product that might not have delighted users, and reducing the potential financial and reputational risks. Also, by involving users and gathering real-time feedback, they ensured that their final product would align with user expectations and provide a delightful experience, increasing the likelihood of user adoption and retention.
Test & Learn Culture is one of IE’s 20 success factors. To learn more, read our first article, ‘Winning in a Product-Led World’.