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Let’s talk priorities! Speculative vs Data-driven approaches

Aug 29, 2012   //   by yosemsweet   //   Uncategorized  //  No Comments

As much as I hate to admit it, I’ve been sadly remiss in keeping this blog of ours up to date. The truth of the matter is we’ve been very busy over the last few months and I find writing to be an incredibly painful task. Because of this it always drops to the bottom of my to-do list – somewhere just between dreaming up harebrained schemes to crowdsource content generation and using combinatorics to identify the best keyphrases to target in Facebook and Adwords PPC campaigns. Surprisingly, it turns out I’m not the only person in the world to have this issue with prioritization.

Over the last several months we’ve been working with customers and leads to help them stop leaking profits from their website and start optimizing. A common theme for almost everyone we’ve talked with has been that optimization never hits the top of their queue. Something else always has a higher priority. What that higher priority item is changes from client to client and person to person, but one thing always hold true¹: the revenue potential for that higher priority item is speculative.

I’m not doubting the 15 page business case built out for your latest initiative, nor am I doubting the genius behind the new product feature being implemented. Without fail everyone works on projects with the absolute best of intentions and copious amounts of brainpower, inspiration, and skill behind their efforts. But what you can’t cover in advance is validating all of your assumptions. There just isn’t enough time to do so. And because you can’t validate all your assumptions, all of your plans are speculative. The only way to know if they will actually work is to try them and measure the results.

The faster you can measure results the sooner you can move an initiative from the speculative column to the validated column. And validated results beget validated learnings, which in turn lead to even more validated results. I could go on and on but basically the entire cycle leads to big time profits. At its core, this is the power of the optimization methodology. Build your hypothesis, test them against your market, measure the results, learn, and repeat. If your priority is profit, that’s the process you need to follow. Even though challenging your own assumptions about how your website, project, or business plan works is even more painful than managing PPC campaigns.


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