The question of who between Marketing and Product should own Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) in a digital transaction oriented business is an interesting one. It would seem that this naturally fits within the Product function. But I believe that this should be the responsibility of the Marketing, especially Digital Marketing team, with the support of the Product team (and other teams as appropriate).
Product, I believe, should own the overall vision and be responsible for feature development and enhancements. User experience should also absolutely sit within the Product team. However, Conversion Rate should not be the primary metric to judge usability of a site. In fact, it is very difficult to pinpoint and identify the right baseline for Conversion Rate, as it is influenced by so many factors beyond just product design – merchandising, inventory, sources of traffic, seasonality, competitive action – are just some of these extrinsic variables that can impact Conversion Rates significantly.
And which is why I believe Marketing is best placed to work on CRO. They are the team that knows more than any other team (or should know!) about all of these extrinsic factors. They are the team responsible for customer acquisition, engagement and retention, all areas where CRO is key. Not to mention that they own the Performance Marketing budget where again Conversion Rate plays a key role.
So what does this imply for an organisation and their Marketing function? In my opinion, strong marketing teams should have a good mix of the following core capabilities:
- Analytical skills to understand data and draw actionable insights from the data.
- Basic technical skills to understand how sites, apps and pages are designed and function, along with understand of analytics tracking systems to work closely with product and tech teams.
- Customer empathy to understand customer behaviours, motivations and user journeys.
- Communication skills to listen, communicate and engage with users across all channels.
Having these skills (either in-house or via external agencies or consultants) within the Marketing team will greatly help organisations in their journey towards improving Conversion Rates.
However, merely having these skills within the Marketing team is not enough. Organisations should ensure that they have the right processes in place to empower and enable the marketing team to act on improving Conversion Rates with the full support of relevant internal stakeholders, primary of which would be the Product team.
Contact me if you would like to discuss how to improve Conversion Rates for your business.