Episode 94 | October 02, 2023

Uplevel your digital marketing with creative and prototype testing

In this week’s Insights Unlocked, UserTesting’s Paige Musto talks with Kristy Morrison, a senior manager for digital intelligence and optimization at F5. They talk about digital marketing, including creative and prototype testing, and using qualitative insights to better understand the why behind web analytics.

Uplevel your digital marketing with creative and prototype testing

Businesses lose trillions of dollars to software rework annually. But could some of this loss be avoided?

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get feedback from your customers to validate an idea or test a prototype before bringing it to engineering for development?

That’s just what Kristy Morrison and her team do at F5, where they are managing the customer experience across all digital channels. And when you look at the customer journey—from awareness and discovery to logging in to use the product, pay a bill or reach out to customer service—there are a lot of digital touchpoints. 

“Those are all part of the digital customer experience,” Kristy said. “And they are something I care deeply about. And I work across the organization to make those as meaningful and as simple to use as possible.”

In this week’s Insights Unlocked, UserTesting’s Vice President of Corporate Marketing Paige Musto talks with Kristy, a senior manager for digital intelligence and optimization at F5. Their conversation was recorded at UserTesting’s The Human Insight Summit (THiS) in Seattle last month. They touch on various topics related to digital marketing, including creative and prototype testing, using qualitative insights to better understand the why behind web analytics, content efficacy and more.

About F5 and Kristy’s role

F5 powers the technology behind many of the applications we use daily—reliably and securely. “We power the technology or create the technology behind all the apps that you use at work or at home,” Kristy said. 

As mentioned, Kristy’s goal is to improve the customer experience. But what does that mean? 

“I always joke that if it happens on the Internet or if it happens on Google, it's either my fault or I care deeply about it,” Kristy said.

Kristy emphasizes the importance of testing and using various data sources, including web analytics, UserTesting, customer databases, and telemetry data, to optimize the digital customer experience.

Validating new ideas and creative

“Every good experience that you create with your customer is part of your brand,” Morrison said. “So is every bad experience.”

To ensure she has more of the former than the later, Kristy turns to getting quick customer feedback. Testing a hypothesis, marketing creative or a prototype, she said, saves her team’s limited dev time by helping cipher out the bad ideas from the good ones before developing them further. 

“And UserTesting allows us to do that, allows us to validate our hypotheses, validate the designs that they are creating, engagements that we are trying to create,” Kristy said. “We're creating purposeful engagements.”

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What are the benefits of concept testing?

The estimated cost of software rework is more than $2.4 billion, not including technical debt. This rework happens from the disconnect between customer expectations and what businesses delivered.

By testing marketing creative, design prototypes or product concepts ahead of time with your customers and target customers, you can avoid poor customer experiences and failed launches.

A few benefits from concept testing include: 

  • Buy-in from your customers and potential customers
  • Confidence that you’re working on the right thing
  • Uncover features and benefits you may not have considered

How to run a successful concept test or test marketing creative

When you have some early sketches or designs, get feedback to validate usability before investing resources to build it out. Does the design make sense? Is it clear and intuitive to the user? And if you find out that something in your early designs is really problematic, you can change it and then test again to see if it’s a better experience before proceeding to development or production.

The picture below is of several cover art concepts for the Insights Unlocked podcast. In a crowded screen of podcast show art, we wanted to know what stood out to heavy podcast listeners and why. From here, we were able to iterate on colors, shapes, background and more until we settled on the final design.

UserTesting's Insights Unlocked podcast artwork being tested

“Remember, you are not your customer,” said Christian Idiodi, partner at Silicon Valley Product Group in his podcast interview in Season 2, episode 17. “You must validate your ideas with actual customers. No matter how long you've been in the business, no matter how much data you know, you must test with the people you're trying to solve a problem for.”

Surprisingly, it doesn’t require a huge investment of time or money to carry this out successfully. Nielsen Norman Group discovered that a study with five participants can uncover 85% of the usability problems.

Related articles for concept or prototype testing

Looking for additional help or information on concept or prototype testing? Check out these related articles from UserTesting. 

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