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Ask An Expert: Illuminate, Behavioral Economics and Coming up With A/B Test Ideas


Welcome to our second installment of Ask A Brooks Bell Expert, a series where we talk to one of our internal experts, and ask them fun questions. And relevant questions, too. Check out our lastQ&A with John D’Alessandro about A/B Testing with AngularJS.

What’s taken us so long to get the second installment out, you ask? We had a little event called Click Summit—read more about that here. This month’s edition is with Suzi Tripp, Sr. Director of Innovative Solutions at Brooks Bell.

Delisa: Suzi! I like to kick these off with a little introduction for the readers. What would you say you do all day?

Suzi: Well, I’ve been with Brooks Bell for nearly eight years in a variety of positions, but I’m really enjoying my current role as Senior Director, Innovative Solutions, where I’m in charge of Illuminate.

DR: How would you explain Illuminate to my Grandma Jean?

S: Illuminate is the software we launched last year to help clients manage and optimize their experimentation programs. It has a testing repository to store and share tests, a customizable ROI dashboard to track results, guided brainstorming to ideate tests, a case study template to create and share successes and our Insight Framework to help pull customer insights out of the results.

DR: You mentioned that you’ve been at Brooks Bell for eight years now—and I know your roles here have ranged from managing client accounts to leading our experimentation strategy. How does your experience from these roles guide Illuminate’s feature set?

S: I know what challenges program leads face—I faced them, too.  I also know ways to alleviate those pain points. I feel really fortunate to be able to build a tool that solves those problems that I faced for so long. It’s gratifying to solve those issues, and I love being able to help other people going down that same path.

DR: It’s hard to believe Illuminate has been out for a year! We haven’t talked about it in a while, what have you been up to?

S: We’ve been launching features, doing demos, building partner programs, and onboarding clients. It’s a really exciting time!

We recently launched an integration with Adobe. Adobe customers that have A4T can bring their experiment data right into Illuminate, making experiment documentation even easier!  

We’ve also made some cool updates to our shareable case studies. Creating and editing them is even quicker and easier, and we added a confidence threshold and minimum detectable effect as optional fields.

We’re constantly optimizing the software and making tweaks, but those updates are some of my favorites.

DR: That Adobe integration sounds pretty sweet. So what’s next for Illuminate?

S: Many of our consulting clients are interested in help with their test intake forms, which allow people to share their test ideas for consideration. I love this idea because it helps foster a collaborative culture around experimentation. But I also know that test intake can become a huge pain for the people who need to vet those ideas if the criteria isn’t adequate.

Illuminate already allows teams to collaborate on test strategies based on pre-stated goals and data, but we don’t currently have an “open call” for test ideas.  But, it’s on the way!

DR: What would that look like in practice?

S: Think about dropping a link in your email signature, in Slack, etc. that asks for test ideas. Then people can click through it to answer a few carefully crafted fields.  Best of all, these ideas are being stored for you in Illuminate—ready for prioritization and execution.

DR: So where do you get ideas for new features?

S: A lot of them come from customer requests and suggestions—like the Adobe integration and the intake form—but a ton come from our Brooks Bell team, too.

What’s awesome is that our team will create something for a client, and then come to us to say, “this would be a great fit for Illuminate.” Then we’ll work together to define it and get it into development. We’ve got so many great analytics features coming up thanks to the amazing analysts at Brooks Bell. They are also a great sounding board for us to pitch new feature ideas.

DR: You led a training on ideation during Click Summit. Any quick tricks you can share to drive testing ideas?

S: Think. Like. A. Customer. Of course, you need to have your metrics, your data, and your team—but from there it’s all about thinking like a customer.  It sounds super obvious, but this is a huge barrier. Those of us testing on our sites know the site inside and out and we’re laser-focused on it, but the prospects we’re trying to convert aren’t thinking that way.  

To help alleviate this disconnect, we did a few “train your brain” exercises at Click Summit to help attendees get into a customer state of mind. Stay tuned for more details in another blog post!

DR: Looking forward to reading that! One of my favorite things to hear you talk about is behavioral economics (BE). You’ve done a lot of research and training on BE previously; are you using any of that knowledge now?

S: OMG, yes! I am still a behavioral econ fangirl and it’s really exciting to be able to share that with others through Illuminate! We have this awesome framework we use at Brooks Bell called “Pains & Gains” that is heavily influenced by behavioral economics principles.

We serve up over 100 test ideas based on alleviating the five biggest barriers to conversion (Pains) or enhancing the five biggest conversion boosters (Gains)!  We also have a nod to behavioral economics in our Insight Altitude framework in Illuminate, which uses behavioral economics principles to uncover “Satellite-level” theories and insights about customers. It’s a huge part of Brooks Bell and a huge passion of mine, so we’re definitely using Illuminate to bring those principles to our users.

We also have a nod to behavioral economics in our Insight Altitude framework in Illuminate, which uses behavioral economics principles to uncover “Satellite-level” theories and insights about customers. It’s a huge part of Brooks Bell and a huge passion of mine, so we’re definitely using Illuminate to bring those principles to our users.

DR: If you had to use one word to describe the first half of 2019, what would it be?

S: Oh, definitely “momentum.” We’ve got so much momentum with Illuminate. Our relationships with partners and channels are opening new doors, and clients and prospects are filling our roadmap with features. We’re moving at lightning speed and learning a ton along the way.

DR: People reading this may not know about your secret talent of coming up with amazing taglines. Can you share with the fine readers some of your Illuminate slogans?

S: Ha! Well, sure. As you know Illuminate is replacing slide decks as a tool for storing and presenting testing results, so one unofficial motto is “Don’t be a deck!” That one isn’t the most PC, though, so our newest slogan is “Better tests. Bigger impact.”

DR: That’s perfect! Thanks for your time, Suzi. Looking forward to hearing more big things about Illuminate.

Have any other topics you’d like us to weigh in on? Shoot us a note at [email protected]