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Four Challenges to Building & Scaling Your Experimentation Program, Solved with illuminate


Since Brooks Bell was founded in 2003, we’ve worked with clients facing a multitude of challenges in establishing their experimentation programs: team turnover leading to loss of institutional testing knowledge; test results lost in a sea of monthly reports or lengthy spreadsheets; disagreements with creative, engineering or analytics teams; and senior-level executives that just don’t understand the true value of testing–just to name a few.

Over time, these challenges became so prevalent that we started offering a group “therapy” session at Click Summit, our annual conference for experimentation professionals.  Here, attendees are free to voice their feelings and frustrations in a small group-style conversation. Over time, this has become one of our more popular sessions at Click Summit (and if you were wondering, yes, there are mimosas involved).

But talking it out only does so much, and after nearly fifteen years of working in this space, we knew we could do more. So last week, we launched illuminate, our A/B testing program management software.

Illuminate was built to address some key challenges faced by clients in building and scaling their experimentation programs. We’ve outlined a few of them here:

Challenge 1: Lack of institutional testing knowledge 

You’ve heard of him. Y’know–the guy. The guy who spent years establishing your company’s experimentation program; the guy who was a walking encyclopedia of your testing history; the guy who also unceremoniously peaced out right before you joined the team–taking with him years of institutional knowledge about which tests had been run, and what was learned.

Illuminate solves for this by providing an organized, searchable history of all your tests–and along with them, the winners and any key learnings. It also integrates directly with Adobe Target, making it easy to sync your test results and KPIs.

Challenge 2: Building a testing culture

How does the saying go? If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. But if you teach a man to A/B test, you’re not only teaching him how to fish, but how to catch more fish in the right place, and at the right time–all the time…or something like that.

We built illuminate specifically for teams that want to use testing to uncover high-impact, meaningful insights about their customers, and share these insights with other departments that would likely benefit from their data.  

With illuminate’s case study generator, you can tell the story of your test in a way that is both detailed and easy to understand (for even your most testing-illiterate colleagues).

illuminate also invites key stakeholders to participate in your test brainstorming sessions using Illuminate’s guided brainstorming feature. These tools are framed using the Brooks Bell test ideation method, our proprietary process for coming up with new test opportunities. This is one of many processes that we’ve developed and refined over the years. 

The result? Happier customers and an optimization-savvy organization that is more aligned around your test results. Also, lots and lots of fish.

Challenge 3:  Learning about your customers

Reality check: So long as making changes to your website requires working with creative, brand, engineering and analytics (or the like), it’s likely you’re always going to face battles over who really owns the website. And so long as technology and UX best practices keep changing, you’re always going to be working under threat of the next redesign.

illuminate solves for this in a few different ways. In addition to the case study and brainstorming features we’ve already mentioned, illuminate also was built to enable deep customer learning.

In our consulting practice, we use the Brooks Bell Insight Framework to help our clients connect testing outcomes to high-impact insights about their customers. illuminate codifies this method of thinking in software, empowering you and your team to develop key customer insights that are not only transferable across your organization, but also able to withstand the test of time (and redesign).

Challenge 4: Communicating ROI of experimentation

Slashed budgets. Under-resourced teams. Rapidly changing goalposts. These pressures can bother anyone, but combined with constantly having to justify your team’s existence to executives who don’t speak optimization…well, we’d understand if you’re at risk of going Britney-Spears-circa-2007-levels of crazy.

With illuminate’s custom dashboard and one-click reporting tools, you can communicate and share your program’s impact on the metrics that are most important to your company, and senior management. 

Illuminate is the culmination of 16+ years of experience working with clients on experimentation strategy, ideation, execution and deep customer learning. 

Update – June 2020: Since this article was published, we’ve updated the illuminate UI and are now offering it for free! Learn more on our website and create your account today.