The Ingredients of a Successful Experimentation Program according to DPG Media

DPG Media is the largest media company in the Netherlands, disseminating news and entertainment through a variety of channels including radio, TV, newspapers, magazines, websites, apps, and podcasts. In such a dynamic field, how does experimentation culture fare at one of the Benelux region’s largest publishers? We spoke to Joshua Kreuger, responsible for spearheading the experimentation program of DPG Media’s subscriptions department.

Supported by a team of eight specialists, Joshua is engrossed in establishing and enhancing a validation-driven methodology. This year, his team has garnered nominations for the Experimentation Culture Awards and, in collaboration with Online Dialogue, for Best Agency Team at Experimentation Elite — accolades that speak volumes.

In this interview, we delve into the optimal recipe for a thriving experimentation program.

Joshua Kreuger - CRO manager at DPG Media

CRO is Addictive

Joshua believes that Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is the most exciting field out there, harmoniously integrating data, psychology, and sales. The role allows for creative freedom in conducting research and formulating unique solutions. The exhilaration stemming from “aha moments” and the eureka sensation when a hypothesis is confirmed (or debunked) are highly addictive, igniting a curiosity in peers to explore data.

The Importance of Experimentation for DPG Media

DPG Media, a constantly evolving organization, holds a presence in the daily lives of most inhabitants of the Netherlands and Belgium, be it through news titles or products like Independer, a comparison website for financial products, healthcare institutions, and energy suppliers.

In the digital era, creating and capturing digital value is both a gift and a substantial challenge, especially in publishing. Through validation and experimentation, the company navigates innovation and optimization directions. The inclination towards experimentation resonates with the journalistic DNA, craving the truth, a trait mirrored in various company echelons.

The Ingredients for a Successful Experimentation Program

In recent years, Online Dialogue has partnered with DPG Media to forge a centre of excellence for a thriving experimentation program. A maturity scan indicated that the organization entered the structured phase in 2021, characterized by data-driven team experiments following a delineated process.

Ambitious to reach the Maximum Growth Efficiency stage, the team is on a growth trajectory, abetted by Online Dialogue through coaching, training, and the development of intelligent tools and playbooks. A multi-disciplinary squad is fundamental, bringing indispensable expertise in web analysis, psychology, UX design, and copy to the table.

Experimentation Maturity Model by Online Dialogue

From Experimentation to a Validation Culture

DPG Media has already embraced validation to a significant extent, reflected in the growing influx of experimental proposals from outside the team. To cultivate a validation culture, it’s vital to include colleagues and management in the validation process in a manner aligning with their objectives.

Testing for the Sake of Testing

Embarking on the journey to foster a validation culture was not devoid of hurdles, demanding not just a change but a grasp of the elusive concept of culture. Maintaining focus on the ultimate goal — establishing a sustainable validation-driven methodology — was pivotal.

Incorporating Experimentation into Organizational Culture

Creating a successful experimentation program hinges greatly on culture. Joshua emphasizes the necessity of making validation relevant for others and elucidating the real issues customers face, a strategy quite situational but proven effective in their experience.

The Future of CRO

CRO transcends being merely a marketing discipline. Joshua prefers referring to it as “Experimentation,” forecasting a brighter future with validation-driven working becoming a norm in organizations. Despite the challenges, Joshua envisions a promising road ahead, leveraging the rich knowledge accumulated to date to facilitate innovative projects and new product forms.

In this evolving landscape, Joshua now assumes a more facilitative role as the manager of experimentation and lead of the Centre of Excellence, focusing on processes and tooling to enable specialists to dedicate more time to innovation and optimization rather than peripheral matters. The journey over the past five years has been rapid, but for Joshua and his team, it feels like they are just warming up.

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