Setting Up a Successful CRO Program at Hallmark with Online Dialogue
In 2019, Hallmark embarked on a collaborative journey with Online Dialogue to establish a pioneering Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) program from the ground up. The venture began with the incorporation of a freshly hired conversion specialist dedicated to laying the foundations of this program, a process guided and supported at each step by Online Dialogue, a reputed agency known for pioneering in the field of CRO and bringing a rich history of expertise to the table. We sat down with Lisanne van de Weijgert, CRO specialist at Hallmark, to dissect the intricacies of this successful collaboration.
Choosing Online Dialogue
The choice of partnering with Online Dialogue was driven by the agency’s prominent presence and proven track record in the CRO landscape. Hallmark valued the depth of expertise that Online Dialogue brought, aligning perfectly with Hallmark’s vision for a robust, data-driven, and customer-centric approach. The shared goal was clear: fostering a culture of validation and experimentation.
Developing a Strategy
The strategy developed hand in hand with Online Dialogue centered on not just setting up the process but immersing the entire organization into the CRO philosophy. It was vital to unravel the ‘why’ behind the strategy, setting a clear pathway towards nurturing a culture rooted deeply in customer insights and data-driven decision-making.
Cultivating an Experimental Mindset
During the initial phases, the CRO team encountered resistance, which rather than shying away from, they utilized as a springboard to initiate a dialogue about the importance of a CRO program. “We viewed criticism as an opportunity to underline the essence of CRO and how it brings the focus back to the customer,” shares Lisanne.
Building Engagement through Initiatives
To spur engagement, Hallmark, guided by insights from Online Dialogue, unveiled an initiative termed ‘I-know-better-bus.’ It was designed as an open invitation to all departments to contribute ideas to enhance the website’s efficiency, a step that saw a rich pool of ideas materializing. Meetings held to share A/B tests and their outcomes fostered open dialogues, bringing to light the surprises that experimental results often hold.
Identifying Early Adopters
Lisanne highlighted the pivotal role played by early adopters in breaking resistance and propelling the acceptance of CRO across different strata of the organization. Leveraging the early adopters, CRO slowly but surely became a household name within Hallmark, leading to a natural alignment of the teams towards a shared objective.
Tools and Resources
With the hands-on approach and guidance of Online Dialogue, Hallmark introduced feedback tools that served as a catalyst in speeding up the experimentation process. The tools, rigorously understood and implemented, facilitated quick insights, propelling informed decisions that streamlined the processes.
Bringing Customer to the Forefront
One of the most distinctive strategies adopted, inspired by the collaborative brainstorming with Online Dialogue, was the creation of a persona room where every stakeholder could immerse themselves into the customer’s world, visualizing their needs and preferences vividly. This initiative played a monumental role in bringing the customer feedback into the organization’s physical space, creating a tangible connection with the customer perspectives.
Physical Representation of CRO Journey
Another groundbreaking initiative was the inception of a test wall, a physical representation of ongoing experiments, instilling a sense of inclusivity, as it nurtured a culture of open dialogues, and brought departments closer, working harmoniously towards a shared goal.
The CRO team, with guidance from Online Dialogue, made it a point to celebrate milestones, a practice that instilled a sense of pride and ownership among the team members. Lisanne emphasized that reflection on the journey so far kept the team motivated to forge ahead with renewed vigor.
As they look to the future, the roadmap outlined with Online Dialogue points towards a continuous journey of optimization, of uncovering new realms of opportunities with a data-driven and customer-focused lens. “We are poised to build on the strong foundation laid over the past year, eager to delve deeper into the experimental pathway, guided by our collaboration with Online Dialogue, who have been instrumental in bringing our vision to life,” shares a hopeful and proud Lisanne.
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