CRO Hero: Claire Peña, Growth Marketing Manager at Splunk

by Juliana Casale

Last updated on August 24th, 2018

CRO Heroes

Admittedly, Conversion Rate Optimization is not the most sexy term in the marketing world – but if you’ve ever run an A/B test where the variant won by a landslide, or made a website design change that led to a significant increase in product purchases, you know firsthand how exciting and powerful CRO can be in action.

Marketers who specialize in conversion rate optimization are often a rare mix of analytical and creative; tactical, and intuitive. They need to get inside a customer’s head, but they also need to dive deep into data.

Often, CRO professionals are tasked with:

  • Reducing friction in the user experience
  • Maximizing existing traffic
  • Mapping creative changes to internal success metrics

Though they frequently make small improvements, the impact on the revenue of a small business or large corporation over time can really add up.

To shed some light on the fascinating world of conversion rate optimization and the people who live in it, we recently launched CRO Heroes! If you missed our first interview with Placester’s Sam Clarke, you can check it out here.

The Importance of Opinion vs. Data

For the second round of the series, we interviewed Claire Peña, Growth Marketing Manager at Splunk – a software platform for machine data.

Claire Peña

CE: Your experience as a marketing professional has been all over the map, from specializing in search to focusing on data analysis and conversion rate optimization.

How do all these pieces fit together?

I started off in a big digital agency that had a group of us sectioned off to specialize in SEO/SEM for clients. It had just started to pick up steam at the time as businesses realized that it’s a smart area to invest in if you want to achieve a positive ROI on marketing dollars.

Between our group bouncing ideas off each other and having the resources of a big company for training with Google, it was an ideal situation for beginning my career.

I fell in love with the quick returns and instant data access of the SEM space specifically. You can wake up the next morning and monitor optimizations you made the day before on an account. The power of data became acutely real and I was hungry to venture into other digital marketing channels to understand the benefits of each.

Across all digital channels, it became obvious how impactful the landing page experience was to your outcome – whether you’re measuring time on site, conversion rate, or straight revenue generation.

I became fascinated with CRO, testing anything from CTAs to content, UX, and visual design. It introduced me to data analysis and completely opened up my marketing world view.

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CE: What’s currently in your marketing tool stack, and how has technology helped you throughout your career?

Technology has completely changed my job.

My day-to-day tool stack consists of:

  • Digital marketing dashboards (Ex: Google Ads & Analytics)
  • VWO for A/B testing and Heatmaps
  • Pardot and Salesforce for Automation/Ops
  • Bizible for full circle attribution
  • Periscope for data visualization via SQL

It’s a mouthful but it’s increased my personal and team’s productivity tenfold.

CRO tracking tip

CE: What’s a common challenge you’ve observed, or mistake you see people making when it comes to data analysis and testing?

Hands down the most common challenge is patience, and the most common mistake is jumping to conclusions before statistical significance.

Data analysis and testing is empowering because it takes out bias, which is natural to human nature. But if you rush the tests with too low volume, it’s all for nothing.

It’s important to pick the most impactful tests to the business first. It could take an entire quarter to get the full picture results and you don’t want to waste that time waiting for something that won’t move the needle.

CE: It’s humblebrag time! Tell me about one or more A/B landing page tests you’ve run that have had surprising or significant results.

One company I was with was having trouble making a decision on messaging the product, which is in a complicated space that’s hard to convey simply. A lot of opinion and anecdotal evidence was being brought to the conversation.

Instead of making a decision rashly, our team suggested running a split URL test of our homepage, with the old messaging serving to 50% of traffic and the new messaging serving to the other 50%. We tracked trial and demo form submissions on each.

After a while, it was clear the new messaging resonated better. Our conversion rates were much higher on the test variation than the control.

This was impactful to the whole business, from trade shows to product marketing to elevator pitches. It was great to see digital testing have a big overall company impact.

CRO Pro tip

CE: In your opinion, what benefits does CRO bring to an organization?

CRO is directly impactful to the business, and all results are measurable. It takes opinion and assumption out of certain business decisions. I’ve been proven wrong by data too many times to count.

It’s humbling and ultimately good for the bottom line. I’m currently in the B2B SaaS space and we are able to tie digital channels through the website experience and into our product.

Our Growth Team consists of marketers, designers, product managers, and web developers – all coming together and running tests to constantly optimize our mid-funnel experience.

It’s exciting and directly affects revenue – what’s a better position to be in than that?

CRO specialist nomination

Do you have a suggestion on who we should spotlight next? Drop a comment below and let us know!

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Juliana Casale

Juliana is the Head of Marketing at Crazy Egg, working remotely out of Boston. She loves content, social media, flavored seltzer and craft beer. You can follow her on Twitter @attackofthetext.


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