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Cover Story : Finding 'Definitive Insights'

SAP's Test Lab is remaking its website one A/B test at a time to lift conversions, slash waste and find what customers want

January 2013 By Thorin McGee
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"It was 24 months ago that Facebook was the social darling and Google was search marketing, right? Google was the quintessential paid media and Facebook was the quintessential earned media," says Shawn Burns, worldwide head of digital marketing for SAP. "Now, Facebook's all paid and Google's social. How do you make media investment decisions in that environment if you're not doing high-end analytics to contribute to attribution modeling?"

For Burns, the realization that it was impossible to understand what was happening to the marketing spend of this digital, data-driven software company was a problem that required a new approach to making marketing decisions about His team now takes its cues from the clients and prospects it's trying to reach.

Finding reliable, real-time insights into what they want is where SAP's dedicated Test Lab comes in. Created and run with help from the marketing intelligence arm of Richardson, Texas-based KBM Group, Test Lab uses real-time A/B testing to optimize conversions on and find incremental lift in all of SAP's demand generation and nurturing programs. The key performance indicator for SAP's Test Lab director Jake Sapirstein is "definitive insights," which Burns describes as results so solid and repeatable the company never has to test them again.

So far, SAP CMO Jonathan Becher credits the Test Lab with an average of "27 percent lift in incremental sales leads from digital" and "digital marketing budget savings of 20 percent" by avoiding less effective online techniques.

"We've moved away from instinct and now depend on quantifiable insights," says Becher, and "the impact is tremendous."

S for Social
According to its fact sheet, SAP is the largest global provider of enterprise software and services by revenue, with revenues of more than $18.7 billion. Headquartered in Waldorf, Germany, it has offices in 130 countries and 197,000 customers worldwide. Becher joined the company as CMO in August 2011 and spearheaded a shift toward becoming a "social enterprise."

"We've made big bet on social at SAP," says Becher. "We infuse social in everything we do, from how we decide what solutions to build, to how we market/sell them, to how we support customers after sale. ... I'd go so far as saying the 'S' in SAP now stands for social."


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