Why I Love Working in Conversion Rate Optimization

Gemma Espiñeira  |  June 15, 2016

Gemma Espiñeira  |  June 15, 2016


What Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) means largely depends on who you are asking, but the general gist is that it’s a profession related to driving traffic to websites and then tracking, testing and improving those websites to get the best return (conversion) on visitors to that site.

Sounds like a bit of a geeky, data-driven techy subject, right? Well, it kind of is – but it’s also way more than that.

Gemma Espineira

As a Lady who sells marketing tech, and having done so for more than 6 years, I’ve never come across a market (and software that complements it!) so pertinent to my values of promoting sustainability, community and common sense. Let me tell you why.

Sustainable Growth

Here is a familiar scenario anyone working in the corporate world should be familiar with:

  • Company A is losing customers to their key competitor.
  • They have a bunch of shareholders they need to impress.
  • They hire 30% more sales reps and achieve 25% increased revenue that year.

This, supposedly, is growth.

Meanwhile, existing customers are ignored – and unimpressed. In focusing resources on acquisition, Company A missed the boat on retention and development.

As a result, their operating costs are now inflated, and before they know it they have to cut their sales team in half. Eventually their competitor gobbles up what’s left of their client base, or buys Company A and spits it back out.

This scenario is all too familiar. I’ve seen it happen to clients I’ve worked with and seen hard-working friends lose jobs and suffer career stunts from this kind of untenable growth – so I’ve promised myself to only work in a market which drives sustainable growth.

CRO promotes sustainable growth by acting as the ship which navigates the client to the heart of the corporate’s strategy: it focuses on making the customer’s experience delightful no matter their stage in the conversion funnel.

Putting your customer at the heart of your decision making process – while great – does requires a shift in power from the exec board, and this can only be achieved by investing in a sense of community.

Building a Community

Community can be achieved by reducing RATs and HIPPOs (shout out to Mark Fassbender from LexisNexis for these acronyms and analogy!).

A RAT is a Random Act of Testing. It’s an innovation that isn’t based on customer research, and costs lots of money to design and test - before inevitability failing.

Why do so many corporations still commit these RATs? Often because of a HIPPO.


A HIPPO is the Highest Paid Person’s Opinion.

Here is the scenario.

  • CEO of Company B, a hotel booking company, settles down in bed after a hard day’s work.
  • Her significant other complains about trying to book a hotel using the website.
  • “Why are the booking buttons red, they should be pink!” says significant other to CEO.
  • CEO requests testing a new pink booking button at the next board meeting. This creates the big fat RAT.

How many people have been effected by seemingly random decisions made from higher up? Too often people on the front line, who are actually closest to the customers, are astounded by the mind boggling investment decisions made by their disconnected leaders.

The client is what connects all employees of an organization, and so by giving priority to the client, and driving client-based decisions, it encourages a new sense of community across the organization. CRO is all about optimizing experiences for clients which generates open dialogue and clear communication across departments and ranks.

I am always delighted when I see how the Decibel Insight workshops I run with clients revive passion across teams and provoke a sense of ownership and excitement and a whole lotta “wow” moments.

Seeing exactly what your customer sees when they are using your website is very eye opening indeed, but it can be easy to lose track of common sense when you get drunk on data across millions of clients and datasets. The question I hear most often after these workshops is: “how can we improve now? – where do we start?!”  

Using Common Sense

While data doesn’t lie, it can be difficult to interpret – and this makes it difficult to action. This is where the science of CRO comes in.


A Conversion Rate Optimizer (also CRO) will first conduct extensive research about the company and its customers. They will not just bust in with a bunch of random new recommendations – they will apply logic, common sense and a methodological approach to improving the customer experience. Every idea is based on evidence, and every change is made for a reason.

As conversion guru Peep Laja emphasized in our recent webinar with him – CRO is an ongoing process, not a set of tactics!

The good news is that there’s a whole host of technologies out there that aid this ongoing application of common sense – and the great news for me is that I work at the leading pioneer of innovation in this space! Decibel Insight complements existing web analytics, split testing, and CRM datasets, but takes those insights much deeper – all without the need for years of configuration or developer resources.

By revealing exactly how visitors interact with websites, it cultivates a customer-centric culture, encourages a sense of shared ownership and community amongst optimization teams and makes sense of difficult-to-interpret datasets.

Get in touch!

CRO brings together the values I feel passionate about in business. It makes the customer the hero and sets a sustainable, clear path of progression for how you can improve and grow as a company.

Does optimizing the websites and strategies of top businesses sound good to you too? We have opportunities opening across the UK and USA and would love to hear from you. Contact our lovely Talent Acquisition Manager, Henrietta Griffiths, at careers@thedecibelgroup.com for more information - or follow our careers page on Twitter to keep up to date with all the latest! 

Gemma Espiñeira

Written on June 15, 2016 by:

Gemma Espiñeira

Gemma is VP of Client Services at Decibel Insight.

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