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Startup-ify Your Company and Dodge Disruption With Test and Learn

How does a business grow? It hits the market with a product or service people want. Doing so requires a good idea, good data, and a process for driving innovation. Startups and digital natives know how to take ideas and run with them to accelerate innovation. And they are doing it better than large, non-digital native companies. This is why large companies are being disrupted faster than ever.

An agile test and learn process is what is speeding the road to innovation for many companies. The concept first took root among technology behemoths such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Uber. Now, every business must take advantage of the same approach to bringing the best ideas to fruition—at speed.


Don’t let perfection get in the way of progress

Marketing, strategy, manufacturing, and digital teams have ideas they’re excited about, whether it’s revamping a website, launching a new product, or building out a digital channel. But these people are busy and need a way to bring concepts to market without disrupting day-to-day business. By infusing test and learn into the culture, it allows everyone to make ideas happen.

Test and learn accelerates the path from strategy to ‘live’ while removing the risk from placing bets. Imagine the potential it can have when unleashed across key areas of the business such as

An agile test and learn process is prototype-led, which allows a nimble way of working, testing, and learning. This type of approach is not intended for delivering a known idea or demanded output. It is best suited for starting from a desired outcome, determining a sliver of the best hypothesis that can deliver the most value, and then finding the fastest way to make it realizable as a prototype.


Scaling test and learn

Most companies have done some test and learn here and there, but they don’t have a holistic, strategic approach to it. Publicis Sapient is supporting many businesses along their test and learn journey to solve complex and ambitious problems and power innovation.

How to operationalize test and learn

Companies can realize greater value from test and learn by maturing internal test and learn capabilities

  • Ad Hoc

    Test and Learn POC

    • No clear ownership
    • Lack of process
    • Simple design experiments
    • Pre/Post or A/AB testing
    • Lack of statistical rigor
    • No scheduling /conflict management
    • Experimentation tool implemented Test and Learn POC A

    Nascent Practice

    Develop Capability & Program Structure

    • Roles defined (partial allocations) 
    • Lean team assembled with shared resources 
    • Experimentation process defined 
    • UX Informed Hypothesis
    • Manual scheduling / conflict management 
    • No scheduling /conflict management 
    • Stat Sig & p-value evaluation
  • High Performance

    Embed Testing & Optimization into Decision Making

    • Roles defined (full allocations)
    • Business stakeholders embedded into experimentation team
    • Quick autonomous decisions
    • Continuous customer feedback loop integrated into process
    • Automated experiment scheduling
    • Data Cleansing / Outlier decision
    • Sequential testing techniques
    • Suporting Personalization, Next Best Action, ML Recommendation Engines

    Scale Practice

    Innovative Test and Learn Culture

    • Center of Excellence 
    • Shared strategy and best practices 
    • Independent cross functional pods 
    • Coordinated resources and scheduling
    • Cross-departmental buy-in
    • Structured program management
    • Executive Support

Passing the test

The test and learn process is proven through the outcomes achieved. Publicis Sapient has been helping codify test and learn for the world’s best-known brands—and they are seeing the results.

  • An airline created an environment for collaboration and co-creation and ultimately scale experimentation to drive a 23% improvement in mobile conversion. Publicis Sapient introduced sequential experimentation techniques to optimize the time to insight.
  • Publicis Sapient is working closely with product and design teams at a retail bank to define high impact objectives and use research findings to inform the ongoing design and delivery process, ultimately creating a customer-centric practice. Now, ongoing customer insight is enriching design, from discovery through BETA release and beyond.
  • A multinational retail corporation followed a customer-centric, research-led test and learn approach to identify and prioritize pain points within the digital experience. The team was able to go live with the first version of a new ecommerce platform in just six months, yielding a 1.5x improvement in the site’s conversion rate.
  • Publicis Sapient helped a U.S. bank to use continuous testing to develop a best-in-class mobile banking app that challenged internal assumptions around customer needs. Teams collaborated on different parts of the app, tested features with customers on a regular basis, and constantly iterated over two weeks to arrive at the best solution.

Take the first step

Test and learn isn’t a destination. It is an ongoing process that can be deployed repeatedly across the organization to get to smart outcomes fast. When test and learn becomes part of the company DNA, innovation becomes the rule, not the exception.

Large companies that have been stuck on the long road to launch can now be in the innovation fast lane. Why sit idle when you can watch your business grow?


Stephen Picard

Associate Managing Director, Management Consulting, North America

Saba Arab

Managing Director, Management Consulting, EMEA

Kevin Drummond 

Managing Director, Management Consulting, North America

Sabrina McPherson

Senior Managing Director, Management Consulting, North America

Justin Plumridge

VP Data Science & Analytics North America

Olivier Abtan

Senior Managing Director Management Consulting France

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