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Adopt framework thinking to be a marketing optimization leader

Words by: Chris Goward Last updated: August 4th, 2021 7 min. read

  • Conversion Rate Optimization

A few months ago, I was having a chat with Mike, our Director of Experimentation Strategy & Product Development, when he noticed something interesting about my bookshelf titles—over 50 percent of my books are about leadership. His discovery prompted a conversation about my passion for continuous learning and personal development.

I’ve always thought that leadership is an important quality because it can be applied to all titles and work functions in an organization. Leaders set direction, build a vision, motivate their team to achieve a common goal, and create success markers. These are qualities that support framework thinking.

So, how do you become a leader?

Learn from the best

Learning shouldn’t be an exercise in copying what’s worked for others. Their truths are only true for them. And my experiences and learning may only apply to my situation. I could meticulously copy the habits, attitudes and actions of Steve Jobs and end up a colossal failure. His leadership methods are probably not going to work for me.

On the other hand, there is huge value in learning what has worked for others, and in taking inspiration to find your own way.

That’s why Steve Jobs is part of my personal mentor wall, along with Edison, Ghandi, Picasso, Hitchens, Jim Carrey (for his vision and drive, not necessarily all his movies). Each one of them reminds me of a certain characteristic I want to remind myself of.

Mentors wall My mentor’s wall

Each of them are multi-dimensional people and could inspire many different qualities, but they particularly inspired me in these areas:

  • Persistence – Thomas Edison
  • Influence – Mahatma Ghandi
  • Expression – Pablo Picasso
  • Intelligence – Christopher Hitchens
  • Vision – Jim Carrey
  • Boldness – Steve Jobs

Inspiration is a start and is important. The learning I gain from others is especially useful when they’ve assembled their knowledge into practical frameworks. Frameworks make their particular insights applicable to other situations.

What do you get from learning how others have solved problems?

  1. Inspiration. The more stories I discover about successful people, the more encouragement I feel that anything can be overcome.
  2. Frameworks for thinking about the challenges you’re facing. Thinking about problems from differing perspectives, and using different frameworks, teaches your brain to explore all possibilities.
  3. Discipline. Even though you might think of “discipline” as a negative word, it’s clearly necessary for long-term success. Learning new frameworks stretches my mind and keeps it focused on the problems at hand, allowing the focused concentration time needed for my mind’s goal-striving mechanism (or as Maxwell Maltz refers to it in Psycho-Cybernetics, the Servo Mechanism) to lock onto a problem and seek a solution.

Great frameworks separate the pro from the amateur

People often ask me what makes WiderFunnel different than other optimization agencies. I was actually just asked that question again today.

And, while there are many possible answers: great clients, amazing team, high-performance culture, awesome results, years of experience, deep test archives, etc, one aspect stands out.

I made an important decision when we began as a purely Conversion Rate Optimization agency back in 2007. I decided that we would focus on developing framework thinking rather than assembling lists of tips and tricks.

To do that, we needed to learn what actually works through A/B testing, which meant that WiderFunnel would only take projects we could learn from by A/B testing everything.

This was the more difficult path than others have taken, but one I believed would produce better results and knowledge in the long term.

And it has worked.

We’ve run more tests than anyone and developed a more refined and robust process because we’ve focused on refining the process, not just on selling opinions. Selling opinions is easy. Testing and refining our own frameworks is hard.

You should use framework thinking in your work too

I love Sean Johnson’s article about using framework thinking. It’s a reminder that giving an opinion is easy; finding a list of tips and tricks to answer your question is easy. But, finding a framework to help you answer your question is more robust. It gives you an answer that doesn’t expire when one of the variables changes.

Search for frameworks to help you answer your questions and you’ll find a path to continued improvement.

Conversion optimization frameworks

In your conversion optimization work, you’ll likely need to answer questions such as:

  • Where should I test?
  • What should I test?
  • How does my audience perceive my product?

To answer questions like those (and more), WiderFunnel has developed frameworks to use within our optimization process. You can adopt and adapt these frameworks in your CRO work too.

Need to know where to target your test zone?
Use the PIE Framework for prioritizing tests.


PIE framework for A/B testing prioritization

Use the LIFT Model to view your marketing touchpoints from their perspective. It has become the world’s most popular optimization hypothesis framework for a reason.


The LIFT™ Model

What is your most important value proposition to test?
Try brainstorming with the points of difference (PODs), points of parity (POPs), and points of irrelevance (POIs).

The evolution of the best optimization process

As we continue to optimize high volume businesses, WiderFunnel’s process itself is also constantly being reviewed and optimized. We run quarterly projects with our whole team, called “focus areas”, to evolve how we operate to continuously add more value.

As a result, we would like to share the Infinity Experimentation Process℠.

Keep your eyes peeled for the introduction of our new next-gen framework next month. We’re excited to share how it will continue to deliver the best optimization results in the industry.

Make sure you’re subscribed to the blog to get updates on where we’re leading.

Read more about the detailed description of the Infinity Experimentation Process℠ here.

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