From F1 to digital products: Testing is always key

Josh rudofsky_circle
Josh Rudofsky
Digital Product Consultant

Last month we welcomed digital and marketing professionals from the automotive industry to our 'Can You Beat The Stig?' event – an adrenaline fuelled afternoon of inspiring talks, networking and racing alongside our technology partners Optimizely and Contentsquare. Here are my top takeaways from the day.

Set to the backdrop of a racecourse, we invited digital leaders from Mazda and Ohme to discuss the challenges currently facing their businesses and the impact this has on their customer experience and digital strategies.

While Mazda and Ohme offer very different products in the sector, their core challenges are largely the same: how to provide their current and prospective customers with the online experience they expect, while being able to influence their journey through to conversion. 

Claire Andrews, Marketing Director at Ohme, and Simon Culley, Digital Customer Experience Manager at Mazda, joined Optimizely's Mark Wakelin and Candyspace's Matt Simpson to discuss the importance of gaining data consent, collecting the right data and knowing what to do with it to optimise customer experience and reduce sticking points in the purchase journey. Simon shared, “It’s important to understand what content our customers are engaging with to personalise experience and guide our customers further along their purchase journey.”

Another topic discussed was the importance of testing and learning. Claire said, “Testing is critical to improve performance – we need to make mistakes to learn how we can do things better and then quickly formulate viable solutions to optimise customer experience.”

Alongside our brand experts, we were also joined by the original Stig from Top Gear, Perry McCarthy. On the face of it, it can be hard to see what insights we can gain from a racing driver that we can apply to digital products. But in fact it turns out there's lots we can learn, and we love applying insights from different areas to our products. 

The subject of testing was at the centre of Perry's talk. Testing is as important in Formula 1 as it is when optimising digital products. Something that F1 teams focus on is ensuring that when they test, they have set up the right conditions so they can trust the data they collect. Applying this to our activities, we need to ensure our tests and experiments have a clear control and hypothesis that we can either prove or disprove. 

With this in mind, it's worth remembering that there is such a thing as too much data. According to the Stig, F1 teams can store as much as three terabytes of data from one car in a race. But all this data needs to be quantifiable and usable. There are nearly endless data points that we can collect through our digital products, but it's essential that what we collect can have actionable insights, otherwise it's just distracting noise. 

So my key takeaways from the day: 

1) There is such a thing as too much data, if that data isn't usable.

2) Testing is an essential part of high performance, whether that's applied to digital product development or an F1 car.

3) Set the right environment so you can trust your tests.

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