Building CRO Practitioners, Advice from CEO PRWD – Paul Rouke

Paul Rouke, the Founder & CEO of PRWD will be talking at Conversion Elite. I wanted to find out from an entrepreneur how he started in CRO and what tips he would give to those looking to start in Conversion Rate Optimisation

“1) How would you recommend CRO Practitioners to build champions of conversion rate optimisation in their clients?

Harness your inner HIPPO. Not the egotistical, opinion driven, I know best HIPPO. The re-invented HIPPO – Humility, Integrity, Passion, Positivity, Open-mindedness.


Conversion optimisation practitioners need to be genuine and humble. . They have to demonstrate to their clients and colleagues to value and respect the ideas and opinions of other people. They need to have a true desire to understand visitors and user research should be their best friend.

Experimentation cultures are built on trust – trust in the data, trust in the research, trust in the hypothesis, trust in the results, trust in the learnings to take forward. Trust in the people who are leading or working within conversion optimisation.

Trust builds relationships. When you build relationships with influential, senior decision makers, you are creating the opportunity for these people to become advocates for change within their organisations. Developing a culture of experimentation(particularly when for the majority of businesses have never had such a thing) t, is centred around people.

Influential decision makers have the ability to positively influence other people. When what they are sharing is built on trustworthy data and insights, when the conversion optimisation strategy is being run intelligently and it’s customer insight driven – the business is well on the way to harnessing the power and growth potential of a y strategic, company-wide approach to experimentation.

If you’d like to hear Adobe explain the importance of the re-invented HIPPO for digital marketing, they have described it in this article

2) Can you share how you have built up champions of CRO with a client where the management team were anti CRO?

The first step was exposing the brand to what “being customer centric” really means. The power and influence this can have on a business can never be underestimated – speaking with customers and potential customers, observing their behaviour and understanding how they respond to different user experiences, including competitors.

The video evidence that in-depth, intelligent, natural user research provides can often be a catalyst for making senior management realise that maybe they don’t know as much about their customers, and their website, as they originally felt.

It can sometimes be called employing “shock tactics”- taking a look behind the curtain. Gaining a reality check, and moving from talking the talk to walking the walk.

Supporting user behaviour insights (providing you work with integrity and build trust with influential decision makers) the foundations will be in place for evolving a business from product led to being customer led – and at the same time harnessing the power and value of conversion optimisation.

3) What prompted you to set up your own CRO business?

If I’m being honest, simply so I could control my own destiny, rather than being held back by my employers. For years I felt I had a huge amount of ideas – I was ambitious, I wanted to make a difference, I want to step outside of my comfort zone regularly and I could no longer hit my head against a brick wall.

When I set up my own CRO agency I made a personal commitment that anyone that works for PRWD would never feel like I felt when I was last employed. Reflecting back, I feel like I’m being consistent and I’m seeing people who work at PRWD now or who have in the past, truly excel.

I evolved PRWD from a user research agency to a dedicated conversion optimisation agency to provide quantifiable, ongoing evidence of the impact we are making on our clients businesses through optimising their business. Establishing and nurturing long term relationships, where our work is having a fundamental impact on our clients and the people we are working with, is a bi-product of the work we do and the approach we take.

4) Your company gives away articles and guides on CRO and A/B testing and you invite people to sign up to the resource library. Do you think giving away advice (without committing to your agency) has made more people sit up and take notice of CRO?

In Summer 2008, through the combination of bringing in a marketing graduate over summer and reading REWORK, I made a commitment that PRWD would out-teach our competition.

For almost 10 years we have been openly sharing advice, case studies, presentations, webinars, training courses and podcasts where pretty much everything about what we do and how we do it is shared.

Be Open is one of our six brand values, and our commitment to sharing content to a wide audience embodies this.

On a personal and businesses level, I am a passionate advocate of personal, business and industry change. I am committed to helping to truly mature the digital industry so that more and more businesses develop and harness a mature conversion optimisation strategy. To achieve this, continually sharing knowledge, for free and with no commitment, is what we will always do.

In January 2016 I published my first book The Growth Strategy That’s Being Ignored. It features 17 industry thought leaders of conversion optimisation, and the distilled wisdom and experiences of each thought leader’s response to my question “What in all your experiences is holding companies back from growing through conversion optimisation?” is both fascinating and immensely important for decisions makers across the world.

Since 2013 me and the team at PRWD have developed and refined our Conversion Optimisation Maturity Model™. Underlining our commitment to giving away insights and knowledge, in 2016 we launched what we see as the industry’s most in-depth Conversion Optimisation Maturity Audit™ – a free to use online tool that provides a clear understanding of how mature a business’s current approach to conversion optimisation is.

5) Where do you think CRO is heading in 2017?

Slow progression towards maturity – under threat from more sexy areas of investment like personalisation, big data and artificial intelligence.

It’s the companies that focus more on human intelligence that are setting themselves up for a more successful 2018.”

Thanks Paul, some fantastic insight. We look forward to seeing you at Conversion Elite !

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