A Conversion Conversation with Tiqets’ Emeline Catherine Dit Cariot
As the saying goes, life is indeed short and we should live it to its fullest. When I think about Emeline’s life, I feel she’s the poster-child of this philosophy. She is not only a well-traveled deeply experienced CRO, but she is also an instructor and is incredibly active in the Women in Analytics and Tech communities. During my chat with her, we deep-dove into her approach to building CRO frameworks, the recent mindset changes in the Experimentation industry, and how she doesn’t mix cocktails with her coffee.
Rommil: Hi Emeline, hoe is het met je? (I think that means how are you — but it could mean something offensive. If that’s the case, I apologize LOL)
Emeline: Hallo Rommil! I wouldn’t be offended as I don’t speak Dutch…so I guess this is your lucky day 😉 But I am good, thanks!
Thank you for taking the time to chat with me, I know you’re very busy. How about we jump right in — could you tell us about yourself and what you do?
Thank you for contacting me! So, I am originally from France, and after finishing my studies in digital business and working as a Digital Project Manager in Paris, I moved to London. I stayed there for more than 2 years and discovered not only a new country and a new language, but a new skill: web analytics. 3.5 years ago I left the UK for Amsterdam, where I currently live. I spent 3 years working for a telecom company in CRO, and in December, I joined a tech company in the travel industry, Tiqets, as a Trading & Merchandising Manager.
Oh, “c’est cool”. I read that you’re pretty active supporting other causes as well.
When I’m not working, I’m giving CRO masterclasses to marketing & UX students, I am one of the organizers of Women in Analytics meetup in Amsterdam and also involved in the Dutch chapter of Women in Tech Global Movement as a Program Director.
I love travelling, coffees and cocktails (but not cocktails with coffee), true crime and thrillers.
Wow — that’s amazing! I love that you’re so involved with the Women in Tech community. Definitely a worthwhile movement.
Changing gears. For my readers that are new to Experimentation — could you describe what a CRO does?
I would describe CRO as a methodology to validate your assumptions.
At a high-level, how do you approach creating a CRO framework? What are some of the essential elements and what kinds of obstacles should one expect when setting one up?
I start with having a conversation with the leadership to discuss the team/department’s objectives and KPIs. Once this is clear, I have a conversation with the operational team on what has already been done, to evaluate the overall knowledge, understanding and practice of CRO. And then I start working on a strategy, to make it as concrete as possible with a process, roadmap, prioritization framework and goals, that I present to the team.
Talking to people, both strategic and operational, is essential to fully understand expectations and the type of resistance (if any) you will experience. You can have the best tooling in place, collect accurate data and have great hypotheses to work on, if the team is not convinced by CRO or if you management team doesn’t support data-driven decision, you will have a hard time implementing your framework. And then we are not talking about an obstacle but surely a blocking element… That you need to be aware of as soon as possible, to evaluate how you can overcome it, and if you can!
But I would say the types of obstacles that you should expect when setting up a CRO framework are the following: capacity issue (not enough people or no dedicated resource to work on your CRO projects but also capacity to implement the changes on production), unreliable data collected (or no data collected at all), lack of web analytics knowledge, and some challenges and questions regarding your prioritization framework!
Obviously, learning is at the heart of experimentation — how do you suggest are some of the best practices in creating “learning loops”?
Documentation is key to ensure your learning are shared, stored, and to make your CRO efforts tangible. I recommend using different templates for communicating your learning, whether you present them to your team or to your management team (some will need more details and data, others more high-level insights). Organize a meeting where you focus solely on discussing learning, and what it impacts in your business (current projects or future ones, which team should be informed and involved, etc.). And make sure you challenge any new research or analysis based on learning you have available already!
I’ve read that you are involved with Women in Tech in the Netherlands — could you share what that initiative is about and what experimentation as an industry do to support it?
Women in Tech Netherlands is all about closing the gender gap and helping women and girls embrace technology. Our aim is to educate, equip and empower them with the necessary skills and confidence to succeed in STEM career fields. The Dutch chapter was launched in June 2019 in Amsterdam.
Experimentation is still a very “young” industry, with a lot of various profiles and backgrounds. So I would say diversity is not a topic you need to defend or explain as it is considered normal. In my experience, most CRO teams are already composed of people from different nationalities, genders, religions, backgrounds… As we are aware that diversity is essential to be creative and performant in CRO. In a way, Experimentation is a good case to show other industries the benefits of diversity & inclusion, how it positively impacts a field, and how it influences the way companies make decisions already.
I see you’ve worked in many countries over the years. Firstly, I’m so jealous. Secondly, could you share with us if there were any cultural differences in terms of Experimentation?
Haha! Firstly, don’t be jealous, prepare your luggage, and buy a flight ticket to experience the ex-pat life, I can only recommend this amazing (and challenging) adventure!
Secondly, I would say the biggest differences in terms of Experimentation I’ve seen were not because of different cultures, but mainly mindset. Things that would differ from one country to another would be about the CRO execution, and the application-first or principle-first culture (I can only recommend “Culture Map” written by Erin Meyer, great read). For instance, I’ve seen Dutch being more keen to understand fully the new CRO framework before going into action, making sure each step is clear in terms of people, skills and actions, versus British wanted to first “give it a try” with an a/b test and understand the framework while we go. What I observed with French are their almost strict rule of “if it’s not on the roadmap we cannot do it!”, or “if it’s not defined we shouldn’t proceed!”. In a way, Dutch and French are closer than they think in terms of ways of working (theory first) while British are different, and more hands-on.
Now it’s time for my favourite segment — it’s time for the Lightning Round!
If you couldn’t work in experimentation or data — what would you do?
That’s a great question… I’ll need to think about it more!
In your opinion, what are some of the misconceptions around CRO that you wish people didn’t have?
That it’s a “nice to have” thing, not really taking it seriously. Whereas it involves some serious business & tech skills, and can really make a difference in your strategy 😉
Finally, if you could go back in time, what life lesson would you give your younger CRO self?
Don’t spend too much time convincing people to work with data and explaining why it’s important. Not everyone will be on board and that’s ok, as long as it doesn’t slow down your progress and efforts. Focus on what you can do now.
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