MarTech Interview with Kirsten Allegri Williams, CMO at Optimizely

Kirsten Allegri Williams, CMO at Optimizely shares a few best practices and observations on B2B marketing and the evolving need for better personalization tactics:


Welcome to this MarTech Series chat, Kirsten!

We’d love to dive into Optimizely’s latest research on how Marketing teams are being held back by their dated digital experience strategies, take us through the key highlights of this research and also, what inspired this report?

Data-driven decisions and continued experimentation create digital experiences that can completely transform brands. With this research, we wanted to understand to what extent marketing teams are embracing this culture, so we conducted a survey of 200 in-house marketing executives, assistants and managers to get some further insight.

Interestingly, the research discovered that almost a quarter (23%) of marketers say their approach to digital marketing and delivering digital experiences is stuck in the past. In addition, over half (61%) don’t believe their teams are progressive or willing to try new techniques when it comes to digital experiences.

We also looked into the overarching goals of marketers and discovered that the top drivers for focusing on digital experience strategies are linked to overall business success: For example, increasing market share, changing brand perceptions and creating a more customer-centric business.

Why in your view are marketers still struggling with optimizing / modernizing processes and using better martech innovations to drive automation and ROI?

Marketing teams are under pressure to stand out from their peers, but current strategies aren’t set to deliver against their ambitions to increase market share and change perceptions. More needs to be done to formalize and streamline the use of practices like experimentation to help marketers achieve their ambitions.

Embedded into the marketing strategy, continuous experimentation can drive informed, data-driven decisions that will create stand-out customer experiences. This idea of marrying the science of data with the art of marketing creativity is so important! Yet, legacy systems, budget restraints and a lack of consistent buy-in across the organization are still hindering marketers from wholly maximizing these opportunities.

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As the need for more interconnected, personalized digital experiences grow, several brand marketers still struggle with the bare basics. What are a few best practices and martech suggestions you can share?

Personalization used to be based on a lot of guesswork, but by implementing innovative digital experience platforms, much of the guesswork can be replaced with actionable intelligence. This started with tools like product personalization and content personalization, and over time has been enhanced through the use of artificial intelligence (AI), which has enabled a smarter approach to personalization, but a truly mature digital experience program involves testing and iterating experiences through the use of experimentation.

By having the right tools in place, marketers and developers can gain an unprecedented level of insight into how their customers are behaving and flex to meet their needs and expectations.

When combined, these insights provide the missing jigsaw puzzle piece to give marketers a better understanding of what’s happening in each experience and how to personalize each unique interaction to drive not only customer satisfaction and loyalty, but measurable business outcomes.

Personalization is a journey that must adapt and change as the target customer base itself changes. Optimization is providing the key to unlocking this potential; by experimenting with messaging, content and experience, marketers are able to gather more data-driven insights for more strategic decision making and a better long-term impact.

What does it take to truly build an all-encompassing digital experience for customers of today?

If marketers want to succeed in creating excellent digital experiences, then it’s crucial that they embrace an experimentation mindset. Think about the top tech giants like Amazon, Facebook and Netflix for example. One of the main reasons why they are so successful today is because they continuously experiment with their digital platforms and their personalization strategies to give customers a more engaging and unique experience.

Embracing an experimentation culture throughout the whole marketing team is vital to understand how your customers will react and respond to personalization features, so must always be threated into any digital marketing strategy.

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Some last thoughts and marketing / martech takeaways before we wrap up?

The brands which stand out the most are the ones that provide exceptional digital experiences, and it’s all down to marketers and their teams to deliver.

Tools, tips and theories all focus on how to make brand experiences engaging, personalized and exceptional. But creating great customer experiences requires great marketer experiences.

At Optimizely, we have placed a large focus on developing tools that not only help to make marketers’ lives a lot easier, but enables them to shine and focus on what motivates them. It’s about enabling them to unlock their digital potential and in turn, deliver the excellent experiences customers deserve.

If marketers are working with tools that make it difficult to create outstanding digital experiences for their customers, it’s going to show.

Optimizely logo

Optimizely’s digital experience platform (DXP), equips teams with the tools and insights they need to create hyper-personalized experiences.

Kirsten Allegri Williams is the CMO at Optimizely.

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