Director, Product Marketing, Optimizely
Optimizely has been at the forefront of CX experimentation and has brought out many enhancements that enable companies to experiment at scale. We spoke to Nate Wright, Director, Product Marketing, Optimizely to understand the benefits of their Optimizely X Program.
Tell us about your role at Optimizely and the team you handle?
I lead two sides of Optimizely’s product marketing team: the team responsible for experimentation and personalization solutions, as well as the team responsible for platform capabilities, like Program Management. I help our clients make insights-driven decisions through experimentation, so they can iterate and innovate faster.
How does program management extend the benefits of Optimizely X to marketing teams?
Optimizely X helps marketers experiment across every touchpoint and every team. Program Management extends the benefits of the platform by helping teams manage the full process of experimentation – across the entire lifecycle – from initial testing to product rollout.
Companies that are testing, learning and iterating rapidly should have the organizational structure and best practices in place to help them scale their efforts. This includes ways of capturing great ideas, prioritizing ideas to be built as experiments, and managing the implementation of experiments as customer experiences. They aren’t doing this on a one-off basis, but rather are iterating on this on every touchpoint they have with their customers and every new experience that they roll out. Optimizely Program Management gives these teams the tools they need to do this in one place vs. having these processes be distributed across spreadsheets, emails, product management tools, etc.
Program Management also gives these teams new ways to analyze and share out on the performance of the entire experimentation program. To execute a program at scale, customers need ways to report on things like the velocity, win rate, and impact of the entire program.
It’s worth mentioning that, this tool is not just for marketing teams. It’s also for product development teams who are using Optimizely to build and roll out new product features, although marketing teams also benefit from the ability to collaborate more effectively and share knowledge more seamlessly with those product stakeholders as well.
What are the major pain points for businesses in their adoption of customer experience testing and optimization technology?
Many of the major pain points are actually organizational or cultural in nature. Companies often say that they want to be more insights-driven, but don’t necessarily set themselves up for success when it comes to how they work across teams. One of the biggest challenges we hear from customers is that their data is siloed and learnings are not shared across teams. Different teams across the organization might be working on trying to solve the same problem – delivering great customer experiences – but aren’t working with the same data or even communicating with each other.
The companies that are able to breakthrough and adopt optimization technology at scale build the practice into their culture. They work together across teams and they ensure that all teams have access to the data and insights that they need to make more effective decisions. These companies solicit ideas from all areas of their business, prioritize the best ones, and quickly build and roll them out. They see what works and what doesn’t, and then quickly iterate. For these organizations, no test is a failure because each one is seen as an opportunity to teach them about what customers want and don’t want.
The tools and technology can help by reducing the friction of collaborating and sharing insights across an organization. They need be flexible to work with your existing data and processes and they need to be useful to both business and technical users. Once the tools are there, it’s much easier to drive an insights-driven culture throughout a business.
With the coming-of-age of website optimization platforms, how should businesses make their experimentation more productive and accurate?
Everything is digital or is moving to digital. This move can be painful for companies who have been around for a long time, but it also presents new opportunities to create great products, deliver amazing customers experiences, and form deeper connections with customers. The nature of digital products means that they can be quickly rolled out, tweaked and optimized to make sure a company is solving a customer need, providing value and is maximizing its impact on the company’s bottom line. Experimentation is a big part of how many of the biggest technology companies – the Google, Facebook & Amazon’s of the world – got to where they are today. At Optimizely, we recommend that all companies with digital offerings (websites, products, etc.) do the following:
- Test everything. Whether its a payment funnel, the color of a logo, or even core product features and functions, businesses should not waste valuable time and resources guessing at what works and what doesn’t, then shipping a fully-baked version of the product.
- Develop a hypothesis, design a small experiment, deploy a new feature to a small subset of customers, measure what happens, then apply what you learned to the next version of the product.
- Think deeper about your core product experience.
- The ability to experiment allows for more thorough evaluation of almost every aspect of the digital experience. Not every change must be an “a-ha” moment of top-down innovation (though those are nice, too!). The key is to think about this as an iterative process.
- Solving just a point or two of friction in using your product can make small, but meaningful improvements. Over time these incremental improvements can result in meaningful changes in your customer experiences and in value for your business.
What would sales website customization and optimization stacks look like in 2020, given the rapid adoption of intelligent assistants and AI-bots for program management?
What has become very clear over the past several years is that the industry is moving away from legacy stacks that keep customers locked into a limited set of solutions. This will continue to develop between now and 2020. These solutions need to be open, so you can leverage your data and incorporate new insights to deliver the most relevant experiences for your customers in real-time. Technology and solution needs vary widely from company to company, and they will, more than ever, pick and choose the solutions that work for their needs across every channel.
We’re also seeing increased need for solutions that work for both marketing and product development teams. Using solutions that are not accessible across business groups creates silos that slow companies down and stifle innovation. The lines between business and product teams are blurring as companies increasingly recognize that both are working in service of the customer. Businesses in 2020 will be even more insights-driven, making it possible for every member of their organization to make decisions based customer data.
Finally, we believe that these solutions will continue to build on their use of data science and artificial intelligence technologies to help businesses more effectively deliver the customer experiences that they’ve promised to deliver for the past few years.
Thanks for chatting with us, Nate.
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