Opticon’s Twitter wall.

Kirsten Allegri Williams, CMO of Opticon, told media and analysts at the Opticon, Optimizely conference in San Diego this week, “The gap in digital execution has never been greater and is growing every day.

The gap lies between the experiences customers increasingly expect and demand from brands, and the struggles most brands face in coming close to meeting those needs. ‘s Alex Atzberger categorized the main elements of struggle as uncertainty, complexity, and inertia.

Uncertainty is caused by a volatile environment where every marketing plan is affected by everything from viruses to climate change, supply chain disruptions to runaway inflation. Complexity refers to the non-linear customer journey caused by the ever-exploding number of channels and content types. inertia? Mainly because there is too much data and very little actionable data.

The challenges are obvious — how you address them is less important.

unlimited marketing

Optimizely’s approach can be viewed as two-tiered. Highest: Proselytizing “endless digital inventions” based on scientific insights gained from experiments. Second Tier: An environment where teams can work together to achieve their Top Tier vision. Let’s break it down. But first let’s take a quick look at recent history.

Episerver, as most marketers know or did, merged in 2015 with Stockholm-based Episerver and New Hampshire-based Ektron to create a new commerce and CMS product under the Episerver name. Born from doing Even in 2015, Episerver was positioned in the digital experience platform category.

Episerver continued to make acquisitions as many brands were forced to develop digital games against the backdrop of COVID. The most significant acquisition was Optimizely, an experimentation platform that enables rapid multiple testing of digital design decisions and functionality. Testing different options with different audience segments.

Episerver will be rebranded as Optimizely in 2021, and its Web Experimentation and Feature Experimentation (previously called Full Stack) capabilities are central to the vendor’s vision.

In the case of endless digital inventions, a culture of continuous testing across multiple elements of your digital strategy will increase credibility, reduce risk, and drive key KPIs (increase conversions, decrease cart abandonment, increase clicks). It should result in an overall measurable (even incremental) performance improvement.Such

This culture of experimentation requires teams to fail quickly, learn on the fly, and repeat constantly. However, it seems to require the involvement of multiple teams and some degree of orchestration between those efforts.

Orchestration across the content lifecycle

That’s where the second layer comes in. The new Orchestrate solution announced at Opticon this week. This offering builds on another acquisition of Welcome, a collaboration and orchestration platform dedicated to marketing teams, acquired by Optimizely in December 2021.

Simply put, Optimizely brings together content marketing (Welcome), a long-established CMS, and digital asset management tools into one environment that can be used by business teams as well as developers. The dashboard reduces the risk of non-experts using her CMS by providing visibility into the entire project and campaign lifecycle and enabling collaborative creation of marketing content outside of the CMS.

You can use this environment to plan, preview, publish, and manage content across multiple channels. Of course, you can also test different versions across selected audience segments. Mainstage demos resonated with audiences as they contrasted collaborative content creation approaches based on email chains, text messages, spreadsheets and phone calls.

But Atzberger stressed that this collaboration must go beyond marketing and embrace product and engineering as well (some of the experiments may indicate changes that require developer skill). is high). “We have to first establish that marketing is no longer alone,” he said.

Digging deeper: Optimizely partners with Google Cloud

reality check

Optimizely management candidly admits that the perspective they offer cannot be done with technology alone. There are significant customer side changes that are required. for example:

digital maturity curve

Many businesses, especially those parts of the far from digital-first B2B industry that have had to rethink their commerce strategies under COVID-19, are not yet ready for this supposed unlimited digital invention. Hmm. Mid-market or large but digitally immature brands may not have the teams or talent to run ongoing experiments and deliver results. It’s a real-world challenge, not just because it’s clearly pitched to a traditional B2B business.

Optimizely recognizes this. CCO Chad Wolf said: Part of the answer lies in pre- and post-purchase negotiations, and Optimizely’s extensive ecosystem of implementation partners plays a role here as well.

Full platform and a la carte

The orchestration approach, and Optimizely’s holistic solution to uncertainty, complexity and inertia, seems to envision teams coming together in one digital experience hub (and of course several integrated point solutions). I have). Yet, like Episerver, customers can choose to adopt individual products rather than an entire digital experience platform.

This is Optimizely’s second real-world challenge. Especially since his pre-acquisition Optimizely developed a strong portfolio of major enterprise his clients who came to them for testing and experimentation rather than CMS or DAM. Chief Product Officer Justin Anovick acknowledged that this requires “threading the needle.” On the one hand, it was essential to give customers what they wanted and what they needed. At the same time, there was a belief that all products within the platform should work together.

organizational change

A third challenge is not Optimizely’s, but one faced by some customers. Not all clients are ready when marketers need to strategize and execute alongside other teams such as product and engineering. Many brands have siled teams. Many of them lack a culture of collaboration between teams.

This is something Optimizely cannot fix with fiat currency. Again, we can only suggest the most fruitful path, including consultation with implementation partners.

Digging Deeper: Enterprise Digital Experience Platforms: A Guide for Marketers

promise of simplicity

Ultimately, Optimizely is betting that the promise of simplicity (data-driven decision-making, workflow, exchanging work with experiment-based understanding and guesswork) will drive brands to the kinds of solutions offered here. increase.

“The era of digital transformation has brought limitless innovation possibilities.
Technology was adopted and data was overwhelmingly unstructured and siled.
Opposite effect – Marketers were forced to lower their expectations because they were pressured to deliver
results within a restricted workflow,” Atzberger said in the release. “The future of
Marketing depends on removing these limitations. ”

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About the author

Kim Davis is MarTech’s editorial director. Born in London and a New Yorker for over 20 years, Kim started covering his software at Enterprise 10 years ago. His experience includes his SaaS for enterprise, digital advertising data-driven urban planning, and his SaaS, digital technology and data applications in the marketing space. Haymarket’s Marketing first wrote about his technology as an editor for The Hub, a specialized marketing technology website that later became a channel for his established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN as Senior Editor in 2016 and became Editor-in-Chief, where he remained until January 2020. Before he worked in technology and journalism, he was the associate editor of the New York Times’ Hyperlocal He News. He previously worked at the site, The Local: East Village, as an editor for academic publications and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews on his personal blog, and from time to time he is a guest contributor to Eater.

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