It’s the modern-day equiv­a­lent of “keep­ing up with the Joneses”—how do your opti­miza­tion efforts mea­sure up to the com­pe­ti­tion, across the ever-evolving dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing landscape?

So more like keep­ing up with the Red­boxes, Amer­i­can Expresses, and Beachbodies.

Test­ing and opti­miza­tion are mov­ing tar­gets, with new inno­va­tions and best prac­tices chang­ing and shift­ing all the time. But the first step to get­ting in the game—or improv­ing your level of opti­miza­tion inte­gra­tion and rel­a­tive ROI—is know­ing how you stack up against your peers, your com­pe­ti­tion, and within the greater dig­i­tal com­mu­nity. Sound daunt­ing? We have a solu­tion, which we’ll be uti­liz­ing in-depth at “How Does Your Opti­miza­tion Pro­gram Mea­sure Up?” an excit­ing ses­sion at Adobe Sum­mit 2014. But here’s your sneak peek.

This tool—the Opti­miza­tion Matu­rity Model—was devel­oped by the Adobe Tar­get team to give mar­keters a com­plete pic­ture of how their orga­ni­za­tions stack up. This can­did, com­pre­hen­sive third-party assess­ment is unlike any other, and one an exhaus­tive inter­nal review sim­ply couldn’t pro­vide (cost– and resource-prohibitiveness aside). After seven years of in-depth con­sul­ta­tion with more than 70 Adobe clients across every plat­form out there, we unveiled this tool in Jan­u­ary, along with the six dimen­sions that deter­mine opti­miza­tion matu­rity and the five lev­els into which all orga­ni­za­tions fall. Whether you’re ad hoc test­ing or a truly inte­grated, wholly embed­ded com­pany from a test­ing and opti­miza­tion level, you fall some­where on the chart—and we’ve got a num­ber of sim­ple, action­able solu­tions to help max­i­mize your cur­rent posi­tion, and even cat­a­pult you to the next matu­rity tier.

This unpar­al­leled bench­mark­ing is the per­fect first step for any orga­ni­za­tion look­ing to grow and expand its efforts and its ROI. Know­ing where you are—how mature your orga­ni­za­tion is today—can only help you improve tomor­row. And because, as with test­ing and opti­miza­tion, the land­scape is any­thing but lin­ear and clear-cut, this model is weighted and, as a result, two brands can be equally “mature” while excelling and falling short in dif­fer­ent opti­miza­tion buck­ets. I go in-depth into the Opti­miza­tion Matu­rity Model, its dimen­sions, fac­tors, and rec­om­men­da­tions for grow­ing and expand­ing your efforts in my six-part series, “A Model for Dig­i­tal Opti­miza­tion Matu­rity,” pub­lished last month. Think of it as a solid foun­da­tion for the upcom­ing Sum­mit session—or a good taste of the tool and the processes for those who can’t get there.

Once you’ve put your orga­ni­za­tion through the Opti­miza­tion Matu­rity Model, your results likely won’t sur­prise you. You already know that your orga­ni­za­tion is excelling—or stalling out—somewhere within the best prac­tices land­scape. Your level—incidental, expanded, dis­ci­plined, strate­gic align­ment, or embedded—is likely just the con­fir­ma­tion you need to pro­pel your orga­ni­za­tion ahead. You’ve got to know where you are to know where you’re going, right?

So what goes into your matu­rity assess­ment? Six core fac­tors that, when added together, pro­vide an essen­tial snap­shot of your dig­i­tal opti­miza­tion sophistication:

  • Cul­ture: Is the orga­ni­za­tion ready to make data-driven deci­sions, and is it will­ing to chal­lenge exist­ing assump­tions and the sta­tus quo, both inter­nally and within the industry?
  • Strat­egy: How well do those involved under­stand how to approach opti­miza­tion and use the tools avail­able to improve the dig­i­tal experience?
  • Exe­cu­tion: How devel­oped are the inter­nal processes for opti­miza­tion, and how quickly can a test idea be executed?
  • Lead­er­ship: How com­mit­ted is the program’s exec­u­tive spon­sor, and does that indi­vid­ual have the vision and influ­ence to remove hur­dles to estab­lish­ing an opti­miza­tion culture?
  • Orga­ni­za­tion: Does the orga­ni­za­tion have the right peo­ple with the right skill sets in place to run the opti­miza­tion program?
  • Reach: Does the orga­ni­za­tion opti­mize in the high-value loca­tions of its sites and other cus­tomer touch points, such as mobile?

Although unique, each fac­tor relies fairly heav­ily on some level of opti­miza­tion culture—in other words, an orga­ni­za­tion that sup­ports, stands behind, and is engaged with test­ing and opti­miza­tion, from the top down. And, as you’ll see from the model (or can see in these level-to-level exam­ples in part six of my series), that uni­ver­sal buy-in is crit­i­cal as you reach the higher lev­els. Even out of the start­ing gates, though, hav­ing stake­holder inclu­sion and involve­ment is essential—no per­son is an opti­miza­tion island.

So that raises another inter­est­ing point that we’ll explore in detail at the Sum­mit ses­sion. How do you build an opti­miza­tion pro­gram and evan­ge­lize its suc­cess? “Evan­ge­lism” is a word that gets tossed around the dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing water cooler quite a bit, and def­i­nitely holds a lot of weight when it comes to becom­ing a savvy, sophis­ti­cated, inte­grated opti­miza­tion orga­ni­za­tion. But, at the end of the day, evangelism—and cre­at­ing a cul­ture of test­ing and opti­miza­tion evan­ge­lism in your company—is all about shar­ing wins, suc­cesses, and strate­gies across all cor­ners of the busi­ness. You need to cre­ate that healthy buzz and inclu­sion­ary feel­ing, talk­ing ROI, case stud­ies, and over­all poten­tial with any­one who will lis­ten. That chat­ter should move out and up, to the stake­hold­ers, deci­sion mak­ers, and exec­u­tive lead­ers who can truly move the nee­dle for your initiatives—and have them share test ideas. This type of inclu­sion and inte­gra­tion all but guar­an­tees sup­port down the road.

From here, the evan­ge­lism will nat­u­rally help com­bat road­blocks that emerge and will help your test­ing and opti­miza­tion efforts, over­come HiP­POs (the high­est paid person’s opin­ions), and pen­e­trate other plat­forms, such as mobile or tablet. The spirit of test­ing and opti­miza­tion evan­ge­lism, at the end of the day, comes down to get­ting every­one excited about the pos­si­bil­i­ties that lay ahead, from strate­gi­cally ask­ing your busi­ness “what if,” map­ping it out in a way that aligns with the organization’s greater goals, then tap­ping those essen­tial mar­keters, engi­neers, exec­u­tives, and pro­gram man­agers who can make it a reality.

Then, of course, shar­ing your progress, your wins and your suc­cess sto­ries. Keep evangelizing!

We’ll go into much more detail at our Sum­mit ses­sion, which will be hosted by mem­bers of the Adobe Tar­get team and esteemed guests from Beach­bodyAmer­i­can Express, and Red­box. This in-depth walk-through is designed to help C-suite exec­u­tives and deci­sion mak­ers from all indus­tries and dis­ci­plines improve and expand their test­ing and per­son­al­iza­tion efforts, includ­ing learn­ing how to take those wins and turn them into deep, mean­ing­ful evan­ge­lism and, ulti­mately, build up a cul­ture of opti­miza­tion. I’ll be there, and want to hear about the chal­lenges you’re facing—and would love to hear how your com­pany stacked up on the Opti­miza­tion Matu­rity Model.