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.