How would you rate your orga­ni­za­tion in terms of cus­tomer intel­li­gence (CI)? You may already be “off the charts” as a CI genius or per­haps you have never heard of the term. Regard­less of where you stand, cus­tomer intel­li­gence is a con­tin­uum on which we are all trav­el­ing as mar­keters and orga­ni­za­tions try­ing to keep up with the rapidly chang­ing land­scape of dig­i­tal marketing.

Part of increas­ing your CI means cre­at­ing or improv­ing upon what For­rester Research calls your organization’s “data stew­ard­ship pro­gram.” Ask your­self two key ques­tions: 1) How well does your orga­ni­za­tion man­age the Big Data it is acquir­ing? And 2) do you have the right tech tools and teams to trans­late your Big Data into smart data? In “Nav­i­gat­ing the Future of Cus­tomer Intel­li­gence,” For­rester reports:

Cus­tomers are ignor­ing one-size-fits-all mes­sages and increas­ingly engage only with per­son­al­ized, tai­lored expe­ri­ences and con­tent. In this envi­ron­ment, mar­keters who per­son­al­ize and opti­mize their cam­paign efforts will pro­duce the most leads, lift con­ver­sion, and cap­ture the most wal­let share. Per­son­al­iza­tion can dou­ble response and reten­tion rates, yield­ing a response rate of 15% ver­sus 7% (no per­son­al­iza­tion) and a 16% reten­tion rate ver­sus 8% (with no personalization).”

Today’s blog is the third in a series cov­er­ing the fun­da­men­tal solu­tions to audi­ence man­age­ment in the era of Big Data. The first solu­tion explored the role of ana­lyt­ics as a solu­tion for cre­at­ing audi­ence seg­ments based on data sig­nals com­ing into your orga­ni­za­tion. The sec­ond solu­tion looked at tar­get opti­miza­tion as the key to hon­ing your con­tent and mes­sag­ing, valu­ing real-time data over gut instinct and intu­ition. In this blog, we will look at a pow­er­ful new tool for cre­at­ing the opti­mal cus­tomer jour­ney online: the Web expe­ri­ence man­age­ment solution.

What Is a Web Expe­ri­ence Man­age­ment Solution?

How does your orga­ni­za­tion cre­ate and main­tain the ideal web­site? Who is respon­si­ble for this ongo­ing task? What processes does your orga­ni­za­tion go through in order to make changes, updates, and more?

The Web expe­ri­ence man­age­ment solu­tion is basi­cally an inte­gra­tion man­age­ment sys­tem for your online con­tent, with pri­or­ity given to your website.

One of the most impor­tant facets of this solu­tion is its abil­ity to inte­grate the mar­ket­ing and IT depart­ments. It is a cur­rent and all-too-common chal­lenge for IT and mar­ket­ing to work together quickly and effec­tively in order to respond in real time to the customer’s online jour­ney. With­out an inte­grated man­age­ment sys­tem such as a Web expe­ri­ence man­age­ment solu­tion, it becomes vir­tu­ally impos­si­ble to keep up. Adobe explains: “With­out a com­mon layer, busi­ness and IT often have to deal with the tech­ni­cal inte­gra­tions of sin­gle point prod­ucts, delay­ing time to mar­ket and miss­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties for max­i­miz­ing con­ver­sion and retention.”

Another key com­po­nent that this solu­tion inte­grates is your organization’s messaging—or brand con­sis­tency and content—across mul­ti­ple dig­i­tal channels.

Online Test­ing First, Then Web Expe­ri­ence Man­age­ment Solutions

First, it is impor­tant to use a tar­get opti­miza­tion tool in con­junc­tion with Web expe­ri­ence man­age­ment solu­tions. Each of these Big Data solu­tions build upon one another and func­tion more effec­tively when other solu­tions are prop­erly imple­mented within an organization’s mar­ket­ing strate­gies. Remem­ber, this tool basi­cally “cuts through noise and assump­tions to help mar­keters present the most effec­tive con­tent, pro­mo­tions, and expe­ri­ences to cus­tomers and prospects.” In other words, an orga­ni­za­tion needs to test their con­tent and mes­sag­ing and receive hard data in order to bet­ter imple­ment its next solu­tion via Web expe­ri­ence man­age­ment solutions.

There are many tar­get opti­miza­tion tools on the mar­ket today, includ­ing Adobe’s Test and Tar­get, which “claimed lead­er­ship … in Forrester’s first online test­ing plat­form wave” and has main­tained its lead­ing mar­ket posi­tion ever since. After tar­get opti­miza­tion has been inte­grated into an orga­ni­za­tion, then it’s time to put Web expe­ri­ence man­age­ment solu­tions into play.

Get Per­sonal: Increase Cus­tomer Con­trol and Personalization

Who should be in con­trol when it comes to cre­at­ing the opti­mal Web expe­ri­ence or online cus­tomer jour­ney? The answer is the cus­tomer. Accord­ing to the “Nav­i­gat­ing the Future of Cus­tomer Intel­li­gence” report, the more intel­li­gent the orga­ni­za­tion, the greater its imple­men­ta­tion of enterprise-wide “cus­tomer con­tact strate­gies” and increased “pref­er­ence man­age­ment” vari­ables for their online cus­tomers. “Orga­ni­za­tions find that pro­vid­ing con­sumers some level of con­trol over sub­ject, con­tent, fre­quency, and chan­nel of com­mu­ni­ca­tions improves over­all engage­ment and loyalty.”

How can orga­ni­za­tions opti­mize their customer’s expe­ri­ences at every touch point (Web, mobile, etc.) as chan­nels and devices are rapidly pro­lif­er­at­ing? Accord­ing to Adobe, a Web expe­ri­ence man­age­ment solu­tion pro­vides orga­ni­za­tions with a “plat­form to rapidly develop and deploy new tem­plates, designs, gov­er­nance, and com­po­nents for web, mobile, and social chan­nels.” This solu­tion enables mar­ket­ing and IT teams to “eas­ily man­age the com­plex­ity of cre­at­ing unique cus­tomer expe­ri­ences on owned dig­i­tal properties.”

Hyatt Hotels | A Case Study

For exam­ple, how can Hyatt, a global hos­pi­tal­ity com­pany with over 450 hotels, resorts, and res­i­den­tial and vaca­tion own­er­ship prop­er­ties world­wide, man­age 600 web­sites in more than 10 languages?

Hyatt recently moved from a man­ual man­age­ment sys­tem to a Web expe­ri­ence man­age­ment solu­tion that deliv­ers “rich, cus­tomized online and mobile expe­ri­ences for trav­el­ers world­wide.” In the case study, Bill Bernahl, vice pres­i­dent of eCom­merce at Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, reported that the com­pany wanted to “make Hyatt web­sites the best place to plan, pur­chase, and man­age travel and hos­pi­tal­ity.” Through this solu­tion, Hyatt 1) accel­er­ated the pace of Web con­tent updates; 2) cre­ated a website-linked mobile app where “on-the-go cus­tomers can find hotels, book rooms, review their own upcom­ing reser­va­tions, and check loy­alty point bal­ances;” and 3) “cre­ated a new dig­i­tal press room to enable cus­tomers, hotel part­ners, and media to eas­ily find infor­ma­tion of interest.”

The Solu­tion for 2013’s Online Challenges

With the rapid evo­lu­tion of the Inter­net and all things dig­i­tal, it’s essen­tial for orga­ni­za­tions to have the right tech­no­log­i­cal tools at hand. When you do, you’ll be able to find solu­tions to the many dig­i­tal chal­lenges you face, engag­ing cus­tomers in per­son­al­ized ways that cre­ate cus­tomer con­trol and loyalty.