Over the last week, I’ve started discussing criteria for assessing your organization’s digital optimization maturity. From culture and leadership—do you have the environmental and executive buy-in across all levels?—to strategy and organization—ensuring you have the people, the tools, and the tacit knowledge to get it all done—these initial four dimensions are critical to optimization success. The final two—execution and reach—are equally important and, likely, the most action-oriented of all the dimensions. Grab your scorecards, this is your final assessment before we dive into benchmarking, strategic evaluations, and next steps.
So you’ve looked at the culture of optimization, necessary leadership support, and whether you’ve got the resources and knowledge in place. Now ask yourself if you can actually test those ideas and, based on the results, put best practices into play. Beyond that, can you expand your optimization reach across every high-value corner of every platform of your brand—sites, mobile, and tablet extensions? Here are the last two optimization maturity dimensions.
Having the resources—the people, tools, knowledge, and skill sets—in place is essential to successful testing and optimization. But equally important is having those critical processes fleshed out, ensuring that tests can be executed quickly and efficiently. Coming up with tests is great, identifying clear-cut goals is better, and having everything—and everyone—in place puts you in a position to excel.
Over the last few years, Adobe partner Build.com has homed in on this dimension, putting tools and resources in place to improve and enhance their execution ability, but the company also recognizes it’s a work in progress. Its ability to formulate and launch relevant tests has matured thanks to a host of methodology and implementation improvements, starting with improved internal communications tied to tests and reporting. This commitment to effective, forward-moving communications led to a greater, more far-reaching collaboration between merchandisers, operations, and the testing team, with idea formulation emerging from across all areas—and all levels—of Build.com. Even more impressive, the company went on to leverage this strong communication culture to streamline the test request process, ensuring that ideas have relevant data behind them before moving into the development stage and laying a greater groundwork for success.
With strong communication and collaboration in place, Build.com was able to continue its quest to facilitate the types of meaningful interactions that get results. While keeping an eye on improving execution, Build.com sought to shore up more in-depth and granular analysis such as breaking all metrics down by product category. This added vantage point helped Build.com tap into the tests even more, driving greater optimization and personalization opportunities for its users—compounded by the company’s improved methods of customer feedback both prepurchase and postpurchase, Build.com was all but ensuring comprehensive executional success and, in turn, more effective, efficient optimization procedures and a greater ROI from just this maturity dimension.
Last but certainly not least: reach. You’ve got the meaningful groundwork laid and have the resources to be successful, including a steady and operative path to test and implement. Now it’s about reach, ensuring you’re optimizing in the highest-value locations of your site, along with other critical consumer touch points. It’s great to have testing, optimization, and personalization capabilities, and it’s great to put them in play. But if you aren’t maximizing the reach of these processes and practices, you’ll ultimately fall flat. Companies that are truly mature when it comes to digital optimization embed these initiatives across all business units, operational dimensions, and consumer platforms. Are you there, or can you be?
Mike DiMiele, Senior Manager of Online & Kiosk Analytics for Adobe partner Redbox, is among the advocates of testing and optimization reach. Working across the brand’s Web, mobile, and kiosk analytics and optimization efforts, Mike strives to leverage transactional and customer behaviors across all digital platforms, steering critical financial decisions and game-changing initiatives. And with nearly 36,000 locations and 3 billion discs rented to date, that’s no small feat.
What’s the secret to Redbox’s reach maturity and success? Mike focuses on high-traffic areas, which understandably, deserve more attention as they drive users down the most meaningful path for his brand—and toward a conversation. These are also spots that are segmented for marketing alerts or reminders, plus the device that got them there.
The “happy path,” as Redbox has dubbed it, starts with the site’s homepage and Movie Browse page, pages that innately get the most initial consumer engagement and, of course, provide marketers with the most opportunity for optimization and usability. From here, Redbox can drill down into what works and what doesn’t for prospective and existing customers, optimizing for platform, location, and path along the way.
That said, consistency is a critical piece of the Redbox reach equation. Mike explains,
“Consistency needs to be king when you allow visitors to browse and rent from multiple platforms or devices. We continue to optimize not only the high-traffic pages, but the consistency of the message, features, and overall experience as it is related to the kiosk, Web, responsive Web, and apps.”
What’s more, as Redbox continues to grow and evolve, the optimization and testing alignment grows with it. For them, new features and brand extensions are happening virtually all the time and, with them, more successful tests that maximize user engagement and deliver critical data that drives future movement and expansion.
What does all this mean for your organization? Look at the reach and penetration of your testing and optimization programs. Are you optimizing high-traffic sites only, with an eye on the homepage or other major points of entry? Or are you reaching across your site and beyond, to apps, tablet, and mobile sites and, maybe, even brick-and-mortar experiences? It’s the final step in true optimization maturity, and a critical one in delivering on the ROI promises we keep making.
Got all six down? Now that you’ve got all of the pieces in place, review the dimensions and reassess where your organization is. What comes next? I’ve got a way for you to put these evaluations in place, effectively benchmarking your organization against others big and small. It’s new, it’s innovative, and it’s exciting—and it’s rolling out in just a few days. Check back and bring those scorecards. From there, I’ll have some actionable recommendations to help you move through the next levels of optimization maturity. It’s the ultimate stop guessing/start enhancing tool—and it’s one that can propel your testing and optimization efforts forward once and for all.