So, you’ve started doing some testing on your website and you’re wondering what’s next. Or perhaps you’re just making a foray into testing but you don’t know how to get started. These are very common scenarios for the marketing and optimization folks we work with on a daily basis. Leveraging our experience with customers, Webtrends has created an optimization maturity model which serves as a great tool to guide companies in their optimization efforts.
In the first phase, operational reporting + improvement, we see many organizations focused primarily on aggregate reporting in traditional web analytics to understand how the site is performing. For example, a commerce company may be focused on understanding which step of the checkout process has the highest abandonment rate. This is typically an investigation phase, not typically an action phase.
The basic ad hoc testing + targeting stage houses companies who are doing some basic A/B/n testing, typically on an ad-hoc or project basis. They also may begin doing some very basic targeting of single elements or content. These testing and targeting efforts are ad-hoc or opportunistic as opposed to programatic and ongoing. We find that 80% or more companies fall into these first two phases. Why? The reality is that most companies don’t have the resources they need to be successful – personnel bandwidth, expertise, or tools. The people they have on staff are too busy or don’t have the right skill sets/experience to do effective testing and targeting and most companies don’t have the right tools in place.
Very few are in the advanced phases but we are seeing more interest and maturation. As companies move into the ongoing optimization, segmentation + targeting phase, they begin to conduct multi-variate testing, testing multiple elements on the page simultaneously. Many of these customers begin using more complex segment-based targeting. In fact, they may begin to use historical behaviors like those available in Webtrends Segments to fuel this targeting. Companies in this stage begin adopting testing and targeting as ongoing programs and work these elements into their day-to-day marketing activities.
Only the most sophisticated companies are in the automated and integrated optimization, segmentation + personaliaztion phase today. They are leveraging behaviors and attributes from multiple channels as part of segmentation and are using them to drive multi-channel targeting execution and ongoing personalization. It’s not easy but the payoff can be huge.
Based on this model, where do you think your organization fits? Where do you want to be in the next 6-12 months? And what are you doing to get from here to there?