Online marketing moves fast.
Take conversion optimization, for example. A few years ago that term didn’t exist, but today it’s a top priority for savvy organizations including the world’s largest enterprises.
This makes sense, given that increasing online conversions—the process of getting more site visitors to become customers, users, or leads—is one of the few areas of marketing that have a direct impact on revenue and ROI. Companies that are just now learning of conversion optimization are at risk of losing out to their competitors, if not already.
Last week I attended a conference that exists because of conversion optimization: Opticon. Over 1,000 other people attended, from startup CEOs to conversion optimization experts to marketing leaders at massively big companies.
Based on my reflections from Opticon, here are three areas of growing importance and possibilities. If you want to catch up with your competitors—or keep your lead—consider this list.
1. Intelligent Personalization
Marketers will get tools to fully personalize the site experience for their visitors. Not just reading true/false values in cookies, but showing unique content to many different visitor groups based on anything you know about them, including their browsing history.
Optimizely Personalization will be one such tool to enable this. It’ll have a simple editor to define user segments and customize the site for them, and—what I’m most excited about—it will also have an API for even greater customization.
With the ability to create limitless personalizations, it may become difficult to know which visitor groups to target. Thankfully, Optimizely thought of that, so they built in intelligent recommendations. The tool will analyze your site’s traffic and conversion metrics to determine which groups of visitors behave significantly better or worse than the rest, so you’ll know whom to target with personalization.
This will let you better match your content with your individual visitors’ intent and needs, and therefore increase their likelihood of converting into a customer.
2. Optimization Test Tracking Tools
As more organizations embrace data-driven marketing and set up A/B testing programs, they’re running into several challenges:
- Tracking and recording past, current, and planned experiments.
- Prioritizing experiments.
- Making experiment results accessible to the organization.
- Enabling best practices and shortening development times of experiments.
Every large organization I spoke with faced these challenges. They all tried and quickly outgrew using spreadsheets. Some scrapped together an in-house system for managing the testing lifecycle, but only as an interim solution due to a lack of options.
These are problems without a good a solution… for now.
At least one company I spoke with is already developing a SaaS tool to help organizations meet all of the above challenges. I’m sure more are on the way. These tools will benefit not just the organizations using them but also software companies like Optimizely, conversion optimization agencies, and growth consultants.
3. Marketing Operations
As more tools become available to track and optimize marketing efforts, there’s an increasing need for someone to configure and integrate the tools themselves. The business value of CRMs, analytics, ad tracking, emails programs, optimization tools, etc, is multiplied when they’re connected and sharing data.
Marketing Operations is about getting insight into the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, and enabling other departments (such as sales) with marketing data. Phil Hollrah, VP of Product Marketing at Demandbase, described it as “someone who can connect all the marketing efforts with data, tools, and operations.”
Acquisition marketing data is more accessible now than ever, but many organizations don’t realize it or aren’t able to piece everything together. According to Baxter Denney, VP of Product Marketing & Operations at New Relic, says, “Organizations always wait too long to hire marketing ops.”
Sidenote: If you can’t support a full-time marketing ops person, consider enlisting a marketing ops consultant.
Are any of these items new to you? Do you think I’m over-playing the importance of any of these? I’m curious to get your perspective.
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