Technology should support your goals, NOT slow you down!

Tech should allow you to run not just walk.While the one constant in business is change, the one variable that has greatly accelerated—due to mobile and social—is the velocity of change. This is why we now hear so much about the importance of real-time marketingagile marketing, or the need for a fast corporate metabolism. The point of good marketing technology is to enable you to do more than you could manually.

Consider these two examples:

1) Web analytics vendors replaced the need to analyze log files because using Excel was way too time consuming and painful.

2) Testing and personalization technology vendors came along because the standard ecommerce and CMS platforms didn’t make it easy to do any kind of website testing or optimization.

However, the needs and goals of these tools have shifted over the past few years. For instance, with web analytics, you can discover key performance metrics based on what visitors are doing on your website in real time, while testing and personalization vendors are going beyond testing button colors or headlines on landing pages.

Whenever I evaluate any new technology I am always concerned on how it impacts resources, time spent, and how it incorporates into the processes and workflow of an organization and its individuals. I am a self-confessed marketing tool junkie. I look at a lot of new technology every year, but of course the technology I am closest with are testing and personalization tools and web analytics/big data solutions. That is why I wrote a buyer’s guide to enterprise testing and optimization technology.

I was shocked, however, when I saw the The Forrester Wave™: Online Testing Platforms, Q1 2013 report. I should point out that all of the tools there are solid platforms and any of them should be able to meet the needs of your organization. What you want in order to make a correct evaluation is not theoretical models of what might be, in an analyst’s office, the best solution for you but more practical advice as to what will deliver on vendor promises and advice from real users. What concerns me is how Forrester came up with their “criteria” for rankings. I wonder if it’s a coincidence that the author, Joe Stanhope, left Forrester right after the report was published!

Here are some of my specific concerns:

  • Technology platforms in the Wave report were rewarded for the number of unique MVT algorithms they allowed teams to use. I have never seen an instance where that actually made a difference.
  • The report also penalized Monetate (full disclosure, I am on the Monetate Advisory Board) because it uncovered a way to deploy its technology with one simple asynchronous tag to track all your data, understand who your customers are by aligning the data with your CRM and other systems on the back end, and then change the website experience in the DOM of the browser by defining sections on webpages and identifying customer segments.

The point of any testing or optimization technology is to enable you to accomplish more and improve your results with as little additional resources as possible. This is why I became a Monetate advisor; the ability to give companies an opportunity to do more, faster and with fewer resources.

While the average team that is doing any online testing or experimentation is getting three to five tests out the door a month, Monetate’s clients average 59 concurrent live campaigns every day. There have customers who have in one year launched over 1,000 test campaigns and have seen incremental revenue gains of over $125 million in revenue. That’s also why Monetate influenced approximately 20% of ecommerce traffic during the 2012 holiday season; that was about $3 Billion in revenue influenced in December 2012.

Aren’t these the kind of tools you want to learn about, and see how they are used in the field to help you get more with fewer resources?

This is exactly why I’m excited to be sharing an updated Conversion Optimizer’s toolbox workshop at the WhichTestWon live event in my hometown of Austin in May. Come join me. In fact, get an additional $50 off a ticket for the entire two-day conference. Jeffrey and I will both be there. Just use the coupon code: EisenbergRules for your exclusive discount.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for testing and optimization technology, make sure you are asking and evaluating based on the right criteria. If you need a list to start from, take a look at the sample RFP questions that I put together based on what I have seen as best of breed and best practices from actually working with companies of all shapes and sizes rather than hearing vendors pitch and believing every word they say.

photo by: My Buffo
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