Opticon 19: Out-experiment. Outperform.
A recap of the need-to-know themes and product updates from Optimizely's annual conference.
Consumer preferences today are not only at a higher standard, but are also changing more often than ever before. Given this shift, leading brands are beginning to understand that it is nearly impossible to deliver a “silver bullet” customer experience that will please all customers for an extended period of time. Instead, they are adopting a mindset rooted in constant experimentation to deliver CX that improves and adapts to changes in customer needs.
It is with this challenge in mind that thousands of the best product managers, engineers, and analysts met at Opticon 19 to discuss the culture, strategies, and technologies that drive effective experimentation.
“Experimentation is the next big thing in business management”
The conference opened with Jay Larson, CEO of Opticon, both reaffirming the importance of experimentation and introducing the innovative ways in which Optimizely is making experimentation possible at scale. Experimentation, he described, “is the next big thing in business management.” With customers’ standards so high, the characteristic that will set winning brands apart is the ambition to experiment in order to continually exceed expectations. Provide a good experience for your customers, “and they'll reward you with their loyalty,” Larson declared. “Fail, and they're just a click away from your competition."
An experimentation-focused culture, however, is meaningless without the processes and technologies in place to execute optimization efforts. With this caveat, Larson revealed several product releases that will make it easier for Optimizely customers to experiment at scale.
- Performance Edge, which allows brands to mitigate the risk of experimentation by moving browser side to the edge (CDN);
- Data Lab, which makes it possible for data professionals to analyze experiment data and build beautiful experiment reports using their own data sources, statistical tests, and custom business metrics;
- ROI Tool, in order to help experimentation teams communicate the value of delivering a delightful customer experience;
- And On-demand Services, which arm Optimizely customers with a skilled team of designers, developers, and experimentation experts that can take your experiment ideas and execute on delivering A/B test variation.
The importance of tying ROI to experimentation strategy
While the primary theme of Opticon was focused on enabling experimentation, equal importance was placed on the ability to calculate ROI on experimentation. Calculating the ROI of experiments is critical for long term experimentation strategy because it ties the results of customer experience improvements to bottom line impact. With this understanding, it’s possible to understand and demonstrate the results of experimentation and make tangible business change.
In order to help customers calculate the ROI of their experiments, Optimizely announced the introduction of the Optimizely ROI Model. The model empowers experimenters to better understand and demonstrate the value experimentation is driving within your business. To support the introduction of the ROI Model, Kate Nichol, Director of Global Success Programs at Optimizely, led a panel on the value of quantifying the ROI of your experimentation program with Chris Darner from the Venetian and Jeff Blettner from Tinuiti.
The democratizing effects of experimentation
In addition to the business impacts of experimentation strategy, Opticon19 also featured important discussion on the ways in which experimentation is both influenced by and has an effect on organization culture. For new experiments to be introduced, it’s important to have diversity of thought present to foster the high participation and multiplicity of ideas. Furthermore, with ROI tied closely to testing results, experimentation becomes a means not just for driving business change, but also for democratizing decision making. To discuss this topic, six female business leaders sat down for the panel, "How Inclusion & Diversity Fosters a Culture of Experimentation and Drives Growth." Personal stories from each of the panelists demonstrated both cultural gains made in the workplace and how much more still needs to be done.
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