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Product Announcements Aim for Customer Delight
Living in the great city of San Francisco, I try to take advantage of the elite speakers, conferences and events that pass through town. This week, Optimizely, an A/B testing platform for websites, held their first customer-focused event called Opticon. And just last week, I was able to hear Hillary Clinton speak about social media, innovation, and the “thin-skinned, tough guy,” Vladimir Putin, at Marketo’s Marketing Nation Summit, which was quite the treat. While these two events—and companies—are very different, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of customer-centric product announcements at both.
On Thursday, Optimizely announced Optiverse, an online community designed to be a “place for experimenters to unite, explore and optimize together.” It will serve as a hub for support questions, how-to guides, community discussions and suggestions for product ideas. To me, this is an exciting step for this new but fast growing company because they are not only trying to delight their customers, but the entire platform is to help you delight yours. By adding Optiverse, the company will be able to better manage customer expectations and effectively train users to maximize the software, becoming a strategic partner in the process. This kind of customer success is sure to strengthen Optimizely’s retention rates but also will enable their users to get the most value from their account, which is how a B2B company should operate. Is your company behaving this way? Consider adding your own community forum to generate ideas and engagement. (For more information on how Optimizely works, go to the bottom of this post)
And just last week, Marketo delivered a whopper of an announcement with a Real Time Personalization (RTP) function. Imagine being able to tailor your website’s messaging, visuals and promotional offers to make it relevant to each different visitor. You can segment the look and feel of any page by the determining the visitor’s industry, geographical location, or even by specific company name (like your competitors!). We always hear that the best results come from personalized messages but with all the competition these days, it’s become the norm and hard to differentiate yourself that way. Now, it’s imperative to insert someone’s first name into an email greeting and offer something relevant to get any conversion. But if you direct customers to your site, will their name appear on that too?
I’m really curious how this will begin to affect customer expectations, which are often set by marketing and sales interactions. Will having a truly personalized website make it harder to deliver on your promises? Or will it help to simply give the best service possible? Often times, unhappy customers become that way because they expect one thing, but receive another. We’ve written about a similar topic before, in a previous post.
While RTP may not be an entirely new idea, it certainly brings us one step closer to the future of marketing and customer experience. Marketo’s rolodex of high-profile customers will certainly ramp up the number of custom landing pages and I predict will eventually become the standard for customer engagement. And with the help of Optimizely, companies can test which pages have the best traction and engagement levels. The future is truly here, folks. Bravo to both Optimizely and Marketo for continuing to bring us new products that will delight customers and aim to increase loyalty.
Sidenote on Optimizely:
Optimizely allows businesses to easily test web design performance by making different versions of pages to test conversion rates and other goals set by the user. By adding a snippet of code directly into your site’s HTML, customers upload the page they want to test on the Optimizely platform and add variations to test. Users can make changes like swap out images, edit color or copy, or even adjust the page’s full layout. Visitors then see different versions of your site and over time (depending on your site traffic), data is accrued, reported and eventually determines a “winning” variation. Knowing which version performs the best allows customers to enhance the customer experience, build loyalty and translate that into more customers.