Monetate Q+A: Personalization Is Critical to Customer Lifetime Value

This executive conversation with Simon Farthing, senior services and strategy director at Monetate, originally ran in Internet Retailer’s July Online Personalization in eCommerce report. Delivering personalized experiences can have a direct impact on a retailer’s bottom line, especially when personalization is part of a holistic customer experience strategy. A recent Monetate report found that the…

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This executive conversation with Simon Farthing, senior services and strategy director at Monetate, originally ran in Internet Retailer’s July Online Personalization in eCommerce report.

Delivering personalized experiences can have a direct impact on a retailer’s bottom line, especially when personalization is part of a holistic customer experience strategy. A recent Monetate report found that the value of personalization compounds with every experience, proving one-off tactics are not as powerful as a personalized journey. To discuss best practices in personalization, Internet Retailer spoke with Simon Farthing, senior services and strategy director at Monetate, a personalization platform.

What are some notable trends around ecommerce personalization?

Simon Farthing: Retailers are getting better at unlocking exponentially more value from their personalization efforts. Personalization is no longer just a tactical solution to optimize a single session and a single metric; it’s maturing into a strategic tool to improve customer lifetime value and loyalty.

What do retailers need to know when first taking on personalization?

SF: Retailers need to understand customer intent, filter out the noise and respond in real time. It’s access to data—both internal and external systems — that enables real-time delivery and gives retailers the strongest results. That’s why artificial intelligence (AI) is extremely valuable in our space. You might have 100 pieces of valuable information about a customer, but a human can’t analyze all of it to make the right decision about what that data really means.

What attributes make up a successful personalization strategy?

SF: It’s absolutely critical to understand who owns personalization within an organization and how all stakeholders will contribute to the program. Retailers need governance that breaks down silos, clearly defined objectives, and a tactical roadmap that includes measurement strategies.  

What challenges are retailers facing in this area?

SF: The quest for perfection vs. the need to deliver results today. Many retailers are investing in personalization to fill a mix of short- and long-term objectives. It can be hard to find a balance when the pressure’s on to hit weekly sales targets. The good news is there are many best practices retailers can implement to achieve immediate success, while still building toward that holy grail of programmatic one-to-one personalization. 

What should retailers do now to improve their approach to personalization?

SF: There’s a huge competitive advantage to retailers with comprehensive personalization programs. Encouraging teams to focus beyond short-term optimizations, while still embracing simple tactics and quick wins, will have a significant impact on metrics. Just ensure you have a clear view of the revenue impact of your personalization program; that’s the only way to resource properly and demonstrate value. 

Click here for a copy of the complete Internet Retailer report.

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How an international non-profit is driving digital growth in an era of uncertainty

When you read the word “experimentation” in an article like this, chances are you think of marketing execs sitting around…Read blog postabout:How an international non-profit is driving digital growth in an era of uncertainty
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Not running experiments? You’re falling behind.

Back in 1975, Kodak had just developed a digital camera—the first of its kind. But the product was dropped for…Read blog postabout:Not running experiments? You’re falling behind.
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Back in 1975, Kodak had just developed a digital camera—the first of its kind. But the product was dropped for...Read blog postabout:Not running experiments? You’re falling behind.

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The future of media and entertainment: Tackling digital transformation through experimentation

Media and the ways we engage with it are constantly evolving. The way we discover new media, the way we…Read blog postabout:The future of media and entertainment: Tackling digital transformation through experimentation
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Media and the ways we engage with it are constantly evolving. The way we discover new media, the way we...Read blog postabout:The future of media and entertainment: Tackling digital transformation through experimentation

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Free Guide: How to Strategize & Execute Profitable Personalization Campaigns

When I speak with our clients, it often strikes me how many of them feel overwhelmed by the very idea of personalization. Our imagination, often fueled by the marketing teams of various software companies, creates a perfect world where personalization enables every interaction to be completely custom for every individual. In this dreamland, artificial intelligence […]

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When I speak with our clients, it often strikes me how many of them feel overwhelmed by the very idea of personalization.

Our imagination, often fueled by the marketing teams of various software companies, creates a perfect world where personalization enables every interaction to be completely custom for every individual. In this dreamland, artificial intelligence and machine learning solve all our problems. All you have to do is buy a new piece of software, turn it on, and…BOOM: 1:1 personalization.

As a data scientist, I’ll let you in on a little secret: that software only provides the technological capability for personalization. Even further, the algorithms found within these tools simply assign a probability to each potential experience that maximizes the desired outcome, given the data they have access to. Suffice to say, they’re not as intelligent as you are led to believe.

If you caught our first post in this series, you already know that we define personalization a bit more broadly, as any differentiated experience that is delivered to a user based on known data about that user. This means personalization exists on a spectrum: it can be one-to-many, one-to-few, or one-to-one.

And while there are many tools that enable you to do personalization from a technical standpoint, they don’t solve for one of the main sources of anxiety around personalization: strategy

Most personalization campaigns fail because of a lack of a strategy that defines who, where and how to personalize. So I’ve put together a free downloadable guide to help you do just that. This seven-page guide is packed full of guidelines, templates and best practices to strategize and launch a successful personalization campaign, including:

  • Major considerations and things to keep in mind when developing your personalization strategy.
  • More than 30 data-driven questions about your customers to identify campaign opportunities.
  • A template for organizing and planning your personalization campaigns.
  • Guidelines for determining whether to deliver your campaigns via rule-based targeting or algorithmic targeting.

Free Download: Plan & Launch Profitable Personalization Campaigns.

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Who’s Hiring in December?

Here are our picks: Sr. Director – Customer Experience Leader – Equifax is looking for a Senior Director in St. Louis, Missouri, to lead the Customer Experience Team in “intuitive design workflows and overall customer experience as they interact with Workforce Solution products.” Senior Software Engineer, Build Automation – Blizzard Entertainment is “seeking a talented […]

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Here are our picks:

Sr. Director – Customer Experience Leader – Equifax is looking for a Senior Director in St. Louis, Missouri, to lead the Customer Experience Team in “intuitive design workflows and overall customer experience as they interact with Workforce Solution products.”

Senior Software Engineer, Build Automation – Blizzard Entertainment is “seeking a talented and enthusiastic software engineer to join the Hearthstone team” in Irvine, California to improve testing, building and developing Hearthstone through software automation.

Conversion Optimization Specialist – Vivint Smart Home is looking for an “action-oriented thought leader to partner with the digital marketing channel manager to optimize ad creative, product lifts in on-page response rates and improve conversion rates for Vivint’s digital marketing portfolio.” in Provo, Utah.

Head Of Customer Marketing – Kabbage is “looking for an extremely analytical, results-oriented leader to join their data science team in Atlanta with a passion for growing customer relationships and increasing the value of customer marketing.”

Associate Director of Experimentation – Marketing Analytics – Join Walmart in San Bruno, California and “help the World’s largest omni-channel retailer develop, promote and lead execution of a rigorous testing and experimentation roadmap.”

Senior Product Manager, Data & Analytics – In New York, HBO is “looking for someone who has a proven track record of leading teams to identify unique market and consumer requirements, with experience in digital products portfolio management.”

Digital Product Manager – Cole Haan is looking for a manager in New York to “own the front-end digital site experience on ColeHaan.com and drive the overall user experience, optimization efforts and road map.”

UX Manager (E-Commerce) – iHerb is looking for a UI/UX Manager in Orange County, California to “enhance iHerb’s customer experience on their industry-leading, global e-commerce site through design and maintenance.”

Senior Manager, UX Planning & Insights – Join Leapfrog Online’s Strategy & Insights team in Evanston, Illinois and “help lead the strategy and cross-channel, digital user experience planning for Leapfrog clients.

Senior, UX Development – Fidelity Investments is looking for a web developer in Durham, North Carolina to join the User Experience Design team.  This role will be “supporting the Health Care Group’s digital employee and employer platforms, which customers and plan sponsors use to manage their health and welfare benefits.”

Looking for a job or to fill a position?  Give us a shout and we’ll help spread the word in our next careers blog post.

 

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New Features in Illuminate: Impact Analysis, Enhanced Filters, Updated Dashboard & More

Since we launched Illuminate back in May, our team has been working around the clock to develop even more features to help optimization teams better organize experiments, report performance and maximize impact. Today, we’re excited to share a few of these with you. What’s new in Illuminate? Show impact and determine priority Use our new Impact […]

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Since we launched Illuminate back in May, our team has been working around the clock to develop even more features to help optimization teams better organize experiments, report performance and maximize impact. Today, we’re excited to share a few of these with you.

What’s new in Illuminate?

Show impact and determine priority

Use our new Impact Analysis to show the overall impact of your tests by page type and identify where you should be focusing your testing efforts.

Sort and filter by what matters most

Filter your tests by 15 attributes including target audience, page type, start and end date, KPIs, revenue impact and more. Not seeing what you need? Add your own using our new custom tagging feature.

Keep sight of the bigger picture

Our new dashboard view enables you to view your program’s overall performance or view performance by a specific team or line of business.

+ a new tiled layout

If you love a good masonry layout (á la Pinterest), then you’re going to love our updated experiment view. Easily switch between a basic list of your experiments or a super slick-looking tiled layout.

Many of these features were developed in response to feedback from our beta users, bringing more of Brooks Bell’s advanced experimentation methodologies directly into the software.

“With Illuminate, you’re not just getting another test repository,” said Suzi Tripp, Senior Director of Innovative Solutions at Brooks Bell. “You’re getting 15 years of experimentation expertise and proven frameworks to help you do more, and do it better.”

Interested in learning more about illuminate? Learn more on our website or schedule a demo using the form below.

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Built to Wow: An Introduction to Launching Personalization At Your Company

The promise of personalization is enticing: a complete 1-to-1 experience for every customer, driven by every detail and data point about that person: who they are, their interests, needs and history. Their customer experience is completely optimized to deliver the right content at the right time, influencing brand engagement, purchase activity and “wow”-worthy customer experiences. […]

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The promise of personalization is enticing: a complete 1-to-1 experience for every customer, driven by every detail and data point about that person: who they are, their interests, needs and history. Their customer experience is completely optimized to deliver the right content at the right time, influencing brand engagement, purchase activity and “wow”-worthy customer experiences.

For years, this vision has been a pipedream among marketers, product managers and customer experience professionals. Many clients come to us wanting to “do personalization” but face significant challenges in doing so.

Part of this is due to the fact that “personalization” is so ill-defined.

At Brooks Bell, we define personalization as any experience that is delivered to a user based on known data about that person. By that definition, personalization exists on a spectrum: it can be one-to-few, one-to-many, or one-to-one. In the digital environment, product recommendations, customized search results and even segmented experiences are all considered examples of personalization.

But while many companies are already implementing these experiences, there’s still an overwhelming sense that many brands have yet to arrive in terms of personalization.


Got a bunch of burning questions about personalization? Submit them using the form below.

We’ll use this information to make sure we cover these topics in our upcoming posts.


A 2018 study of 300 marketers by Evergage and Researchscape International found that 98% of respondents believe personalization helps advance customer relationships, but only 12% were “very” or “extremely” satisfied with the level of personalization in their marketing efforts.

This is because (not unlike experimentation) personalization is a business strategy that should evolve in order to deliver long-term value. And while it’s true that many brands already have the ability to do personalization, they’ve also found that elevating and scaling a personalization program is difficult, costly and, frankly, can feel pretty darn impossible.

So, how to do this? In addition to the fundamentals for a standard optimization program, there are three critical working components that need to be established for personalization:

  • Technology: you need top-notch tools to centralize user profiles and deliver personalized experiences;
  • Data: personalization requires a clean, unified view of relevant customer attributes, and
  • Strategy: you need research and planning to purposefully and effectively launch, scale and benefit from personalization.

In the coming weeks, we’re going to break down personalization further by each of these components. We’ll outline the best practices, advice, strategies and tips to go from scrappy to smart when it comes to introducing and scaling personalization at your organization.

Struggling to execute a scalable personalization strategy? We can help. Contact us to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.

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What are your website visitors doing?

Chances are that you’re tracking your website visitors en masse. You’re probably tracking acquisition sites, tallying up conversions and working to optimize your pages for the best success. But with all of that quantitative research, do you know about each individual user’s journey, and where they are struggling on your site? If not, you should […]

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Chances are that you’re tracking your website visitors en masse. You’re probably tracking acquisition sites, tallying up conversions and working to optimize your pages for the best success. But with all of that quantitative research, do you know about each individual user’s journey, and where they are struggling on your site? If not, you should check out one of our partners: SessionCam.

Jonathan Hildebrand, Brooks Bell’s Sr. Director of UX & Design, spoke at SessionCam’s user conference last week in Chicago. If you’re unfamiliar with SessionCam, the company began with a mission of building the best session replay solution on the market.  Over time the solution has grown into a fully-fledged behavioral analytics solution including heatmaps, conversion funnels, form analytics and more.

We’ve been blown away by the machine learning algorithms which identify signs of customer struggle and frustration on a website.  We sat down with Jonathan to ask him for a couple takeaways from the event.

As a UX expert, what do you appreciate most about SessionCam?

Where SessionCam really shines is in the qualitative data it provides, which can uncover major hurdles on your site in ways that quantitative data could never reveal. SessionCam’s recordings allow customers to watch a complete play-by-play of a visitor’s experience on the site, whether it’s through a mobile device or desktop.

What about specific to testing?

From a testing perspective, SessionCam can be great for post-test analysis since it allows you to watch videos from the live test experiences. The Customer Struggle Score is also a great way to understand where problems are occurring.

Any interesting case studies?

Definitely. One that comes to mind is a retailer that has a buy online, pick up in store (BOPUS) program. They were using SessionCam to uncover the source of order mistakes. When there was an error at pickup, they would go back and watch that customer’s online session to see if a problem occurred during the online order process and determine if there were any improvements they could make.

And you only need to check out their website to see the kind of value that SessionCam has added to many of the world’s leading brands.

If you’re interested in finding out more about SessionCam, give us a shout.

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