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 […]

The post Free Guide: How to Strategize & Execute Profitable Personalization Campaigns appeared first on Brooks Bell.

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.

The post Free Guide: How to Strategize & Execute Profitable Personalization Campaigns appeared first on Brooks Bell.

Thank You + Brooks Bell’s Best of 2018

It’s January 3, and if you’re like us, you’re already heads down at your desk and neck deep in emails. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t take a minute to reflect on the previous year. In November of 2018, we quietly celebrated 15 years of being in business. When Brooks Bell was founded, experimentation was in […]

The post Thank You + Brooks Bell’s Best of 2018 appeared first on Brooks Bell.

It’s January 3, and if you’re like us, you’re already heads down at your desk and neck deep in emails. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t take a minute to reflect on the previous year.

In November of 2018, we quietly celebrated 15 years of being in business. When Brooks Bell was founded, experimentation was in its infancy. But despite all the changes we’ve experienced since then, one thing remains true: it is the opportunity to connect with so many interesting people that are solving big problems for their business that makes our work worthwhile. Thanks for walking with us.

A look back at some of our big moments from 2018

Winning like Winona

In January, our Founder & CEO, Brooks Bell, was recognized as one of 25 women who rocked digital marketing in 2017. Later in the year, she was also announced as a Southeastern Finalist for EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year award. 

We also celebrated 2017’s record-breaking growth, were recognized as Optimizely’s North American Partner of the Year, and we garnered our local business journal’s Best Places to Work award.

Getting Lit with Illuminate

Fun fact: We originally built Illuminate to help us better manage and iterate upon our clients’ tests. Over time, we got so much great feedback, that we decided to make it available to everyone this year.

Now, with a successful beta launch under our belt and even more new features being added to the software, we’re excited to see where this new endeavor takes us in 2019.

F is for Friends, Fun and…Fear?

In October, things got a little spooky around the office and it had everything to do with Scott, our Director of Sales, who decided to channel his inner Ellen Degeneres for the day (much to our colleagues’ horror). Watch the video if you dare.

Making Bacon for our Clients

Back in 2014, we set a Big Hairy Audacious Goal to achieve $1 billion in projected revenue for our clients. By the end of 2017, we’d reached $500 million. And this past December, we hit $1 billion. (cue ::gong::)

But we’re not resting on our laurels. We’ve set some aggressive goals for 2019, with a focus on personalization, and we’re pumped to get to work.

Brooks Bell takes the Bay Area 

In September, we officially opened the doors to our San Fransisco office. This decision came after years of working with clients on the West Coast and our desire to work even more closely with them. And with the Bay Area’s rich history of innovation, we can’t think of a better place to help more companies push their boundaries through experimentation.

Still Clickin’ 

Last May, we hosted our annual Click Summit conference. We might be biased but this remains one of our favorite events as it’s filled with meaningful connections and seriously impactful takeaways. 2019 marks our 10th Click Summit, and we’ve got big plans. Request your invite today.

2018 on the blog

 


The post Thank You + Brooks Bell’s Best of 2018 appeared first on Brooks Bell.

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 […]

The post New Features in Illuminate: Impact Analysis, Enhanced Filters, Updated Dashboard & More appeared first on Brooks Bell.

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.

The post New Features in Illuminate: Impact Analysis, Enhanced Filters, Updated Dashboard & More appeared first on Brooks Bell.

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. […]

The post Built to Wow: An Introduction to Launching Personalization At Your Company appeared first on Brooks Bell.

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.

The post Built to Wow: An Introduction to Launching Personalization At Your Company appeared first on Brooks Bell.

What Happens When Data Meets Creative (and How to Make it a Reality at Your Company)

There are quite a few people out there that just don’t *get* creative. They don’t understand the way in which we work or make decisions. And, indeed, creative teams are known to be cost centers rather than revenue generators. To certain execs, creatives are simply the sneaker-wearing hipsters who are brought in to make things […]

The post What Happens When Data Meets Creative (and How to Make it a Reality at Your Company) appeared first on Brooks Bell.

There are quite a few people out there that just don’t *get* creative. They don’t understand the way in which we work or make decisions. And, indeed, creative teams are known to be cost centers rather than revenue generators. To certain execs, creatives are simply the sneaker-wearing hipsters who are brought in to make things look pretty or sound good.

While this is a far cry from reality, it’s also not that hard to understand why. As creatives, we understand the value of good creative work. Proving that value, however, can be difficult. So here are a few tips for proving the ROI of your creative team and incorporating data within your creative process.

Tip #1: Know and Speak the Language of Business.

Smart creative work requires an objective-based approach. Objective-based creative is driven by data—often in the form of user feedback, website analytics, and strategic business goals. As a designer or copywriter, your job is to gather and digest this data and apply it to your work.  

When pitching your concepts to your stakeholders, most aren’t going to accept work that just “looks” better. It’s important that you are able to articulate the business problem, your target audience and the objective-based reasoning behind your decisions. This ensures that your work is influenced by hard data and research, rather than just design preferences.

On the other side, it’s important to train your stakeholders in the art of objective-based feedback. That is, feedback in the context of whether or not your work is effective in addressing the objective at hand. Doing this takes time, practice and a lot of patience, but the payoff is huge. Your executives will feel more confident after seeing that your creative team is aligned and hyper-focused on providing measurable value.

Tip #2: Use Testing to Eradicate B.S. in the Creative Process.

Brooks Bell was founded on the idea that you can eliminate creative guesswork by applying the scientific method. But at many companies, creative and UX teams rarely engage with testing teams. While this might make sense from the perspective of your org chart, few realize just how much collaboration between these functions could positively impact a business.

A few years back, my team and I were brought in to work with one of our retail clients. Looking at their website data, our analysts realized that a large majority of people were abandoning the express checkout form for the full checkout form. This seemed counterintuitive to us: less friction is always better, right? Why would anyone prefer to fill out the long form!?

In order to develop a strategy to test, we needed more data—so we turned to user research. We polled a select group of users about their purchasing experience and uncovered some potential reasons for their behavior.

We discovered that many users preferred to use alternative or saved payment methods, yet the account login and gift card payment options were only available in the full checkout experience. We ran a test adding these options to the express checkout flow, which resulted in a 5% lift. When implemented, this test translated to a $5M increase in revenue.

The impact of this was significant—and not just from a revenue perspective. Through this process, we were able to identify other areas where users could be experiencing anxiety. It also prevented us from over-designing in the future. For this company’s customers, a simple and clear message and a less cluttered experience were enough to quell their anxiety.

For data-starved creatives, these types of insights can be extremely valuable and can greatly influence the company’s overall design aesthetic.

Tip #3: Be Sure You Recruit Relevant User Groups for Discovery Research

This tip is for you if—upon presenting the results of your user research—you’ve ever been asked “why did you talk to [audience group]?” or the alternative: ”why didn’t you talk to [audience group]?”

Sure, conducting guerilla research on random mall-goers or your coworkers at lunchtime will get you basic usability feedback. But if you want actionable insights, you need to not only research the group that’s generating the most business for your company, but also the group that’s most impacted by the problem you’re trying to solve.

If return users drive the majority of your revenue, don’t research new users. Similarly, don’t ask someone to look at your mobile design if they don’t fit the demographics of the segment you’re trying to reach.

Here at Brooks Bell, we believe it’s important for our clients to be closely involved in the process of selecting user segments for research. This not only manages the scope of the project and ensures maximum impact, but it also helps to avoid the frustrating line of questioning I mentioned above.

Tip #4: Embrace Survey-Based Research

If you’re well-versed in usability testing, you know that elaborate usability tests are a waste of resources and you really can get the best results from testing no more than 5 users.  But to an executive, that number 5 can seem awfully small. And no matter how many times you reference or point them to this blog post, they still might just not buy it.

This is where survey-based research comes in. We’ve had tremendous success in conducting survey-based research for our clients, and find it is often better received by executives.

Executives respond well to survey research for a couple of reasons: You can survey a larger population of people. It’s fast—most of the time we get responses back within a day or two. And finally, depending on the types of questions you ask, it’s largely quantifiable.

While surveys are different from usability tests, oftentimes, you can use survey results to back up your usability test results.

Finally, it’s important that you also become the master of your research domains and empower yourself to dig in on your own.  For this, pivot tables are a great tool. Pivot tables unlock the magic of Excel by allowing us to take all of our survey results and slice and dice them any way we want… filtering answers by segments, averaging, counting, and creating data visualizations all without ever having to talk to an analyst.

How many of you thought you’d leave this post adding Excel to your list of preferred programs? 😉

Tip #5: Don’t Hoard Your Ideas – Bring Others Into the Creative Process

It’s every designer’s tale of despair: you spend tons of time on a project—putting in extra hours to make sure every pixel has been pushed into the perfect position, every line kerned and leaded—only to have your work completely shat on upon unveiling it.

Trust me on this one: hoarding your ideas and excluding other from your design process really only sets you up for disappointment, depression and frustration.  

So stop with the big reveal and instead invite others into the design process. Voice your ideas in a collaborative way. Position yourself as a guide within a creative process in which the objective is to build something collaboratively. Without a doubt, you’ll find you’ll get things approved faster and more frequently.

 


Interested in learning how Brooks Bell can help empower your creative and UX teams with data? Learn more about our services or contact us today.

The post What Happens When Data Meets Creative (and How to Make it a Reality at Your Company) appeared first on Brooks Bell.

Video Series: Conquer Your Biggest Testing Challenges

Here at Brooks Bell, we work with clients that are at varying stages of maturity when it comes to experimentation. Despite the differences in these partnerships, you might be surprised to learn that regardless of whether we’re working with a new or established testing program, they all face common enemies: pressure to deliver results; inefficient […]

The post Video Series: Conquer Your Biggest Testing Challenges appeared first on Brooks Bell.

Here at Brooks Bell, we work with clients that are at varying stages of maturity when it comes to experimentation. Despite the differences in these partnerships, you might be surprised to learn that regardless of whether we’re working with a new or established testing program, they all face common enemies: pressure to deliver results; inefficient processes; a lack of understanding and support for testing; and difficulty iterating on and applying learnings from test results.

In this four-part video series, you’ll hear from Suzi Tripp, our Sr. Director of Innovative Solutions, Jonathan Hildebrand, Sr. Director of Design & UX, and Claire Schmitt, VP of Strategic Consulting and Solutions at Brooks Bell. They’ll discuss tips and tricks for addressing these challenges. You’ll also get insight into best practices for organizing your testing program, developing smarter tests, showcasing your results and obtaining insights about your customers.

Check out the first video below, or watch the full series by filling out the form at the bottom of this post.

Part 1: Storing and Learning from Past Tests

Fill out the form below to view the other three videos, covering:

  • Collaborative Ideation / Strategizing Better Tests
  • Communicating Testing Insights Up The Ladder
  • Retaining and Growing Testing Budget

The post Video Series: Conquer Your Biggest Testing Challenges appeared first on Brooks Bell.