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One platform 

From the keynote presentation by CEO Alex Atzberger to the many individual sessions, Optimizely highlighted the challenges faced by most modern marketers and merchandisers. The case was repeatedly made for the power of a single, integrated digital experience platform that addresses all of the needs of modern marketers. 

A key theme emerged: how to overcome the uncertainty that comes from a broken martech stack, systems that don’t talk to each other and inconsistent data management. The ability to leverage experimentation at scale offers a unique opportunity to better understand what content and experiences will drive the results marketers want. Content remains one of the most powerful tools in any marketer’s arsenal, but knowing what content to produce and when can be elusive. 

“Computers are programmed by people and just as liable to be coded with our faults, as our virtues.”

A fundamental transformation

To address all these concerns, Optimizely makes the bold assertion that marketing itself must be fundamentally transformed. It has to:

- break down the silos that house data separately
- use data to better organize customer segments and then test content and experiences       to see how customer segments react
- dramatically expand the amount of content it produces to not only drive more                       personalization, but also to better convert sub-segments
- invest deeply in experimentation programs to drive insights about how customers' needs     and wants change over time. 

A platform for everything

Optimizely is quick to point out that using other approaches could require solutions that involve dozens of vendors and custom integration work. However, Optimizely DXP provides all of these capabilities in one unique, trusted and mature platform. 

Using the Optimizely digital experience platform, companies are able to:

- know what content drives results
- collaborate with other content creators to develop and deliver that content
- identify customers to personalize experiences
- adapt content to better target audience segments
- monetize the customer journey
- optimize and improve conversions at scale and over time.

Four men smiling at the camera with a crowd behind

Know what content drives results

The old adage that content is king remains as relevant as ever. It’s the reason customers come to a website or use a mobile application: to consume content, learn more, make decisions and complete transactions. Optimizely’s expansive built-in analytics provide a layer of insight into knowing how audiences react to content, but it’s taken to another level when combined with automated content and product recommendations. Using this approach, marketers and merchandisers are able to connect the dots as to what content and experiences actually achieve results. 

Collaborate with other content creators to develop and deliver that content

Knowing what kind of content to produce is a helpful start, but most DXPs offer only rudimentary support for how content is actually created.  Authors and administrators are expected to copy and paste into a web-based editor. Optimizely differentiates its DXP platform in a powerful way. The inclusion of the content marketing functionality (formerly a tool called Welcome) allows content authors to collaborate as never before. They can have open brainstorming sessions, vote on content to be created, track and review the content through its authoring, editing, review and compliance cycles. Finally, they can deliver for actual publishing. 

Identify customers to personalize experiences

Personalization is considered to be table stakes by most web site visitors today.  This means organizations must know their customer base and be able to segment them into groups. Content and functionality must then be tailored to each segment to better cater for its needs. Optimizely has the ability to perform personalization using rules-based approaches (visitor groups) and expand even deeper using the company’s CDP offering. The Optimizely Data Platform (ODP) provides an engine that is capable of delivering segment-based personalization down to 1:1 individual experiences, all in a single platform.
Double door entrance with overhead banner over that reads: Opticon, welcome

Adapt content to better target audience segments

Using the tools described above, marketers are able to follow a crawl, walk, run approach to driving more and more detailed segment-based experiences. This is another real point of differentiation for the Optimizely platform: its ability to support simple segment identification, experimentation and insights to more complex customer profiles, numerous audience segments, automatic segment identification and 1:1 personalized experiences. These would be exceptionally difficult to build piecemeal but with Optimizely, customers can start simple and grow into both depth and scale. 

Monetize the customer journey

The ultimate goal of customer journeys is to enable the monetization of relationships with customers. Optimizely once again differentiates itself thanks to the integration of full commerce capabilities that can be tuned to B2C, B2B or hybrid B2B2C models, all on the same platform. This dramatically reduces integration work and the work invested in identifying customers and assigning them to audience segments. Experimenting with content and conversion techniques is immediately actionable in the context of commerce, again, all on one platform.
“Whether it is an oath, a product label or an ISO number, end-users will soon be able to pick an AI developer based on their adherence to ethical guidelines.”

Optimize and improve conversions at scale and over time

Finally, the opportunity to build upon these fundamentals to scale and optimize results over time represents a significant opportunity for organizations that have invested in Optimizely. The use of Optimizely mature AI/ML engines, found in content and product recommendations and in personalized search experiences, is an example of this. However, the experimentation capabilities of the platform are the real hero. Optimizing conversions over time – building complex multivariate testing scenarios, applied across audience segments at scale – means that companies can deliver on every marketer’s dream: a fully customized experience, tailored to each customer and focused on delivering what will cause that customer to convert. 

It’s quite a lot to take in, but Optimizely’s call to fundamentally reinvent marketing is backed by its bold platform capabilities. It’s truly differentiated in the marketplace, as it offers comprehensive analytics, content creation and delivery, commerce functionality, search capabilities, SEO optimization, content and product recommendations, experimentation and customer profile and personalization capabilities. All of this is in one platform, integrated in one place. That’s quite a powerful punch and is why Optimizely remains the leader in digital experience platforms. 

Key takeaways

  • Black box AI – neither understandable or explainable – presents an ethical challenge. If we can’t understand why an AI is making a suggestion, we can’t tell if it’s biased or exhibiting signs of drift. Explainable AI offers the opportunity for AI to be transparent, sustainable and ethical.
  • Organisations are responsible for ensuring their AI is explainable and so can be both ethical and sustainable. They will soon be able to demonstrate this through an ISO framework, which will certify development is ethical and undertaken with constant human oversight.
  • Frameworks and guidelines will guard against bias by ensuring AI is both understandable and explainable. We are already seeing this with the EU’s AI Act which could become law in the latter half of 2024.

This article originally appeared in Thread, Edition 2. Thread is Kin + Carta’s quarterly magazine that cuts through the complexity of digital transformation. Making sustainable change real, achievable and attainable. 

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