Optimization Beyond The Landing Page

In the era of the long-tail marketers, content providers and, of course, merchandisers, have come to the realization that deep catalogs are critical to consumer engagement, and with it, winning share of time, share of wallet and share of mind. Customizing and optimizing all that deep content, however, requires building new bridges between IT and marketing, as Mark Wachen, Optimost managing director at Interwoven, explains below.


Behavioral Insider: Interwoven is thought of in terms of content management, which is a separate -- or seen as a separate -- bucket from behavioral marketing, more the optimization piece. What do you see as the relation?

Mark Wachen: Our mission is to improve the cycle of managing and delivering content to create engaging Web experiences for customers. Optimization of landing pages has become far more popular in the last few years. People now understand it makes a major difference if you can provide people with content that suits their interest as soon as they reach the site. But now there's the increasing realization that you can optimize far more deeply into the site. In fact, savvy marketers are coming to understand that before you even put new content up for the site, you should optimize.



BI: What differentiates your platform?

Wachen: What Optimost basically does is automate the creation and testing of an unlimited number of variations of a Web page. Based on the results of these tests, a marketer can identify the most effective combination of content and design.

BI: What's the relationship between optimization and testing?

Wachen: It's one thing to work with static landing pages where testing basically means running two variables, version A and version B, and quite another to try to optimize a credit card page with 30 different elements. That's where we've been focused since day 1. When you're optimizing a page where multiple variables need to be juggled, you need to handle complex interactions. There are simple approaches out there that may test something like three variables and two values; however we can handle much more comprehensive experiments -- a typical one may be 10 variables with five values. There you're talking about massive numbers of permutations. Traditionally testing was an extremely labor-intensive process. It also required specialized skill sets.

BI: As in designed to be controlled by engineers?

Wachen: Before this, the only way a marketer could even change a single variable was to bug the IT department. Interwoven Optimost manages the testing of either an entire page or subsets of a page through a single tag on the page. This tag gives you the ability to augment experiments using the broad capabilities of the Interwoven Optimost multivariable optimization software -- with minimal IT support. The tag does not need to be changed to test new content, design, or navigation. A personal targeting and segmentation engine allows you to categorize your visitors according to specific characteristics and to optimize content for each individual persona. If you liberate marketers from the need for coding, they can add content, test and optimize on an ongoing basis with an aim toward continuing to improve every item they need or want to.

BI: What sorts of things can marketers, once 'empowered' by the technology, do?

Machen: Interwoven's suite of solutions empower marketers to create a compelling online presence, deliver relevant content, optimize to increase conversions and analyze for business results - without heavy lifting from IT. For example, Interwoven just announced the general availability of enhanced Interwoven Web Content Management and Targeting and Engagement solutions that help online marketers swiftly create and deliver a more relevant Web visitor experience. We're really arming marketers to accelerate time-to-Web and strengthen their engagement with online customers.

One example of this is the Honda Motor Company. Their Web site had already performed well in terms of traffic. At the same time, it hadn't been designed with a single-minded focus on driving sales. For that reason their ad agency, RPA, wanted to better leverage Honda's online presence to drive conversions into key shopping activities such as competitive comparisons, vehicle configuration, and dealer location. They designed a media campaign targeting vehicle consumers within 60 to 90 days of a purchase, who were directed to special landing pages with a more focused range of options, all shopping-oriented.

The Interwoven platform was used to help them maximize the effectiveness of these pages in driving conversions. Rather than presenting a single, linear conversion funnel, the Honda Web site offered consumers multiple paths from each model's landing page through to a conversion. Interwoven conducted Website optimization on four landing pages on the Honda Website, one for each of four models, to maximize their effectiveness in delivering consumers to subsequent pages in the funnel. The results were dramatic: customers who viewed the optimized landing pages were far more likely to reach the confirmation or 'thank you' page for a given conversion funnel.

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