Over the last week, I’ve started dis­cussing cri­te­ria for assess­ing your organization’s dig­i­tal opti­miza­tion matu­rity. From cul­ture and lead­er­ship—do you have the envi­ron­men­tal and exec­u­tive buy-in across all levels?—to strat­egy and orga­ni­za­tion—ensur­ing you have the peo­ple, the tools, and the tacit knowl­edge to get it all done—these ini­tial four dimen­sions are crit­i­cal to opti­miza­tion suc­cess. The final two—execution and reach—are equally impor­tant and, likely, the most action-oriented of all the dimen­sions. Grab your score­cards, this is your final assess­ment before we dive into bench­mark­ing, strate­gic eval­u­a­tions, and next steps.

So you’ve looked at the cul­ture of opti­miza­tion, nec­es­sary lead­er­ship sup­port, and whether you’ve got the resources and knowl­edge in place. Now ask your­self if you can actu­ally test those ideas and, based on the results, put best prac­tices into play. Beyond that, can you expand your opti­miza­tion reach across every high-value cor­ner of every plat­form of your brand—sites, mobile, and tablet exten­sions? Here are the last two opti­miza­tion matu­rity dimensions.


Hav­ing the resources—the peo­ple, tools, knowl­edge, and skill sets—in place is essen­tial to suc­cess­ful test­ing and opti­miza­tion. But equally impor­tant is hav­ing those crit­i­cal processes fleshed out, ensur­ing that tests can be exe­cuted quickly and effi­ciently. Com­ing up with tests is great, iden­ti­fy­ing clear-cut goals is bet­ter, and hav­ing everything—and everyone—in place puts you in a posi­tion to excel.

Over the last few years, Adobe part­ner Build​.com has homed in on this dimen­sion, putting tools and resources in place to improve and enhance their exe­cu­tion abil­ity, but the com­pany also rec­og­nizes it’s a work in progress. Its abil­ity to for­mu­late and launch rel­e­vant tests has matured thanks to a host of method­ol­ogy and imple­men­ta­tion improve­ments, start­ing with improved inter­nal com­mu­ni­ca­tions tied to tests and report­ing. This com­mit­ment to effec­tive, forward-moving com­mu­ni­ca­tions led to a greater, more far-reaching col­lab­o­ra­tion between mer­chan­dis­ers, oper­a­tions, and the test­ing team, with idea for­mu­la­tion emerg­ing from across all areas—and all levels—of Build​.com. Even more impres­sive, the com­pany went on to lever­age this strong com­mu­ni­ca­tion cul­ture to stream­line the test request process, ensur­ing that ideas have rel­e­vant data behind them before mov­ing into the devel­op­ment stage and lay­ing a greater ground­work for success.

With strong com­mu­ni­ca­tion and col­lab­o­ra­tion in place, Build​.com was able to con­tinue its quest to facil­i­tate the types of mean­ing­ful inter­ac­tions that get results. While keep­ing an eye on improv­ing exe­cu­tion, Build​.com sought to shore up more in-depth and gran­u­lar analy­sis such as break­ing all met­rics down by prod­uct cat­e­gory. This added van­tage point helped Build​.com tap into the tests even more, dri­ving greater opti­miza­tion and per­son­al­iza­tion oppor­tu­ni­ties for its users—compounded by the company’s improved meth­ods of cus­tomer feed­back both pre­pur­chase and post­pur­chase, Build​.com was all but ensur­ing com­pre­hen­sive exe­cu­tional suc­cess and, in turn, more effec­tive, effi­cient opti­miza­tion pro­ce­dures and a greater ROI from just this matu­rity dimension.


Last but cer­tainly not least: reach. You’ve got the mean­ing­ful ground­work laid and have the resources to be suc­cess­ful, includ­ing a steady and oper­a­tive path to test and imple­ment. Now it’s about reach, ensur­ing you’re opti­miz­ing in the highest-value loca­tions of your site, along with other crit­i­cal con­sumer touch points. It’s great to have test­ing, opti­miza­tion, and per­son­al­iza­tion capa­bil­i­ties, and it’s great to put them in play. But if you aren’t max­i­miz­ing the reach of these processes and prac­tices, you’ll ulti­mately fall flat. Com­pa­nies that are truly mature when it comes to dig­i­tal opti­miza­tion embed these ini­tia­tives across all busi­ness units, oper­a­tional dimen­sions, and con­sumer plat­forms. Are you there, or can you be?

Mike DiMiele, Senior Man­ager of Online & Kiosk Ana­lyt­ics for Adobe part­ner Red­box, is among the advo­cates of test­ing and opti­miza­tion reach. Work­ing across the brand’s Web, mobile, and kiosk ana­lyt­ics and opti­miza­tion efforts, Mike strives to lever­age trans­ac­tional and cus­tomer behav­iors across all dig­i­tal plat­forms, steer­ing crit­i­cal finan­cial deci­sions and game-changing ini­tia­tives. And with nearly 36,000 loca­tions and 3 bil­lion discs rented to date, that’s no small feat.

What’s the secret to Redbox’s reach matu­rity and suc­cess? Mike focuses on high-traffic areas, which under­stand­ably, deserve more atten­tion as they drive users down the most mean­ing­ful path for his brand—and toward a con­ver­sa­tion. These are also spots that are seg­mented for mar­ket­ing alerts or reminders, plus the device that got them there.

The “happy path,” as Red­box has dubbed it, starts with the site’s home­page and Movie Browse page, pages that innately get the most ini­tial con­sumer engage­ment and, of course, pro­vide mar­keters with the most oppor­tu­nity for opti­miza­tion and usabil­ity. From here, Red­box can drill down into what works and what doesn’t for prospec­tive and exist­ing cus­tomers, opti­miz­ing for plat­form, loca­tion, and path along the way.

That said, con­sis­tency is a crit­i­cal piece of the Red­box reach equa­tion. Mike explains,

“Con­sis­tency needs to be king when you allow vis­i­tors to browse and rent from mul­ti­ple plat­forms or devices. We con­tinue to opti­mize not only the high-traffic pages, but the con­sis­tency of the mes­sage, fea­tures, and over­all expe­ri­ence as it is related to the kiosk, Web, respon­sive Web, and apps.”

What’s more, as Red­box con­tin­ues to grow and evolve, the opti­miza­tion and test­ing align­ment grows with it. For them, new fea­tures and brand exten­sions are hap­pen­ing vir­tu­ally all the time and, with them, more suc­cess­ful tests that max­i­mize user engage­ment and deliver crit­i­cal data that dri­ves future move­ment and expansion.

What does all this mean for your orga­ni­za­tion? Look at the reach and pen­e­tra­tion of your test­ing and opti­miza­tion pro­grams. Are you opti­miz­ing high-traffic sites only, with an eye on the home­page or other major points of entry? Or are you reach­ing across your site and beyond, to apps, tablet, and mobile sites and, maybe, even brick-and-mortar expe­ri­ences? It’s the final step in true opti­miza­tion matu­rity, and a crit­i­cal one in deliv­er­ing on the ROI promises we keep making.

Got all six down? Now that you’ve got all of the pieces in place, review the dimen­sions and reassess where your orga­ni­za­tion is. What comes next? I’ve got a way for you to put these eval­u­a­tions in place, effec­tively bench­mark­ing your orga­ni­za­tion against oth­ers big and small. It’s new, it’s inno­v­a­tive, and it’s exciting—and it’s rolling out in just a few days. Check back and bring those score­cards. From there, I’ll have some action­able rec­om­men­da­tions to help you move through the next lev­els of opti­miza­tion matu­rity. It’s the ulti­mate stop guessing/start enhanc­ing tool—and it’s one that can pro­pel your test­ing and opti­miza­tion efforts for­ward once and for all.

For more information, visit my blog here: http://blogs.adobe.com/digitalmarketing/author/kevin-lindsay/