Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Web Optimization at a Grand Scale: Part 1 of what has to be a series

Just yesterday, I was asked if I would pull together a small group of colleagues to define how we could build a Web Optimization discipline for the marketing and communications function.  This is exciting because my team has been working over the past 2+ years to optimize the marketing presence for a large segment of our business around the world, in 60 countries.  This is already very large scale optimization, but the thought of pulling in all parts of a large enterprise web marketing presence sounds like a good challenge.

The first thing I have been thinking about is precisely defining a) what we mean by "optimization" and b) what aspects of the web presence we want then to optimize.  To do the latter - and to do it across a large enterprise - you need to start with some shared understanding of the scope and the outcomes you are aiming for.

Here's the definition we came up with:

Web optimization is a discipline that uses analytics, streamlined processes and best practices to progress the relationship between web visitors and <insert company name>, taking them from prospects to lifetime clients and advocates for <insert company name>.  This is accomplished by:

  • Delivering relevant content and expertise to visitors at the right stage in the relationship to inform and inspire them to take the next step; 
  • Providing a user experience that helps them efficiently achieve their desired tasks and transactions; and
  • Enabling frictionless engagement with your brand and employees.
The thought I had was to focus on how we optimize for the user or client and how, when done well, that will also result in increased revenue for the company.  Most of what I have read about web optimization - in a marketing context - has to do more with how to optimize for client acquisition or online purchase.  So, it tends to reflect on the needs of the corporation, not the user.

Next, we defined 3 dimensions of what we are trying to optimize for: business performance, client (user) experience, and operational efficiency.

We also started to detail some KPIs for each of these dimensions.  

The big question I had when I reviewed some of this thinking today - and it was a good one - is how to get to more quality metrics versus volume metrics.  So, any ideas on that - or anything related to web optimization - are welcome.  Next up will be a discussion of how and where to begin with a web optimization program.

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