A Model for Digital Optimization Maturity, Part 5
It’s here. You’ve reviewed the dimensions of optimization maturity and you’ve given a thorough and honest assessment of where your organization is and where it could actually be in terms of testing and optimization. So now what?
Now I give you the ultimate tool to see how you stack up: Adobe is rolling out the Optimization Maturity Model, an interactive tool designed to give marketers a comprehensive, third-party review of their organizations, comparing and contrasting their efforts and best practices to that of highly engaged companies in a host of industries. This tool comes after more than seven years of in-depth consultation and hands-on work in hundreds of businesses spanning all industries and all platforms, including Web, mobile, email, site search, display advertising, and tablet. Through the integration and utilization of Adobe optimization and targeting technology, along with recognized best practices, our company helped these organizations become more effective, more efficient, and more streamlined across core aspects of their digital business, gaining the invaluable maturity across the six dimensions of optimization maturity.
Some of the partner companies are highly mature and evolved with regard to their testing and optimization efforts. Some grew tremendously over the course of the study, through extensive improvements and enhancements within each of the six dimensions. And others remain peripherally involved in testing and optimization, running a few simple tests month after month, with limited rationale behind those initiatives.
In other words, there’s an organization just like yours in the mix. We aren’t here to tell you what you already know—that you are or aren’t (or are sort of) an optimization behemoth. This tool will help you effectively benchmark your organization within five buckets of maturity and, from this comprehensive understanding, drive meaningful improvements and help your brand move through these unique stages and toward deeply embedded testing and optimization practices that permeate every corner of your business.
As I mentioned in my earlier posts, the Optimization Maturity Model is based on a set of weighted criteria that emerged directly from this large sample of your peers and competitors. When assessed in tandem, these criteria provide a complete appraisal of an organization’s digital optimization sophistication. Keep in mind, though, that due to the weighted nature of the model’s scoring system, two companies could rank the same while excelling—and falling short—in completely different dimensions. They can be different, yes, and still be equally mature and sophisticated from an overall testing and optimization viewpoint. But no matter where your organization thrives and stumbles, the end result is the same: As a company matures, it experiences greater value—interaction, engagement, and ROI, ROI, ROI—from its digital optimization efforts.
So I’ve talked about the six dimensions in depth. Add them up and you get five levels of optimization maturity:
- Incidental. Testing and optimization efforts are sporadic or even ad hoc with limited support, resources, and an inability to leverage the emerging data.
- Expanded. Here, interest and excitement exists, usually in large part due to some conversion and revenue lifts, but limited and informal testing still dominates.
- Disciplined. Once at this stage, the organization has integrated optimization as a core strategy, but efforts likely aren’t moving at full efficiency because of a lack of experience and expertise. More tests are wanted and the reach is picking up—so now what?
- Strategic alignment. As the name suggests, at this level the organization has aligned its strategic goals with regard to testing and optimization programs and a comprehensive roadmap drives success forward. Optimization technology is typically in place as is a strong buy-in from the top down.
- Embedded. Very few organizations reach this final, highly desirable stage. At the embedded level, optimization is just that—embedded in everything that takes place, serving as an integral force that drives massive value for the company and its consumers.
As you move through these levels, not only does the value of your testing and optimization efforts grow, but organizations typically experience many other high-value benefits, including increased testing velocity and process refinement. What’s more, as strategic goals align with organizationally aligned optimization goals, success expands beyond the core optimization unit and across all participating corners of the brand.
Once you’ve input your organization’s critical information tied to the six maturity dimensions, it’s important to remember that we’ve observed a long tail-esque distribution, with many at the incidental and expanded levels. The upside, of course, is that this means there’s plenty of room for growth and movement within virtually any organization.
Enough small talk—let’s evaluate. Take your notes from the six dimensions as well as any critical information and initiatives you have in place and get to it. The answers likely won’t surprise you if you’ve done your homework, but seeing an unbiased assessment of your organization compared to others—especially others outside of your traditional purview—is an invaluable exercise, and one we know will help put you on a positive trajectory almost immediately.
So, how did you score? Tell me in the comments section below. Curious to know if you’re surprised or affirmed, charged up or scratching your head—and what, if anything, you’re going to do about it. Let’s make this a dialogue and a hub for future growth and expansion.
I’ll wrap up the series with some “if/thens” plus a few recommendations for companies looking to move up a level or two. They’ll be actionable, I promise—no sense in knowing what you have to do, but not knowing how to get there.
In the meantime, though, I’ll be checking back often looking for your reviews of the tool along with where your assessment left you. Then we’ll roll up our sleeves and get to it, together.