Another (different) smart man also once told me, “if you don’t understand how to use data for your clients, you will be irrelevant in 10 years.” As a young developer at the time I filed that away into the “useless opinions” folder. But that was 15 years ago, and he was right. The definition of success of a digital experience has changed a lot over the years. Data driven marketing and smart use of AI and ML are now the key to maximizing value.

In 2009, launching a new website for a startup or a Fortune 500 company was a difficult and sometimes heroic task. One worth popping champagne at the end. We spent a ton of time in design, creating content, making something that looked cool to show off in board meetings. People got promoted, times were good.

What we soon came to understand in the months and years later, is that (just) launching wasn’t enough. Questions came quickly. “How is this new website (or mobile app) helping our business?” “It looks cool” or “it’s easier to use” only goes so far.

A lot has happened in the last 10 years. Notably top software vendors like Adobe started acquiring CMS, eCommerce, and Analytics capabilities among other things. These trends seemed strange to many in the tech services industry at the time. However, the vision had begun of creating customer value, from the creative phase to call-to-action by using data driven insights and personalization.

If you are recently invested in new martech and eCommerce platforms you have likely bought into this story. Here are some things to consider to maximize your investment and make it a reality:

1. Do not end your project plan at launch The number one mistake I see companies make is to contract a vendor who is a single product specialist in a particular technology such as a CMS or eCommerce platform. In the past, I’ve seen companies put a lot of time and effort into an intricate project plan and sprint process for implementation without considering the end business goals. Look to hire vendors who can BOTH deliver a superb implementation (this is table stakes) but can also work with you post launch to help deliver consistent KPI’s and work with you on optimization and personalization. Ask for pay per performance contracts. This is where the ROI from your technology investment will come from!

2. Marketers – embrace the tech. IT – embrace the business

Enterprise technology diagrams once the domain of the diligent IT architects, need to be understood by marketers. Simple logical diagrams like BORN’s Experience Technology framework (below) go a long way in creating a point of reference between technical and business stakeholders.

Personalized Experience Technology Framework

Tech folks, try to focus on business outcomes other than risks. The risk of not progressing the business is always bigger. Work in joint teams always. Make sure your vendors can do the same. Every good project I have been involved in has a CIO and CMO represented in equal value and a services vendor that can bridge both as well.

3. Understand and use your data

Customer data is your most valuable asset. Use it effectively for best possible outcomes. Every company has a checkered past with using data and analytics. Don’t try to fix it at one time, instead try to eliminate some important data silos that allow you to progress in maturity according to a model like BORN’s PXM below.

Personalized Experiences Maturity Framework

4. Create a cross-channel, content and creative “factory”

If you have done everything right, you are ready to do some serious personalization and test and learn. Measure outcomes and report fantastic improvements to your KPI’s. Don’t forget that none of those concepts can go into market without feeding the machine with new creative, content, and call-to-actions. This requires an “always on” approach and likely a retained creative team focused on delivering creative and content when and where it needs to be.

Going forward, let’s do better – together.