This phase is perhaps the most important part of the process. If done well, it can help build a strong foundation for testing and will help in the later stages of buy-in for the program.
Your research should be aimed at answering three main questions.
1. What points does each major stakeholder care about, and what information is available to help prepare ahead of time?
For example, your CFO or VP of finance is likely going to care about software cost, and expected ROI, whereas your VP of IT will care much more about implementation requirements, SLA details, page-load times, and security. Based on whom you have identified as stakeholders, ensure you are gathering information that matters to them.
2. What is the overall ROI achieved by companies using testing, targeting, and personalization solutions?
Some potential resources to help answer that question:
3. What, if anything, are our competitors using?
Vendors will generally list clients on their website, and that's a good place to start. The list can also be important for social proof and ensuring that stakeholders can feel comfortable with testing vendors.
There are also tools online, such as BuiltWith.com and Datanyze.com, that analyze websites and show which technologies a particular site is using. To start, simply type in a few of your competitor's URLs and see which tools they use.
These tools are very comprehensive and will identify much more than just testing, targeting, and personalization solutions; just be aware that you may have to look around to find your answers. In the next post in this series, we'll look at collaboration and how to get buy-in from executives in cross-functional roles.