By Mike Fradkin
May 11, 2023
In two minutes, how many businesses can you name that are out of business today, but were thriving when you were younger? I’ll give you time to think.
Did brands like Toys R Us, Sports Authority, Blockbuster, Lord & Taylor, and Dressbarn come to mind? Were Pier 1 Imports, A&P Supermarkets, or Borders on your list? Am I showing my age by even mentioning some of these names?
The stories of brand demise vary, and the explanation for why once-household names disappear is rarely boiled down to a singular reason. However, there are often common themes of not having the right pulse on users, competition, and not being able to react quickly enough to a disruptive trend.
Experimentation is often talked about in a micro sort of way:
- “How do we optimize the UX of this page?”
- “How do we adjust a purchase flow, image, or CTA button to increase conversions?”
- “How do we add a product recommendation to increase order value?”
But at the macro level, it’s really: “How do we avoid being the next brand casualty?” It’s about digital transformation and instilling a culture of experimentation, learning, and controlling risk – programmatic A/B testing and personalization that enables a deep understanding of customers and keeping up with their expectations of speed, flexibility, and user experience. And while you might not be able to forecast the next disruptive impact to your business, having a process and supporting set of tools that allow you to adapt quickly just might save your company someday.
Below are two customer stories that I thought were worth sharing on this topic. One is about a customer that was disrupted but survived because they were able to quickly pivot. The other is a customer of ours that is disrupting their space, using a patented part of SiteSpect to accomplish that.
Note: Due to the proprietary and competitive pieces to these stories, specific names and some details have been left out.
Health & Cosmetic Services Company (The Quick Pivot)
The services this company provides are not covered by insurance and are of significant cost to its patients. It’s also the case that when a patient decides to engage, they will be a patient for a long time. Because of this, there is a significant, long, multi-touch investment the company makes toward patient acquisition. However, this financial model falls over quickly if the conversion rate of obtaining patients falters. It’s a high-risk, high-reward model. When covid hit and lockdowns began those bets seemed almost certain to stop paying off.
Fortunately, the company already had SiteSpect in place. In an afternoon working with our consultants, they were able to personalize messaging on which locations closest to a patient were still open for an in-person consultation, and which were converted to virtual consultation. They were able to broadcast messaging about safety protocols by region, and location hours, and personalize messages to prospective patients across multiple channels at many stages in the funnel. They did this all while gaining user insights into how these changes and messages were impacting user experience. This allowed them to evolve these changes in real time. At a time when many of their competitors were paralyzed, our customer continued interacting with patients in a very personalized way and maintained their revenue stream.
Media Company (The Disruptor)
One of the struggles this company had impacted operational costs, user experience, and experimentation all at the same time. The broad reach of their service in terms of geography and supported device types, and the need to deliver content across varying internet speeds was beginning to hinder the rate at which they could experiment, personalize, and grow. Additionally, the client devices to which they streamed ranged from computers, tablets, and phones, to smart TVs, Firesticks, Roku devices, gaming devices, and IoT devices – anything that could possibly stream, they aimed to support, including devices not yet invented. They also knew they wanted to experiment and personalize at a market-leading rate and depth.
The challenge with most experimentation and personalization solutions is they use SDKs (Software Development Kits) to allow an application to interact with internet-connected clients/devices like those listed above. This means for each device, there would need to be SDK code written, and every time any of those devices were updated or changed (say Roku comes out with a new device) new SDK code would have to be written and deployed. Additionally, our customer was evolving their backend delivery framework, and those changes would also mean having to rewrite the entire library of supporting SDKs. They knew going this traditional SDK/mobile experimentation route would quickly become an unmanageable mess, and would ultimately result in less testing, less personalization, and less learning about their users. It would also unnecessarily eat up a ton of development and engineering cycles for the basic operation of their service, and this could ultimately mean giving up their leadership position to a competitor with lower operational costs, resulting in lower subscription prices.
“We’ve taken in a lot of meetings. We haven’t seen any platform that can do this,” they said to our team when the demo was over. They were referring to the SiteSpect API Digital Transformation Engine, a feature of our patented approach to experimentation and the unique functionality it yields. Unlike all other solutions, SiteSpect sits in the flow of traffic, and due to its patent, the approach cannot be duplicated. As a result, all other experimentation and personalization solutions are left only with SDKs to control the user experience, and most can only support mobile, not the other IoT and OTT devices listed above. For this streaming media provider, the patented difference of SiteSpect meant they could load the same light app on any streaming device, and use SiteSpect for remote config, experimentation, and personalization on any of those devices – transform APIs, variables, content, data as often as they wanted for any device or user, and do so with the least amount of performance impact possible. The financial impact alone assured them they could be financially disruptive in their market, but with this in place, the door was also wide open for limitless personalization and experimentation on limitless streaming devices.
Digital transformation is about using technology to make your business more efficient, customer-focused, and hopefully more future-proof. However, this transformation, while often comprised of various initiatives, is not an event. It’s an ongoing process that requires a culture of continuous improvement and a willingness to embrace new technologies. With this culture and the right tools in place, businesses can remain relevant, competitive, and at times disruptive in an increasingly fast-paced digital world.
If you want to hear more stories about digital transformation and ensure you’re the disruptor and not the disrupted, speak with an experimentation expert today. It will be time well spent!
Subscribe to our blog: