Some Grok readers have been asking for a “wrap-up” post about the first ever Conversion Conference.¬† I won’t attempt any sort of journalistic ‘coverage’ of the session contents, since I was at our booth most of the time and only made it to a few presentations.
Instead, I’ll give a few impressions about the conference in general and what I think it might mean for our emerging industry, and for businesses who are thinking about Optimization in the near future.
Before I dive in, I want to mention that it was great to see some folks who’ve worked with FutureNow over the years, and have since moved on to other niches.¬† Particularly, while Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg are no longer working with us, their influence on the “conversion industry” is undeniable, and it’s hard to imagine that there would’ve been a Conversion Conference in 2010 without their work and thought leadership.
My general feelings about the conference are that it exceeded my expectations in terms of attendance, content, and exhibitors.¬† For a first-ever show, it was a home run!¬† Thanks, of course, to Tim Ash of SiteTuners, who organized the conference, threw a party, and gave a keynote address!
Because I spent most of my time in the expo hall among the vendor booths, I thought at length about the state of the service offerings that are out there for businesses interested in conversion rate optimization, marketing optimization, etc.
They seem to fall (at present) into 3 basic categories:
1. Testing technology (GWO, SiteSpect, Ion Interactive, etc.)
2. Analytics/Customer Insight technology (ClickTale, UserTesting.com, Loop11, etc.)
3. Consulting/Services (FutureNow, etc.)
Now, these classifications are general at best.¬† Most vendor offerings bleed into multiple categories.¬† For example, I could argue that FutureNow also plays in the Analytics/Customer Insight space with our OnTarget optimization product.¬† But in the end, every vendor has a core competency.
The bad news, then, is that businesses wanting to jump into optimization today have to choose solutions by the vendor approach that best matches their business.¬† For example: Do you have enough dedicated resources and optimization know-how that just a testing platform will suffice?¬† Do you need to focus on data, usability, and customer research to truly know your prospects before optimization can happen?¬† Or, would a consulting approach with training, coaching, and education be the best fit? TOUGH questions.
The good news is that this (getting help with CRO) will only get easier and more elegant as time goes on.¬† All of the vendors were talking to each other, trying to figure out how to collaborate (not compete) to help businesses optimize in ways that make sense to every unique client situation.¬† This is a strong industry that will only get stronger.¬† My only fear is the “big player acquires all the vendors, then doesn’t integrate them well” nightmare, but I doubt we’ll see that scenario.
So if you’re a business struggling with these types of questions related to Optimization, don’t despair!¬† You’re not alone; the companies we met at the conference were definitely educating themselves on their options, and how they would or wouldn’t fit together.
And, seriously, if you have these types of questions, let me know.¬† I promise I won’t hard-sell you…even though my elevator pitch is quite polished after this conference.¬†