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Tuesday, May. 11, 2010 at 7:55 am

Conversion Conference: The Training Wheels Are Off

By Brendan Regan
May 11th, 2010

conversion_conf_logo_vert_156x55Some 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!

boothBecause 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.¬† ;)

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Comments (23)

  1. I was lame and didn’t get a chance to stop by the FutureNow booth! But I really enjoyed the conference overall.

  2. nice report mate..can go give us some more details? btw, i like your tendency to pointillism the things!

  3. I am very confused about how to optimize my business. My conversions are quite low.

  4. @cherrynightstand: That’s a big question. 1st, determine what a conversion is on your site, and how much it’s worth to you. 2nd, do competitive analysis to figure out what other options prospects have to you, and what you offer that’s unique and superior. 3rd, keep reading this blog! :)

  5. I found the conference to be extremely in formative and also validated some of my ideas. Looking forward to next year.

  6. @cherry
    i have the same problem with you,i am very confused about how to optimize my business.can you explain abou that

  7. There is definitely no shortage of people who need help with this kind of stuff, even as far as the web design and SEO end as well. As much competition as there is online, the internet is still relatively untapped when you think about the 6+ billion people in the world.

  8. Can you give us more details about this conference and the presentations you attended? It sound really interesting and honestly around here are a lot of people who need help in this direction.

  9. 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.

    I like this line because it reminds me of the line which says, “In unity there is strength.”

  10. Brendan, I’m sorry I didn’t stop by your booth, but it was a genuine pleasure catching up with you at the after party.
    I was blown away by the quality of the conversation throughout the show. There is a broad church of conversion-oriented marketers and they are growing in confidence and authority.

  11. Didn’t hear about the conversion conference until this post. Is there one in the works for the future?

  12. @Jack: Yes, the next one is scheduled for October in Washington, D.C. See conversionconference.com for details.

  13. [...] View full post on Conversion Rate Optimization & Marketing Blog | FutureNow, Inc [...]

  14. Conversions can be a sticky point for me. Wish I could have been at this conference. :)
    Regards,
    Jason

  15. It sound really interesting and honestly around here are a lot of people who need help in this direction.

  16. Consulting is only going to grow as more and more people realize the importance of online conversions and traffic management. I remember talking about these things many years ago and having people turn a deaf ear. Now they are asking for my help…

  17. I am very confused about how to optimize my business. My conversions are quite low. ;)

  18. There is a broad church of conversion-oriented marketers and they are growing in confidence and authority.

  19. [...] good media coverage of the May 3-5 conference (in San Jose) at FutureNow, EyeView, and SEO.com. Follow Conversion Conference on Facebook. Posted in [...]

  20. I found the conference to be extremely in formative and also validated some of my ideas.

  21. Conferences that bring like minded businesses together is a must in fast paced changing world of commerce. This is good to see that there is still some trust and engagement between competitive companies.

  22. how this conversion can make website conversions ? why not just use Google Website Optimizer ?

  23. I’m looking forward to the next one in London end of this year; see you all there!

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