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Maxymiser’s UI for Optimization and Personalization

June 26, 2013
UI for creating customer experience variants. Web page is viewed within the UI; red box to the right offers actions for creating each variant.

UI for creating customer experience variants. Web page is viewed within the UI; red box to the right offers actions for creating each variant.

This is a rather long post describing Maxymiser’s UI, and how it supports key tasks for Maxymiser’s clients.

Maxymiser is a digital marketing suite with solutions for optimization, testing and personalization. Products include MaxTEST, MaxSEGMENT, MaxPREDICT, MaxRECOMMEND, MaxSOCIAL, MaxMOBILE and MaxINSIGHT. These connect across a common UI and platform.

The company was founded in 2006. It is headquartered in New York with offices in Chicago, Edinburgh, Dnipropetrovsk, Dusseldorf, London, Munich and San Francisco.

Tasks Supported by the UI

The user interface you get from any vendor encompasses two categories of work: tasks you want to perform, and tasks the solution requires of you. For example, you want to manage campaigns, and the solution requires configuration. The best solutions present you with the tasks you want to do in a way that matches your existing work process, rather than accommodating the structure of the solution. While you have identified the need to experiment with changes to your product page, you don’t want to simply create objects and associations. The best solutions also determine how to reduce your involvement in its care and feeding.

I consider Maxymiser’s UI to be one of the better ones.

The tasks you will perform using the Maxymiser UI include:
• Checking on the performance of a campaign, a page, a customer experience, or a segment
• Designing a new campaign
• Adjusting a campaign
• Creating variants of an experience
• Experimenting with ways to improve an experience

Note: In the broader world of marketing, a campaign might include direct mail, advertising, and events. In the Maxymiser world, a campaign is a slice of digital customer experience.

The Maxymiser UI has two tabs, Campaigns and Reports. You will use the same tabs, tasks, reports, rules, and definitions across all Maxymiser products. This means you do not need to learn multiple interfaces and which tasks are done where and how similar tasks are performed in different interfaces and which actions can’t be shared. This is a big deal, a big plus for users.

The Campaign tab is for defining experiences to be presented to users, and specifying how optimization, prediction, and recommendations will be applied to the customer experiences.

Reports is for analyzing the results, and exporting data to your other analytics systems (like Excel, the perennial favorite).

The UI is used by marketing managers, directors, merchandisers and others who are running the campaigns.

A campaign defines a set of experiences to be delivered and measured. It might be a single experience, an experience with several variants, or a master campaign which acts a traffic director for its sub campaigns (which might have variants). For example, new visitors are routed to a campaign that predicts which banner to present, while returning visitors are routed to a campaign that identifies a banner based upon recent activity. The subcampaigns, such as Womens, Outdoors, and Electronics, each have variants based on the visitor’s current behavior. The purpose of the master campaign is targeting; the purpose of the subcampaigns might be vary from customer acquisition to loyalty to revenue to margin.

The master-sub structure strikes me as comfortable: it matches how people think about traffic moving through their site.

Within a campaign, each combination of elements and variants is an experience. Experiences are defined by pages, actions, content, and targeting. The UI begins to reflect the structure of the Maxymiser platform. But I think it is still in the comfort range for people, because it reflects (and gives structure to) their ideas of the experience being delivered.

The action piece of the experience reflects what is to be monitored and measured. Maxymiser provides a long list of common actions, and you can define actions that are specific to your business. Examples of common actions include banner click, product added to cart, recommendation click, checkout started, checkout completed, and sales amount.

I’m very impressed by the UI for defining the content of a campaign. The content is the collection of images, text, and [navigation] included in each of the customer experiences. The Maxymiser UI provides a simple drag-and-drop interface for marketers to create variants of an experience. You see the experience you are creating. You don’t need to haul in the web team to help you rearrange the page. Maxymiser manipulates the objects already defined by your HTML. You define the default experience, and then create variants such as placement and color of banner, contents of banner, number of products on the page, placement of price information using this visual interface.

Campaign targeting defines the audience. Visitors react differently to the variants you define. Maxymiser automatically identifies groups of people that share attributes (reflecting behavior and customer profile) and offers these as segments identified with the “winning” experience for the segment. Maxymiser slaps an ID on the segment, and records the rules that define it. You can use the segments in other campaigns, for example, to spread an online campaign to mobile and email.

You can define your own segment, and also import segments defined by tools such as Experian Mosaics. The segment is defined via a rule, such as SFO Nightowls are visitors with Bay Area Facebook locales, who visit between midnight and 5:00 a.m. Maxymiser-defined segments are less likely to be groups that resonate with marketers, since they present groupings based on actual traffic rather than the personas we imagine as we design our customer experiences. A marketer might describe SFO Nightowls as important customers, but be less likely to wax poetic about Chrome Users on 1280×1920 entering at Womens Shoes on Tuesday afternoons.

I think the non-intuitive, Maxymiser-discovered segments are really important. We can all imagine the Nightowls, but Maxymiser identifies the segments that are actually the most active and valuable, and determines which attributes are most important. These discovered patterns will enrich the personas that we rely on when planning campaigns and experiences.

The reporting tab gives you a hefty set of slice and dice from varying perspectives. The perspectives include campaigns, products and segments, with history and with trends. Reporting for the campaign (the collection of experiences) tells you which experience was best for the combined audience, and which experiences were best for each of the segments. You can invite Maxymiser to automatically promote the multiple winners.

Optimizing for a Segment

I am immersed in the study of personalization, so I am keen to understand how solutions support the basics of delivering personalized experiences. Most of the analytics solutions you will encounter began in a page-centered world. How is the page doing. How do we make the page do better. Many have moved up to a revenue orientation: which pages produce revenue, which pages need to do a better revenue job.

The next transition is to segment or visitor reporting: how well is our experience delivering for our most important segments. Across channels (touchpoints). Across the lifecycle, since I am the same guy when I buy shoes, return shoes, and explore camping gear. Some products are doing better with the customer-oriented support than others.

Maxymiser provides useful segment analysis, and it also provides important automation around segments. Maxymiser will discover segments, using models to identify the most important attributes of visitors, and predict the content that will be most effective. It then monitors results, finally identify winning experiences for the segments, and promote those winners (meaning, ditch the losers when choosing a visitor experience). Maxymiser can manage hundreds of segments. A human like me could define dozens of segments, and then have his head explode trying to manage even one segment across touchpoints and lifecycle.

Maxymiser can optimize the segment experience for any touchpoint, as well as across all touchpoints. You can ask Maxymiser to choose, say, a single banner that is the winner for a segment whether delivered on the home page, the mobile entry page, or via email. This does require recognizing the visitor, connecting a visitor ID with a specific customer profile, a task that Maxymiser handles automatically when conditions allow (e.g., not the first visit). The customer profile is common across interaction points.

More on Maxymiser’s customer profile in a future post.

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