Sramana: What is an example of a capability beyond building websites?
Michael Seifert: You can say that once you start gathering information about website visitors, you start to learn a lot about them. Crafting personal emails is a natural extension from that. At that time, we started to explore email marketing, mobile technologies, and many other things.
In 2009, we started our second generation of those tools. We added automation to further hone in on email marketing. I think 2007 was a breaking point for us. It was the offset for the experience platform that we have today.
Sramana: What are the components of the web experience platform that you have today?
Michael Seifert: You need to know every customer. Very few people know every customer, especially in real time. Next, you have to use the knowledge that you have about every customer to shape their experience on the website in real time. That is really the key.
Sramana: Are you saying that you have advanced personalization capabilities?
Michael Seifert: Absolutely. When you think back to our heritage, we began by building dynamic websites where pages were different for each visitor. Then in 2007, we developed the technology to allow us to know every customer. Advanced personalization capabilities was a natural evolution for us.
Today when you look at the channels that we generate content for, we have web, mobile web, SDK for mobile apps, social media management, email marketing, and experience management; think about all the catalogs you receive in your mail every week. We are able to personalize content across all those channels.
Sramana: Personalization is a very hard problem. It is very hard to do it without context and a use case that is already built in. I would imagine that you have built this with specific use cases in mind?
Michael Seifert: Our solution is very horizontal. We have invented concepts about measuring quality.
Sramana: How can that be? If you are doing a publishing website then the experience flow will be very different than an e-commerce website. These are very different use cases.
Michael Seifert: That is a very good question. I think e-commerce is special. With an e-commerce site, that is typically all you have. There are limited interactions with the customer unless you are a large organization that has a physical presence with stores.
If you think about general use cases across automotive and healthcare and so on, we are talking about knowing every customer. We want that to go beyond just the web or mobile web, its understanding how every touch point in your company impacts the customer. Imagine a timeline where you record every interaction you have with the customer both from the marketing perspective such as email marketing and web experience through service calls and receiving invoices. If you have all of that on the timeline, then you can do very interesting analysis about the outcomes that are driving the best business.