Photo courtesy Pranay Goyal
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Advancements in technology and the changing business landscape have affected consumer behaviors. Consumers now expect personalization in almost every of their engagements with brands, which has made personalization and A/B testing imperative for marketing success.
A/B testing has opened new data streams and insights for brands globally with an unprecedented level of understanding of consumer behavior. Every specific group of people has customized requirements and one-size-fits-all often is never the answer for those groups. A/B testing and personalization has allowed brands to customize their marketing for different marketing audiences and answer specific problems without altering the experience for another target group.
A/B testing however is a complex marketing aspect to pull off successfully and only a handful of marketing leaders have been able to scale A/B testing with global personalization. Pranay Goyal is one such marketing leader who has created benchmarks in A/B testing protocols in terms of marketing and has become an inspiration for numerous companies globally. He holds a special place in the marketing world with his over a decade of experience in digital marketing.
Knowing Pranay Goyal, the marketing think-tank behind countless successful marketing campaigns
Drawing from his vast experience, Pranay Goyal has played a pivotal role in shaping the success stories of notable organizations such as VMware, SONY, Bank of America, Fortinet, VeriSign, and Fujitsu. He is currently the Senior Manager at Digital in Fortinet Inc.
After completing his master’s degree and experience in Fujitsu and Bank Of America, he joined SONY PlayStation and started his remarkable digital marketing journey. After that, he joined VMware Inc where he created a unique culture of web optimization in order to give web users a unique experience that was customized to their specific needs.
Among many other achievements, he also helped both Sony Playstation and VMware in their CMS migration with integration of testing and analytics tools to optimize the web experience of millions of web visitors to their websites. This helped them effectively convert prospects into quality customers.
Pranay’s inspirational work with personalization at Sony Playstation and VMware Inc
Pranay Goyal was the mastermind behind the large-scale implementation of personalization at Sony Playstation and VMware Inc. While both companies were very different in nature, one being B2C while the other being B2B, it required a unique strategy and mindset to optimize web experiences for them.
Sony deals with users directly, meaning web users can directly buy products from their website. In this case, it is imperative to understand user behavior and optimize experiences using multiple personalized A/B tests.
There were several generic A/B tests executed, but in the long term the outcome of these was negligible for the company. However in the case of personalized A/B tests, the outcome was exponentially amazing because of which the average revenue per visit doubled, the site engagement rate increased, and web visitors started spending more time on the website. This was further augmented with AI and machine learning in order to optimize experiences using advanced algorithms and without requiring human intervention to create custom segments. B2B sales cycle takes place in real time, hence the tests were evaluated and optimized instantly with a fast Go-To-Market strategy.
On the other hand, VMware Inc. being a B2B company requires a completely different approach to optimize web experiences because sales cycles are long as there are no direct sales in most cases. Pranay created a dynamic approach in this case, which helped VMware target their prospects while they were at different stages in their buying cycle ie awareness, consideration, purchase and post purchase.
It also implements a targeting framework using which (depending on the type of web visitor’s profile) a unique custom experience can be served with multiple options so that the web visitor can decide which experience suits him/her. This targeting framework includes various tactics such as behavior, persona, firmgraphics, location, and propensity score analysis of accounts.
Since B2B sales cycles are long, real-time KPIs such as average time spent, bounce rate, and site conversion rate started showing a significant positive effect. This was followed by improvements in long term KPIs such as velocity, which led to improved lead conversion quality with double digit growth in conversion rates. With his efforts, personalization is now one of the core strategies to optimize digital experiences.
Pranay Goyal shares his success and insights with the digital marketing community
When personalization is done on a scale, it results in a big boost to the customer experience. Looking at Pranay’s success, out of 100s of applications, Adobe Inc ($17.6 billion revenue 2022) selected him to be a prestigious speaker in their annual digital marketing summit which is attended by more than 30,000 marketing professionals worldwide.
You can check out the session here: Personalization in B2B: VMware’s Journey to Scale and Success. Pranay was also part of a webinar presented by Demandbase Inc on “ABM Master Class: Engagement” where he helped explain and expand on the concepts of account based marketing using a data analytical approach to highly experienced marketing leaders.
Pranay Goyal’s crucial ingredients for success
While Pranay continues to grow himself and his company by implementing ground-breaking strategies, he summarizes the basic ingredients to get meaningful results:
Start with estimations that talk of measurable success
Before starting any A/B test, create estimations to understand how much time it will take to achieve a specific measurable outcome, availability of sufficient web traffic, confidence level etc. This helps in avoiding premature decisions.
Look for insights
One size does not fit all in the case of marketing. In a simple A/B test, one may end up applying an experience to everyone, ending in the users not liking the experience. Hence, whenever there are test results, look for insights about engagement based on the profile of the web visitors such as new Vs repeat, customer vs prospect, location etc. This will help in creating personalized experiences without the need to force one experience on everyone.
Document and Share
It’s very important to document and share results within an organization in order to avoid what we call “re-inventing the wheel”. The results of the tests can help the company save millions of dollars.