It Takes Three To Tango In Digital Optimization

Building a comprehensive, large scale digital optimization program that works takes not two, but three to tango. Platform, process, people. Calling it the 3 Ps would be easy but it’s more important to spell it all out in order to let each of these 3 critical components sink in mind, most effectively.

Think of the three-legged stool – without any one leg, the stool falls over. If you’re looking to build a highly scaled digital optimization engine with far reaching impact on a global business, build it with this simple three-legged stool image in mind.


The platform is the engine that, in many cases, delivers the experiences and, also in many cases, shows you the data that we people transform into insights and ultimately value.

From content delivery, personalization engines and split testing to marketing automation, social and search, there is no shortage of platforms to choose from. The 2017 MarTech 5000 Infographic will both dazzle and dizzy you with a myriad of options. When it comes to testing platforms I tend to approach what is best on a case-by-case basis.

Some are better sold and marketed than others. Some lesser known players have great feature depth and power. Newer platforms are emerging that tout high speed, large scale testing – thanks to machine learning. Regardless of what platform you use, people and process cannot do much without at least a serviceable platform.


Conversely, a platform without people is useless. Platforms must be used by people who both know the platform and know how to transform the platform into business value.   Business value is ultimately what this is all about.

Sure, machine learning and artificial intelligence are starting to play interesting roles, but don’t get too cocky bot heads – we people have a purpose and we’re not going anywhere.

Even in scenarios where machines are weeding out the losers and promoting the winners, we need humans to understand and cascade what the winners and losers are, so that those around us can integrate the findings into what they do. Dispersing the insights spurs more data-driven action. More action, more value. People and Platform working together.


But wait, there’s more. A three-legged stool can’t stand without that third leg – process. Process is important for all, but if you want to create a program of high scale and perform testing and optimization with great agility and speed – critical in the age of digital disruption – process is even more paramount.

What does optimization process look like in real life? To test several hundreds of experiences on a monthly basis (high scale) people must be wired to craft their goods (think design treatments, copy blocks, headlines, order of components, offers, user flows, you name it) with this notion of constant, iterative testing. In other words, they need to produce 2 or 3 or more of what they are producing – not just one. And this has to be the mindset not just once, but all the time.

It’s one thing to have a platform that can test with this grand scale, but the platform doesn’t make up the goods that you are testing. Nor does it think of what to test. People play that role, but getting the people to do this regularly, requires a systematic process that caters to scale and speed.

Find a consistent way of doing the same thing. The same way to convey each and every insight. Easier sharing, easier consuming. Easier understanding, more action. More action, more value. Consistent processes make everything move through that data-insight-value chain – faster.

Don’t fall off the stool. Consider all of platform, people and process when building a large scale digital optimization engine. By thinking through all of these pieces at once and ensuring that they are all built for each other, you’ll be on your way to making sound investments.

It takes three to tango in digital optimization was originally published on LinkedIn.

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