You say you want a revolution, well you know, we all want to change the world...

About 100 clients gathered in our shiny new office space in Davis Square, Somerville (through which Paul Revere took his midnight ride), on October 8th for what would become the start of the Personalized Experience Revolution: the first annual Evergage Client Summit 2014.

From Percussion Software to Publisher’s Clearing House, Cartera Commerce to Repsly to Rue La La and Boston College, the attendees were greeted with a generic slide presentation designed for the general audience at the lowest common denominator. “Welcome!” one of the first slides read. “Not on my watch,” declared Karl Wirth, co-founder and CEO. “Open your folders and you’ll find an appropriately written, personalized note suggesting content you will find relevant and valuable today, or thanking you for traveling from Long Island to Boston for a day of learning and sharing.” Now that’s more like it: the more personalized any experience, the more likely it will be relevant and meaningful and accomplish its goals.

The client summit is a good analogy for the digital experience in a variety of ways. A lot of marketers are spending vast sums to pull people into the digital experience and on making the the experience the best it can be. Likewise, website visitors and users are putting the time and effort into visiting your site or your web application. But are you making the most of that digital experience, to make it maximally relevant and impactful, to engage, convert and retain customers? After all, it’s of the utmost importance to all of our businesses, since as an industry we’re sinking $150B into ad spend and $10B on the digital experience itself. But that’s where the analogy ends. The client summit was an overwhelming success, yet digital experience managers are still struggling to keep visitors on-site longer, optimize conversion rates and/or retain customers. Even though they’re using analytics, web design, A/B and usability testing, every visitor has a different persona, a different relationship with the brands we visit and a different intent when we’re there.

“We need to make the digital experience the best for each person in order to engage, convert and retain,” proclaimed Wirth. “We need to make each experience maximally relevant - instead of minimally bothersome - to any constituency. We are the revolutionaries of the Personalized Experience Revolution. There shall be no (re)presentation without personalization.”

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So as a group we gathered from far and wide. Chief customer officers, directors of personalization, chief marketing technologists, marketers and customer success managers. We agreed that personalization is critical to the future success of our businesses, that this was the time and the place to motivate each other, to share ideas, learn from our peers and from the experts. To understand as much as we possibly can about each person and use that information to give them the most personalized experience possible. This is not a one-size-fits-all proposition anymore!

For the rest of the morning, we talked strategy and tactics, tools and magic weapons, and importantly, we heard from our comrades in the trenches. Publisher’s Clearing House and an Evergage customer support team member, Dave Parsons, gave a riveting presentation on four PCH campaigns that have moved the needle on engaging consumers, treating VIP members specially across all their sites, encouraging customers to pay outstanding bills, and ensuring that visitors aren’t missing out on great opportunities. Brainshark presented with Evergage CMO Andy Zimmerman on how the cloud-based provider of business presentation solutions engages its users with in-app messaging. Audience members asked questions and their fellow revolutionaries answered.

The afternoon brought workshops for executives and platform users, on topics ranging from segmentation strategies, to personalization creative design, to mobile and surveys, and best practices for Ecommerce, SaaS, Content and DemandGen types of businesses. In addition, clients benefited from a preview of forthcoming Evergage platform enhancements. Furthermore, they were empowered to provide their feedback on the platform, features and functionality, as well as what they would like to see in the future.

And one of most important parts of the day? Networking and rejuvenating on the terrace with one another. It was truly impressive to hear so many clients exchanging ideas and giving each other advice on successes, challenges, lessons learned and more. We’ve received thank you notes and tweets proclaiming people’s confidence and excitement of where the user experience market is headed. One client even said, “the summit has inspired us to not only create several campaigns but also to use Evergage to its full potential. We have had a million things going on, but this is just what we needed to spark ideas and move some time aside to focus on optimizing our Evergage strategy!”

So, we accomplished our goals for the client summit, provided a personalized experience and made it relevant and meaningful. Now it’s on to changing the world.

Do you want to join the revolution? Why or why not?


You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it's evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world

But when you talk about destruction
Don't you know that you can count me out

Don't you know it's gonna be alright
Alright, alright

You say you got a real solution
Well, you know
We'd all love to see the plan
You ask me for a contribution
Well, you know
We're all doing what we can

But if you want money for people with minds that hate
All I can tell you is brother you have to wait

Don't you know it's gonna be alright
Alright, alright, al...

You say you'll change the constitution
Well, you know
We all want to change your head

You tell me it's the institution
Well, you know
You'd better free your mind instead

But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao
You ain't going to make it with anyone anyhow

Don't you know it's gonna be alright
Alright, alright

We're looking forward to next year's event!