One week ago, Optimizely and Perficient worked together to organize a roadshow event in Atlanta. It was an afternoon of good information, discussion, and networking. For those of you who did not get a chance to attend, here is a summary of why these events are so important for the community. More importantly … why you should attend the next one.
1) Optimizely Insight
Let’s start with the presentations from the Optimizely team.
- (Keynote & Panel) Rohit Bhalla, SVP GTM Strategy & Operations
- (Workshop) Mark Wakelin, Sr. Consultant, Strategy & Value
- (Workshop) Denise Curiel, Associate Strategy Consultant, Experimentation Services
- (Product Roadmap) Dejean Brown, Principal Product Evangelist
If you have ever attended an Opticon conference, you will be aware that getting a chance to speak directly with an Optimizely strategist or member of the product team can be invaluable to understanding where the product is going and what it can do for you. There were all kinds of interesting nuggets of information in these sessions. From hearing how Optimizely is using its own orchestration products to manage tasks internally, to using experimentation to diagnose and solve problems, there is always something you can apply to your day-to-day.
I will call out the product roadmap session as the one that most excited me. Seeing as how this roadshow event was approximately 6 months after the last conference, a lot has changed, and a lot is still changing. It was both enlightening and refreshing to see a number of planned features for Q1 come to life and make it into the product on time.
Content Marketing (formerly Welcome) continues to steal the show for me from a product standpoint. Maybe it is because I have been around it daily since acquisition. But the effort to utilize its strengths and seamlessly integrate with the CMS is really starting to show. I think there will be a time very soon where marketing teams won’t be able to live without these features and won’t be able to believe they ever did. Similarly, ODP is getting some features such as real time segmentation that will become game changers.
2) The Jim Rucinski Show
Perficient and The International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) members also had a chance to speak at the event.
- (Showcase & Panel) Jim Rucinski, Technical Lead at IFPA
- (Showcase & Panel) John Dymond, Director, Optimizely at Perficient
- (Panel) Lisa Hunter, Director, Optimizely at Perficient
- (Panel) Tiffany Laster, Sr. Business Consultant at Perficient
I have told the IFPA case study at least 20 times. But I have never had the ability to tell the case study quite like it was presented at the Atlanta Roadshow. There were so many little details that Jim reminded me of when we were putting together the deck and many more that he was able to tell the audience at the event. There are elements of a project that are strategic, those that are tactical, and those that are emotional & experience driven. It was refreshing to hear the story firsthand from a customer perspective. All the factors, considerations, doubts, lessons learned, and decisions that go into making an award-winning site. This was not the first time IFPA has launched a site on a CMS. But it was by far the most successful launch. There is something for everyone to take away from the story and nobody tells it with quite the color that Jim does.
As a closing discussion, a panel was conducted with members of the Perficient, Optimizely, and IFPA teams to share their perspective on various topics. The audience was encouraged to participate and ask questions. All in all, there was a good mix of topics across all parts of the Optimizely suite as well as perspectives from messaging to strategy to implementation and trends to expect for the remainder of the year.
3) The Power of Networking
One of the things that is often under-appreciated at an event like this is the ability to talk to others who may have similar experiences or challenges that your company is undertaking or looking to undertake. As a customer, it is always worth your time to talk to partners or the Optimizely team to tell them the obstacles you are facing or aspirations for what you are looking to do over the next year. Chances are your problem overlaps with other clients and there is a direct solution or product feature that can help you with your projects. At the very least, they can follow up with individuals who have the answers or can speak to similar implementations.
Likewise, talking to other customers can help broaden your horizons and see how others are using similar technology. Maybe you are looking to hear how to get started with experimentation? What about ODP? Often just taking away a small idea of how others are seeing value can get you started with your own initiatives.
Lastly, networking events like this build a sense of community. I remember being on the client-side over 10 years ago and coming to events in the Washington, DC area. I remember having no real agenda attending these events other than I had a few development issues with things I was working on at the time and wanted to see if anyone had ideas for how to fix them. Funny that some of those individuals still remain in my orbit and are people I keep in touch with to this day. So for the next Optimizely event or user group near you, come say hello and learn a few tips on how Optimizely can help your business.