In our latest episode on Napier’s Marketing B2B Technology Podcast, we interview Chris Newton, VP of Marketing and Business Development at Intellimize, a website optimization company, that intelligently optimizes each buyer’s path to drive more revenue, and more leads from websites.

Find out more about Intellimize, as well as Chris’s insights into why website optimization can have real meaningful impact, by listening to the episode here. 

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Transcript: Interview with Chris Newton – Intellimize

Speakers: Mike Maynard, Chris Newton

Mike: Thanks for listening to marketing b2b tech, the podcast from Napier, where you can find out what really works in b2b marketing today. Welcome to the latest episode of marketing b2b technology, the podcast from Napier. Today I’m talking to Chris Newton, who’s the vice president of marketing and business development at Intellimize. Welcome to the podcast, Chris.

Chris: Hey, Mike. So happy to be here today. Thanks for inviting me.

Mike: Thanks so much for coming on. Do you want to give me a little bit of background about your career, you know, what you’ve been doing in the past? And how it’s led to you joining Intellimize?

Chris: Yeah, absolutely. I maybe take a little bit of an unusual path to get here. I started as an engineer in college, when flew planes for the Navy for a while, went to business school and somehow ended up in marketing where I have worked at a number of organisations leading marketing, you know, startups Exactly. In the sales compensation space, most recently at Influitive. Prior to Intellimize, were building out customer communities. And excited to come to Intellimize A little over a year ago, I was really drawn to the opportunity by the people that were here, really, the founders are so impressive and, and their leadership and team and vision, I was thinking about who do I want to spend every day with solve problems with and you can really, I guess, optimise your career around the paycheck or how you want to feel every day. And those folks were people I wanted to join this company and build it up with. And the second thing was really about the product itself is unlike anything I’d seen and solved a core problem that I had experienced firsthand as a marketer, which, you know, was so compelling. And so when you see customers getting value out of it, it resonates with you. And you know, I’ve never seen a Mar tech solution before that was actually showing somebody the incremental dollar value, like what have you done in the last 30 days? How much money is this worth to my organisation? Huge numbers right at the top of the main dashboard, it was really cool. I felt like this was the start of something new. And I wanted to see how I could be part of it. So that’s how I ended up at Intellimize and have been here a little over a year, like I said.

Mike: Awesome. So you swapped a fighter jet cockpit for a marketing dashboard? I’m not sure that’s a that’s necessarily a move up and exciting, is it?

Chris: Well, yeah, it’s a different kind of exciting, I guess, or Hey, I was actually flying p3. So we were chasing submarines back when there used to be more submarines to chase. Wow,

Mike: Oh, that’s cool. But now you’ve you’ve moved into website optimization. I mean, that’s not necessarily an area people get too excited about I mean, what why does that excite you? What do you think is, is new and different about it?

Chris: Well, I think marketers spend so much time and money, thinking about, Hey, how are we going to run programmes that reach out to people and we’re going to get people to come to the website, and we’re going to do ABM campaigns that get people to come to the website, and we’re going to do, you know, paid ads and spend all this money to get people to come to our landing pages. And that’s good. But like, we’re thinking about this all the time, and that I feel like some of the incremental gains that can be had there, you know, maybe harder to come by then what if we just focus on the website and those landing pages, there’s a huge opportunity to improve the experience, the engagement, and the conversions on the site, right, there’s a meaningful business value. If you get more of the people that are already on your site, to do the things you want them to do to convert in ways you want them to convert, and maybe that’s a purchase of something in a shopping cart and checkout. Or maybe it’s a sign up for a free trial, or download some content or engage, you know, with a subscription to your newsletter. If you only raise those conversions by a few percentage points, and as our customers have seen, on average, like 46%, can you dramatically drive business results, you can have a real meaningful impact and change what you’re doing. So all of those efforts, everything that you’re focusing on to get people to the website is now worth a lot more than it was before. So that’s why this area is so exciting to me.

Mike: So 46% a huge number. But I mean, traditionally, I guess it’s been done by a B testing. And that’s, that’s a hard grind. I mean, I saw on the website, I think you said this, this is actually something you came up with was this comment, friends don’t let friends run A/B tests. I mean, I love the thought of not having to run A/B tests anymore. But can you explain how you optimise without running A/B tests manually?

Chris: Yeah, absolutely. I was having a bit of fun with that headline, I have to say, and it’s one of a dozen or so that are running on the site. Right now we’re of course, optimising and measuring and see what what works and what makes sense. There’s a couple other fun ones, you know, you know, stop a B tests and like it’s 2012 it’s another that I like a lot. You know, there’s no experimentation is good, right? And I’ve spent so much time in my career, probably guilty is the right word to use feeling guilty about not running more AV tests, there’s so much work though. And they’re so slow, and they’re so limiting and what you can actually test. And so it always just kind of got to be a lower priority. And what we’re talking about friends, old friends, run a B tests with machine learning, we have a far better way to run a lot more experiments and get a lot more value, it’s less work for the marketing team, the results are going to come in faster, the results they’re going to end up with, they’re going to be better. So you know, I would say anybody’s still do AV testing. They’re just, they’re wasting their time. They’re settling for less, you know, that friends can allow it the way I see it, right? So that’s how I got with that headline. And I think that, sure, it’s meant to be a little bit provocative. People are thinking about, well, I should be doing more experimentation. Absolutely. I don’t want to say that’s not it. But hey, there’s better ways than A/B testing.

Mike: That’s, that’s awesome. I love the idea of it being faster, better, and also less painful. That sounds great. And so if someone was using a telomeres to optimise, say, their homepage or landing page, how would they go about it? I mean, what’s the process? If it’s simpler than a B testing? I mean, what are you doing as a marketer?

Chris: Yeah, absolutely. So we, we have a weekly meeting with every one of our customers. So maybe we just start, you know, talking about it from that standpoint. So as we sit down, we’ve got a conversion rate optimization expert meeting with our client, and we’ll talk to them about their, their website or their landing pages. And we’ll say, hey, what are what are you experiencing today? What’s, you know, what kind of results are you getting? What are you trying to do and, and let’s talk about programmes or campaigns or things you might be running that are important context for, you know, some of the messaging and copying might, we might want to test or experiment with instead of what’s there on the base site today. And we’ll bring in some ideas from things that we’ve seen work on other sites. So it sort of starts with, you know, some ideation around what we want to get done. And, you know, through that process, we’re identifying all these different things we want to test and establishing what are the goals of testing it. And we feed those into the intelligence platform, we actually have web development resources that help people code these things up. So you don’t have to rely on you know, your own dev organisation or client team to do that we can, we can make that come to life for you.

And clients, actually, you know, you’ve met one week, you’ve picked five ideas that you want to have you on the website, they come back, you know, either before that they can log into the app or the next weekly meeting comes around, you can review it together, and they get to look at in preview mode, what each of these things is going to look like when it comes live on the site. And if they like it, they just click a button. And now it’s moved into rotation. And what intelligence does with all these ideas, is we run them in parallel. So even if you had a really simple, you know, Page Setup, where you had four images, and four headlines and four CTAs. And that was the only things you were doing that still 64 different possible page combinations that we can serve up, right. And we will look at the data for visitors that come in, you know, contextual data, behavioural data, maybe there’s firmographic, or demographic information that’s available about them. And the machine is going to quickly learn with each visitor, each successive visitor to the site, which of these possible page combinations resonate the most, and work the most in terms of driving conversions that are aligned to those goals that you set at the beginning. So the in the simple way is come up with a bunch of ideas to test, let the system run a whole bunch of those in parallel, and serve up the ones that are going to have the biggest impact. And that’s the way to think about what we do.

Mike: And so that the system is handling all that complex maths to work out, what’s the best combination, rather than testing each thing individually. It’s doing simultaneous tests, and then presumably some quite complex number crunching.

Chris: Yeah, so you know, there’s, there’s a whole category of work that we’re used to with A/B testing around, managing those tests and looking for statistical significance and, and waiting for that to play out. And, you know, depending on the traffic to your site, that can take quite a while sometimes you never get good results. If the test if you know, the two things are, are, you know, similar in performance, you never get a clear winner. I think the advantages of our approach are that because we’re optimising each and learning with each visitor, we’re able to start shifting traffic towards the ones the ideas that are performing better and gaining more value for the organisation. without waiting, we don’t have our bar that’s quite as high. We don’t have to answer what’s best for everyone forever. always like, that’s what statistical significance is meant to tell you. We’re looking for what’s best for this group, you know, this micro segment of people that have these characteristics, really with, you know, our average customer, they’re testing 177 ideas, 78 million different page combinations is what that turns into. That’s more possible segments than there are visitors to the site A lot of times, right? And so how do we decide which of those are the appropriate things to show to the individual that’s there, that’s what the machines doing for you. And you can’t manage that there’s no way to scale that if you know where the human A/B testing, there’s no way you can run those tests quickly enough, and completely enough to get the comprehensive experimentation at scale that this approach allows us.

Mike: That’s fascinating. I mean, you talk about all these tests that people are running simultaneously. I mean, obviously, if you’re doing classic AV testing that would require incredible traffic volumes. I mean, presumably, you still need a pretty huge traffic volume for this, or am I wrong?

Chris: Well, I think he probably huge isn’t the word. But let’s talk numbers a little bit, we’d like to see, you know, a great place for us as if we’ve got 1000 uniques a page, you know, in a day, or 30,000 a month, maybe if you’re measuring monthly, that’s a fantastic place for us to start. A lot of great b2b sites that we work with, you know, are in that range, or, you know, you don’t necessarily need the huge consumer volumes, consumer site volumes to have this work, it will work with lower volumes than that, and I and some of our customers absolutely are a little bit lower than that just takes a little bit longer. It’s always going to be faster than a B testing. I’ll be clear about that. But it really may not take as much traffic as you think. But yes, it is helpful to have that baseline 30,000 pageviews a month and up, and that’s going to give the machine the kind of the right pace that it needs to learn and understand and make those decisions in a way to drive really great results for your team.

Mike: That’s amazing. I mean, 30,000, pageviews is not a huge number for b2b that, you know, you can certainly clearly do things with a traffic level that you know, sometimes you wouldn’t get the A B test result until the campaign’s done I think.

Chris: Yeah. And like I I said, we’re working on on this a little bit we were talking to people about it and and one of the marketers I was talking to she she looked at me she’s like never you never like it doesn’t get doesn’t give you an answer. I don’t care how long you wait, like you can’t get a result. And that’s what we’re trying to fight against. How do we help people like that, that have, you know, some traffic get better business results? Now, they can’t wait for that test that that may never come through?

Mike: Fascinating. So you think you’re an interesting company, actually, because rather than selling marketing technology as a almost a self serve, web based product? You’re selling that consultancy, as well? I mean, is that because it’s difficult to use? And you need to support customers? Or why don’t you provide the consultancy?

Chris: Well, I think we have learned that there are some specific skill side, I don’t know that it’s overly complex, although certainly the, you know, the web developers, those guys don’t find it complex. But for me, it would be pretty complex if I tried to do that. But these are experts that really understand these things, the intricacies of, hey, what’s possible with you know, conversion rate optimization, what kind of experiences should we be thinking about what has worked in other situations, like the nuances of how do you optimise a shopping cart to, you know, have that completion step that is, you know, so important to, to make the actual purchase, they’re going to have seen some of these things before and bring that kind of expertise.

The reason that we incorporate our offering with both the platform and the services, is we’ve seen that it drives far better results for our customers, we have this weekly cadence of meetings, there’s always new ideas five a week coming into the system is that is the goal that we set with each client. And as the machine has more options, or things that it might test, and, and work with, you’re going to get better results. So if you learn this week, hey, we tried these five things, two of them weren’t any good. Two of them were pretty good. And, and one was fantastic. Let’s take that one. That was fantastic. And let’s come up with five new ideas like that. Right. And so it’s that, and those are going to take you even beyond where you you got to the week before. And so it’s that weekend, week out constant iteration, improvement refinement, like you don’t get to the 46%. On the first week, that happens after, you know, we’ve worked through some cycles and some iterations and learned what is working for different groups and how do we set these things up and understand the types of changes that are really going to make an impact on the site and Because of the way we’re able to work with websites, really, everything’s up for grabs. And in a lot of ways, we had a recent webinar where Sumo logic as a customer, were talking about things that they were doing on their pricing page, things that they were doing in the nav menu, changing the organisational structure, including pop up CTAs, within the menu, all kinds of different ideas, whatever you think, might make a difference to the customers, and the people that are interacting on your site, and help them find what they need, so that they might convert and the way you hope they do. Those are all things that that we want to talk about and figure out how to test and see if those ideas are actually any good or not.

Mike: That’s amazing. I mean, it sounds very much like one of the conclusions, we ran a webinar recently about AI marketing, and we came to the conclusion that AI is not necessarily going to put us all out of a job, but it’s gonna make us all much, much better at our jobs. And I think, you know, you’ve almost got that combination of personal and AI making a superhuman.

Chris: Yeah, I mean, we like to say, I don’t know that AI is going to push people out of their job. What I do think is, AI is going to make people much more effective. And we want to marry the humans and the things that they’re so good at, with the things that the machine is good at. So that what’s the machine good at, it’s fantastic attesting all of these things, and looking at all the nuances of the data that are available in the browser that it can use to determine who might see what, and build on that and refine all those ideas. Fantastic. It can run, like I said, you know, millions of page combinations and keep that all straight. People can’t do that. But what people can do is come up with the next creative idea, they can write that ad copy. And we don’t want to hand over the creative decisions. And that may, you know, to the machine because people are so good at that. But companies have invested a lot to establish these band brands, and they’ve marketers are creative on how to build on that brand, and how to how to engage their audience. And if I’m marketing to a marketer, something that’s maybe slightly cheeky, like friends, don’t let friends or an AV test could work well. But that might not be the exact thing I want to try. If I’m, you know, selling to other types of buyers that that don’t appreciate that in the same way, right? There might be something else for the persona that we’re trying to reach there, that’s gonna be different. And that’s what the humans bring to it that, you know, the humanity married with with the machine can do that gets us the best result.

Mike: Interesting. And I guess, sometimes you can have the humans having ideas of what would work better? And actually, it turns out that they’re wrong. I mean, do you have any, any examples of insights you’ve had from the system that have been either surprising or, you know, perhaps change the way you approach things?

Chris: Well, I think we’re often wrong, a lot of things that we try, don’t work. And but you know, one of the things that was kind of most surprising to me is actually, that it’s so there aren’t a lot of universal truths. Maybe there’s a few but a lot of times, things are so different in different situations. We had a one of our customers from RV was speaking Reckitt Benckiser was speaking about the work she’s doing with directs and shawls. And she said that, you know, we’re dealing with, you know, France, Europe, and the UK, and German markets and different websites for each. And she was saying that pretty much anything that works in the UK, will not work in France doesn’t matter. Whatever it is, it’s not gonna work. The buyers are different, they look at the site differently, they have different things. And so you have to understand, you may have a hypothesis, that’s where you always want to start. But you have to understand that what you think of as best practice or something that’s proven, and we just know, this works. And we can apply it in different contexts. And even for the same brand, just changing that regional location, made all the difference in the world. And you can imagine it’s even more different from one brand to another, especially when your goals and objectives and the things you’re trying to do are, are different than you know than the others might be doing. So that’s what’s so surprising to me is that there aren’t the universal truths. And it was it gets us back to the reason. We like to let the machines figure these things out in each individual specific context, so that we do end up with the best answer for that client.

Mike: That’s, that’s fascinating. I mean, I think we all search for the magic bullet solution. I think we all know deep down inside, it probably doesn’t exist.

Chris: Yeah, always a challenge.

Mike: So one of the things I’m really interested in with the use of AI is that quite often you’re looking for conversions in terms of lead generation. And obviously, with b2b it’s not just the number of form fields. You It’s actually the quality of those form fields. And whether they turn out to be customers. And if they turn out to be customers, maybe how much they spend. I, I’m intrigued to know, how do you deal with that within a system that that’s tied into the web? Can you understand value of leads?

Chris: Yeah, that’s the that’s the thing. So we have the ability to set multiple goals, objectives on, you know, each page on it, you know, for the different experiments that you’re running, there can be different things that you’re, you’re trying to accommodate, accommodate or accomplish on that page. And each one can have its own value. So these things are weighted in different ways. So the high value conversations are more highly prioritised by the system. And there’s, you know, some really good examples of customers that are sort of simultaneously increasing quality and decreasing quantity at the same time. one that comes to mind is Looker shared a story like this at the serious decision summit, where they were driving 44%, more sales qualified leads for the sales team, and at the same time decreasing the total quality quantity of leads that were being passed.

So the sales guys were getting more of what they wanted those qualified leads, and less of what they didn’t want, you know, the leaves that weren’t going to go anywhere. You know, another great example of this is our customer drift on their site. They’re their biggest traffic pages that powered by page, everybody sees the drift bot on different sites, and you have the opportunity to click through and see, hey, how is this working? And you can see what’s powered by this company draft and what do they do and on that site, they are looking at the data about you and they’re able to pull in data from different sources, firmographic data and understand, hey, this is someone that’s from a large enterprise, this is someone from a small business, and they can quickly we don’t change what happens in that drift bot itself. But we can, there could be multiple ones that are there to serve. And that’s in fact, what happens where we can lead someone down the path of for a small business, you know, self service, you know, free trial, if it’s a larger company, let’s lead you down the path to talk to sales and set up a custom demo for what that might look like there. And so you can, in that case, get those highest quality, highest value, large company leads to the you know, the human sales selling organisation, and at the same time, provide a strong experience for the smaller business that they’re able to come in and spend themselves up and figure out, Hey, does this work for me or not? From the self service side?

Mike: Well, it sounds like we’re back to the better results with less effort, which is great.

Chris: Well, you have to be this is where, you know, you’d be a little clever, and you think about what’s coming and how do we want to divide this and how do we set it up? And then those are the conversations that we have weekend, week out with our, you know, conversion rate experts, and that’s how we can help these companies accomplish those goals. Cool.

Mike: I mean, you said that you don’t need huge amounts of traffic. But it feels to me that there’s a lot of technology behind this product. And also there, there’s a lot of manpower. I mean, is this a really expensive technology?

Chris: We always look at the expensive in terms of you know, what’s the ROI with every client, we we look at the opportunity, if we are able to increase conversions on this website by some, you know, reasonable percentage, let’s just say 10%? Not the, you know, our average that we’ve seen, but 10%, what does that mean, in terms of a business value, and if we can look at that, and understand and see opportunities for us to work with them and apply this technology in a good way. And it’s sure a solid ROI that justifies the business case. And we feel good about working with those folks. I mean, you can only say an investment is expensive. If there’s not, you know, a commensurate payback, right. So we’re certainly not the, you know, a cheap solution, if you’re just looking at the, you know, the price, this is not this is a significant investment, but you’re looking for submit, like, game changing, you know, meaningful business results that are going to come out of this. And, and that’s why we think the investment is warranted.

You know, the team that pulled this together are the founders of the company used to run, you know, a engineering team at Yahoo with hundreds of people that was doing all the machine learning, driving the content, personalization, when Yahoo was the largest busiest website, on the web. And they’ve taken those learnings refined them over the years and built this package application that works for smaller volumes for the more flexible cases. And that we’re working with using with all these clients that we have today. And it’s that kind of unique background and experience and pedigree and understanding, you know, what you can do with hundreds of engineers with machine learning and, and distilling it into the solution we have today. There is a lot of complexity and technology and, you know, learning that’s baked into this but that’s why we get the results. We do.

Mike: Amazing. And do you see AI actually driving the cost down? I mean, presumably, the AI will be able to do more and more over a period of time. Do you see that? accessibility to AI tools increasing for marketers?

Chris: I think it’s possible. But what I see happening faster is we’re getting better in the way we’re applying AI and driving better and better results from the the technology. So we’re looking at how do we take what we’re doing today and learn even faster? And and help companies, you know, more quickly identify those highest value leads that we were talking about a minute ago and more quickly achieve the business results that they’re going after? And I think, in our case, we’re we’re a lot more focused in the conversations with our customers of, you know, how far can we push this? How much can we do? How much better results do we get? We don’t end up having that conversation about how do you make this cheaper for us? That’s not the the focus of where we spend our time.

Mike: So you’re really it seems you’re really focused on the return rather than the investment side? It’s like, how can we boost that return for our customers?

Chris: Oh, yeah. And you know, where else can we use this and drive value we find ourselves. I mentioned it, you know, an example earlier, where we’re working in, you know, across multiple brands and multiple countries, that’s, you know, sometimes we expand, we’ll work with a core demand Gen team, as well as their ABM team and a separate, separate project. And there are ways to apply this, you know, the person that’s spending all that money running digital ads to all the get people to these landing pages, that might be a different team that’s running the core corporate website. But both are amazing places to deploy this capability. And, you know, if you’re sweating, because you spent all these dollars to get people to those landing pages, and you’re not really getting that the results you want to see, hey, we’d love to have a conversation about that.

Mike: That’s great. I mean, I think, you know, to summarise, I mean, if people are interested in learning a bit more, how would they learn more about untelevised and maybe investigate whether it’s right for them?

Chris: Well, first thing I would suggest is, of course, just check out our website and we’ve got some you know, good content there that will help you understand a little bit more about what we do. There’s a nice how it works button, you can click on and that’ll take you through, you know, some of the things that we talked about lots of good customer examples there as well. We rely really heavily on to help people understand this, on the examples that are, you know, the great marketers that we get to work with are achieving today. There’s an email list you can sign up for to, you know, keep in touch. And of course, if you’re serious about talking to sales or moving more quickly, and really investigating the potential for your business, there’s, there’s the request demo opportunity. And we’ll we’ll set up something that’s customised to what you might need and what you’re looking to do.

Mike: So amazing. And this has been fascinating. I could talk for hours actually, there’s so many examples you’ve given that was so interesting, but is there anything you feel I’ve forgotten to ask or anything else you’d like to tell the listeners?

Chris: Um, no, I think we’ve covered a whole lot of things I mentioned before a little bit about, you know, the traffic and what’s required. So hopefully, that’s helpful for people that are thinking if this is a fit for them. I can also say we work primarily with, you know, b2b organisations, a lot of them SAS companies, and e commerce companies today. And, and, you know, so that’s where we have the most experience, and then and the best examples where, you know, moving beyond that, but hopefully, that’s helpful for people to understand, Hey, is this a fit and, and what would make sense for them in terms of, you know, connecting with us?

Mike: That’s great. That’s really helpful. I mean, I guess Lastly, if anyone has been interested by what you’ve said, whether it’s about instead of mice or about flying jets, what would be the best way for people to get hold of you or contact you?

Chris: Yeah, I’m just And we’d love to pick up the conversation there.

Mike: Thanks so much, Chris. I really appreciate it. It’s been a fascinating half hour. So thank you very much for being a guest on the podcast.

Chris: Thanks a lot, Mike. It’s been a lot of fun. Thank you.

Mike: Thanks so much for listening to marketing b2b tech. We hope you enjoyed the episode. And if you did, please make sure you subscribe on iTunes, or on your favourite podcast application. If you’d like to know more, please visit our website at Napier b2b dot com or contact me directly on LinkedIn.