I was pouring through an interesting thread on LinkedIn asking marketers what they thought the next big thing would be. Lots of ideas were thrown around; mobile, next generation SEO, conversion optimization, marketing automation, big data, social CRMs.
My prediction? ALL OF IT is the next big thing. All of it - integrated into a new breed of intelligent website.
The next generation of websites will leverage intelligence from analytics, social media, search engines, marketing automation, email services and any number of other APIs that are proliferating the internet. They will provide online marketers and web managers an unprecedented level of insight into online success drivers. They will enable organizations to craft a new level of user experience, tested and optimized for each demographic, even personalized down to the individual.
The real power of the intelligent website is not in the technology, but in the changes it empowers in the organization.
Intelligent websites will provide web teams with the remaining missing piece. It will give them their Fifth Discipline, enabling true system thinking. Intelligent sites will provide the data to empower empirical methodologies, make teams more efficient and drive innovation at an unprecedented scale.
There will be a short loop between cause and effect. No longer will marketing need to be hit or miss. No longer will usability be just a matter of educated (or uneducated) guesses. We can finally dig in and determine the 20% of the effort that delivers 80% of the results.
No longer will visitors only be masses of people. We now can match the person to persona or even better yet, the person to their own personal preferences. We will have a framework to really understand what delights them and deliver just that.
No longer will requirements shoot from the hip. Every new feature, design change, piece of content, social campaign and so forth will be viewed as an innovation trial. The tried and true experimental method, that has served science and engineers for centuries, will now serve marketers. We will build the ultimate tool box, finally knowing what works and what doesn’t - and only doing more of what does.
Over the next several blog posts, we will dig into the components that come together to make up an intelligent website.
I would love to know what you would like to see in the next generation of websites. Feel free to submit a comment.