The Roles & Structure of an Agile Personalization & Optimization Team

Defining the roles and responsibilities of a scalable personalization and optimization team. Learn how to structure an agile team!

VP of Global Marketing, Dynamic Yield

Connecting customers to the brand and delivering personalized experiences to them is a huge challenge to organizations. Usually, it involves stakeholders from different divisions, such as product managers, performance marketers, eCommerce managers, web analysts and online editors (in the Media industry). Not surprisingly, many organizations struggle to coordinate these responsibilities by choosing suitable champions to take ownership within the establishment to synchronize between the various stakeholders and drive these efforts toward success.

Optimization is a Multi-divisional Team Effort

There’s a paradigm shift in how companies are defining the core organizational responsibilities of personalization and optimization leaders. Today, many organizations understand that achieving great customer experiences and sustainable growth is the result of a coordinated team effort. Nevertheless, it’s a rough road to take, whether you’re in the eCommerce, travel, media or any other industry, and there are many roadblocks to overcome in order to be successful in developing and implementing a winning optimization culture among cross-functional executives, marketing teams, product teams, web analysts, editors, merchandisers and even web developers.

The roles and responsibilities of personalization and optimization leaders require them to constantly wear multiple hats and share collaborated responsibilities with other specialized roles. In fact, generally speaking, the larger the company, the more mature, structured and formal the optimization role is.

For early to mid-stage organizations, it’s expedient to look at the whole personalization and optimization process from a marketing point of view. It makes perfect sense that the individuals who are responsible for performance and revenue-generating growth also run the personalization and conversion optimization. Performance-driven roles are already ROI-focused. Reducing acquisition costs, optimizing funnels and increasing ROI are already major focal points for them.

That being said, some organizations find that allocating different stakeholders for optimization and personalization is an effective approach for their needs. While conversion optimization is definitely a part of performance-driven roles, personalization involves a more customer-centric approach. That’s exactly where product managers (or dedicated customer experience professionals) should step in.

Leading and Embracing the Optimization Mindset

Choosing the right champion to lead and drive the overall direction and strategy derives from the organization’s size, structure and maturity. Ask yourself who in your organization has the power and ability to manage, contribute and influence the various stakeholders involved. These professionals need to possess the skill sets of both marketing and technical knowledge. More often than not, many of our clients find that stakeholders from the executive digital management are the best ones to step into these shoes.

For example, among our active client base, 40% of the managing stakeholders are VPs, Directors and Senior Managers (such as eCommerce Directors or Senior Program Managers). An executive-level professional can orchestrate the relationship and collaboration between the different departments and stakeholders.

Optimization Team Structure

The truth of the matter is that most organizations simply cannot rely on a single focal point. True value can only be achieved by allocating the right team for the job. These executives usually lead small but effective teams that consist of the following supportive roles:

  • Marketing Leaders – Managing and facilitating the understanding and coordination between the various stakeholders, making sure things are done according to plan and on time.
  • Hands-on Marketers – Professionals who own a clear grasp of the technical know-how to optimize and personalize experiences. These stakeholders should be tactical executioners who are experienced with performing similar tasks.
  • Web Analysts – Optimization professionals who constantly gather and analyze quantitative and qualitative data, making sure important insights don’t go unnoticed, and that the data is being translated in an actionable and powerful manner.

I’d like to highlight that organizations that use managed services, like the ones we offer in Dynamic Yield, enjoy the benefits of outsourcing some of the supportive roles and responsibilities. In addition, some solutions include automation capabilities, which may reduce (and sometimes even eliminate) some of the hands-on, day-to-day tasks.

In Summary

As personalization and optimization becomes increasingly crucial to the functions of the digital marketing and customer experience roles, organizations should focus on transforming traditional, rigid working silos into structured teams that promote effective facilitation between the different stakeholders and marketing departments.