As today’s Agility Summit 2013 presentations and roundtables wrapped up, there was a notable buzz in the air. And for good reason.

From Mitch Joel’s keynote presentation to panel discussions on being relevant throughout the customer lifecycle, there was plenty to learn from online marketing’s best minds. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights (but some presentations were exclusive to attendees only — another reason not to miss Agility Summit 2014!)

Monetate Agility Summit 2013

Bruce Ernst Wows With Announcements

Taking the stage after CEO David Brussin this morning, Bruce Ernst, Monetate’s product maestro, blew the roof off the Philadelphia Westin with his presentation, which revealed what’s coming from Monetate.

Among the biggest announcements: Monetate extending its capabilities to email, and the launch of LivePredict, a segment discovery tool that will be available on June 28. Based on the response of the audience, it seems like there are a lot of marketers, CEOs, VPs, and analysts who can’t wait to get their hands on these and other new tools from Monetate.

Mitch Joel Holds Keynote Court

Beyond his five WTFs, Twist Image President Mitch Joel received laughs and nods of agreement from the audience as he discussed the new challenges facing marketers, and how to respond to them. One of the standout moments was Joel’s comments on the difference between personalization and privacy.

“Right now, website visitors are screaming about privacy, yet they want advertising and their website experience to be relevant and personal,” Joel said. “But it’s not about privacy. It’s about understanding behavior, because if we understand behavior, we can deliver the best experience to each customer.”

Wharton’s Dr. Peter Fader Chooses Customer Acquisition

If you had an extra dollar to spend on marketing, where would you spend it? The answer to that question could range from customer retention to customer development to customer acquisition.

But for Dr. Peter Fader, Professor of Marketing and Co-Director of the Wharton School of Business, the answer is simple: Customer acquisition.

“It’s not about the next big thing,” Fader explained. “It’s about coming up with the next big customer.”

To that end, Fader pointed out that while customer development is important, it’s difficult to do, so customer acquisition is the best bet for marketing dollars.

Customers in Context Panel

Featuring Robert Gilbreath of, Steve Kahn of Destination Maternity, Ryan Dahlstrom of Windstream Communications and Monetate’s Nathan Richter, this panel focused on being relevant throughout the customer lifecycle.

And testing is an important part of figuring out what is relevant. While a lot of great, exclusive info was discussed on the panel, Gilbreath shared an interesting opinion on what’s considered a “failure” in website testing and optimization.

“It’s all about failing fast and failing often,” Gilbreath said. “The foundation, the important thing, is to keep moving. With Monetate, we don’t harp on failures. We learn from them, we remember them, then we move on to the next thing with that knowledge in mind.”

Gilbreath wasn’t the only one on the panel with an innovative testing mindset.

“Having the ability to evaluate whether each step of the process is having an impact and keeping customers on the road is so important,” Richter said.

Bryan Eisenberg Looks at the New Style of Website Optimization

To kick things off during his presentation, Bryan Eisenberg, Online Marketing Pioneer and Best-Selling Author, took a look back at where website testing and optimization started.

It felt a lot like Back to the Future when Eisenberg displayed a picture of the first website banner ever displayed, as well as the first iteration of the homepage.

Compared to those early steps, we’ve come a long way as an industry. But Eisenberg noted we still have a long way to go.

“Companies typically spend $92 to bring customers to their websites, but only $1 to convert them,” Eisenberg said. “We’d love to say we’re in a state of optimization today that’s like a fine-tuned sports car. But in reality, when I look at where most websites are, I see most companies are just driving a really cool Mazda Miata.”

Eisenberg pointed to Amazon as an example of a successful website testing and optimization strategy, despite the hate sometimes directed at the mogul.

“When you consider where Amazon is today, it’s clear that they focused on how to improve the customer experience. And Amazon built all kinds of systems and priorities around the customer and use data to deliver what the customer wanted,” Eisenberg said.

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