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Digital experimentation is gaining a huge amount of traction in Europe. And when the continent’s digital leaders from Farfetch to FedEx to HelloFresh came together, we saw that out-experimenting the competition doesn’t just mean outperforming the competition. It means changing the world.

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Sharon Head, Director of Customer Success EMEA, kicking off the Customer Panel at Opticon19: Europe

Takeaway 1. This is the age of experimentation

When customer loyalty and the competition are just a click away, brands need digital experiences that cut through the noise. Our first panelists from Accenture, Cancer Research UK, Farfetch and KLM all agreed that experimentation is essential to getting it right – and the next big thing for business decision-making. Professor Stefan Thomke echoed this in his keynote: “Innovation is the lifeblood of organic growth. And experimentation platforms are the engine of innovation.”

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Harvard Business Professor Stefan Thomke spreading the gospel of Experimentation

Takeaway 2. The future of digital is personalized

True personalization is the next frontier – but achieving real one-to-one experiences risks getting buried beneath huge amounts of data. We heard how experimentation frees you to be bold in your personalization strategy and drive relevant experiences for every user. TUI, Cancer Research UK, and Accenture Interactive explained how they are uniting the power of personalization and experimentation to increase both revenues and customer loyalty.

Takeaway 3. ROI is the ultimate KPI

ROI remains the language of business. We all need to show that our investments in experimentation, marketing and product development are paying off. Optimizely co-founder Pete Koomen shared that Optimizely generated $870 million in direct incremental revenue for our customers in the last 12 months alone. He announced our new ROI Model to the European audience, aiding customers in quantifying the value of their experimentation programs in terms leaders and investors understand.

Takeaway 4. Sharing leads to caring

Our panelists agreed that creating a culture of experimentation not only means getting buy-in from execs at the top, but also involving and colleagues throughout the organization. We heard some great examples of how to approach this, from the BBC’s monthly experimentation newsletter and centralized results hub to the regular experimentation clinics at Farfetch.

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Luis Trindade, Principal Product Manager- Experimentation: Farfetch

Takeaway 5. Don’t fear failure. Embrace it.

Fear of failure is the big challenge to experimentation in Europe – 55% of the companies we spoke to in our recent survey agree. But at Opticon19 Europe it became clear that to grow you have to fail. Digital leaders view experimentation as a safety net, helping them to avoid rolling out changes that just don’t work to millions of users. For them, failure leads to learning leads to improvements leads to success. And so the overall message was an emphatic EMBRACE FAILURE. Take Bing. We heard that they run 15,000 experiments a year, yet only 10-20% generate positive results. One that did continues to add over $100 million to their revenues year after year.

It’s a wrap

These are just five of the key takeaways we learned at our biggest and best Opticon Europe yet. Yet the day was crammed with great breakouts, motivating talks, and a flurry of new product releases – not to mention cakes. And it was all wrapped up by a rousing keynote from Professor Stefan Thomke and his insights into, among other things, square watermelons. If you are interested in watching the keynote, you can here

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