Lessons on Building a Customer-First Website from MarTech Conference and Experience Acquia

We attended the 2021 MarTech conference and hosted Experience Acquia to explore why and how brands should refresh their website to be customer-first.

refreshing the website for marketers

There are thousands of marketing technologies that can help boost customer engagement. But the tried-and-true tool to boost customer engagement is the website. With more people turning online to find solutions to their problems and searching for information via everything from Google, to voice assistants to chatbots, it’s likely a new customer will land on your website. And when they do, you better provide an experience worth sticking around for. Instead of treating the web like another single-point channel, marketers today are optimizing their site experience to connect every other touchpoint and channel in their digital ecosystem. Recently, Acquia attended and hosted events to speak to the opportunity brand’s can uncover by refreshing their website.

MarTech 2021 on Creating Data-Driven Website Relaunch Strategy

This year’s global MarTech Conference put major focus on giving marketers more control in shaping customer experiences and using data-driven insights to make those experiences more effective. Scott Brinker’s keynote session, “How AI and No Code Transform Every Marketer into a Maker,” explored how the growing popularity of no-code and low-code site-building tools and artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies are turning marketers from creatives into digital experience builders. 

Acquia CMO Lynne Capozzi’s presentation at MarTech, “The Website is Dead, Long Live the Website,” looked at why the website is an organization’s most valuable tool to drive business revenue and improve customer engagement. CMOs should invest in building a website that puts customers’ needs at the center and directly improves the customer experience. Some areas Lynne called out to prioritize in a website relaunch included updating outdated or inaccurate content, creating educational content such as demo videos and customer testimonials and optimizing your search functionality and overall load time to ensure a seamless, convenient journey for visitors. 


The session also included a panel featuring Stephen Tisa, Senior Director of Digital Technology at Ultimate Kronos Group (UKG), and Todd Purcell, Head of Digital Banking and Marketing Experience at Webster Bank. When discussing the recent reimagining of Webster Bank’s website after six years, Todd spoke about how he established trust and credibility within the organization to get them on board for a website relaunch. He cited three key factors:

  1. Communicating to senior leadership the tangible benefits to the customer 
  2. Developing an internal sense of urgency for digital transformation to keep pace with the market
  3. Setting clear KPIs that speak to how a new site experience will drive results (more conversions, longer customer lifetime value, etc.)

Stephen spoke to the unique challenges of reimagining a website following a merger or acquisition, pulling from his recent experience following the merger of Kronos and Ultimate Software to form UKG. UKG worked in interactive stages both by launching a canopy site where customers would be redirected from their old digital properties and by embarking on a total “brand and content revolution” to design a new vision and value statement that reflected their new business. They needed to conduct a complete content audit to identify which content could be refreshed and repurposed across the new joint site without losing their existing web SEO and authority. 

At the end of the day, the panel encouraged other marketing and digital leaders not to discard their website relaunch as a one-and-done project. “In today’s digital-first environment, if people come to your site and they don’t have a good experience, you’re dead to them,” said Stephen. All sales, marketing and customer engagement activities lead back to the website. 

Clearly, the website isn’t dead. It’s evolved into the beating heart that powers all your channels. A brand’s website also acts as an essential tool for gathering data on the behavior of your customers such as the types of content they’re interacting with most often, personal  preferences and demographic info gathered from when they register for an event or create a rewards account. As more of this data becomes available every moment, marketers are searching for solutions that can help them eliminate data silos and make  sense of their data in real time. A big topic of interest throughout the MarTech conference was the rising interest in customer data platforms (CDPs) as a centralized solution to unlock customer insights.   

Acquia’s own Kevin Cochrane hit upon the importance of implementing a strong first-party data strategy in order to create personalized connections with customers. In his session, “The Decline Of The Third-Party Cookie,” Kevin discussed why new data privacy legislation is causing vendors to do away with third-party data acquisition and embrace a consent-driven approach for managing customer data.  

Experience Acquia: What Motivates a Website Transformation 

We continued exploring the best strategies for executing a successful website relaunch at our most recent Experience Acquia digital event, with a panel featuring organizations that have embarked on their own website transformation projects. Trusted MC and host, Mark Jeffries moderated a Q&A with Jason Pamental, Design Systems and Operations Consultant for the State of Rhode Island; Matthew Stocker, Digital Solutions Manager at Glen Dimplex; and Justin Emond, CEO at Third and Grove

With people spending more time online than ever before, the conversation focused on the evolving role of the website in shaping customer experience. “Your website is your central source of truth that feeds other digital channels. You need a strong central hub to distribute content continuously to your audience,” said Jason. Especially with the COVID-19 pandemic acting as a catalyst for digital acceleration, businesses were pressured to turn their websites from a static channel to a customer experience pipeline that can drive revenue. “Websites aren’t just for brand narrative now. They need to support product-driven buying experiences as well,” said Matthew. 

In discussing Third and Grove’s conversations with clients who needed to speed up their own digital timelines because of the pandemic, Justin referenced the importance of “the dark funnel” or the percentage of the B2B buying process that happens before a prospect ever directly speaks to the brand. “Today, something like 60% of the buying process occurs before that first direct interaction with a potential buyer, meaning that those awareness channels are even more critical,” said Justin.

When talking about the motivation for their own website relaunch, Jason spoke to the State of Rhode Island’s pressing need to move all government interactions online fast to get constituents the information they needed. The old State of Rhode Island focused their relaunch efforts on creating a dedicated COVID-19 site on a Drupal 9 distribution and addressing their previous site’s performance and accessibility issues. “The resulting site was three times faster, it had managed workflows and met all accessibility requirements immediately.” said Jason. “Drupal’s flexible approach to content gave us freedom over the layout and typography and the governance to manage everything more efficiently in multiple locations and multiple languages,” he explained. 

Glen Dimplex also embraced a stronger governance model in their relaunch by leveraging Drupal and the multisite management capabilities of Acquia Site Factory. Glen Dimplex has launched around 20 sites in the past year, spanning multiple languages, regions and distinct product portfolios and branding. Site Factory’s multisite management tools allow their web teams to work from a centralized hub to ensure all sites represent a unified experience for the customer. “With so much data and content spread across all of these sites, having Site Factory serve as a single interface to roll out updates has helped us launch and manage new sites in weeks rather than months,” said Matthew. 

In all of these tales of website transformation, it’s clear that brands must invest in establishing a memorable, fast-acting digital presence that makes a lasting impression. For even more tips on how to execute your own website relaunch and get a sneak peek of our upcoming product announcements, watch Experience Acquia on demand

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