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State of the art, TVs and the TIC

3 Minute Read

This is a state-of-the-art Philips TV—well at least it was in the 1970s. Full color, multi-channel and featuring a remote control. Mounted in a stylish dark wooden veneer box it was a centerpiece on its own, usually taking up a prime position in the living room. It still works perfectly, if you don’t count the intermittent increase and decrease in volume. And the fact that you can’t plug anything into it, not even an old VCR—never mind a DVD player, external speakers or a modern day streaming device.

Philips 1970s TV

You may be wondering why it hasn’t been retired to a prime position in a landfill? The answer of “but it still works… even if it isn’t state of the art anymore,” doesn’t quite make sense. By very definition, state of the art refers to the latest in technology and innovation and, a 1970s TV hasn’t been it for a long while. It may be a classic vintage, but it doesn’t come close to meeting modern day customer expectations or entertainment experiences. This is a dramatic example and perhaps not that not prevalent. It does however point to the fact that we will keep around technology that has long passed its prime.

Similarly, when it comes to considering which solutions are the most effective for optimizing the digital experience for customers, should we be considering what’s classic or what’s state of the art?

The Testing Industrial Complex (TIC)

There are many elements that make up testing today. Namely: traditional testing tools, conversion "experts" and experimentation teams. Collectively we like to call this combination the Testing Industrial Complex. 

If you think this term sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because it’s an homage to Eisenhower’s famous term—the Military Industrial Complex. In his farewell speech, Eisenhower warned of the informal alliance that exists between government, the military and the companies that supply the military, and their influence on public policy. The alliance referenced by Eisenhower was designed to make money. Similarly the various elements of the Testing industrial Complex work together to spend a great deal of money to attempt to make websites and mobile apps better. But how do you define better? It is the number of visitors, the number of clicks, customer feedback or increased conversions?

Achieving better can be frustrating for digital leaders, especially if better means  improving conversions and achieving growth. While a great deal of time and money is invested in driving more traffic to websites and mobile apps, the ability to deliver growth and conversions often remains elusive. Discovering which ideas improved the customer experience, which resulted in getting more customers to hit the buy button and why, is information the testing industrial complex struggles to deliver in a relevant and timely manner. 

The reason for this is that testing methods generally revert back to classic A/B testing. While there’s nothing wrong with A/B testing as a proven scientific methodology, it  has the limitations of time, traffic, and the fact that tests often fail to provide meaningful insights and drive growth

In today’s competitive marketplace, it’s not enough to just make websites and mobile apps better. Better needs to be defined. If the purpose of optimizing the digital experience is to achieve meaningful growth, measured by increased conversion rates and revenue, then you need a solution that is state of the art rather than classic.

Like a 1970s TV, the Testing Industrial Complex might still work. It might even be the classic goto method for experimentation. But in terms of delivering customer experiences that factor in and measure thousands of variables to drive conversions and growth, it simply doesn’t have the same capability as more sophisticated AI-driven optimization solutions.

What is State of the Art Technology in 2020?

AI is at the leading edge of technology and innovation. AI’s ability to configure and analyze multiple variants and combinations of ideas for more meaningful customer experiences, is what provides the insights digital leaders need. Knowing where the needle is, when it moves, how it moves and why it moves is what helps serve up relevant customer experiences that convert and result in growth. That’s the benefit of state of the art AI-driven optimization. 

If you want to find out more about the benefits of AI-driven optimization for customer experiences, watch our recent webinar with analyst firm Frost and Sullivan: Why the Customer Experience Demands Optimization at AI Scale or subscribe to our social media channels to receive regular insights and updates on CX optimization. Evolv AI on LinkedIn,  Twitter,  Facebook.

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