Behind the Scenes: iCiDIGITAL Custom Configurator

Technical Development | March 15, 2016

When it came time to begin planning for Adobe SUMMIT 2016 the team here at iCiDIGITAL began by thinking about last year — when we attended SUMMIT last year we were a very different company.

We were smaller (we’ve more than doubled the size of our team in the last year) and we had only just acquired Billups Design (our UX/UI branch — though we’d worked with them for quite some time, “dating before marriage” as it were).

Yet we saw SUMMIT as a significant opportunity and attended with open ears.

What we heard, over and over again, was that those who had purchased Adobe Experience Manager (AEM — our speciality) loved the platform, but were frustrated because they felt they had yet to accomplish all the great things AEM is capable of.

Since then we’ve helped numerous clients achieve exactly that: explore the possibilities of AEM, go further, and do more with the platform. So this year we knew we needed to find a way to tell that story.

The Beginnings of the iCiDIGITAL Custom Configurator

While everything we’re doing at SUMMIT this year helps tell that story, the cornerstone of that story is a custom-built piece of technology: a custom configurator.

Why? Imagine if you could watch your customers as they interact with your products. If you could see, before developing your next product, whether they prefer red or blue; if before choosing how to spend your marketing dollars you knew which add-on product customers were most likely to buy.

Whether you’re selling clothing or mortgages, cars or cakes — watching over your customers shoulder as they shop can gain you valuable insights, help you make better marketing and business decisions and offer a superior customer experience.

AEM is an incredibly powerful tool—it can be anything you want it to be. Once you have an idea of what you’d like to accomplish, we can help you develop and integrate it with your existing platforms marketing systems.

What We Did: Behind the Scenes

For our configurator, we choose to work with an ATV. Not only did an All Terrain Vehicle reinforce our message (Explore. Go Further. Do More.), it also allowed for a fair amount of customization, showcasing what is possible with the technology we were creating. However, the way the system is built you could fairly easily swap out the ATV for any other product, simple by uploading the appropriate files to the Digital Asset Management (DAM) tool.

Our team of AEM experts built this customized technology to demonstrate how AEM can help capture and manage customer data, enabling marketing teams to better understand and interact with their customers.

This technology simultaneously collects user data, allows a user to completely customize an ATV, including choosing a color and adding on accessories, and displays real-time analytics during each step in the process. As an added bonus, participants who test our AEM configurator are entered into a drawing to win a stock 2016 Brute Force 300 ATV, courtesy of iCiDIGITAL.

Step-by-Step: How Our Custom Configurator Works

During Adobe SUMMIT, when an attendee visits the iCiDIGITAL booth they’re asked to participate in iCiDIGITAL’s industry survey. Built in FormStack, our survey is meant to take a measure of the industry.

The collected data is fed into AEM and used for two purposes: first to display real-time aggregated analytics on-screen in our booth, and then also to create a custom profile that each participant will use to log into the iCiDIGITAL configurator.

Using their email address as their unique ID, participants then log into the configurator and see personalized content based on their profile — and, of course, once in the system they can create a custom ATV, including choosing colors and adding accessories.

AEM consolidates this data and feeds it to our display screen, making it easy to identify preferences and trends as more participants use the configurator. Each individual user’s preferences are also collected in their individual customer profile.

As a final step in the process, AEM feeds each participant’s name and email to a marketing automation platform (we use Hubspot, but you could just as easily feed it into Campaign, Audience Manager or Target), which uses that information to send out a personalized email thanking the user for visiting the iCiDIGITAL booth and confirming their entry into the contest to win an actual ATV—and then, later, to send out aggregated user survey results, once those have been finalized.

How It Would Work For You

Of course, it’s unlikely that you’d use this just to collect information at a trade show—even a show as awesome as Adobe SUMMIT. So how might this work for you?

As I mentioned above, AEM is capable of pretty much anything you can conceive of—a bank could create a custom mortgage calculator; a car manufacturer could create a car configurator; a hotel might create a 3-D tour of its rooms. The “what” doesn’t matter nearly as much for you and your team as being able to use that tool to collect actionable customer data.

So, if you were to do something like this, you’d start with an anonymous user. Perhaps they’d find you on social media or come to your site through organic search. However they landed on your site, then you’d have them fill out information about themselves to use your tool. Once you’d collected their information, you could show them a personalized experience based on their demonstrated preferences, and follow up with them using Adobe Campaign, Audience Manager, and Adobe Target.

Just to verify all this, before coming to SUMMIT we tested it—we offered a giveaway (now closed) to people who chose to fill out our 2016 Industry Survey (built in Formstack) in advance. Then, we used a custom-built integration with AEM to send each survey participant’s data into the system, creating dozens on user profiles.

If you took the survey before the show and come to our booth, you can skip the survey—your profile already exists in the system. Once you use the configurator, it will record your ATV preferences and enter you to win the stock model of the ATV, which will be in our booth during the show.

 

 

Kari Mayhew is the Marketing Manager for iCiDIGITAL, and has contributed engaging and educational ideas to a variety of enterprises, both on and off-line, for well over a decade. She can also be found experimenting in the kitchen, running on dirt trails and cheering for favorite teams.