An interview with Michael Witzenleiter, Managing Director, Kameleoon GmbH
We’re running an ongoing series of interviews with optimization and conversion thought leaders. Following our posts with Stephen Pavlovich of Conversion.com and André Morys, of konversionsKRAFT, this week we speak to Michael Witzenleiter. Responsible for Kameleoon’s activities in the German-speaking parts of Europe, Michael has over 10 years of experience in digital marketing and became CEO of Kameleoon GmbH in June 2017.
What are the major trends you are currently seeing in the digital marketing/optimization market in Germany?
When it comes to digital marketing it’s all about data and agility. Because of this companies are speeding up their deployment and use of Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) technology. While A/B testing tools are becoming more widely used, getting the best from them still requires internal cultural change and agility. Companies can see that the technology is there, but the challenge for large customers is very often to become agile and start a testing culture. That’s where I see a major role for myself and my team. Helping our customers to create ideas, introduce optimization successfully and shorten internal decision making cycles is a decisive driver of our growth in Germany. I’ll explain a bit more later on how we support our customers and the wider industry.
What are your customers using Kameleoon for? What are their challenges that you are helping them with?
Our most advanced customers are combining A/B testing and personalization to increase their ROI. Brands such as Lidl and OBI, Europe’s largest DIY retailer are seeing really strong results through this kind of experimentation.
By using Kameleoon brands can quickly optimize their product pages by introducing scarcity and trust elements or by personalizing their home page for specific segments. We’re very focused on helping customers deliver tangible business results – and our customers in Germany generate a conversion uplift of 22% on average in the first 12 months of working together.
While challenges vary from sector to sector, the main focus for all brands are improving the experience for consumers and driving greater conversions. Competition is increasing in every industry, and brands need to ensure that their digital marketing is meeting the needs of every individual consumer. We work with some extremely large enterprises, helping them achieve this personalization on a massive scale when it comes to their website traffic.
Are you seeing demand from particular vertical sectors?
Kameleoon is a flexible tool that can help with any sort of goal optimization. Currently I’d say the two biggest sectors for us are retail ecommerce and media. For ecommerce companies we optimize the conversion funnel while for media companies site usage plays a more important role. Besides these use cases we are seeing a huge demand for testing and personalization in the finance industry as the market becomes more competitive and consumers demand a more tailored service.
We do have customers outside our core markets of ecommerce, media, automotive, financial services and travel. One good example is football club FC Schalke 04, which is using Kameleoon on its online store for fan merchandising. You could say we’re helping them achieve their off-field conversion goals!
Are there any challenges that are holding back greater use of CRO, A/B testing and AI personalization?
I think my colleague André Morys at our partner agency konversionsKRAFT summed these up best in a previous blog. It is about building the right team, being agile and becoming data-driven. Embracing experiments and using their results to validate internal decision making requires a huge mind-shift in some established companies.
Using the best tools in the market alone won’t be enough – that culture of experimentation and openness is vital. Brands need to look at how they can create (and continually improve) the perfect customer journey. As part of this you need to generate an ongoing flow of ideas for testing and personalization.
Regarding AI there is still a huge uncertainty about how to implement and establish its use within a company´s culture or how to use specific and individual machine learning algorithms to solve particular business problems. Often the functionality of algorithms is unclear and some CRO teams may be afraid of being replaced by a machine.
At Kameleoon we’re aiming to bring transparency to AI by educating our clients on how it can help them, while constantly developing features that increase the visibility and tangibility of modern machine learning. One of these features is the Kameleoon Conversion Score (KCS) which indicates the probability of a user reaching a defined conversion goal at a specific step on their customer journey. This pinpoints the areas where significant conversion uplifts and ROI are possible. And there is way more to come in the future!
Where do you see the biggest future opportunities for Kameleoon?
I’m really excited about the opportunities that AI brings for our customers. It doesn’t remove the need for digital marketing skills, but enables personalization and testing to be deployed much faster, and at a much greater scale. Using machine learning enables brands to improve experiments and develop more powerful personalization based on the perfect data sets.
How are you helping the digital marketing community get the most out of CRO?
Our main objective is to make it easy for our customers to benefit from the advantages of testing and personalization. Communication and knowledge transfer has an important role to play in achieving this. That’s why we have created a growing library of use cases and invested in our blog to share useful information with digital marketers.
We want to make sure our customers get the best knowledge of CRO, whatever level they are at. That’s why we introduced our unique Conversion Safari event series. These aim to show the right path through the conversion jungle by bringing people together to talk about CRO in an unusual and inspiring environment - zoos! The CRO industry moves fast, and these events give people the chance to learn more from both experts and other brands. We’ve just held our first event of the year in Cologne Zoo, along with our partners m-pathy and KonversionsKRAFT, and our customer FC Schalke O4. We had over 80 attendees, which was excellent to see.
We’re also visiting Berlin and Zurich later in the year and there are more details at www.conversion-safari.de. We also support and attend like-minded events – we were a platinum sponsor of the growth marketing summit, as well as having a significant presence at DMEXCO.
Tell us about your background and what led you to Kameleoon
My career started in sales and I’ve got over 10 years of experience in the discipline. I used to work as head of online marketing for the media company Burda, so I understand the pressures and needs of large brands and their digital marketing teams. I then founded the agency Kesselhaus in 2011 together with my business partners Oliver Suhm and Christian Funk.
This is where I first came across Kameleoon, back in 2015. We had a customer, Travista.de, and we were managing a project to optimize CRO landing pages for the TV commercials it was running. Kameleoon was recommended to us as a solution that could personalize these landing pages according to the individual commercials and when they ran. The results were outstanding - conversion rates rose to 48%. Given this success we decided to do more with Kameleoon. Our co-operation grew, eventually leading to the formation of Kameleoon GmbH. Today we serve around 100 customers in Germany with a team of 20 people from Offenburg, with a new Berlin office opening before the end of the year.