ELEVATING CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE IN THE CONTEMPORARY DIGITAL EPOCH
Chuck Moxley, Chief Marketing Officer at Blue Triangle
In this podcast episode, Harshit Gupta conducts an insightful interview with Chuck Moxley, the astute Chief Marketing Officer at Blue Triangle. Blue Triangle, a pioneering platform, specializes in meticulously quantifying revenue-inhibiting website friction. The discussion delves into Chuck’s illustrious professional journey, the ever-evolving digital landscape, and the strategic imperatives of large-scale websites. Chuck elaborates on how Blue Triangle’s platform adeptly quantifies website friction, meticulously identifies issues, and deftly proffers effective solutions, all culminating in the augmentation of user experiences and the fortification of customer loyalty. The conversation also casts light upon content security, the ephemeral nature of digital marketing, the intricacies of lead generation, and the paramount significance of perpetual learning for marketing virtuosos navigating the fast-paced currents of the digital realm.
Blue Triangle, a pioneering platform, adeptly quantifies website friction, meticulously identifies issues, and deftly proffers effective solutions, all culminating in the augmentation of user experiences and the fortification of customer loyalty.
the astute Chief Marketing Officer at Blue Triangle.
Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of WYTPod. My name is Harshit and I’m the Director of Business Alliances at WYTLabs. We are a digital agency specializing in SaaS and e-commerce. Today’s special guest is Chuck, Chief Marketing Officer at Blue Triangle, a brilliant platform that helps quantify revenue-robbing website friction so you can prioritize solutions for the greatest ROI. A big welcome to you, Chuck, and I’m so happy to have you with me today.
Thank you. Thanks for inviting me. I’m happy to be here.
Chuck, please, let’s start with your journey. I would love to know about your professional journey, the fascinating professional journey so far, and how Blue Triangle happened.
Sure. I started technically on the technology side, and that’s what my education was in. Then I moved over to the marketing side after about five years and then spent 10 years in agencies, working on big brands, and consumer brands. Then I got recruited to a dot-com back in 1999 and the dot-com crazy heyday. Today we would call B2B SaaS company back then. They were called ASPs, Application Service Providers. We hadn’t even figured out how to talk about software, or hosted software back then. I’ve now done six. This is my sixth startup in B2B SaaS since then. I’ve built a career around the B2B SaaS world and heading marketing. I’ve had a couple of good exits. We had an exit in 2020 with a company that I started with. It was about two and a half million when we started. We grew to 50 million and had a good exit. I did one company in between, and then while I was there, I got recruited by Blue Triangle to come on board and joined the company in May of last year. In the middle of all that, I co-authored a book about my shoulder here on marketing.
I’m one-to-one marketing. It was published by McGraw Hill two years ago.
Can you please tell us about Blue Triangle? And the role of the CMO there. And what sets the company apart in the market?
Sure. So, we, help, and you did a great job of explaining, but we help companies who are large-scale websites, transactional websites. We help them identify, and quantify what friction is costing on their website. There are tons of observability and monitoring tools out there that will tell you you have 100 problems. We don’t start with identifying the problem, we start by identifying or quantifying the problem. We can tell them, hey, you might have 100 slow pages, but these three are costing you $8 million a month. The rest are only 200,000. Now it changes how your Dev team thinks about it and what they focus their efforts on. Then we can tell them exactly what the problem is, and how to fix it. Then on the back end, we can tell them how much revenue they recaptured. They can take that to the CEO or the board and justify whatever they spent in that process. We work alongside observability platforms session replay platforms and marketing analytics tools, but we answer the questions that they don’t. And it goes back to the whole quantification piece.
That’s brilliant. Okay, because the digital landscape is constantly evolving, and you have been in the industry for so long that you’re one of the witnesses of it, how has Blue Triangle adapted to the changing customer behavior and trends in recent years?
Sure When you think about websites, constantly changing. Changing every day, stuff happening. We’re constantly, that’s why we don’t think of ourselves as digital experience management as much as we call continuous experience management. Continuous experience optimization or CEO. We came up with that after talking to a number of our clients, and they are so focused on, How to constantly produce a better experience. Because they understand when they have friction on their website, when they have a problem, the customer bounces, and it costs money in some way. The understanding that they’re always looking to change. What we’ve also grown into is mobile. Not only mobile web but also native apps. We’re able to now monitor the native app, and do the same quantification piece because a lot of transactions now happen on the native app, on the mobile app, and be able to do that quantification piece and do all the same things we do on desktop.
Got you. Can you please talk about a few specific key features around this optimization that you quantify altogether and keep an active track of?
Yes. We use a combination of synthetic monitoring and the real-go in the perfect world and then real user monitoring. And we’re able to stitch that together. And what we do is look at every single session that happens on your website. And we’re able to take all of that through transactions as well as transactions that aren’t complete; we’ll organize them by cohort, by fractions of a second. We do something called a conversion rate curve, and it’s unique for every website and every page on the website. And what we identify is, when the page loads in two seconds, this many people convert. When it loads in two and a half seconds, these fewer people convert. When it loads in three, etc. Then by looking at all that transaction data, and again, we’re dealing with websites typically that have a million visits or a month. We’re dealing with very large websites. We’re able to take all that transaction data and stitch it together, and that’s how we do the quantification piece. Our product has been a three-step process. We quantify the friction, we help them resolve it by looking at the customer journey, looking at the insights.
We’re a platform where one of the challenges is in the large-scale website, you’ll have multiple teams that are constantly adjusting the website. You’ve got marketing, you’ve got the e-commerce team, you’ve got product managers, you’ve got IT, DevOps, you’ve got a lot of different people touching the website, and they all use different sets of tools. Our platform becomes a common language where we work across all that. So, once we’ve quantified and they go to fix it, we can then tell them, oh, okay, here’s exactly what’s happening. Whether it was something that was introduced in a new feature that was added by marketing, a new tag that was put on by the e-commerce team, or maybe something with servers themselves. We can identify that they go fix it. And then the third piece is that validation. We’re able to validate what revenue they recovered. That’s the essence of it. But then we have lots of components around that. We can tell them where broken links are, anywhere there’s friction, we can tell them where broken links are. We can monitor the Core Web Vitals, which Google uses, and monitor changes over time and allow them to compare to their competitors.
Now their Core Web Vitals are trending over time, and if you go to Google Lighthouse, you can see what it’s like today. We look over time and start to look at those patterns. And then we also have a way to dive in and tell them why a particular Core Web Vital is not reaching what Google wants and how to fix it. We’ve got it’s a very large platform in terms of all the different things that we can do, but it revolves around quantifying and removing friction in the user experience.
Got you. So because the e-commerce sector as in whole is on a different level now altogether. How exactly do you see the role of performance monitoring and optimization evolving in the future? Can you please share a few insights on that?
Yeah. Again, there’s been a gazillion tools out there. For years, there have been huge companies in that space, in that monitoring space, and they all start with identifying problems. The challenge is they’re typically engineering tools. They’re used by the DevOps team. The people who are responsible for the revenue, the marketing teams, the e-commerce teams, the product managers, they’re looking at a completely different set of metrics, and they don’t need to know more problems. They need to understand the business outcomes. We tend to think in terms of, instead of an engineering solution, you need a business outcome solution. The more you can tie that back to what the CEO cares about, the more you’re going to be able to resolve that. We talk a lot about it, and nobody ever wants to go back and talk about the pandemic, but the reality is it changed behavior dramatically. In the story I was given, my next-door neighbor, 75 years old, had never had groceries delivered. I guarantee you they would have gone to the grave and never insta carted had they not been forced to. But because they have suppressed immunity systems, when the pandemic hit, their daughters set them up on Instacart.
Today, they just Instacart this week. The pandemic’s gone, but it changed that behavior. Again, they would never have done that. If you think about every category, not just retail, but healthcare, how you do doctor visits, how you deal with your insurance company, financial services, how you transact, etc. So much of that is online. And so, the piece that isn’t talked about is how that’s changed how businesses compete. Before the pandemic, it was, do I have more locations than everybody? And do I have a lower price? Especially in retail, right? Now look at something like Bed Bath and Beyond. They lost all their retail locations. It doesn’t matter because what matters today is that frictionless digital experience, and that’s how they’re competing for trust and loyalty. And so that’s driving business outcomes and business changes. So, the more that these tools can start to tie back to business outcomes versus just performance metrics, the more useful it’s going to be and the more directional we’ll know where the teams will know what to do about it.
That’s nice. Cybersecurity is a growing concern for online businesses. How exactly does your platform help clients ensure the security of digital assets and customer data?
Sure. One of the dirty secrets or challenges in running a large website is the tags, third-party tags that get on it. And realistically, because it happens over time, and what we see when we go in and we have a lot of tag governance and management pieces, including the ability to enact a CSP, a Content Security Policy. But one of the pieces that a lot of companies don’t have is a way to even understand how much third-party content is on their website versus first-party because of all these tags. And even when I came to Blue Triangle and we started looking at the website, we had tags from three years ago still running, still sending data somewhere on products and solutions we were no longer using, we no longer subscribe to. And so, you end up with a lot of old tags. You end up with a lot of tags put on by different teams and people don’t know. And it creates three security risks. The first is if somebody who’s a bad operator can take credit card information like page card type of tags and do really bad things. The second piece is those tags often have piggyback tags.
You may understand you put the Google tag on, but Google is calling a different tag and they’re calling a different tag. If you don’t understand that your data, might be GDPR compliant, they may not be. Your data may be going in violating privacy and compliance, which is a big issue for companies. Then the third piece and this affects more of the marketers and the business side, you spend a lot of money to get somebody to come to your site to make a purchase. You may or may not be one of those people who use those plug-ins where it goes, hey, you can find this over at this other website for two dollars cheaper. And it takes them. It hijacks their traffic and takes them over to competitors. So, you spend a fortune, to get them there. That plug-in tag pulls them over and takes them off to your competitor’s website. With a content security policy in place, you can block all that. The challenge is only seven % of websites have content security policies. Even the largest 1,000 websites only about 25 % do. And many of those are not properly formed because it’s really hard to do.
Some of our customers are managing hundreds or thousands of different domains, and they have 25 development teams they’re working with. How do you manage content security policies and get consistency across that? We built a solution around that to make it easy. You can build a content security policy, understand all the content on the site, build the policy and the right code deploy it in about three minutes with our solution, and then maintain that across hundreds or thousands of websites. That’s a big growing area for us because it’s become a big problem.
Chuck, I’ve also seen, this because I’ve worked with a lot of enterprise clients, e-commerce enterprise clients as well. One of the common things that I see is they’ve got a lot of orphan pages. For a site having millions of pages, managing orphan pages is a big problem. But the other thing that I’ve witnessed is a lot of these orphan pages might be product pages and maybe old out-of-stock products are listed in there. These things and this is quite a trend with any big site, to be honest. Managing millions of pages is always a pain point. Do you have any solution on your platform that helps streamline this thing altogether?
Yeah, it’s a big problem with these large-scale websites. We’re a small company and we still end up with four or four pages all the time. It’s just it happens. Stuff gets orphaned, and you have new content, so it’s very common. We built functionality to quickly identify any four or four errors. It basically crawls all your website, identifies those pages, and they can even redirect to the proper pages. So, it can help, for example, if you’re spending money on search ads if you’re taking them to a page, we can redirect them to the right page. The other piece of it is the out-of-stock that you mentioned. When you have an out, again, you spend money, you get them, you get somebody to come there that go to that product page and it’s out of stock. We identify that, and we actually can quantify both of those. We can quantify what that is costing them and then help them to identify those pages, fix it, or in the case of out of stock, redirect to a different product or different page, substitute page.
That’s a good thing because the re-direction helps. Maybe an old page you don’t need on your site when you redirect, the SEO value is being passed to the new page, and that’s extremely crucial. A lot of marketers, actually, and SEO executives, miss on that, but that’s a good strategy to follow for sure. Right now, the market is quite competitive for the e-commerce sector and even the SaaS sector, to be honest. Any online business will have tons of people competing for them on SERP. As you said most of it is now on SERP. So how does your platform help in building and maintaining customer loyalty? Is this something that you assessed?
Oh, absolutely. And again, it’s why most people are biased because they get the fact that friction, anytime there’s something that causes or prevents a customer from achieving whatever that goal is, whether that’s making a purchase or completing a transaction or submitting a claim if you’re an insurance company, anything that bogs that down is going to frustrate people.
Anything that prevents them from completing whatever the transaction is going to sacrifice trust and loyalty. There was a study done, and I can’t remember what the university was. You would think that the most loyal customers are those whom it would have an impact the least. And what, in fact, is it impacts the most because they’re coming to your website or your app more often than other customers. They’re more likely to encounter that friction if you’ve got that friction. And we think of it in terms of a ladder. We have the podcast that we do, and somebody just said this on one of the episodes. It’s the more a customer purchases from you, the higher they go up that ladder of loyalty. When they have a bad experience, whether What’s happening on the website, is a slow page, a broken link, they can’t add something to the card, something like that. Or it could be your digital experience went well and the physical delivery went horribly, or something like that. They fall from a higher point. If they get risk, they can happen. It’s a much more painful fall if your most loyal customers are the ones who are doing it.
We’re just extremely passionate about this idea of frictionless digital experiences. We’re out there in the market constantly challenging the status. There are a lot of studies. Oh, your website needs to be two seconds or your web page has to load in two seconds because that’s what Google says. Or Amazon says, for every second you don’t load, it’s worth this. There are so many opinions out there and so many of these studies and stuff. And what we found, because we monitor, we work on over 200 websites, 200 major brands. And what we find is it varies. Your population is different, your customers are different, their expectations are different, and the transaction they’re conducting with you is different. And so, your site may not need to be as fast as your competitors. They may be more patient. And so, you have to analyze every page on your site as unique. And on your site, don’t compare that to your competitors because their populations may be different. Their expectations may be different. The devices are coming in off may be different. So, we’re out there, and that’s just one example of this point of view that we’re trying to take in the industry and start to be evangelist on you’ve got to tame that friction.
You’ve got to figure out the friction and constantly be focused on delivering frictionless digital experiences.
That makes sense. All right, Chuck, let’s talk marketing. I would love to know exactly what you do for your lead gen and any effective strategies that you can share with us.
I will tell you that, and I’ve made this comment a couple of times in the last week, the playbook we had for demand gen and lead gen two years ago doesn’t even work today. The world is changing so fast the way people buy in the B2B world. We’ve transitioned our marketing to recognize that. We are taking the classical splitting of the funnel where we’re doing both demand gen and demand capture and there are separate motions and different motions. We’re not trying to force people the first time they come to our website to sign up or go for a demo. We understand that they want to remain anonymous for a long period. They aren’t to interact with the salesperson. They want to do 80 % of the transaction before they ever get to the salesperson. We have built a ton of content and our whole website structure around that, and we’re enacting a lot of programs. Things like developing a podcast where we can get opinions out there and we’re interviewing industry leaders from major retailers, for example, major health care companies, financial services companies, and starting to evangelize that because we know over time, if they start listening to podcasts and they start liking what they hear, they’re going to come out and check out what does Blue Triangle do?
And so, we’re doing that. We’ve got our newsletter. We’re doing a lot more content than we ever did. And we’ve gone completely away. We don’t report on it. We don’t care about leads. We’ve ungated most of our content. We’re ungating the rest. We’re making it easy to get access because we’ve studied it. We tested gated versus ungated, and it was costing us about $170 a lead when we gated it. We can get interaction or engagement with our content for about $11 if we are ungated because all the people who otherwise would have bounced get into the content and get access to it because they don’t have to give up their email. So, it’s been a major shift, It’s been an education inside the company because everybody thinks leads, leads. We got to train the salespeople. We got to get the exec team to understand, no, it’s a different world today. And what we’re looking at is how many demo requests. How many inbound demo requests are we getting? What are we driving in terms of the pipeline? We report completely on the pipeline. Right now, this is how we’re measuring.
inbound is something that caught you well. You have that ideology altogether.
In the end, we don’t exactly know all the time where it’s coming from. It’s not that simple. Oh, I spent a dollar on a search and it comes in. That’s the main capture, maybe. But I spent a dollar and got somebody to download a needed book. They might not buy for six months. They may not come in. Tracking that and attribution models and all that stuff, we’ve moved away from that. We just look at, whether are we engaging our ICP or our ideal customer prospects. Are we getting engagement from them? Are we getting to come back? We measure, do we get them to return? Then we look at when they convert to a demo and-.
.What channels do we leverage then, Chuck? You mentioned your newsletter as one for remarketing your prospect. That’s one. Do you leverage any other channel around?
Sure. We’re doing typically paid channels. We’re doing paid social, LinkedIn, and Facebook. We’re doing some paid display, so some Google. We are doing a paid search. The challenge is that when we sell, we’re not trying to get ripped and replaced. We’re not trying to get them to take a competitor and rip them out and put us in. Because we work with all the competitive solutions and we answer new questions, it’s very hard to find somebody searching for what we do. If they just search for observability, they’re probably not a good prospect for us. They’re probably somebody in DevOps. They’re probably somebody just looking to work for a new observability platform, which is not exactly what we do. Anyway, sorry, I have answered your question. We’re doing that, but we’re very passionate about developing our first-party data. Again, it comes from my background and my thinking on one-to-one marketing. Through the podcast, through the newsletter, through those channels, we’re trying to drive that first-party information for people who want to hear from us, who care about the opinions and the education that we bring to the market. Then that gives us that audience that we can keep going back to and that we can own and we’re not constantly paying for.
Got you. What advice do you have for other CMO and marketing professionals looking to improve their digital performance and optimize the customer experience in today’s age or general?
Yeah, never stop learning. I listen to five podcasts a weekend because the world is changing so fast. I’m telling you, the playbook I was running two years ago, is dramatically different. There’s a lot of wisdom out there that people are willing to share, seek out, and constantly test new things, just like we did when we went away between Q1 and Q2, completely away from gated. It’s worked well. It’s driven a lot of pipelines that we otherwise might not have driven. But the only way we do those things is because I’m constantly learning. I constantly assume, even though I’ve been doing this for decades, I know the basics of marketing, but how you implement it and what’s happening in the world is changing so dramatically that if you ever stop learning, you’ll die.
Every day there’s a new tool out, to be honest, I have been with one of the things that if you don’t keep yourself updated directly, you’ll fall behind. Absolutely. It’s a competitive world altogether.
So do agree.
What’s next for Group Blue Triangle? Are there any exciting developments? AI is a big thing now. Any upcoming project you can give us a sneak peek at?
We, of course, always have things on the product roadmap and development, but I’m particularly excited about it. We just hired a new Chief Product Officer who just started this week. A really strong guy, Amir Rosenberg, came from Capital One and also from the observability space. I am sure once he gets in and gets up to speed, he’s going to be working a lot of that. Ai is a piece that we want to look at and figure out how we work it. We already work with big data and machine learning, but how do we take it to the next level with AI? I’m sure we’ll be looking at that, but we’ve got several products on the roadmap that we will be coming out within the next 3-6 months as well. We’re constantly evolving. It’s the beauty of B2B SaaS. New instances are coming out every two weeks or three weeks.
I think we’re coming to an end check, and I would like to have a quick rapid-fire with you. Are you ready for that? Sure. What is your last Google touch?
Gosh, I’m sure it was yesterday. It was a car for under $10,000. I was looking for a car for my daughter. Okay.
What is not a big deal to most people, but it’s torture to you?
What drives me nuts? That kind of thing?
Yeah, but it’s normal for other people.
Oh, it’d be normal. I know I’ve got to be careful how I say this, but I tend to have several OCD characteristics. Things like I always drink from the Yellow Cup. We have five different colors, but when guests come and they use the Yellow Cup, it drives me crazy because everybody knows I get the two yellow cups. All the other colors everybody else can drink. I have a lot of little goofy things like that that people don’t even know.
All right, What world record do you think you have a shot at beating?
World record? Holy cow. Yeah. I’m trying to think of what I might have a chance at beating. Car accidents, maybe? I don’t know. I’ve had a string of them lately.
A couple of years ago, maybe.
Okay. Are you more cautious or bold?
I would say bold.
Okay. Do you watch shows one episode at a time, or do you binge-watch the whole season?
I have gone the way of binge-watching. I recorded some shows. I wait until I get at least three or four episodes so I can watch them in succession. But yeah, my wife and I have been binging a few series on Netflix lately.
Thank you so much, Chuck, for all the time, all the wisdom, and all the knowledge that you shared in today’s session. Appreciate it.
Thank you, Harshit. I appreciate you inviting me.
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