Farewell Maxymiser, Enjoy Retirement

Is A/B testing a thing of the past?

April 25, 2024

By: Michael Blumenfeld

Setting the Scene

As the sun dipped below the horizon, Oracle Maxymiser packed its digital bags. Its pixels shimmered with anticipation, ready to embark on a journey beyond the browser window. The industry hummed with whispers: “Where’s Maxy going?” “Is it a beach vacation?” Little did they know Maxymiser had bigger plans.  Marketers stared at their screens, waiting for the familiar A/B test notifications. But Maxymiser remained silent. No multivariate experiments, no personalized recommendations. Websites felt eerily static, like a museum exhibit frozen in time.

The Facts

By now, Oracle’s decision to sunset Maxymiser, a premiere optimization tool, is no secret.  The once industry leading platform will cease operating at the end of May 2024.  The “beach vacation” is more permanent, retirement if you will.  

There have been numerous blogs and POVs written about May’s sunset, so hopefully, this one is different and a bit more entertaining.  Why Different? Well, on top of being in the testing space for the better part of 14 years, I was part of the original team that brought Maxymiser to the North American market many years ago.  With the collaboration of some amazing client services and product people, I saw Maxymiser stand strong as an independent software company all the way through acquisition by Oracle.

The Background

One of the many things that made Maxymiser so great was its functionality, which allowed us client services team members to show clients how to leverage it as follows.  Maxymiser allowed the marketer to “Test and Learn”.  Yes, that phrase has been overused by many, but at its core, it’s perfect.  The entire point of investing time, energy, and resources into this discipline is to make your user’s experience perfect.  It takes the guess work out of the equation.  We test a hypothesis, understand what works best for your business and customers, and then personalize the experience based on your learnings aka “Test and Learn”.

The Question on Everyone’s Mind

If this tool is perfect, why make the decision to sunset it?  Well, I believe some companies are taking A/B testing for granted.  They believe the industry is commoditizing this capability and replacing it with buzz words like “AI” and “Machine Learning” or “Automated Personalization”.  Google Optimize appeared to be the first player to make this move, with Oracle following suit.  I sadly doubt these will be the only two to make this decision.  

While advanced personalization is key for success, and should be part of your tech stack, it does not replace A/B testing.  It cant for one simple reason - How do you know if it’s working?  Simply answered “You don’t”.  Without testing and clear statistical significance, you are adding the “guess” back into your business.

Without establishing a base line there is no direct way to determine if your advanced intelligence (i.e. AI, ML, etc.) is outperforming your existing site experience.   Test first, figure out which experience benefits all stake holders the most, including your customers, and then use advanced personalization technologies to drive exponential lift.

Where do we go from here?

Don’t believe that testing is a thing of the past, it is still relevant, in fact even more relevant today with the adoption of AI and ML.  The number of basic testing platforms (think VWO) and plug ins for technologies such BigCommerce and Shopify are on the rise.  While these basic platforms/plugins  are helpful, they are limited in what they can accomplish for the marketer and your business.  

I would encourage you to look at the original testing platforms.  When testing as a discipline first started, there was the “Big 4” - Adobe Target, Maxymiser, Optimizely, and Monetate.  One platform that has stayed true to its roots and has remained at the top of its game is Monetate.  Their platform mixes a wide breadth of testing capabilities with advanced personalization and recommendations.  While this tool is applicable across industries and verticals, it excels in the retail space and outperforms many from both a capability and site performance perspective.

A True Hollywood Ending

Maxymiser is about to take that extended beach vacation.  My word of advice, don’t believe what the industry is trying to tell you.  You know your business better than anyone out there.  While I believe testing is important, you may think otherwise.  Do what is best for your business.  If you happen to agree with my POV, I am happy to learn more about your business and make platform recommendations that are best suited for your success.

Enjoy retirement, Maxymiser!

About the Author

Michael is the founder and CEO of DEVGRU. With over 15 years of optimization experience, Michael has successfully created and managed optimization programs for a number of Fortune 100 and 500 companies within numerous industries and verticals. Michael attended Bentley University in Waltham MA, where he earned a BS in marketing and an MBA in marketing and international business. In his free time, Michael tries to fix his golf swing and enjoys spending time with his adorable 4 year old niece.


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