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Optimizely and Marketo integration: transforming B2B personalisation

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In this article, we explain how we integrated Optimizely CMS and Marketo through a custom code layer to enable industry-specific personalization.

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While in D2C businesses, content personalisation was recognised as a key to conversion long ago, many B2B businesses are now discovering the importance of personalisation. Providing personalised and engaging online experiences is becoming a priority. Unfortunately, many marketing departments face a technological challenge while trying to put their personalisation strategy in place.

Recently, we worked with a client who had to combine two sources of information to execute their strategy successfully. Their tech stack consisted of Optimizely DXP (used here as the website's CMS) and Marketo, their marketing automation platform, provided by Adobe. These two tools did not cooperate well with each other – a difficulty we were glad to help overcome.

In this article, we will delve into the seamless integration of Optimizely CMS and Marketo, exploring the transformative impact this partnership has on website personalisation. But first, let's look into...

Personalisation in Optimizely CMS/Digital Experience Platform (DXP)

Personalisation in the context of CMS/DXP refers to tailoring website content (such as text, images, banners, pop-ups or forms) and experiences to match the unique preferences, behaviours, and demographics of individual visitors. It is about creating a user-centric environment where the right message reaches the right audience at the right time. The integration of Optimizely DXP and Marketo amplifies the potential for personalisation, enhancing user engagement and satisfaction.

Typically, in Optimizely DXP, personalisation would be executed via Visitor Groups. These groups allow you to segment website visitors based on various criteria such as location, device, behaviour, and more. The role of Visitor Groups is to serve as the foundation for delivering customised content and experiences to specific segments of your audience. They empower businesses to create targeted and relevant interactions that resonate with their visitors.

Visitor Groups in CMS 12 and later Visitor Groups in Optimizely CMS 12 and later, image source

The true potential of personalisation comes to life when Marketing Automation data is added to the equation. By connecting Optimizely's Visitor Groups with external data from Marketo, businesses can gain a deeper understanding of their website visitors and tailor the website experience to them. This integration opens up a world of possibilities and enhancements, paving the way for highly personalised content and experiences that align with visitor preferences, interests, and behaviours.

Personalisation scenarios: CMS + marketing automation

Let's explore some personalised scenarios made possible through the integration of CMS and Marketing Automation:

Scenario 1: Industry-specific content
Imagine showcasing industry-specific content to visitors based on their affiliation. Marketo allows dynamic filtering of its database to create lists of target audiences, which can be used to create visitor groups in Optimizely CMS and dynamically display tailored content such as banners, pop-ups, and text that aligns with the visitor's industry.

The connector associates Opti visitors with Marketo contacts based on Marketo cookies.

Scenario 2: Optimizely Forms and cookies
When visitors submit an Optimizely form, a cookie is added to their browser. This cookie facilitates the assignment of visitors to specific Marketo lists, further enhancing personalisation based on their actions and preferences.

Scenario 3: Personalisation via Email
Visitors who log in to Optimizely and belong to Marketo lists receive content personalised to the unique characteristics of their list. This email-based connection ensures returning visitors always receive the most relevant content.

Client's case: the industry-specific personalisation

Our client was a B2B–modelled company selling software licenses online to their customers worldwide. They faced the challenge of presenting industry-specific content to visitors on their website since their legacy tech stack, which could not be changed (CMS from Optimizely and Marketing Automation tool from Adobe), was not integrated well. They aimed to differentiate their offerings based on the visitor's industry affiliation. Marketo played a crucial role in recognising visitors as members of specific user lists representing different industries. The vision was clear: when a visitor landed on a landing page via email or online ad, and if they were already a registered user on an industry-specific Marketo list, the website would dynamically display personalised content. This content included banners, pop-ups, and text tailored to the visitor's specific industry, providing a more engaging and relevant experience.

Overcoming the Marketo – Optimizely connector challenge

Initially, the client faced a roadblock. The out-of-the-box Marketo connector provided by Optimizely was unable to correctly recognise Marketo list members. Without proper recognition, the personalisation of content based on industry affiliation remained elusive.

At NoA Ignite, our team of experts recognised the potential of Optimizely CMS and Marketo integration and swiftly devised a solution to overcome the challenge. The key to success lay in creating a custom code layer that could process information accurately and enable the correct recognition of Marketo list members.

With this custom code layer in place, the visitor's industry affiliation, as recognised by Marketo, is seamlessly integrated with Optimizely Visitor Groups. This breakthrough allowed the website to serve the correct, personalised content to each visitor, enhancing their experience and engagement.

Optimizely CMS + Marketo Integration: how we made it work

Now, with the seamless integration implemented, the client can effortlessly showcase tailored content to Visitor Groups in Optimizely, which are created based on Marketo lists.

Whenever a visitor submits an Optimizely form, a record is respectively created in Marketo. This enables the Marketo admin to segment and filter the database to create lists. These can then be used to create Optimizely's Visitor Groups, members of which are being served personalised content by Optimizely. For those visitors who log in to the Optimizely platform with their email and are members of Marketo lists, the website also delivers content personalised to their list's unique characteristics. This email-based connection ensured that returning visitors always received the most relevant content, reinforcing their loyalty.


The story of this B2B client's journey to achieve industry-specific personalisation through Optimizely CMS and Marketo integration serves as an inspiring example. The seamless alignment of Marketo's user lists with Optimizely Visitor Groups led to a significant enhancement in visitor engagement and satisfaction.

For businesses aiming to elevate their online presence and create more meaningful connections with their audience, the integration of Optimizely CMS and Marketo offers a compelling path to success. If your company is facing a similar challenge, at NoA Ignite, we will be glad to provide an integration solution and make both systems work well together for your success.

(The article was created in cooperation with Kamil Bularz and Łukasz Michna)

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e-Commerce Strategist at NoA Ignite

Małgorzata Radkiewicz

e-Commerce Strategist

Małgorzata’s 15 years of experience have seen her delivering effective solutions to ecommerce brands of all shapes and sizes across the EU and UK. Małgorzata is experienced in brand positioning, traffic and ecommerce sales analytics and leading ecommerce teams and projects for B2B and D2C businesses.

+44 7930 140 293


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