Sitecore 8.0 is a solution for marketers
Sitecore has grown from a Content Management System into an extensive digital platform. An optimum user experience for the end user is our primary focus. The Sitecore Experience Database (xDB) collects and combines internal and external customer data that you can consult at any time. This approach allows you to create a large and relevant quantity of data that you, as a marketer, can employ across all your channels (website, newsletter, social media, etc.).
This xDB is the foundation of several new and improved functionalities in the new version of Sitecore:
- Sitecore Analytics
- Experience Optimization
- Path analyzer
- Personalised user experience
- Federated Experience Manager
This article will offer a more in-depth exploration of some of the functions that will enable you to truly make your content profitable.
Sitecore now has extended statistical functionalities. These statistics are an interesting addition to other web analysis technologies such as Google Analytics. The power of Sitecore Analytics can primarily be found in its integration with the complete Sitecore package. To fully reap the benefits of Sitecore 8.0, users are advised to add extra configurations on top of the traditional analysis functionalities.
Many of the traditional analysis attributes (e.g. source, medium, country, language, etc.), can be expanded with attributes that you can define yourself (e.g. brand, author, age, etc.). These extra dimensions eliminate the obstacles to analyse and segmentise customer data in every possible way.
Define objectives and scores
A second important configuration lies in defining objectives (e.g. posting blog comments, watching a video, registering etc.). For each objective, you can also define a score based on its significance for your goals. This allows you to visualise your online objectives (KPIs) in your analyses. This is essential for ongoing optimisation of your website(s) and campaigns.
The Experience Optimiser facilitates testing and subsequent optimisation of content, banners, layout, CTAs, emails etc. This will contribute to a better user experience for your customers and an increase in your customer conversions. Since this package is integrated into your CMS, the threshold to get started is very low. Sitecore may, for instance, automatically suggest setting up a simple A/B-test after you make an adjustment to your website. This easy introduction will help you develop an appetite for the more advanced options. All the ingredients you need, such as different variations, target groups, objectives, error margins, periods, etc. are therefore in place.
Based on your objectives or scores, you can determine the best-performing version of the test (the ‘winner’) manually or automatically. The beauty of this is that Sitecore will carefully keep track of the results of all your tests. Sitecore will use these records to define a ‘winner’ more efficiently in future. But also to gain additional insights by:
- combining several different versions
- suggesting new experiments
- indicating which versions are the best fit for specific profiles (location, time, age, etc.)
- predicting when the ‘winner’ will be know
The Path Analyser maps the digital track (or funnel) of your users, displaying it in an easy-to-use visual way. These path visualisations map vital insights in order to detect opportunities. If, for example, a lot of visitors watch certain click-through pages without converting, this might mean that something is not running smoothly. Path Analyser will provide you with the insights you need to get started yourself or follow suggestions from Sitecore.
Personalised user experience
In order to build up a strong relationship with your customers, you need to pursue a personalised user experience. Each customer wants to see the most relevant content for them. For instance, someone who has just bought a new smartphone is not interested in a promotional offer for such a product.
Marketers face many challenges in the field of personalised content.
- not tunnel vision, but inspiration
- not over-personal, but relevant
- not violating your customers’ privacy, but respecting it
The resources for this personal approach are fully integrated into Sitecore’s Experience Management platform. You can personalise content, segment newsletters, optimise forms, create targeted Calls To Action, etc.
To prepare for personalisation, you can use Sitecore to create relevant profiles or personas, set up personalised scenarios and do test runs.
The possibilities to create profiles are theoretically unlimited. You can personalise based on, for example:
- surfing behaviour: new visitors vs. returning visitors, websites visited, etc.
- purchasing behaviour: popular brands, price ranges, related products, etc.
- geographical data
- demographics: age and gender
- sociological data: family situation, profession, interests, etc.
How you choose to define these profiles is highly dependent on the sector. You need to constantly ask yourself what is relevant to your customers, what is functionally possible and what is practically feasible.
Creating profiles is one matter, but setting up relevant scenarios is a whole different ball game! You need to focus on your customers’ user experience without losing sight of your objectives (KPIs). Obviously, you need to devise these scenarios carefully before you get started.
Once you have devised specific scenarios for specific profiles, it is important to test them thoroughly. Using the Experience Optimiser, you can easily set up A/B-tests based on a profile. Sitecore even takes it to the next level by using ‘likely segmentations’ to indicate which profiles are best suited to which scenarios.
Federated Experience Manager
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