I was lucky to participate and present in all three Sitecore Symposiums this year, where I met and talked with a lot Sitecore customers and partners. It was really great to hear how our customers are using our platform to grow outcomes of their digital channels.
It was interesting to get feedback in terms of how many are using – and planning to use – our different digital marketing capabilities. These capabilities include testing, personalization and automation.
I spoke with numerous customers who are reflecting on how to use DMS effectively. Across the geographies, personalization, automation, and multi-channel marketing are an entirely new ballgame to many organizations.
The ones that are executing on these capabilities have gained more business value out of their digital solutions.
It’s so easy to get dazzled when you hear how digital mature organizations have improved conversion rates, by using for instance personalization.
We sometimes see that by being dazzled, the focus then becomes “Let’s use personalization”.
However you should always treat personalization or use of other capabilities, as a process towards reaching your goals.
In this post I will share some of the takeaways, from one of my shared Symposium presentations, How to be successful with your Digital Marketing System Implementation in a few simplified steps.
Step 1: Get strategic
Like Paul Arden said “If you don’t have a goal, you can’t score” – so true – also in digital channels.
So before you start diving in to the wonderful world of DMS make sure that you have a Digital Strategy in place. Set clear objectives and make sure they are aligned with your strategic objectives. Your critical KPI’s should not be based on numbers of visitors, page views etc. but focus on actions – conversions – that are relevant for your strategic objectives.
Step 2: Define Engagement Values for your Digital Channels and ensure Data Quality
Sitecore’s concept for Engagement Values is a great dimension to track cross channel outcomes (these outcomes should be related to your Strategic Objectives).
Step 2 on the way to happiness is to make sure to have set Engagement Values on digital goals.
An exercise we often do in order to define the Engagement Value Scale, is to create a pyramid that contains objectives in the form of Digital Goals. The top goals are most important for succeeding with your objectives. Then Engagement Value is set on each goal, according to importance and weight between the goals.
Once the Engagement Value scale is defined, it’s just a matter of creating the goals with the right values.
A part of this step is also defining the critical few KPI’s. You use these for reporting.
We recommend that your captured data has a high quality. Something to consider is to have a structured Marketing Taxonomy in place, so you effectively can track all your multi-channel marketing initiatives.
An additional consideration could be to establish different sets of profiles that will give you valuable information about visitor behavior. Examples of profiles are Personas, Stage in Buyer Journey, Product interest, etc.
(More on profiling in this blog post).
Now you have the foundation to measure qualitative outcome of your digital channels.
Step 3: Use Insights
Besides having access to information about your KPI performance, you should also look at data – not just from a reporting perspective, but dive in – do analysis and find areas to optimize if you have quality data; you have access to a goldmine of insights, like:
Step 4: Optimize
Based on the insights, there should be plenty of actionable recommendations to work with for optimization – and luckily plenty of integrated tools to help with the execution.
If you don’t have much experience with optimization then start focus on the low hanging fruit. Here are some considerations for low hanging fruit optimization:
Start running test on key conversion pages, key real estate – like Call to Actions on most visited pages. Getting more visitors to your conversion pages will optimize conversions and optimizing the conversion pages will add even more on top. Usually a good start is to look at your top landing pages and start running tests on these.
Start with simple rules based personalization, which could be based on Keywords visitors used to find your site, GEO location, referring sites etc.
Create Call to Actions that are relevant for those segments and show them on key pages – to move the visitor towards your goals.
Start with enabling simple engagement plans on for instance Newsletter Subscribe. A simple engagement plan could be a flow of 3 emails being sent over time
– emails that will educate the subscriber about your brand and services.
All of these are easy to configure and are supported out of the box, with no need to write any code, implement any tags, etc.
As you’re getting results and learning what works and what does not work you could move towards more advanced execution strategies. This could be diving in to more advanced multi-channel personalization, which will be the topic of my next post.
Happy New Year and good luck with getting more business value of your Sitecore solution and please share any insights you come across.