Sitecore 9 personalization

Sitecore 9 personalization
6th July 2020

Organizations hold a wealth of information about their audiences. This information enables marketing teams to deliver personalized messaging to customers using Sitecore.

What is personalization?

We live in a world where receiving messages and information tailored to our needs makes us feel “special”. A more valued customer. Therefore understanding how to optimize personalization is a must for ambitious marketing teams within forward-thinking organizations.

Personalization can be described as the utilization of information held on an individual, to serve targeted content, data and offers through any channel that is specific to that user’s interests. The result is the delivery of unique personalized experience for your audience.

The importance of personalization

Personalization comes in many forms. Typical personalization techniques can include: brands emailing information about products recently viewed online, customers receiving SMS messages about products they have recently purchased or a customer returning to a website where the first thing they see is the products they were looking at the last time they visited.

All of these personalization techniques are powered by data and importantly personalization forms part of customer expectation, when it comes to an online experience. With technology now readily available that allows companies to deliver highly personalized experiences to their end-users, this has become “the expected”. This was confirmed in a recent survey where 80% of customers said they were more likely to purchase a product or service from a brand who provides personalized experiences.

Amazon is a leading example of excellent personalization. Without Amazon utilizing past browsing and purchasing information, it could be quite painful to find what you want. Instead, interactions are tailored, you instantly see products that are “relevant” to you, thus engaging you instantly.  We’ve all done it, bought something when you didn’t really expect to, this is the power of personalization.

As personalization becomes the expectation, businesses and marketing teams are acutely aware of this important development and are looking for software, like Sitecore, that will help them build strategies with a heavy focus on delivering personalized and engaging experiences. Why? To make users feel valued, ensure they get the right information and products, and ultimately to ensure they return.

How Sitecore 9 can help optimize my organization’s personalization strategy

At Kagool we are dedicated to Sitecore Partner. It is our platform of choice. Sitecore 9 personalization can be utilized to provide an omni-channel experience and ultimately deliver highly personalized experiences to the user.

Data is crucial. The more data the better the insight into your users and how they interact with your website. So as a marketing team, how do you get it right?

1. Sitecore 9 personalization best practice implementation

It’s imperative that your implementation is best of breed. This can be categorized on 2 levels, ‘code’ and ‘platform configuration’.

  • Code – a poor code base, not built to Sitecore best practice will no doubt hamper the platform on multiple levels, performance, extendibility and the inability to make use of the platform features.
  • ‘Platform Configuration’ – Minor mis-configuration of the underlying platform can have a huge impact on the ability to use it to its full potential. At its worst, it can result in analytics data not being collected on the website, which directly stops you from delivering your personalization strategy. Without data, there is no personalization.

At Kagool we pride ourselves on delivering best-practice Sitecore 9 personalization experiences, ensuring that the platform is configured the way it is meant to be, in-line with recommended Sitecore practices.

2. Strategy

Without a strategy you are playing the “hit and hope” game. And will likely get nowhere, or even worse, damage your reputation by delivering irrelevant content to the end-user. The result of that being that they may go to your competitor.

If you are using Sitecore experience platform, there are a couple of different approaches to try.

  • Rules based is about the marketing team being in control of the content displayed to users by setting certain ‘rules’ within the experience platform. Different content can be displayed to different users based on browser behavior and profile values such as “where in the country is the visitor located”. Understanding Sitecore personalization rules is key as it has many benefits to a marketer.
  • AI personalization – over recent years, AI has become the forefront of marketer’s minds, they want to know how it can be used to drive conversion through online channels.

    AI personalization relies on the platform collecting data from every user visiting the site, not only collecting it but analyzing it time and time again. This is where Sitecore Cortex, steps in. It analyses the data and can detect trends between users and visits and will automatically drive content tags to the relevant data. This enables the marketing team to rely on the system itself to drive personalization, thus taking away some of the overhead.

3. Test, test and more tests

Sitecore 9 has many highly productive tools available, including the ability to A/B test.

A/B testing is a great tool that allows your marketing team to effectively optimize your platform through testing. You can simply run variations of components and make subtle changes to determine which is more interactive. Most of all, it’s a fast way of analyzing the impact of changes, and most of all, they can be small changes. You don’t have to make wholesale changes if something isn’t working. Prove it first, make subtle changes, it could simple come down to a “title” or a dis-engaging “description”, so keep it simple and test, test and test again.

The importance of A/B testing when planning personalization is to provide the ability to target audience types with content that is written in a certain way, or to display a different image based on the audience type.

It can be used to test content engagement across any page in your website, and it can provide statistics around the most “interacted” piece of content in your test, therefore providing you with the evidence of which variation of the content is more successful.

How Kagool can help your organization get the most from Sitecore 9 personalization?

The importance of personalization is easy to see and we all experience it on a daily basis. However, it can only be successfully achieved with a platform like Sitecore 9, which is feature rich, complete with personation tools and has the ability to perform A/B tests on content. Not only that, but it is a platform that can implement the strategy you set out as a business or a team.

Sitecore has to be implemented well and to best practice, if not, the features will be wasted. And to deliver a personalization strategy that achieves what you want, you have to define your strategy thoroughly upfront.

At Kagool, we can help you achieve that. As an award-winning, Sitecore Platinum Partner, we have worked with Sitecore for decades and are proud to have completed over 500 Sitecore projects. Our teams are made up of Sitecore specialists, who have the technical ability to make your business personalization goals a reality.

To find out more, contact us for a chat to discuss your current situation or if you’re ready to experience the power of Sitecore, arrange a Sitecore demo with one of our Sitecore professionals.