A Peek into the Opening Breakout Session at Sitecore Symposium 2017

A Peek into the Opening Breakout Session at Sitecore Symposium 2017

Author: Greg Baxter | Categories: CMS, Sitecore CMS, Digital Marketing, Personalization, Customer Engagement

Demystify quick win personalization and drive business uplift

Last week I had the great honor of running the opening breakout in the marketing stream at Sitecore Symposium 2017, in Las Vegas. Overall Symposium was an amazing event, Sitecore 9 continues the tremendous growth of the platform and delivers more power into the hands of marketers who want to lead with digital.

While the tools are all there, and the will of the marketers is clear, there remain the inevitable questions of “how do I start?”, “how can I get business buy-in?” and “how can I plan for personalization?”

The answers are easier than you may think.

Let’s take this on, one question at a time.

Executive Buy-In

This a mandatory inclusion, there has to be a political will to take this step. The best way to drive this is to be able to demonstrate financial benefit, in a cost-effective short-burn project.

Minimal risk, clear benefit is the key.

Look at where on your site you can lift revenue, whether it be boosting “Contact Sales” conversions, or addressing a pain point using personalization – consider only personalizing the home page as an entry point.

Let me give you an example. Scandlines, a ferry service in Europe has a “day trip” service to take families to theme-park destinations. Their conversion is quite low, and they use Google Adwords to drive traffic. But visitors are not converting. A two-week project was created to simply use campaign personalization to present a clear call-to-action to those visitors who arrived from the Google Ad word.

Aligning customer intent with a clear CTA is a no-brainer and is very effective.

Scandlines did the business case and determined that if they could reduce “bounce” from the Adwords from their average to 35% they would achieve ROI. A two-week project was deemed to be acceptable. The following illustrates the straightforward requirement.

Homepage Campaign Personalization – from a Google Adwords for Hansa Park, a day trip destination.

Sitecore symposium 2017


No Campaign Personalization

Sitecore engagement analytics

With Personalization

The project ROI was delivered inside two weeks! Bounce dropped not just to 35%, it dropped to 24% – and the project paid for itself, and boosted revenue inside a fortnight – from soup to nuts, as they say.

Sitecore’s Engagement Analytics are Key

The second thing to understand is that you need to use Sitecore’s wonderful engagement analytics – because they are actionable. By that, I mean that if a visitor converts on a goal, don’t how that CTA again, swap it out for the next thing you wish the visitor to achieve.

Above all do not over complicate this! Feel free to use Google or whatever for basic traffic analytics – but build a short, sharp Engagement Value Scale for major business focussed conversions. Keep it to 6 or so conversion data points.

Here is an example of Nutricia Danone’s Engagement Value Scale. Focus on how simple it is – how it really zooms in on core business level conversions.

Nutricia provided baby milk powder but understood that it could reach the top of mind exposure, and better sales, if they provided a service designed to assist expectant mothers.

Image – Nutricia Danone Engagement Value Scale
digital marketing strategies

It is a very clever strategy, but the point is the engagement “engine room” is super focused – completely negating too may analytics, and allowing the site to personalize to what matters from a business standpoint.

The outcome? A staggering 75% increase in monthly sales, and critically, a 140% increase in monthly repeat purchases.

Big data? No, it’s an effective use of small data to drive business conversions through optimization. Think of it like this – if a goal makes into the rarefied air of the Engagement Value Scale it is apparently something you should personalize towards.

Simple Home Page Personalization

Lastly, we will look at managing scope. This is critical. Personalization rules have to be managed, and you don’t want to overdo the effect. Remember, content will increase as you personalize; mostly this will be graphical call-to-action assets, but it will add overhead. Keep it tight, keep it lean.

Image – Example Personalization Hotspots on a Homepage

homepage personalization

These three principles will help you make your entry into personalization effective, manageable and digestible from a corporate buy-in perspective. Pick some quick business wins, really focus on driving a few key conversions and keep your dreams manageable!

It’s time to take a stand, and show your organization that you can drive real financial benefits using customer experience strategies – just remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you do not have to boil the ocean to get results.