Marketing Team Author's Perspective
5 Minute read

Leveraging Personalization - Sitecore Experience Platform and Sitecore EXM

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Cutting through the crowded marketplace

The digital marketplace is crowded – so crowded that it can overwhelm customers with hundreds of daily messages. These marketing messages fight for attention across the customers’ email inbox, web searches, social media, banner ads, and now in next-generation vehicles such as mobile apps, wearable technology, cars and appliances.

With all those attempts to reach out to the potential customers, it becomes critical for companies to figure out the best approach to get their message heard. This means aligning the right message to reach them at the right time.

While it is easy to say, it is a daunting task for marketers. What is the right approach? How do I develop a roadmap, and how do I maximize my investment? These and many other questions often inundate marketers that are trying to scale the mountain of 1:1 marketing.

Overall, achieving the pinnacle of 1:1 marketing can take time. Nonetheless, with a strategic approach that focuses on scalability over the longer term, marketers can identify the components that can help them stand out from the clutter. One distinguishing factor is creating and delivering relevant and personalized communications.

The power of Personalization

90% marketers see individualization as the future of personalized marketing for products – moving beyond segmentation to true one-to-one personalization in a real-time context. (Teradata).

Through the power of personalization, you can provide your customers – whether on their website, email, or third-party properties – relevant, targeted content that is based on personal or activity data. You can craft an individualized message that resonates with the potential client to help your company stand out from inbox clutter, and amongst the other static web properties that are generic and don’t address the user’s needs.

The Advanced Personalization Handbook

Effective personalization has numerous benefits and has shown time and again that when done effectually, it can exponentially pay off. Some of the benefits of an effective personalization strategy include:

> Improving customer satisfaction/loyalty – By connecting with customers on an individualized, personal level, you can drive a stronger relationship and intrinsic preference for your brand. Any time a prospect or current customer gives you their information (through subscription or in exchange for products or services), it is a personal contract with that individual. They are signing up for content implicitly or explicitly. A company can build brand loyalty by providing the right personalized content.

> Providing multi-channel consistency – Customers engage with brands across multiple platforms. It’s important that they are provided experiences that are consistent across the different platforms, irrespective of the time and place. Coordinated multi-channel personalization strategies can meet customer needs, regardless of where and how they engage with a brand.

> Providing tangible revenue – Automated processes that are aligned with customer actions, can connect with a customer at the right time during their buying journey. A personalized communication strategy that aligns with the purchase path can create relevant opportunities and improve conversions.

How can technology help you go to market with personalization?

73% of consumers prefer to do business with brands that use personal information to make their shopping experiences more relevant. (Digital Trends)

With the need for enablement of 1:1 marketing, there have been continued advances in the technology required to deliver real-time personalization. These rapid advances in the marketing technology space have made what was once a complex, manual process limited by high level segmentation, manageable at a more individualized level.

Different technology platforms offer brands different ways to go to the market with personalization; and, each can offer components of personalization including personalized content, email, searches, ad-serving, and product recommendations.

Due to the role that content management systems play in automating and enabling content, many of these tools now have the in-built capability to personalize content basis a growing number of rules. Some are even moving to the forefront with advanced personalization based on user behavior and developed profiles.

One such tool making significant advances in the space is Sitecore with its Sitecore Experience Platform. Sitecore has harnessed the power of personalization and advanced to delivering cross-channel personalized experiences in real time – what Sitecore references as Context Marketing. Sitecore is able to gather contextual intelligence and combine it with content management and automation platforms to distribute personalization across multiple channels.

Sitecore Experience Platform

According to a study from Janrain, nearly three-fourths (74%) of online consumers get frustrated with websites when the content has nothing to do with their interests.

The Sitecore Experience Platform can enable multi-channel personalization through a combination of features. Each of these combined features empower your company to deliver the right message, at the right time, in the right place. Some of these features are highlighted below:

Interaction Data – Data is the key to coordinate effective personalization. Your customer’s interaction data can help you predict personalization that will be the most effective for both current customers and prospects. This is referred as “contextual intelligence”. Sitecore uses the Sitecore Experience Database (xDB) as the data collection engine for contextual intelligence. It can be a repository for multiple marketing channel data and real time onsite behavior.

Source: Sitecore

Some of the most powerful data that xDB can collect to deliver personalization are:

> Digital fingerprints: A user’s browser carries a wealth of information including her domain, IP, location, device, and operating system.

Profiles – In order to personalize in a manageable and effective way, Sitecore provides Profiles to set up users that exhibit similar behavior. This allows for creation of personalization enabled by the use of this data. Profiles can also help enrich the data insights on the contact’s Experience Profile.

Below is the accumulated experience of a contact and view of the details of all their interactions captured through xDB.

> Inbound sources: Origin point of the individual – Are they coming from a current campaign and are a known customer or are they anonymous, from a third-party channel?• Inbound sources: Origin point of the individual – Are they coming from a current campaign and are a known customer or are they anonymous, from a third-party channel?

> Activity data: User information on activities on your site – the pages they visited, the content they consumed, the path they took.

Other data sources: xDB can integrate data from other sources including your CRM and other third-party data enrichment tools.

Through Profiles, you can identify the stage in a customer’s journey, their interest in products or services, the industry they are in, and the type of content they consume.

Automation – Through Sitecore you can develop engagement plans that allows you to define how your website interacts with certain contacts. Engagement plans are ways to nurture relationships and automate how your content, channels, and media can be customized for each individual interaction. Engagement plans allow for true automation across multiple channels – you can send emails, change profiles, and score and trigger actions.

Sitecore EXM

42% of marketers do not send targeted email messages; only 4% use layered targeting. (MarketingProfs. 2016)Sitecore has Sitecore EXM and Sitecore Email Cloud – a one-stop solution for email marketing needs. The capabilities of Sitecore EXM along with the other detailed features of Sitecore Experience Platform, allow for seamless multi-channel personalization (website and email).

Using automation, EXM and collected data, you can personalize an email campaign according to the subscribers’ individual interests. With individual components, you can simply use the personalization component and define the specific personalization rule set.

These personalization rules and content can be directly aligned with how they interact with your website, and content can be coordinated between the two channels.

With all of these features, Sitecore can offer a powerful tool that can help you in your personalization journey. Over time, as you build personalization and understand the approaches that work, you can build greater complexity and align on a 1:1 strategy that can pay off with immense benefits.

Marketing Team Technical Lead | Altudo

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