Q&A with Sitecore Strategy MVPs

Last week, our fearless leader, Aceik’s CEO, Jason Horne joined a stellar panel, Sitecore Strategy MVP Q&A! as part of the Australian Sitecore Marketers Group.

Australians love an open dialogue, and Australian Sitecore marketers are no exception. This panel was the chance to ask a Sitecore MVP questions about personalisation, testing or marketing automation!

For this event, group organisers wanted to do something completely different – and taking a page from the popular ABC show Q&A assembled a stellar panel of Sitecore MVPs including:

Marty Drill – Moderator, CEO Luminary

Marty founded Luminary in 1999. One of the pioneers in digital, Luminary is a Sitecore Gold Partner that focuses on crafting experiences that are intuitive and engaging. A digital agency that has worked with hundreds of companies on countless projects across just about every industry there is. Luminary remains one of the oldest independent digital agencies in Australia.

Alison Sainsbury – Panelist, Director of Sitecore’s Business Value & Strategy Asia Pacific Japan

Alison leads the regional Sitecore SBOS (Sitecore Business Optimisation Strategies) team. She’s a global expert on optimisation in Sitecore, and has worked with customers such as Toyota, ExxonMobil, Blackmores and Brother to help them create and deliver optimisation strategies on Sitecore. Alison is also the author of numerous Sitecore guides and whitepapers, including UX4CX and the recently released Multisite Optimisation whitepaper, and works closely with the MVP community globally.

Greg Baxter – Panelist, Experience Director Codehouse

Greg was a founding member of Sitecore APJ, and spent 8 years working with Sitecore partners and customers with personalisation and optimisation . Greg has worked all over the globe with customers including The Australian Dept of Defence, Billabong, Church & Dwight, Huawei, Network 10, Stockland and Roche Pharmaceuticals. Greg is a three time Sitecore Strategy MVP.

Robyn Johnstone – Panelist, Digital Marketing Manager Minter Ellison

Robyn Johnstone is the Digital Marketing Manager at law firm MinterEllison. She is relentless in her aim to deliver outstanding digital experience in a traditional business with no shortage of content. She and her small team, work to optimise content though the use of profile building, personalisation and targeting. Robyn is a Sitecore Strategy MVP.

Jason Horne – Panelist, CEO Aceik

Jason is an expert in Sitecore solutions, and has delivered numerous large Sitecore projects, including RAA, Village Roadshow and UniSuper among many others. Jason is a technical leader who enjoys bridging the gap between technical and non-technical professionals to deliver innovative enterprise solutions built on Sitecore. Jason is a five time Sitecore Technical MVP.

Brady Clarke – Panelist, Technical Content Manager R/GA

Brady is the glue that ties Sitecore to content optimisation. He has broad front and back end technical skills combined with the marketing knowledge to drive digital campaigns, landing page optimisation and marketing automation. Brady has worked with customers like Toyota, Crikey and Smart Company. Brady is a Sitecore Strategy MVP.

Let’s get into the Q&A

With the format free form, expect the questions and answers to be varied.

Why do Google Analytics and Sitecore Analytics give different results?

Alison: Google Analytics is a JAVA script based client side tracking and Sitecore Analytics is ASP based service side tracking. Technically, they’re tracking slightly different things.

Google is also better at screening out bots and providing actual visitor numbers.

But you do need both. Sitecore Analytics will usually be a little higher but should only be 10% higher if more than that then you might be tracking some weird things (ie firing multiple times on a page). It’s good to compare the two sets of results as part of a marketing readiness scan.

What’s the most exciting thing about Sitecore 10 for marketers?

Greg: Where to start? Additional filters around analytics, and segmenting more tightly around profiles. Now able to manipulate actionable analytics which means campaign creation is much easier.

Can also more easily tell what goals have been converted by people in that campaign and what location they were in. Split filter by that dimension.

Also, Salesforce connector and updates to horizon.

Additional templates in EXM.

When I do profiles should I be using my existing personas?

Greg: Profile on higher level things at least initially. Profile around things like what kind of cheese you like, connoisseur lifecycle rather than Minnie or Mickey Mouse.

For personalisation – start simply by understanding what people want, where they are in the lifecycle and is there an opportunity to cross sell and upsell.

Robyn: I agree, keep it as simple as possible. You usually have a lot of content and building it out for all the areas is overwhelming. Ask yourself, are they interested in X or Y industry then personalise.  Then dig deeper for more sophistication.

How do we go about setting up taxonomies?

Greg: Plan for scalability. Taxonomies are really easy to set up technically. The biggest issue is thinking into the future. Roll them into campaign groups and around goals but take the time to sit back and think about possible campaign combinations that you may have.

Map out the taxonomies and consider what the ramifications might be on future marketing endeavours. Work out whether you wish to be super specific or general.

Another potential difficulty, if you’re building these out agency side can be getting client buy in for setting these up in a specific way. Be ready to justify the plan.

Robyn: Going campaign by campaign was most useful for my team. Sometimes campaigns are easier than the whole site as it is taking bite sized bits but obviously the con is not having a whole-site view.

Alison: Set up campaign groups, campaign facets, asset facets, goal facets. You need to have a campaign group and a channel. The rest around facets is optional. Also consider that you may wish to add your own new custom channels.

Can you each share some best practice examples of campaigns you have seen?

Brady: Toyota Corolla Hatch launch campaign – simple implementation, hectic turnaround (6 weeks). Personalisation with campaign tags based on 4 different channels including email for 5 different segments and incredible uplift compared to control groups. Display ads are usually a low conversion rate, but on this campaign we saw a 600% uptick for category leadership and 500% for owners.

Greg: Back in the day, it was a small regional bank, 2 week campaign and they wanted more likes than the Big 4 Banks and wanted visitors to switch to their home loan offering. They created an online game on a personalised website. The difference between the personalised campaign and the same campaign a year prior that wasn’t personalised was a 60% increase in direct sales.

Another favourite of mine is Auckland Airport with the goal of driving people to retail pages. Most retail sales at an airport are terminal spend. The set up campaign personalisation around products and drove 400% increase to terminal pages and people pre-ordering product when knew they had to travel.

Robyn: We now show other content because we know someone is interested in a particular topic. We sometimes have marketers in other areas ask why a PDF has been downloaded in a particular campaign – and it’s usually because of these triggers.

Jason: Village Theme Parks – some multi-site personalisation and campaigns, fed into whitepaper.

Any bad rollouts – what else should we not do?

Jason: Make personalisation part of the plan from the start. Start thinking about how to use personalisation and Sitecore marketing features in the discovery and design phases. Start with the end in mind. And go live utilising some personalisation immediately. Don’t make personalisation Phase 2 because you want to show tangible value immediately.

If you leave personalisation til Phase 2 there may be delays, budgets are cut back and then you aren’t demonstrating immediate gains. You need to show that you’re a profit centre and not a cost centre.

Robyn: Wish we had done that too.

Greg: Once saw a campaign with autotranslated content from English to Japanese. The system called ‘dolphins’ ‘sea monsters’ – so the tagline was basically ‘Come to SeaWorld and feed the Sea Monster’. Cultural sensitivity lacking.

Alison: Read and learn. How personalisation planning will impact the UX. Go live with a site that’s ready for personalisation.

#1 identify your goals and implement while site is being built. You can change the values later! Just pop them in.

#2 QA/UAT Testing – does it work. Create a campaign tag, give it to a few people, hit the link, go into analytics and check it worked, is analytics happening at all, do a TEST DRIVE! Have seen assumptions about analytics working and then it’s not once the site goes live. Sitecore is a Ferrari but looked around rather than given a test drive. Take the test drive!

Jason: If you’re going out to tender, always include that out-of-the-box features should work, test for that and make sure they are working. That’s also down to the implementation. Sitecore allows a lot of rope, which is great, but without a plan some people can hang themselves with it. If personalisation is not included in phase 1, it may not be set up correctly and then phase 2 becomes remediation (which is a drag).

Greg: Personalise around your highest value profiles and campaign. Look at the hero image and launch with hero image personalisation. It doesn’t add a huge amount to launch cost/to Phase 1. And then you know from Day 1 that personalisation does work. If your budget gets squeezed – don’t let personalisation walk out the door.

Jason: To enable these features is not costly because it’s built into the partner proposal. You just need to ensure it’s built into the RFP.

How do you account for lifestyle – future personalisations to this change? Ie home loan > insurance

Brady: Consider what is the length of the funnel for your industry? Toyota is a 2-3 month funnel length. You’re a Hilux person and probably want a ute. The funnel doesn’t work in 3 months time because you’ve probably already purchased.

How long do people spend on deciding and researching home loans? If you have a goal for a purchase then do not show that personalised pre-purchase content to people who have triggered that goal.

Greg: Create a goal ladder for the customer journey. If the visitor has bought home insurance then show car insurance, and inside, if they’ve bought both then showcase Frisbee insurance.

Sitecore Commerce has a bunch of goals in there around the shopping cart. If you’re looking at a purchase form for insurance, then absolutely track it. Figure out where visitors drop out on the form and take a look at the form to determine why they’re dropping out. Inject an A/B test into a form. And personalise someone who hasn’t completed the process (ie 50% of the form to go, 1 step left).

Is it possible to globally manage a rule that appears on multiple pages?

Jason: Yes. That’s what you should do so you don’t have a bunch of custom rules dotted throughout your components. Set up one rule and reuse them. Best way not to get lost.

Alison: One rule to rule them all.

Conclusion

Marty Drill wrapped up the session perfectly with “we’re no longer in the same boat. But we are in the same storm and people are being impacted in different ways and make a difference by reaching out to someone.”

Resources from the Sitecore team:

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