Aceik & Sitecore’s Digital Wine-Down

Last week, Aceik and Sitecore brought together 16 digital experts from around Australia to discuss digital transformation – the trends, challenges and risks facing a new project in 2021. And it wouldn’t be a robust discussion without a wine tasting – kindly delivered by SocialTable and Price’s Wines.

Our moderator introduced two topics then guests were divided into groups of 6 to discuss. Upon return to the main track, guests then shared their unique discussion. And today, we wanted to share the key highlights.

Question 1

What are the biggest factors you think will influence investment and digital transformation over the next 12 months?

  • Customer-driven service channel
  • Being reactive to competitor demand
  • We’re not competing with competitors anymore, we’re competing with the most recent best experience the customer has had, and that’s the new benchmark
  • Depending on which industry the impact of COVID-19 varied (ie retail saw loads of money move into their ecommerce stores)
  • COVID-19 made getting sign-off easier on digital projects. Because digital was pretty much the only active channel
  • Increased emphasis on ROI now
  • Public sector using data in marketing campaigns
  • Coming out of COVID-19 lockdowns might be the perfect time to be disruptive

Question 2

What do you think are the biggest risks or pain points that companies aren’t aware of when embarking on a digital transformation project.

  • Budget 😊
  • Ensuring exec team is along on the journey
  • Lack of understanding of what digital transformation means
  • Finding the right agency to work with and trust
  • Exec team churn.
  • Getting staff buy in early
  • Ongoing costs of systems implementations not considered
  • Silo’d environments
  • Staff can be resistant
  • Defining success criteria
  • Lack of a clear project leader
  • Failing to train!

It was a fantastic event and we really appreciate the open sharing amongst the group!

Aceik – 2021 The Circle Back Initiative Employer

At Aceik, we believe candidate experience is all about being courteous and respectful, and we understand the time and effort that goes into every job application and recruitment process. We are pleased to announce that we are now a 2021 Circle Back Initiative Employer – we commit to respond to every applicant.

The Circle Back Initiative has been created by Talentrich to improve the experience candidates receive after submitting a job application. The initiative is a collection of Employers who commit to guiding standards on candidate communication. Initiative champions agree to respond to every applicant.

What does the candidate experience look like?

Once submitting your resume or responding to a job ad, any job candidate of Aceik can expect:

  • Aceik responds to each job candidate’s appliation with an ‘application received’.
  • Each application will be reviewed by Aceik and a shortlist of suitable candidates will be compiled and discussed internally.
  • If selection criteria is met, a candidate will receive a phone call to run through their application and experience in a little more detail.
  • Candidates not suitable for the role are advised as early in the process as possible.
  • Aceik aims to shortlist a role within 2 week of posting a vacancy.
  • A selected number of candidates are chosen to be invited to interview.
  • Interviews are conducted via video chat (presently).
  • If a suitable candidate is not identified during the interview stage, the shortlist may be revisited. Due to this, candidates on the shortlist may not be notified if they did not make the first round of interviews.
  • If necessary, second round of interviews take place.
  • Any testing or assessment takes place with preferred candidate/s.
  • Once a suitable candidate has been identified, reference checks are conducted and for some roles, Aceik also requires a police check.
  • Once the above assessments come back as successful, Aceik offers the preferred candidate the position.
  • Aceik responds to all candidates that have applied for the position, and provides feedback where possible.

Want to join the Aceik team?

Are you a digital enthusiast looking to work with a team that pushes the boundaries of technology? Email careers@aceik.com.au to tell us what you could bring to the Aceik crew or check out our available roles.

Six Aceik Team Members Named Sitecore Most Valuable Professional

Aceik today announced that an unprecedented six of its team members have been named a 2021 Most Valuable Professional (MVP) by Sitecore®, the global leader in digital experience management software. Our leader and team members, Jason Horne, Thomas Tyack, David (Danny) Newman, Jitendra Soni, David Goosem and Praveen Manchana are being honored among only 24 MVPs across Australia in the program’s 15th year.

Recognising professionals who deliver outstanding customer experiences through shared expertise on Sitecore’s products, the 2021 MVP program draws from a community of 12,000 certified developers and over 20,000 active participants. This year’s worldwide pool of 284 MVPs contributed invaluable knowledge to the community in 2020 and demonstrated true mastery of the Sitecore platform to support partners, customers and prospects.

“It’s an honour for one individual to be recognised for their community contribution, but to know we have six MVPs on our team is outstanding. This MVP designation recognises the unique skills, expertise and success that Tom, Danny, Jitendra, David and Praveen, alongside their colleagues brings to our customers’ digital experience every day,” said Jason Horne, CEO, Aceik.

About the Sitecore MVPs on the Aceik team

Jason Horne, CEO

From Jason’s initial experience of working with Sitecore 5.3 all the way back in 2008, he set out to become a Sitecore Specialist.

In 2014, Jason launched Aceik, a Sitecore specialist consultancy. And he followed this up with the launch of the Sitecore Melbourne Meetup community. His aim has been to provide an environment in which the Aceik team has the skills, tools, relationships, clients, and freedom to deliver the highest level of quality solutions in the Sitecore space.

Thomas Tyack, Chief Technical Architect

Thomas has been working with Sitecore since early 2009 and excitingly for Aceik, this is his third consecutive year as a Sitecore MVP-Technology.

Tom has his hand in many Sitecore pies including regular updates to the Sitecore Speedy module, sharing Sitecore hints through his blog and at meetups and creating a 6 Pillars of Page Speed video series (to name just a few of his contributions in the past 12 months). He also co-founded the AU Sitecore Slack workspace, a forum for Australian based developers to keep in touch.

David (Danny) Newman, Training Manager

Danny spent 8 years at Sitecore teaching developers, marketers and authors to create outstanding digital customer experiences using the Sitecore platform.

In 2019, Danny brought those skills to Aceik where he combined his Sitecore knowledge with Aceik’s practical experience to deliver a balanced Sitecore training program. Danny now provides complimentary training webinars to the Sitecore community.

Jitendra Soni, Sitecore Tech Lead

Jitendra’s very first Sitecore project was a jewellery channel in the UK all the way back in 2013. Since then, he’s delivered many Sitecore projects, including Mondelez International, Invista Group, Dentos Global USA, Manchester United, Bunnings, Bridgestone and RACQ.

Jitendra is an avid blogger on all things Sitecore.

David Goosem, Solution Architect

David has more than 10 years’ experience working both client-side and within agencies as a Sitecore developer, a role in which he delivered exceptional Sitecore websites and customer journeys. His first implementation was on Sitecore 6.4, when he became hooked on the platform’s potential and he has since worked on projects for RACQ, QSuper, RTA, ForceNet, Motorama, Endeavour Foundation and RSL Art Union.

Aside from contributing to SUGCON, David is an avid blogger on all things Sitecore as well as an active member of the Brisbane Sitecore community.

Praveen Manchana, Solution Architect

Praveen started working with Sitecore five years ago, and his first project focused on ecommerce. He considers himself privileged to spend time at Bunnings working on their Homebase project, including Click & Collect. From there, he worked with a couple of different Sitecore partners on other ecommerce projects, including Baby Bunting and Bridgestone.

Praveen has contributed many modules to the Sitecore open source community including Commerce Automation, Promotions Search on 9.2 and Sitecore Commerce 10 with SXA Storefront in Docker for Development.

When he’s not implementing or building on Sitecore, you can find him presenting at local Meetups and webinars.

“The 2021 Sitecore MVPs consist of stellar individuals who demonstrated incredible commitment to the Sitecore community during a challenging year which didn’t allow for in-person engagement,” said Tom De Ridder, CTO of Sitecore. “The 284 MVPs stepped up to the plate to bring critical knowledge and insights for the greater community through virtual channels. We are especially pleased to celebrate this group in the program’s 15th year.”

In recent months, Sitecore recognised Aceik’s success and expertise by naming the organization a Platinum partner, the highest-ranking tier of partner status in the Sitecore network and rewarded Aceik a Sitecore Experience Award Honorable Mention for its work with RAA.

More information can be found about the MVP Program on the Sitecore MVP site: http://mvp.sitecore.com.

People of Aceik: Praveen Manchana, Architect

Last year, we launched a new series to introduce you to our talented and hard working team mates. They’re behind the success of our client’s projects – working diligently to ensure we exceed our customers’ expectations.

This month, we sat down with our Architect and ecommerce expert, Praveen Manchana.



Praveen, tell us a bit about yourself.

Praveen: In terms of my background, I have been working with Microsoft Technologies for close to fifteen years now. I started as a junior developer at Dodo and from there I worked in a variety of roles across different technologies for roughly 9 years before moving onto Sitecore.

I started working with Sitecore five years ago, and my first project focused on ecommerce. I was privileged to spend time at Bunnings working on their Homebase project, including Click & Collect. From there, I worked with a couple of different Sitecore partners on other ecommerce projects, including Baby Bunting and Bridgestone.

After Bunnings, I joined another Sitecore partner for a time, where I worked on the Baby Bunting project. Again, this had a Sitecore commerce focus.

And eventually I landed at Aceik. I’ve been here a little over a year now.

You’ve spent a lot of time working on commerce projects. What do you love about it? Why the focus on Sitecore commerce?

Praveen: I have been with working with Microsoft technologies for fifteen years and to customize or add changes is a lot easier. It is a technology that I am really familiar with and it is easy to get into and learn about it. Extensibility is really good. You can achieve those customizations a lot easier, faster and cheaper using Sitecore commerce than other technologies.

Tell us about why did you decide to join Aceik.

Praveen: At the time I joined Aceik, it was really small. I wanted to be part of that growth journey. I wanted the opportunity to invest my time and energy into growing Aceik.

What are you working on at the moment?

Praveen: I’ve spent the last 9 or so months working on RACQ – trying to stabilise the environment and also working on compliance changes. Excitingly, I’m now getting involved in their rebuild project including shifting to the latest version of Sitecore.

I have seen your “deploying Sitecore on Kubernetes” blog posts and obviously, a meetup group covered the same topic not long ago. Why are you interested in that particular aspect of Sitecore?

Praveen: Sitecore had never supported containers for production use in the past. With the recent launch of Sitecore 10, they officially started supporting containers. If you run into problems and if you raise a support ticket, Sitecore will help us now. With Sitecore moving towards containers and Kubernetes, if we did not move along, we will be left behind.

Tell us about yourself outside of Aceik hours.

Praveen: Most of my time outside of work is catching up with family and friends. I love my barbecues by the way. I probably go through like two or three gas bottles every summer.

I found this really nice Middle Eastern recipe for chicken kebabs. I love it. All my friends and family, they love that as well. So, every time I am doing a barbecue they go, “Okay, make sure you do that.”

If someone wants to develop a career and follow in a similar set of footsteps as yourself, what advice or tips would you have for them?

Praveen: Set goals clearly and early. At the beginning of my career, I did not set my goals properly. I did not know what I wanted to do and I was not clear, but I think it is often the case with most of the developers. At the start of your career, you feel confused. You do not know what you want to get into. You do not know what your passion is. But as you work through a few years into your career, you will understand where your interest lies and you have to make sure that you steer in that direction. I definitely did that. I like technical things and I always made sure throughout my career when went into different roles they are all tech focused. I went into a tech lead role, but even then, I was hands on and never moved away from coding because I like it. If I was not coding, I would probably get bored.

Leah Di Paola joins Aceik as Head of Human Resources

We are excited to share that Leah Di Paola, former Group HR Manager for Incitec Pivot Limited. has joined Aceik as our Head of Human Resources.

The appointment highlights Aceik’s desire to introduce more and more brands to the power of Sitecore, to enable them to drive personalised experiences and positive marketing ROI.

Di Paola has more than 15 years experience in human resources, having worked in industries such as Explosives and Fertiliser Manufacturing with Incitec Pivot and Dyno Nobel, Resourcing with Hudson Global, Procurement with the Charted Institute and Sporting Events with the Melbourne Commonwealth Games.

“I’m thrilled to be joining the multi-award winning Aceik, and am looking forward to contributing to the business’ success by empowering our people, enhancing the employee experience, and acquiring talented resources to support our clients and Sitecore relationships,” said Di Paola.

Jason Horne, Chief Executive Officer at Aceik said, “Aceik’s Sitecore knowledge is vast and our agility is unmatched. We keep up with evolving technology and can change direction more easily than larger companies, giving our clients the most innovative Sitecore solutions to their business problems.

Horne continued, “Helping our clients to realise the full potential of Sitecore’s experience platform is at the centre of everything we do. With Leah’s expertise, we’re looking forward to hiring and fostering talented developers, architects and designers to the team that will create stronger long-term relationships with our clients and Sitecore”.

Aceik Announces Platinum Sitecore Implementation Partner Status

Today, the Aceik team is excited to share our new status as a Sitecore Platinum Implementation Partner.

Sitecore is the global leader in customer experience management software and this promotion recognises the partnership between the two companies and the commitment to deliver outstanding customer experiences through the use of the Sitecore platform.

Platinum Partners are recognised for their deep knowledge of Sitecore, thought leadership and best practices in delivering flawless customer experiences at scale.

Jason Horne, Chief Executive Officer at Aceik said, “This is the highest-ranking tier of partner status in the Sitecore network, and it is a recognition of the success and expertise Aceik’s team has demonstrated for our customers across the full breadth of Sitecore products.”

It has been a busy year for our team

In recent months, Sitecore recognised Aceik’s contribution to the Sitecore community with two Most Value Professional status and a Sitecore Experience Award Honorable Mention.

Aceik’s CEO, Jason Horne was recognised as a Sitecore Technology MVP for a fifth consecutive year alongside colleague, Thomas Tyack who was named Sitecore Technology MVP for the second year in a row.

Aceik was awarded Sitecore Experience Award (SEA) Honorable Mention in the Most Sophisticated Implementation category for its work with customer, RAA.

Last month, Aceik appointed Wayne Vickers, former Head of Customer Experience for the Australian Football League (AFL) as Chief Operating Officer and Creative Director.

The new hire demonstrates Aceik’s continued commitment to its Sitecore clients, as well as the Sitecore partnership.

People of Aceik: Thomas Tyack, Chief Technical Architect

Earlier this year, we launched a new series to introduce you to our talented and hard working team mates. They’re behind the success of our client’s projects – working diligently to ensure we exceed our customers’ expectations.

This month, we sat down with our recently promoted Chief Technical Architect, Thomas Tyack.

Tom, tell me about your background.

Tom: I grew up in Manly West, Brisbane, on a 12-acre property (before it was all housing estates).  My family also has a family farm near Kingscliff, New South Wales. So, I spent a lot of time traveling back and forth across the QLD/New South Wales border when I was younger. I attended QUT for university studying a bachelor of IT and afterwards spent 2 years in the UK where I started out as a Java Developer. Eventually, I returned to Australia and switched from Java to .NET. I’ve worked on .NET and Sitecore projects since around 2007.

Can you tell us a little bit about your Sitecore experience because you are a Sitecore MVP?

Tom: I was named a Sitecore MVP in 2019 and 2020 after spending the two years prior working towards the status. Sitecore recognises individuals who make community contributions, blog posts, open-source contributions and share and present at user groups.

I contracted for a number of agencies in Melbourne. And after a little travel and a move back to Northern NSW I eventually joined Aceik.

Tell us a little bit about joining Aceik, your role, and then your new role.

Tom: I started out at Aceik when it was very small consultancy. I went straight onto managing our key relationship with Fitness Life Group and building out Fitness First on Sitecore. RAA was the other major big project I was involved in. I spent a reasonable amount of time flying to Adelaide every second week.

Tom: Recently I have taken on the lead Architect role, which has me looking at Aceik’s processes and high-level delivery framework. We are continuously streamlining how we deliver projects and ways to provide rock solid consistency and great outcomes for our clients.

Why did you choose to join this Aceik Team?

Tom: Flexibility at first. It was a good opportunity. It’s been almost 4 years now and the interesting projects keep coming.

And why do you stay at Aceik?

Tom: Flexibility remains. We have some great technical minds on our team and it’s enjoyable to work them across different projects and achieve great results for our customers.

Is there a project or a project campaign in just few months that you have enjoyed working on?

Tom: RAA – it was a big challenging project and I am glad we were able to contribute our Sitecore expertise to help get that delivered.

Check out the case study and video here.

We are in the second wave of coronavirus and still working from home. How did you make it work for you? Any particular tip or advice that you have for working remotely?

Tom: Aceik has been working remotely for many years not just this period, so it hasn’t changed too much for me. Over the years I have managed remote teams and across many projects and it is all about keeping client communication constantly flowing. We let them know what we are doing, providing a morning update on top of stand-ups. The morning update is provided in Slack and is like a written ledger of what the team has done. The best part for the client is being able to review their project history over any given day.

Tell us about Tom outside of Aceik – who are you when you are not working? What do you get up to?

Tom: I have two young kids, two and four years of age, so life is pretty busy as soon as I get home from work. They both love the beach, riding bikes (or scooters) and camping so we spend our time doing those things on the weekend at the moment. 

Any tips or advice for those wanting a developer career?

Tom: Mention the technologies that you have worked with and those you want to work with. Basically, sell the projects that you have worked on, the achievements you have on those projects, and how you helped the client obtain their goals that would stand out to me.

But then if you do not have those skills yet, and you want to get into that space then work on open-source projects where you might be able to contribute. Essentially something that can show what your capable of. Having experience is very valuable but if you don’t yet have that experience show potentially employers what your capable of.

Aceik is looking for Solutions Architect and Developers at the moment. We’re after people who can work in a fast-based environment and solve problems.

Aceik adds Chief Operating Officer and Creative Director to staff

Wayne Vickers
COO & Creative Director, Aceik

Aceik is excited to announce the recent appointment of Wayne Vickers, former Head of Customer Experience for the Australian Football League (AFL) as Chief Operating Officer and Creative Director.

The new hire demonstrates Aceik’s continued commitment to its Sitecore clients, as well as the Sitecore partnership. The Aceik team is already in a strong partnership with both the Chief Executive Officer, Jason Horne and Chief Technology Officer, Thomas Tyack holding Sitecore MVP recognition over multiple years.

The appointment highlights Aceik’s desire to introduce more and more brands to the power of Sitecore, to enable them to drive personalised experiences and positive marketing ROI.

Vickers has more than 20 years digital experience, having worked client side for AFL, Myer, Quiksilver in Customer Experience and eCommerce roles, as well as founding two digital agencies that included brands such as Seek and Fosters.

“I’m thrilled to join Aceik. The agency has always shown outstanding technical Sitecore prowess, and I’m excited to take our Sitecore marketing and creative expertise to the next level, so we continue to help new and existing customers to grow their digital businesses through the use of Sitecore’s best-in-class marketing features,” said Vickers.

Jason Horne, Chief Executive Officer at Aceik said, “Aceik’s Sitecore knowledge is vast and our agility is unmatched. We keep up with evolving technology and can change direction more easily than larger companies, giving our clients the most innovative Sitecore solutions to their business problems.

Horne continued, “Helping our clients to realise the full potential of Sitecore’s experience platform is at the centre of everything we do. With Wayne’s digital experience expertise, we’re looking forward to creating stronger long term relationships with our clients and Sitecore”.

Aceik named a 2020 Sitecore Experience Award Honorable Mention in Most Sophisticated Implementation category for work with RAA

Aceik today announced it has been named a Sitecore Experience Award (SEA) Honorable Mention in the Most Sophisticated Implementation category for its work with customer RAA. The agency was recognised for RAA’s improved website performance, increased automation, making site services more efficient and providing customers and visitors with a better experience.

“We now have a great foundation for our primary digital channel, a more capable team and a business that has confidence in our delivery thanks to our partnership with Aceik,” said Matt Mitchell, Senior Manager, Digital Technology Services, RAA.

The Sitecore Experience Awards 2020 recognize brands that have built truly customer-centric digital experiences with Sitecore® technology. The SEAs are awarded to Sitecore customers and their partners whose entries clearly demonstrate that their Sitecore solution delivers an outstanding experience for all users from partner developers and internal customer marketers to business and IT users and end-user customers.

“We are honored to have worked closely with the RAA team to deliver this next step in the business’ digital strategy: a customer-centric website that not only meets the needs of their customers, but is now also recognized by Sitecore,” said Jason Horne, Chief Executive Officer, Aceik.

“Showcasing the complex capabilities and scalability that Sitecore enables for organisations and brands, we’re proud to recognise some of the most sophisticated implementations we’ve seen from customers and partners at the 2020 Sitecore Experience Awards,” said Paige O’Neill, CMO, Sitecore. “Helping organizations make data-informed marketing decisions, utilize content more effectively across channels and regions, and deliver more personalised experiences is at the heart Sitecore’s integrated platform. We have seen exceptional customer work this year, unlocking new levels of audience engagement and shortened time-to-market for content creation to provide superior digital experiences that drive ROI and deliver business value.”

SEA 2020 Honorable Mentions were selected as they demonstrated to the judges that they used Sitecore solutions to make notable impact in terms of experience or content management.

Through the rigorous selection process, each entry was judged by a panel of Sitecore leadership from that entry’s region. There are five regions that evaluated and approved all regional selections based on specific selection and scoring criteria.

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: