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PHOTO: Victor Freitas

Sitecore's depth of functionality, range of capabilities, flexibility and ability to create seamless digital experiences makes it a clear choice for many organizations. It’s a platform that can deliver on specific digital projects like a new website or high-profile campaign while also helping teams reach longer-term goals such as growing a loyal customer base.

Sitecore’s power and flexibility is the reason many digital marketing teams choose it over other strong digital experience platforms. However, after selecting it, not all organizations actually take advantage of Sitecore’s extensive publishing power and marketing muscle.

Why Do Teams Fail to Fully Exploit the Power of Sitecore?

When clients tell us they want to get more out of their Sitecore implementation, it’s usually across one or more of the following, interrelated areas:

  • Personalization.
  • Marketing automation.
  • Advanced analytics.
  • Complex content management needs.

The intention is often clear. For example, digital marketing teams share the goal of driving insights and then crafting experiences based on personas. But then for a number of reasons they don’t always get around to implementing that. Their investment in Sitecore doesn’t go much further than the use of the core content management system (CMS).

Teams stall at using Sitecore’s more sophisticated capabilities for a number of reasons including:

  • Too much time spent on day-to-day operations or firefighting so teams don’t have the time or the headspace to get started.
  • Not having the in-house skills or the confidence to operationalize these features.
  • Not having the right strategy and vision.
  • Not quite knowing where to start or thinking it is a bigger effort than it actually is.
  • Technical barriers such as the need to integrate a CRM system with the Sitecore platform.
  • Waiting for an upgrade or a change to a licensing agreement to add extra functionality.

Related Article: The last Sitecore Symposium focused on showing real-world examples of smaller and medium-sized organizations getting the very best out of Sitecore using advanced analytics and marketing automation. Additionally, Sitecore continues to provide tools for partners as well as resources directly to customers, such as online training to help kick-start those elements of the platform.

Let’s look at the four key areas where teams should be making the most out of Sitecore.

Personalization

There are a whole range of studies and statistics that show how personalized digital experiences positively impact everything from making purchases to return visits. When your site visitors find relevant content that they are genuinely interested in, it makes a conversion (inquiry, purchase, etc.) more likely in the short-term. In the longer-term, it builds brand loyalty and stronger customer relationships.

One element that makes personalization so powerful on the Sitecore platform is the ability to bring data together from multiple sources including your CRM, your ecommerce platform, customer browsing on your website and social media channels, and even external databases. You get a genuine 360 view of your customer base and insights into their behavior.

Sitecore’s API layer enables the integrations that provide the insight into customers and their behavior, right down to the individual customer level. With personalization capabilities that are both rich and highly granular (but also remain GDPR compliant) it means you can start to tailor your experiences for different personas not just on your website, but also across your other digital channels.

Personalization on Sitecore also comes with other useful features such as algorithms that give you intelligent suggestions. However, the thing we love most about Sitecore’s personalization capability is that it is sufficiently flexible and scalable to  let everyone go at their own pace. Whether delivering a high-volume B2C commerce site or just starting out your personalization journey for a B2B site, Sitecore has the potential to serve everyone’s needs.

Related Article: State of Digital Customer Experience report is that many digital marketing professionals are not satisfied with their digital experience platform and tools because they don’t deliver the data or the analytics that help them understand customer behavior.

When you enable Sitecore XP to give you advanced analytics, the results equip you with the insights to configure content, experiences and marketing communications. Insightful analytics also go hand-in-hand with effective personalization and marketing automation.

There are three things we really like about the advanced analytics features in Sitecore:

  • Some nice, intuitive interfaces and data visualizations that help you to digest the insights on offer.
  • The ability to bring data together from multiple sources.
  • The AI features that spots patterns, trends and signposts you might otherwise miss and also then delivers suggestions for tactics, helping to make your numbers actionable.

Again, the flexibility of Sitecore is an advantage here, so you can mix Sitecore’s out-of-the-box reports and algorithms with your own custom analytics to achieve reporting for both your core team and your wider network of stakeholders.

Related Article: Sitecore Content Hub” offering.

Making the Most of Sitecore

If you’re thinking you could do more with Sitecore and want to be a little bit more ambitious, you’re not alone. The trick is to work out what you want to do and then a strategy for making it happen. In our view, agile and iterative is the best approach here. Move at your own pace and start to learn how to get the very best out of personalization, marketing automation, advanced analytics and more specialist content management.

Using the full breadth of Sitecore’s capabilities is an exciting, rewarding and eye-opening journey. The first step may be intimidating, but oh, the places you’ll go!