Succeeding with the Sitecore Experience Platform: 5 great tips

If everyone agrees on customer experience being a market game changer, then how come so few are doing it right?

I see many organizations struggle with getting started working with optimization and personalization. They all see the great value and potential, but don’t know where to start. They understand the WHY and struggle with the HOW. This summer I gathered my tips and tricks for succeeding with the Sitecore Experience Platform in order to help organizations realize and unlock the great customer experience potential.

I presented my tips and tricks for the Sitecore Experience Platform at a webinar held by Sitecore. Sitecore hosted a line of webinars as part of Sitecore Summer School 2016 where digital experts shared their knowledge, cases, and best practices about digital marketing strategies, personalization, optimization, customer experience and more.

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In my session, I shared my experiences on how to succeed with the Sitecore Experience Platform. I shared cases from the business frontline and gave five essential tips. Listen in; the road blocking challenges might be very different from what you think.

In short my tips are about:

  1. Create an Experience Road map
  2. Appoint Experience Key Players
  3. Identify and execute Pilot Projects
  4. Train in one tool at a time and in your own Sitecore environment
  5. Working with the Sitecore Experience Platform is an interdisciplinary discipline

You can watch my webinar here: http://www.sitecore.net/resources/videos/succeeding-with-the-experience-platform

Note: the webinar is in Danish.

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Succeeding with the Sitecore Experience Platform: 5 great tips

Enhanced Path Analyzer on Sitecore Experience Platform 8.2

The Sitecore Experience Platform 8.2 was released over a month ago, and I have been digging into the new features by participating in a Sitecore information meeting and reading release notes. This blog post is about a component I am looking forward to work with.

Improvements for Sitecore Path Analyzer component

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I am particularly looking forward to try the new features in the Path Analyzer. The Path Analyzer is a tool, that enables you to see the paths your visitors take when navigating through your website. With the Path Analyzer, you can create maps to show the sequential paths your visitors take and you can see how the visitors are interacting with campaigns and triggering goals and events.

More data views and greater filtering

In my opinion, the Path Analyzer worked great for demos because you could quickly visualize different paths on a website, but it was rather difficult for marketers to grasp how to interpret the data shown. Yes, the data visuals were nice, but knowing how and why to use it was the issue.

Now Sitecore has focused on making it more user friendly for the marketer, and as a result there has been added more views in order to make it easier to read the maps and interpret the data. There are now three views; Horizontal, Vertical and Table. Also, advanced sequential filtering is now possible with a path filter. For instant a new Metric filter makes it easier to find outliers and interesting correlations between key node metrics. Additionally, the nodes on the maps have been more elaborated with more detailed information (display name, template, content tree path, and URL).

The pictures below depict how the customer journey now can be visualized in more ways than one in the Path Analyzer.

I really like how Sitecore has worked with the data visualization in order to increase the value of the tool for the marketers. In order for a business to become truly data driven it is vital to have the right tools to support this.

Reports and more detailed map insights

Sitecore also improved on a Dashboard for the Path Analyzer component. More categories are available in the redesigned Reports part. Furthermore, a list of contacts who have visited a particular path is included and data can be exported into a CSV file for further data analysis – for instant for those who want to dig further into the data, create their own graphs, track other correlations or maybe use alongside other company data.

Below you can get a glimpse of the more detailed reporting, increased focus on map insights and funnel options on the Path Analyzer dashboard.

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Valuable and needed improvements

In my eyes, Sitecore has made needed improvements for the Path Analyzer in order to make the tool more valuable and useful for the marketers. It is a strength that Sitecore involves their customers and partners in order to continually strengthen on the platform and not just launch new features, but also focus on improving existing ones. It is crucial to listen to your users and continuously work with user optimization in all types of industries.

Overview of the improvements for the Sitecore Path Analyzer

If you are still curious about the improvements, you can see an overview of the improvements from Sitecores Release Notes below:

  • Horizontal, Vertical and Table views have been added to make it easier to read the maps.
  • A path filter has been added, which provides advanced sequential filtering.
  • You can now apply a Metrics filter with data visualization to easily find outliers or interesting correlations between key node metrics.
  • You can now create and explore funnels in the Path Analyzer.
  • The Dashboard is the new default view for marketers that showcases the KPIs from a selected map, top landing pages, featured paths, and favorite funnels.
  • A context-sensitive help window has been implemented in the Path Analyzer.
  • The map selector has been improved to enable favorites, show status, and display metadata.
  • The Date range selector has been redesigned to display date intervals for the available map data.
  • The Reports feature has been redesigned and now includes more categories.
  • You can now see a list of contacts who visited a particular path.
  • You can now export map data into a CSV file using download or copy commands.
  • All nodes now have labels which you can switch on and off.
  • Item info for nodes now provides greater detail and includes the display name, template, content tree path, and URL.
  • The Notification bar has been extended to display all key app messages.
  • The Page Analyzer app has been rebuilt on the new technology stack and aligned with the main application.
  • API level data compression has been introduced, which reduces payload and improves application responsiveness.
  • Map retrieval performance has been improved, reducing the load on the master database and improving API performance.
  • The Silverlight dependency has been replaced with a standard HTML technology with great cross-browser compatibility.
  • The application has been redesigned for improved usability.
  • Duplicate nodes are now removed by default. This behavior is controlled by the PathAnalyzer.Aggregation.CollapseDuplicateRecords’ setting.
Enhanced Path Analyzer on Sitecore Experience Platform 8.2

Sitecore Profiles dictionary

When I first started working with Sitecore Profiles, I found it slightly challenging to get a hold of all the different Profile-terms. This made me produce my own little dictionary to get started. Today, this can assist me when helping clients understand, identify, set up and personalize to Profiles in Sitecore. I thought I would be a good idea to share this with you on my blog.

Essential definitions when working with Profiles in Sitecore

A Profile is a classification of a person that is representative for a certain type or with a certain behavior. This is the overall label for working with tracking website visitor’s behavior and classifying them into defined profiles.

A Profile Key is an attribute for a Profile. A Profile will consist of a hand full of attributes, and each attribute is assigned a value in order to describe the Profile’s characteristics.

A Profile Card is the assembling of Profile Keys with values. This collection makes up a card, that can be assigned to content.

A Profile Card can be set up as a Profile Card – Persona, which means that you can describe the Profile as a Persona in Sitecore – a more detailed described website visitor.

A Pattern Card is build up like Profile Cards. Pattern Cards are matched against a real time website visitor behavior on the website in order to classify the visitor and match with one of the defined Profiles.

Please don’t hesitate to leave a reply if you have any comments 🙂 

Sitecore Profiles dictionary

SUGCON Europe 2016

I am speaking at a Sitecore conference in Denmark next week and I am really looking forward to this!

SUGCON is short for Sitecore User Group Conference. The conference is community driven; it is organized by the community for the community. SUGCON Europe 2016 will be full of the latest insights and advice from many skilled Sitecore expert. It is a two-day conference from the 25th to the 26th of April. Read more about it here

Working with the Sitecore Experience Platform – an interdisciplinary discipline

How do you create value with the Sitecore Experience Platform in an easy and effective way? There are both strategical and technical challenges ahead when figuring out how to use the Experience Tools.

I will be given a talk at SUGCON together with Stephan Rifbjerg, who is a skillful Sitecore Developer and Architect (check out his blog here) about how we see the work with setting up the Sitecore Experience Platform as an interdisciplinary discipline. We have been working together with the Sitecore Experience Platform and we strongly believe that there is a payoff of letting experience strategists and developers collaborate closely when it comes to setting up the Experience Platform.

Stephan will be sharing his experiences on how to work closely with an Experience Strategist. And I, as the Experience Strategist, will be given my perspective of how my work is more effective when I collaborate closely with a developer. And it is also much more fun and rewarding, because together we are able to set up a great solution for our clients.

Other than sharing experiences on how our collaboration and intertwining of competences has been extremely valuable, we will provide tips and tricks for how to collaborate closely. We will provide and reflect upon aspects that have helped us create a valuable setup for a client. A set up that help the client reach full business potential with the Sitecore Experience Platform in terms of working with customer experience, personalization and optimization.

Our session will touch upon the strategic challenges when identifying a valuable setup for a business and dive into concrete technical aspects of working with the tools on the Sitecore Experience Platform. We will provide insights by taking the audience on a journey through a concrete project we have been working on.

The Sitecore Experience Platform

What is the Sitecore Experience Platform? Just to take a step back here is a little bit about what the Sitecore Experience platform is and what relevant value I think it can create.

The Sitecore Experience platform enables you to deliver the right content to the right person in the right place at the right time. I see Sitecore and its Experience Platform as a strategic content and channel management system, where you through rules can work automated with content and ensure that the users get a relevant message at the most relevant channel when it its relevant for the individual. Data will be collected in order to optimize personalization strategies and to get a better understanding of the users.

The context of the users is changing rapidly today and therefor it is important that the digital dialog with the users are flexible, relevant and personalized. I advise organizations to use Sitecore Experience Platform in order to market and personalize content so their content and message don’t vanish in the overload of information that the users experience today.

By having experience strategists working closely together with developers we can create a setup from which clients can create success. It is important to ensure that the client can use the tools and understand what value they can create with them. I would also advice to assist the client in developing a road map so they have a plan for where to start and where to head next in order to work successfully with customer experience.

I am looking forward SUGCON 2016 Europe! I am looking forward to meet other people in the community, to learn from them and to share my tips & tricks, dos & don’ts as well as honest reflections and lessons learned.

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SUGCON Europe 2016

Advice for how to get started using the Sitecore Experience Platform

I was asked recently what my best anecdote on how I have used Sitecore Experience Platform to drive business results is. This made med reflect a great deal on my best advice for businesses wanting to start using the Experience Platform and utilizing it in the best possible way. I would like to share my advice with you.

Start small and get one thing right at the time, this will slowly but steadily build up your company’s success with the Sitecore Experience Platform.

  1. Break down tasks
  2. Line up a process
  3. Take one step at the time
Advice for how to get started using the Sitecore Experience Platform

A market ready for personalization

Many companies are asking themselves if the market is ready for personalization. Do the customers find it scary? Are users ready for it? I think they are ready and this blog post is about why.

A couple of weeks ago I went to an interesting web analytics event, where I attended a talk given by senior SEM specialist Mads Bøgh Larsen, who talked about Generation Me, which he also calls The Blue Dot Generation. This generation consider the world revolving around them. Their blue dot on the map on their smartphone highlights this view and the generation are used to services appearing according to their location and needs. A large number of apps on their smart devices support their mindset and apart from maps pinning their exact location, they expose selfies to reflect their current mood, and use hashtags to connect and send their words and opinions out to the entire world. The world is about them. And the world revolves around them.

This generation want things to be tailored to them – they even expect it, I would say. For companies this is good argument for start focusing on customer experience and personalization. I see great opportunities for companies working with personalization, which i plan on blogging a lot more about.

A market ready for personalization