Where to start with Personalisation and Sitecore Personalise/ Customer Data Platform (CDP) formally Boxever

Earlier this year Sitecore acquired Boxever, a company that had already been pushing ahead in the Personalisation world. (Personalization for others around the globe)

Sitecore personalise feature set is pretty robust and brings together that human management aspect, but also scalability to allow content editors/ Strategists to make experiences personal to each and every user.

I will share several links to the “how to use” below. I would even suggest you first take advantage of the official Sitecore training package on offer (currently free!) But before that and to give context, I want to take about ways to personalise.

Option 1 – Changing content based on the current experience

So, here we are talking about changing content based on the actions of a user in the current visit. So pages viewed, elements clicked on. This can be very simple stuff (playback a visited page on the homepage) but equally, we can get clever and change content and tone (match content to a persona based on pages viewed).

Pros: Probably the most used scenario and easy to set up. Often this doesn’t need backend interactions making tests easier to get live.

Cons: Not really adding the most value as it can be boilerplate personalisation. (eg you and many others see the same content)

Option 2 – Changing content based on pre-experience

In this case, we are using data from before the journey. So where they have come from (source), time, day, weather and many more. This makes the visit more relevant. Examples can include matching content to that from the source (a google search ad or a campaign) or using the location time to trigger offers.

Pros: Timely personalisation, that still needs minimal dev input. Also still away from the whole data protection/ GDPR conundrum.

Cons: Can get mixed messages when more than one rule is in place. For example, if they come from a known campaign, but we also have a time-based offer.

Option 3 – Changing content based on known data

Ultimately this is leveraging data that we know about our users. Over time a user’s data will grow and we can build up a better picture of them. So the number of visits, devices used, what they did each visit, and importantly how that all relates to the bigger user journey (eg awareness through to purchase and on to advocacy). Personalising here is all about helping them move on to the next step in that journey. For example, let’s say we know they are interested in a product as they have come back 2-3 times. We could either add in content with a discount code, or maybe we switch up the content, give them a new video to watch, or push home the USP’s.

Pros: Can be really value-adding given the fact this is 1-2-1 personalisation.

Cons: You need a way to distinguish the user. So a low entry sign-in or CRM related email/ social links. This needs you to think hard as we are introducing barriers to entry that you might not want to do. But if you get it right (seamless sign in via CRM links) the effort is matched by reward. You might also need some api integration which is where the CDP comes in so certainly resource hungry.

Next steps

When you know what (and how) you want to personalise, this is where Sitecore personalise kicks in. More often than not you will be using decision modelling which is the heart of the tool. In the links below you will see a great video from Rick Bauer which shows the decision model canvas in action. In essence we are talking about the component to personalise, the trigger and then the segment of the audience. Each can be as complex or as simple as you want it to be.

For reference, The below tweet from Kiran shows the upcoming Sitecore roadmap and where CDP and Personalise sit.

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Posted in Personalisation, Sitecore

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