NOTE: This article first appeared in 2016 on the nonlinearcreations.com blog.
“What would you say are the best practices for [your thing here]?”
I’m about to slam my head into my keyboard, but I restrain myself. It’s a simple enough question and I probably have the answer. I’ve helped out a lot of folks with this type of question so that they can start moving forward in a more deliberate manner. That is a good thing! Answering this question is usually very easy. Somewhere deep inside, however, I don’t really want you to hear the answer.
Not because I want to hold out on you. Not because I expect you to know the best practices. Not because I have some sort of jaded outlook on the whole thing (well, maybe that plays a part).
I simply am losing the desire to recommend to you what amounts to “what everybody else is doing”.
Continue reading “I hate best practices and so do you”
Did you miss out on my Montreal SUG presentation a few weeks back? Not to worry, I got your back!
I recorded a run-through of my presentation and uploaded it so you can hear my thoughts on how we can continuously improve and invest in DevOps practices for our Sitecore projects. It’s not exactly what was in Montreal, but close enough 🙂
Want more? Come hear the Effective DevOps for Sitecore panel at Symposium 2017 on Wednesday, October 18th, at 11:15am. I’ll be moderating panelists Kam Figy, Derek Hunziker, and Joe Bissol. Great panel, great content!
Sitecore’s Customer Experience Maturity Model has been around for a while and it is still as relevant today as it was when it was first released. The model helps a team to understand where they are right now and where they could possibly be with customer engagement.
However, it isn’t easy to keep improving. I’ve written a lot in the past about using baby steps to continuously improve your software delivery. The same is true for marketing efforts. As teams we often focus on big-bang improvements: a new redesign, content re-work, big integrations to our back-end systems to better leverage our digital assets. All of this is awesome work to get us started.
Unfortunately, it often stops there. We lose the momentum to keep iterating and improving on how we engage with our customers. We need to have a plan that will allow for small incremental changes to our content and marketing automation. This ensures that we can give customers a better experience and ultimately help them with their problems.
How do we increment?
- Analytics. First off, we need to be tracking data. Whatever your analytics platform, make sure you know what’s happening on your site. Also, if you are using Sitecore xDB, make sure you have your xDB tracking enabled. You’ll need that data in the xDB for later steps.
- Content Tagging. Learning about visits is great, but we need to know more about what type of content engage people. Start by adding a few tags so you can get a baseline to learn about user behaviour.
- A/B and Multivariate testing. Once we have learned a little about the types of content our visitors view, we can start focusing on which variations of content are working for our visitors. This testing will greatly inform further improvements we make to the site. Keep it small, just a few tests so you can manage it.
- Personalization. Add a few rules-based personalizations into your website based on what you are seeing from analytics and results of testing. Again, focus on some big win personalizations: a hero banner, or a call-to-action button. Sitecore can even suggest personalizations based on analysis of your tests.
- Engagement Levels and Campaigns. At this point, we should be learning enough about our customers to start determining their engagement and moving them through a campaign. Our personalizations should start becoming less rules-based and more about where they are in our engagement level. Leverage your calls-to-action!
- Omni-channel. Start reaching out to your customers in different ways. Add a mobile app. Tap into your onsite kiosk. Develop email campaigns. Build a game app to complement your messaging. Keep making iterative improvements to add more sources to feed information back to your central xDB data. How can we reach the customer in a new way?
- Machine learning. At a certain point in the continuous improvement cycle, the data is just getting too big to handle by hand. Automation is required to process the information and look for trends. Microsoft Cognitive Services is one way to start adding some intelligence to the mix! You can read more on machine learning Sitecore’s “The Mind in the Machine” series.
- Learn. At this point, we probably need to take a moment to learn about what worked well and what didn’t. Time to improve our tests and personalization with the new information we have!
Want to see the original Customer Experience Maturity Model information? Check out the full PDF doc here: