Applying Advanced Sitecore DMS Capabilities: Engagement Automation

Aaron Branson
May 14, 2012
Sitecore , Digital Marketing , Web Strategy

Wouldn't it be great if your e-commerce website had the intelligence baked into it so that you could engage with prospective customers at the right time, in the right channel, with the right message... for each unique visitor? That digital marketer's utopia is actually within reach. If you are familiar with Sitecore's Digital Marketing System (DMS), you may already be aware of some of the advantages it affords marketers. Individually, they are unique and valuable. Collectively, they offer powerful competitive advantage. But in most cases, as the DMS is still in the "early adoptor" stage, most marketers or even Sitecore implementors don't fully understand nor leverage one particularly powerful feature that pulls all of DMS' capabilties together - that is Engagement Automation.

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Implement. Analyze. Improve.

It's important to understand that DMS is definitely not a component you simply plug-in and start leveraging 100% on day one. Rather, there is a maturation cycle in that you start with a foundation, implement, measure the success and envision more and more opportunities. As you do, you implement, customize and mold DMS deeper into your marketing strategy. Before you leverage Engagement Automation, implement and understand the Engagement Analytics. Master the use of Goals and Campaigns. Make Multivariate Testing part of your content optimization and delivery process. Define content profiles, value metrics and personas. Personalize your content based on personas, behavior and demographics. Even leverage Email Campaign Management for email communication. All manageable steps toward engagement automation!

Engagement Automation

Now back to the vision - our digital marketer's utopia. With DMS Engagement Automation, we can predefine an engagement plan with automated actions based on our website visitor's (customer's) state, conditions they've met and events they've triggered along the way. By creating these engagement plans, the website will have the intelligence baked right in so your organization will engage with your audience at the right time, in the right channel, with the right message.

In the Works

Right now, in the secret underground R&D labs of Roundedcube, we are formulating a proof-of-concept using DMS Engagement Automation to help a client solve the problem of "cart abandonment". In this situation, prospective customers add products to their cart but a certain percentage do not complete the checkout process. We want to re-engage with those users to help minimize the percentage of abandoned carts.

First, we have to define what is considered an abandoned cart? In this case, the user has added a product to the cart, they have not checked out and basically, they left! The technical definition used for leaving the website to trigger our engagement plan... the session has ended. So then the fun begins. At this point, the user has entered our "Cart Abandoned" engagement plan.

In many cases, the user's email address is known, so after a few days of waiting, the user automatically receives an email with an offer enticing them to complete the purchase. Upon revisiting the website, the user sees a similar promo highly visible on the page to point them toward completing the purchase. If those don't do the trick, we repeat a few days later with a better offer. And if that doesn't do the trick, upon a subsequent visit, we invite the user to an online support chat, in case they have a question prohibiting them from checking out. And if the user does complete the purchase, they are removed from the engagement plan.

All of this leverages other DMS tools as well in that these visitors can be profiled and tracked via Engagement Analytics. We can establish a Goal and track the actual success rate of the engagement plan. We can implement Multivariate Tests on the promo language - of either the email or the webpages to see which is most effective in getting results. Below is a sneak peek at how this engagement plan actually looks when implemented in DMS.

As we continue, I'll update you on the progress and results of this proof-of-concept. We've overcome a few interesting hurdles already and we're excited about the potential of this solution for our client.

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