5 Quick Wins with Sitecore DMS, Part 1

Aaron Branson
November 19, 2013
Sitecore , Digital Marketing

As web content management continues to morph into customer experience management, most organizations seem to be struggling with the new concepts, new roles and new digital marketing possibilities. As a result, it is rare to find an organization effectively and thoroughly leveraging Sitecore's Digital Marketing System.

Having used DMS since its infancy when it was called OMS in 2009, and having led more than a half dozen DMS Workshop consultations, it has been frustrating to see these capabilities not yet become a routine part of the marketing and customer engagement strategies.

So, What's the Problem?

From what I've seen, these are the top reasons organizations are failing to leverage the benefits of DMS:

All or Nothing Approach
There is a misperception that DMS is a product, but actually it is a collection of capabilities in the Sitecore Customer Engagement Platform that provides digital marketing benefits. As such, organizations set out with the expectation to "implement DMS", implying that they have to utilize everything in the collection. And all at once. This is simply not the case and is prohibitive to getting anywhere.

The Digital Marketing System should be phased into the organization, starting with the features that make the most sense and that face the least resistance.

Concept of "Ownership"
Many organizations have a matured and clear policy for Web Governance – who owns the server, the software, the analytics, the content, the design – and so on. However, I've seen this need to have clear ownership coupled with the previously mentioned misperception of DMS as a "product" bring DMS implementation to a halt before it even gets started. While the collective team generally agrees that the benefits are great, someone inevitably asks "who is going to own it?" and everyone takes one step backward. But nobody has to "own" DMS – it's not a separate entity, but additional features in the system. So, if IT owns the infrastructure, servers and software license, they have to account for DMS. If Marketing owns the content and analytics, they have the benefit of utilizing DMS.

Staff Skill Sets
Many organization's run their website with a core team consisting of a Web Manager, Content Manager, Web Designer, and perhaps a Web Developer. However, Sitecore DMS opens up new possibilities that require staff that have the digital marketing and analytical skill set. This may require adding a Digital Marketer role or Customer Engagement Marketer.

Change Management
Perhaps the issues listed above are all symptoms of an organization not fully embracing change or having a culture and process to encourage change and calculated risk, at least to some extent. Sitecore DMS challenges organizations to rethink what a web experience is and can be for their customers. No longer do you have to design and produce a single experience that targets the majority. Rather now you can target individuals – 1:1 marketing on a mass marketing scale.

What's the Solution?

Given this situation and the roadblocks that seem to limiting organizations' ability to embrace and benefit from Sitecore DMS, I’d like to throw out some "quick wins" or "low hanging fruit" that will get you started quickly, gain some experience, spark ideas, and accelerate your organization toward a new level of digital marketing – customer experience management, not just content management.

1. Knowledge is Power: Engagement Analytics

You can gain a lot of insight about your users by spending a fifteen minutes a day reviewing the Latest Visits reports. See what organizations are visiting your websites, which visitors are truly engaging with your website, and empower your sales team by receiving notifications when these users return.

Here are some quick ways to customize and configure Engagement Analytics to provide you with quick insights:

Define and Assign Goals
In the Marketing Center, create a few Goals for your website and then assign them to the pages that represent the completion of these Goals. Define a hierarchy of actions you want users to take, assign a point value, and assign them to pages. See the example hierarchy below.

Sitecore DMS Goals Value

Classify Visitors
You can quickly filter your reports by visitor segmentations called "Classifications". This is based on the type of organization visiting the website such as Customers, Competitors, Members, Employees, etc. It is important to know this is organization-based, not behavior-based. So this classification is based on the company name in the Engagement Analytics. If you see your company name, classify that as an Employee. If you see your competitor's name, classify that as a Competitor. By doing this routinely while you browse the reports, you quickly build up the ability to see filtered reports of activity by these groups of users.

Tip: Customizing Classifications from the out-of-the-box settings is easy if you know where to look. First, change the labels of the Classification Filters to meet your needs in Marketing Center / Analytics Filters / Report Filters / Business Classifications. And then change the Classifications themselves in System / Settings / Analytics / Visitor Identifications.

Sitecore DMS

Custom Filtered Reports
It's so easy, you feel like you're cheating or something. But while the "Latest Visits" report is helpful, wouldn't it be nice to see latest customer visits, latest competitor visits and latest prospect visits without continually switching the filters? You can. Simply duplicate the Latest Visits report, rename, set the filter and save!

Sitecore DMS

Subscribe to Visitors
So you've been working on a high-profile contract and it would be really great to know the second that company visits the website again. And also, to see what they're viewing to get insight into their interests or concerns. Simple! When you see that company name in the Analytics report, just click Subscribe and you’ll receive an email notification and link to the latest visit to see what's going on.

What's Next?

Once you've gotten comfortable with Engagement Analytics and set up a couple goals to start tracking Engagement Value, next we'll move on to Quick Win #2) No Longer One Size Fits All: Rule-Based Personalization

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