Personalized browsing using Sitecore
About 12 months ago I walked into the Loud&Clear digital agency’s office in the hopes of landing myself an internship. I was sweating. Not the kind ‘oh I just walked up the stairs on a hot day’ sweat, I mean the kind of sweat that you wipe off your upper lip with a trembling hand and smudge your make up. The interview went well and the office was airy and open so I felt more at ease, I guess.
A few weeks later I got an email, I had got the position as Digital Marketing Assistant. I have been at Loud & Clear since October last year, working with Jenny Kellett, something of a goddess in the digital marketing world and an array of amazing people. I learnt quickly that the digital industry was a progressive and competitive one. It’s not enough to be up to date; you need to be ahead of the game, to know that next moves before they even happen.
Recently we partnered with and rebuilt our website using Sitecore. This is where the ‘ahead of the game’ component comes in. Sitecore is one of the most amazing and intelligent systems I’ve encountered and I know about South Korea’s schooling system. I did my research and talked to some experts and this is what I have come to know about Sitecore.
It’s a content management system (CMS) and a digital marketing system (DMS) that is fully adaptive. It gives marketers a look into how people use their website and the opportunity to tailor this use. On their website Sitecore state that their system gives us “the power to own every customer experience”. For example, Sitecore allows marketers to see how many people in Melbourne have been to their website and clicked on a certain tab or page. Marketers can then use this information to tailor their experience and display different content or ads to different people to encourage them to behave as they wish while on their website.
If someone from Melbourne views a page on a website run by Sitecore they may see something different to a person viewing in Canberra for example. This ‘something’ is marketed for Melbourians which would encourage them to stay on their website, buy a product, donate, click on another link, leave a comment etc. Sitecore runs with the big boys in the CMS race and sets itself apart from other platforms like WordPress or Kentico.
These flexible and expandable features of Sitecore are accessible because they use a .NET framework, and have been since they were established in 2002. Currently Sitecore uses .NET 2.0/4.0; the same framework used by Toshiba and Canon. The use of the CMS is similar in look and feel to a basic Windows desktop with ‘Home’, ‘Content’ and ‘Media Library’ folders. It is a diverse system; anything can be expanded or overwritten in the name of customisation.
Both our own Sitecore expert and the Sitecore VP Enablement Services Officer for Greater Asia, Robert Holliday, agree that the best feature of Sitecore’s is the “very advanced personalization capabilities”. I questioned Robert about Sitecore’s clients and their success stories. The non-for-profit organization The Smith Family use Sitecore as their CMS. They wanted to increase donations Robert told me. Since using Sitecore “they have seen are that overall donations have increased by 33%… that was in six months”. As well as this, of the total donations made to The Smith Family 25% are now made online after moving to Sitecore. Robert did admit that Sitecore was quite a complex system to operate and that “if the organization doesn’t have a digital team then either they should outsource”.
The bar in the digital industry is being ever heightened. Working with the people at Loud&Clear has showed me how this bar is set and how high you need to jump to reach it. Sitecore is just one example of the amazing possibilities the ever expanding and changing digital world has. I have probably learnt more since working at a digital agency for just under 12 months than I have in 2 years of study, and I don’t know if that says more of me, Loud&Clear or my University.