Sitecore personalisation from Day One

Stop waiting for that mythical ‘Phase Two’ to arrive before you really take advantage of the power of Sitecore, says CX Director Greg Baxter.

Greg Baxter

By Greg Baxter, 3 minute read

One of the greatest mysteries of my professional career is the simple fact that people buy amazing martech platforms and then proceed to do… well… very, very little with them.

I am a huge fan of the Sitecore Experience Platform. It’s an incredible asset for crafting 1:1 digital experiences that drive revenue, customer engagement and digital transformation. Stunning case studies abound, processes and methodologies exist and true success stories show the marketing and business outcomes that can be achieved.

So, why does the optimisation part stall in far too many cases?

Later never comes: The ‘Phase Two’ myth

The story goes a little like this – aspiring CMO and team see the vision, the demo is jaw-dropping and the team absolutely recognises the possibilities that a solution like Sitecore can deliver. Eagerly, the inevitable replatform process begins, and somewhere deep inside project-land all that digital goodness gets thrown out like 10-minute-old bathwater.

It just kills me.

Often I hear the death-knell phrase “It’s a journey”, followed closely by another ROI killer, “We will do that in Phase Two”.

The “It’s a journey” thing just sounds like an endless project, nebulous and with no clear destination in mind. No one in their right mind wants to factor a “journey” into a build phase. The Phase Two excuse is simply a cop out. Let me be blunt, it’s someone saying they cannot achieve fast results, and just want the revenue associated with a big site build, but don’t want to touch the more advanced capabilities.

There are several very real dangers in this approach.

Firstly, it completely negates the power of quick-wins – the concept where you can lead out with a strong personalisation offering that is aligned with business uplift, and customer experience excellence. It’s more than possible to make very big steps by prioritising what's achievable with some out-of-the-box capability – as long as that capability is tightly managed and laser-focused on business impact.

The second huge danger is that the first phase is not carefully designed and instrumented for personalisation and optimisation – because it is no longer a consideration. I have seen this so, so, so many times. The foundation work is flawed, and the cool stuff just isn't possible without significant refactoring, or at times, even a rebuild. Congratulations, you made the budget and timeline – and ruined the future!

From there it's a slide into the digital abyss, technical debt goes through the roof, and the anticipated ROI and transformation is cut off at the knees.

It does not have to be this way. I would be very skeptical of anyone implementing a digital experience platform who did not build any actual digital experience outcome into their platform stand up project. Optimised CX is why you bought the platform, after all.

This malaise happens for two reasons, usually. The implementation partner doesn't really have the chops. Sure, they can build a website, but they don’t really have a handle on the other stuff – aka ‘the good stuff’. The stuff that drives marketing ROI. The stuff that makes Sitecore, Sitecore.

The second reason is that the customer needs solid leadership from their partner in this space. They cannot be expected to drive the optimisation planning and execution. It’s very probably new to them and it is human nature to put that perceived hard-part off. Kick the can down the road, for a while.

Trust me, if you start your build with optimisation and personalisation as a small, but key, part of the project the site will be built correctly – or it isn’t getting out of UAT. If you start out with a sensible optimisation component you on-board the skills needed to drive personalisation going forward – it’s not some kind of ‘future state’ that you never really become familiar with.

Enter ‘Ignite Sitecore’

Ignite Sitecore methodology

Luminary has crafted an offering called Ignite Sitecore, for this very reason. If you are considering Sitecore, and yet to start the build, it mandates that you get personalisation, engagement analytics and optimisation from Day One. If you already have Sitecore and are going for Phase Two, it represents the fastest way possible to get some quick wins without overloading your team.

Don’t be that team that never gets there – take a look at www.luminary.com/ignite, and empower your ability to deliver on the promise of both the platform and the customer experience revolution.

Above all, do it now, not later – because later never comes.

Want to find out more about Ignite?

Get in touch