In the business track this year at Sitecore Symposium, one of the best sessions was focused on specific clients and how they are leveraging personalization to significantly impact the experience for customers. While many talks typically deal with hypotheticals that “could be done” this talk really focused on implementations that have actually proven results.
Kindercare is a child care and education provider with over 1700 locations, leveraging Sitecore to engage with customers and drive new business. In implementing personalization for their site, the focus was on developing pattern cards, which address the core types of users they have on the site, such as “Development focused” vs “Value Conscious”. For each of their five patterns, they scored that user on focus, the types of information they have available. A “Development focused” user may be more interested in academics, expertise and milestone related content, while a “Value Conscious” user may be more interested in financial considerations and safety.
So far, that lines up with most usages of Sitecore’s persona based personalization I have seen, including the ones that we have implemented for our clients. A set of user types are identified, typically referred to as a “persona” or “profile” and content is scored against those personas. When users consume content that is tagged in a certain way, they begin to accumulate a score that associates them with a likely persona. We can then use the rules engine in Sitecore to deliver content to that user that more closely aligns with that user.
The innovation that Kindercare had in this process was to run a survey of their users to validate the assumptions. They prompted users with a survey that asked them about the types of things that matter to them in their evaluation of a child care provider. They were then able to compare the survey results with the hypothesis they had created in their digital marketing persona. Rather than trust their own assumptions of what users interested in a certain type of content might also be interested in, they validated and tested those assumptions, enriching their personas.
Take away: Don’t stop at developing personas and scoring your content against profile characteristics. Test those assumptions and learn from your analytics what those users really want and update your model to reflect it.
Comcast is a large cable television, phone and internet provider across the US. Their home offerings are marketed under the xfinity brand, which is delivered with Sitecore. For Comcast, they operate in a wide range of markets and the primary way they want to segment and personalize content to their users is by where they live.
While Sitecore’s IP Geolocation service will potentially return the country, state, city and other information about an IP address, the technology is limited in accuracy because IP addresses can be provisioned broadly across the country. The information tends to be more accurate in metro areas than in rural ones. Comcast is in a unique situation to have better information about the location of an IP address, as it is the internet provider for its customers.
Delivering relevant packages and messaging to the local market helped Comcast see a 30% uplift on sales, predominantly by delivering more targeted offers on their homepage for the local geography.
Take away: Federated Experience Manager (FXM) can allow you to use third party cookie data available on the client-side to personalize the experience based on actions that have not taken place on our site.
I loved the real world lessons on personalization that were brought by these Sitecore clients. I was unfortunately unable to attend the second session, which focused on Cirque de Soleil and how they are using personalization. If you were there, let me know what you thought.