The P’s behind Personalisation .

p-in-personalisation

Profiles, Profile Keys, Profile Cards, Patterns and Personas… trust Sitecore to use alliteration to make Personalisation simple to implement and understand...not! I have been running Personalisation workshops for a while now, and I still have to take stock sometimes to remind myself of the relationship and interplay between the P’s!

So to help, I am documenting what the P’s mean and why we should Pay attention to them.

But before I get to all these P’s we must first understand what type of information we can retrieve from a site visitor and how we can Personalise according to this behaviour. This is referred to as Implicit and Explicit behaviour. When we implement Personalisation within Sitecore, we consider the relationship between Implicit and Explicit behaviour and the interaction between them. But, what is the difference and why should you care?

Well, Implicit user behavior is where we deduce what users want by tracking which pages they’re viewing, what links they’re clicking and what path they’re following on the site and mapped against their digital maturity.

Whereas, Explicit user behaviour is where a user identifies what their interests are by downloading a data sheet, searching on a keyword or voting in a poll. It might also be what device they are on, the goals they have achieved or their locations. This is where we implement Goals within Sitecore to help track and score this behaviour.


However, in my opinion it’s the implicit user behaviour which is powerful…but a little tricky to implement and implement well and this is where the P’s come in to Play.


Glossary of P Terms

Below if a glossary of P terms to help us understand Sitecore Personalisation.

What is a Profile?
A Profile Is a category used to define the reason by which you are tracking the visitor’s behaviour i.e. the relationship you have with your site’s visitor.

What is a Profile Key?
Profiles are made up of a number of different Profile Keys, and these Profile Keys reflect the different aspects of a specific Profile.

What is a Profile Card?
A Profile Card is another set of Profile Keys used to represent a Predefined relationship that can be applied to content. This is what you use to tag content on the site to a specific Profile

What is a Pattern Card?
A Pattern Card is essentially your customer (often confused with a Persona). Pattern Cards are a combination of keys, that are used to match a visitor Profile to its closest Pattern. Pattern Cards are not assigned to your content; Sitecore automatically assigns one to the current visitor as they move around the site.

What is a Persona?
A Persona is Pre-defined from Sitecore. They are similar to Profile Cards but have specific user information included within them. For example, name, Phone, Personal information, objectives etc. These are mainly used for Content Teams to help integrate your Content Strategy with your Personalisation Strategy.

 

Let’s take a look at this in Practice.

So, let’s consider a Travel company, whose website Purpose is to sell a number of trips across the globe. Different trips will appeal to different site visitors, so our job is to identify a way to work out what style of trip appeals to which user and put them into a bucket of users that have the same interest. To achieve this we need to follow these steps:

Step 1 – Setup a Profile

Step 2 – Define and Configure the Profile Keys

Step 3 – Define your Profile Cards and consider their Persona

Step 4 -  Configure your Pattern Cards accordingly

Step 5 – Tag content with your Profile Cards

 

Step 1 – Setup a Profile

Example Profile

For this travel company the Profile that we would like to identify is the user’s Travel Style.

How to implement this in Sitecore?

To set this up, we need to enter the Marketing Control Panel in Sitecore and right click on Profiles, then click  Insert  > Profile. This will then open a pop-up which we will call Travel Style. 

Personalisation-travel-style

Step 1 is that simple, your Profile is setup. Now to define and configure the Profile Keys.

Step 2 - Define and Configure the Profile Keys

            Example Profile Keys

We know that our Profile is Travel Style, so my Profile Keys need to be the different categories that help define my Travel Style. Therefore, as part of this example, my Profile Keys are going to be:

  • High Energy
  • Camping
  • Skiing

 

How to implement this in Sitecore?

To set this up, we need to again enter the Marketing Control Panel in Sitecore and right click on the Profile that we created (Travel Style), then click Insert > Profile Keys. This will then open a pop-up which we will call our Profile Keys – High Energy, Camping and Skiing. We then assign them a value, which is determined in the workshop however typically it has a range of 0-5.

Personalisation-travel-style2

Step 3 Define your Profile Cards and consider their Persona

Example Profile Cards

As described above, Profiles are categories that you define to track a contact’s behaviour as they navigate through your website. As it is the content that we need to tag, in our example our three Profile Cards are the same as our Profile Keys:

  • High Energy
  • Camping
  •  Skiing
Personalisation-travel-style3

How to implement this in Sitecore?

Again, we need to again enter the Marketing Control Panel in Sitecore and right click on the Profile that we created (Travel Style), then click Insert > Profile Cards {persona}. This will then open a pop-up which we will call our Profile Cards – High Energy, Camping and Skiing. We then assign them a value, which is determined in the workshop however typically it has a range of 0-5.

 

Step 4 Configure your Pattern Cards accordingly

Example Pattern Card

Pattern Cards are a combination of keys, but they are used to match a visitor profile to its closest pattern…therefore we give your Pattern Cards a real name. Therefore, we will use:

  • High Energy Harry
  • Camping Colin
  • Winter Walter

How to implement this in Sitecore?

You can configure your Pattern Cards within your Profile within the Marketing Control Panel. Right click on the Pattern Card that sits within the Profile we created (Travel style), then click insert > Pattern Cards. This will then open a pop-up which we will call our Pattern Cards – High Energy Harry, Camping Colin and Winter Walter. We need to configure the Profile Key accordingly. If you can’t identify a clear persona for your key audiences, the chances are you shouldn’t have a pattern card for them.

Personalisation-travel-style4
Personalisation-travel-style5

Question: What is the difference between Profile and Pattern Cards?

This is a question that I get asked a lot. Simply:

Profile Card

  • You assign a content item with your Profile Card.
  • Therefore when a visitor views this content item they will identify themselves as this Profile

Pattern Card

  • This allows you to evaluate who your visitor is as they move around the site. The user will identify themselves by collecting multiple Profile Cards which will form a Pattern.

  

Step 5 – Tag content with your Profile Cards

Once your Profiles, Profile Keys, Profile Cards and Pattern Cards have been setup in the Marketing Control Panel, we can then start tagging content with these.

How to implement this in Sitecore?

You can assign your Profile card to a page in ether the Content Editor or the Experience Editor. The choice is yours!

Experience Editor

In the Experience Editor, navigate to the page that you want to assign a profile card to. In the Optimization group, in Page Profile Settings tab, click Assign Profile Cards. The Profile Cards dialog box appears. In the Profile Cards dialog box, select the profile that you are interested in and click Edit. The Select Profile Card dialog box appears.

Personalisation-travel-style6
Personalisation-travel-style7

Content Editor

In the Content Editor, navigate to the page that you want to assign a profile card to. Click on the blue Profile icon. Then simply select your Profile Card as detailed above.

 

Personalisation-travel-style8

Still confused?

Luckily for you, Sagittarius run Personalisation workshops to help work this through with you. We will help you define your Goals and Profiles and help implement a Personalisation strategy with you and your team. With a Predicted 19% increase in Conversion Rate through implementing Personalisation correctly, the ROI speaks for itself.

Want to know more?

Check out my latest Sitecore webinar on the Path to Personalisation: 

Step 3 Define your Profile Cards and consider their Persona

Example Profile Cards

As described above, Profiles are categories that you define to track a contact’s behaviour as they navigate through your website. As it is the content that we need to tag, in our example our three Profile Cards are the same as our Profile Keys:

  • High Energy
  • Camping
  •  Skiing

Whatever your business, be it a regional or global brand, the content you produce plays a vital role in your success. You know that… hence you’re reading this.

A well formulated and executed content strategy not only drives more traffic, at the core, it defines what your business is and helps build a strong connection between you and your audiences.

So let's quickly look at why developing a coherent content strategy is important and how setting clear goals and understanding your audience will elevate your online performance. 

What is a Content Strategy?

It's basic right? Content is at the core of how you define the way your business presents itself and an effective strategy should look to ensure that tone of voice, messaging and the core values are surfaced across all channels, from service or product pages on your website, to blog posts, through social media updates blah blah blah.

But let's keep it simple - your content strategy should be a clear roadmap that connects your marketing activities to your business goals. Align to your customer’s wants and needs and engage them at every interaction point and boom, you're in business. 

Who are my Audience?

You likely start all your projects with this chalked on the wall because your business knows “exactly” who its customers are right? Sounds obvious but we often find its not been done forensically enough (not based on data), is too old (more than 12 months ago - forget it) or its a spin off from some brand work that was legitimately aspirational but doesn’t face the reality of who you your business is actually engaging today.

So start (or circle back) with audience research, building out those personas to understand their ambitions, their lifestyle, their pain points or concerns, and crucially their wants and needs - in your context. 

Do I need to tailor content?

As part of your research find out where your audiences spend their time online and how they interact with content: Some may spend time thoroughly researching a product or service, whereas other audiences may want their content to be quick, snappy or easily digestible in the form of a video, infographic or short blog posts.

 

Ultimately, the key is to produce a strategy that creates the type of content your customers want to see:

  • What are the problems that your product or service will help them solve?

  • Who are they most influenced by?

  • What voices influence their behaviour?

  • What type of content do they consume?

  • Where do they consume content and engage with brands?

Different Content, Different Objectives

 All content is not born equal: When producing your strategy, it is important that the objectives for each individual piece are defined, that these fulfil your marketing objectives and tie to the overarching goals for your business.

There are various content frameworks that exist to aid content development in this way, but one that is popular and effective is Google’s hero, hub and hygiene method: It provides a framework on developing content to achieve different goals and gives guidance on the effort needed to create each type of content.

Hero Content

Hero content is essentially campaign content, it is big splash ideas designed to appeal to a large audience with the aim of telling your brand’s story at scale. 

Ways of measuring hero include the amount of PR mentions or links from authoritative domains plus social interactions and mentions of your brand across all channels. 

Considering the scale of hero campaigns, this content is not regularly produced and is reserved for peak promotional times where it’s important for a business to stand out from their competitors.

Hub Content

Hub content is the stuff that keeps your audience engaged, it expands on the themes of product or service level content, educates users and helps create a connection between themselves and your brand.

Hygiene Content

Hygiene content is the bread and butter of any website, it is the BAU content for products and services, it is SEO focused and targets important keywords at a product, service or guide level.

How do I manage all this?

Content development is only one part of the ongoing work needed when working with an effective content strategy. We call it “feeding the beast” because it really is the fuel in your brand vehicle and once you start you really can’t stop (if it’s delivering results) but that’s where performance measurement comes in.

Your greatest gift in managing the outputs from your hero/hub/hygiene style efforts is to understand If your content is working. To truly deliver results your business must first understand the objectives and goals of each piece of content to effectively measure its success. That as a guiding light from day 1 will let you slow down, speed up, stop or start new content briefs and projects.

Remember - content strategies are not set in stone. They are living breathing things and should adapt and pivot as insights become available and your brand naturally evolves.

If ever you want to chat content and explore new initiatives we’re always here to help.

want to speak to one of our experts?

 
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Sagittarius
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Sagittarius

12 May 2017 - 8 minute read
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