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We exist to make your business thrive and our greatest reward is our returning clients. Our focus is and always will be on our clients and not on industry awards and accreditations, which could account for why we’ve won so many of them…
Working with Outcomes & Monetary Value in Sitecore 8.1 .
Whilst working on a new Sitecore 8.1 build with a blue chip client of ours, I stumbled across something called Outcomes that had been slipped into the Experience Profile, as a new tab. Now, maybe I didn’t spot this and its been there for a while but I don’t think this is the case!
To me, this was really exciting and remarkably timely as I had just been discussing the conversion funnel with the client and the idea of measuring business value against engagement value. I’d been racking my brain to come up with a variety of ways that we could measure value to the business, using custom fields, goals and facets and one or two other Sitecore features that we have at our disposal.
Lead Time Value and Engagement Value
We’d then been working out custom rules to allow us to personalise based on ‘cash value’ potential, persona pattern and engagement value. The need for this more complex triangulation of data points being down to the fact the client is in the travel business and so there can be up to 12 months between a customer first enquiring about a trip to the time that they come back from their trip.
I’ve Bought versus I’ve Engaged
Consequently, understanding that some website visitors have already bought the product and are now looking for supplementary content is key.
As the visitor has bought, based on how we have structured the engagement hierarchy within the website, they would have a high engagement score, relative to other visitors. However, the key fact is that they have bought. Other visitors could also have a high engagement score but might not have bought - they might have just done lots of research, engaged the brand through quote forms, live chat and contact forms and shared product content with their friends.
Understanding those that are ‘pending the experience’ is a key segment and a fantastic group to try and up-sell other complementary products (e.g. insurance, hotel nights, attractions). They’ve already bought into the brand, the value proposition and the product and so in many ways can be spoken to differently and made to feel special - they can be celebrated for their fantastic judgement and excited by the trip that they are about to take!
Outcomes is now how we are going to make this distinction. We can now judge engagement value and overlay the actual point in the process.
The list to the right shows the Outcomes that we are holding against each visitor. In order to do this we need to integrate with the CRM and Booking system, but once we have this information the possibilities are endless in reducing churn on trips and keeping customers engaged between purchase and experience.
All of these Outcomes are then automatically available in the Rules Engine for List Generation and for Personalisation.
With Outcomes, Sitecore 8.1 has also introduced Monetary Value and for each Outcome you define you can hold a value against it. Consequently, you can now segment and personalise based on specific outcome value or total lifetime value of outcomes.
As always, you can also use Facets to group Outcomes and work with sub-totals of monetary value.
Outcomes and Monetary value fill the gap between Engagement Value with the Brand and what the customer means to the business. It’s a real world, simple to understand, framework for personalisation and segmentation based on actual value. It’s also another measure by which your Sitecore implementation can be assessed by the business.
Fundamentally, any businesses website should have specific Outcomes documented as part of its strategic planning phase and now Sitecore has a clean, simple framework for implanting, recording and reporting on this.
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 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 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 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.