Sitecore 9 released recently as part of the platform’s rebranded Experience Cloud offering. Sitecore and Adobe are fighting for top spot in the enterprise web content management space, as Gartner’s WCM Magic Quadrant shows. So what does Sitecore 9 bring to the table for marketers? And how will it help Sitecore attract more big brands to its platform?
The added power of machine learning
Machine learning has been a buzzword in digital marketing and data management for a while. It means your machine or system is continually learning behaviour from large quantities of collected data to provide a business outcome.
The collection, storage and use of data to personalise customer experiences across all marketing channels have been Sitecore’s calling card since Sitecore 8 was introduced in 2015. Sitecore 9 ramps this up with some nifty innovations. Chief among these is Sitecore Cortex, it’s new machine learning tool. This is a dedicated engine for processing machine learning algorithms at scale.
The benefits to marketers include:
- New customer insights that would have previously been extremely difficult and time-consuming to discover. For example, new audience segments to target, based on the content visitors are consuming.
- Automated testing and optimisation. Content can be iteratively scored and rescored to map to relevant customer segments. This improves personalisation experiences.
- Measurable personalisation, based on a customer’s current and past context. Sitecore uses an engagement value to measure personalisation effect. This means marketers can tie conversions to revenue to measure success.
Feed Sitecore with your other systems’ data
Sitecore xConnect lets you seamlessly connect and collect data from other 3rd party software systems such as your CRM, ERP or EPOS and store them in Sitecore xDB. This significantly enriches the quality of the data that you have available for personalisation and machine learning. And the richer the data, the more intelligent the results. What’s more Sitecore xConnent allows:
- Push and pull on contacts and interactions with the connected 3rd party system
- Automatic indexing of any contact, facet, interaction or event in Sitecore xDB.
Enhance your entire marketing strategy
Anyone that’s been frustrated by Web Forms For Marketers (WFFM) in Sitecore can breathe a big sigh of relief. They’re gone in Sitecore 9! Sitecore has introduced drag and drop to some of its key built-in marketing tools. This means redesigned web forms that are actually simple to set up and reuse.
Another useful drag and drop feature is the ability to easily create engagement plans to nurture prospects with highly personalised messaging, offers and emails.
Frankly, this user interface (UI) overhaul was overdue. Sitecore offers brands the ability to create highly personalised, contextual experiences but this hasn’t always been easy to put into practice. Improving the UI will make getting the most out of Sitecore much smoother for marketers.
The promise of future innovation
Sitecore isn’t sitting on its laurels. More innovation is promised in later versions of Sitecore 9. Two that stand out are codenamed, ‘Horizon’ and ‘Zenith’.
Sitecore Horizon will extend intuitive drag and drop to content creation. This’ll change the way that marketers can design pages in Sitecore, with real-time tips and insight as you create and publish content.
Zenith will enhance Sitecore’s headless capabilities. It’ll let you store, manage and distribute content, from one simple interface in Sitecore to external devices such as aps or IoT’s.
Overall Sitecore 9 is an exciting release. Sitecore is ahead of the curve in using intelligence and insight, gleaned from seamless customer data, to drive highly personalised experiences. This makes Sitecore a great digital marketing platform choice for brands.