CIO and CMO convergence has been mentioned by many esteemed thought leaders as the key driver to digital marketing (DX) success. At Perficient, we very much agree with that statement. See below for a few great examples:
We also believe that the age old adage, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink” still rings true.
CIOs and CMOs may hear and believe the guidance; their teams will read the articles and internalize the value; incentives can be defined that govern behavior, but without a common thread to establish communication and define clear patterns for success, there is very little chance that this will actually happen.
Sitecore to the rescue! Following these steps will help Marketing and IT leaders plan and execute on their DX initiatives. Each item below deserves its own discussion, however it is important to understand the entire scope at a cursory level before taking the first step.
Identify the opportunity. DX isn’t for everyone. If your firm engages in a competitive landscape, understands the different types of market participants, has a store of customer data and product offering content, DX should be investigated as low hanging fruit that can be levered to accelerate online revenue.
Establish a stakeholder governance team. As with any significant opportunity to deliver marginal benefit, executive level leadership from multiple areas within the firm are necessary to provide alignment to corporate goals and remove barriers to success.
Create a DX Center of Excellence. The DX team should be built from existing senior technology and marketing staffers that understand organizational structure, technical adoption, market position and core product value proposition. The team should be led by a digital strategist from within or outside the organization with deep experience in this space and proven results delivered with similar opportunities.
Craft common understanding. This is the key step. If this step isn’t executed well, all other steps are inconsequential. Because the DX COE and Governance teams are staffed with multi-discipline individuals with a broad range of backgrounds, perceptions and management, it is important that each team member is able to find value in the solution and own project results. This can’t be achieved with words or directives. It can only be realized when each team member sees value in the solution through their own lens. Sitecore is the common thread that allows a heterogeneous group to find a common purpose and rally around a core set of business goals. A few examples follow:
- Marketing: Sitecore enables corporate, regional and local groups to own content messaging, personalization and marketing automation without the need to engage with IT.
- IT: Sitecore frees IT to focus on architecture, standards and data governance to ensure solution stability and scalability.
- Management: Sitecore provides cost effective and easy to understand reporting capabilities that allow management to quickly visualize progress and goal achievement.
Set Expectations. Creating a Digital Strategy based on best practices that sets realistic expectations aligned to corporate goals will become the blueprint that drives all further steps. DX is not accounting. Presuming 1 + 2 equals 3 is a realistic accounting expectation. Digital Marketing rarely results in the same linear progression. Therefore, aligning the strategy to iterative advancement is an important step in determining results and managing expectations.
Deliver incremental results. Trying to boil the ocean is a common pitfall. Because there are so many capabilities included in Sitecore DMS, prioritization is sometimes a challenge. Starting with explicit personalization is often the most pragmatic path to an early win. Using the Perficient Sitecore framework to safely expose client data to marketers, is a high reward, low risk solution that can be used to build trust and deliver quick results. Adding A/B (multivariate) testing and reporting capabilities to provide actionable feedback is a wise second step. The Perficient framework provides logical next steps that are validated and prioritized based on business goals and digital strategy.