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Sitemap: The Heart of Marketing Cloud Personalization

Happy It Technician Working At The Office Using Her Laptop

Personalization (formerly known as Interaction Studio) is a tool that exists inside the Salesforce Marketing Cloud tenant. It is mostly used to help the customer improve the user experience through web, mobile, and email.

The sitemap is the heart of personalization. A good sitemap code implementation can lead you to an understanding of:

  • How the user interacts with your site
  • How much time they spend on different pages
  • Where they are going next

Let’s look at this in a more relatable way to see how this code works:



I like to compare personalization with this scene above from Toy Story 3, in which the vigilante monkey is watching the daycare’s CCTV, waiting for toys to show up where they shouldn’t be so he can warn Lotso, the villain teddy bear.

We can use this scenario to create a comparison between the movie and how the sitemap and personalization work inside the site:

  • The daycare building where this scene is set is the website that the client wants us to work with, and each room in the building is a different page within the site.
  • The toys (Buzz, Woody, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, Rex, and their friends) are the users of the website.
  • The security cameras are the sitemap, registering where the toys (users) are, where they went next, and the location and time of the interaction.
  • The TV screens and the monkey fill the role of personalization that tells Lotso (the customer) where the toys (users) are.

In this case, we want to know where the user is for marketing and statistical purposes, and not punish our user in the same way Lotso wants to catch the toys.


The Virtual Copy of a Site

A JavaScript code helps shape your entire site, products, forms, login, action buttons, etc., so you can have a “virtual copy” of those elements in the personalization tool. This will help you and the marketing team understand how to proceed, and where and at what time is the best for doing that.

Of course, personalization only gives you the statistics they collect on the different reports they have, but you and your team are responsible for the content that you will promote and the shape it will take. Examples include a call-to-action button, a banner on the homepage, a list of product recommendations, a message before closing a tab, and email, just to name a few.

Pngtree Thinking Man Illustration With Question Mark And Light Bulb For Business Png Image 6475461

What Needs to be Taken Into Account When Creating a Sitemap?

The most important rule here is that the client needs to know what they want to do. We need to understand the business context of the site in order to create the solution architecture that we are going to implement. Below is a list of things that we must consider when we are about to start the sitemap, personalization, and implementation:

  • Have a clear goal of what the customer wants to achieve with this tool. If they know what they can do with the campaigns, it will be easier to move the process along.
  • Figure out the identity management and attribute setup. Knowing what values (emails, names, zip codes, addresses, pet names, etc.) we are going to collect from the user will help us to later define the sitemap. It will also help us identify what the system and identity configuration will look like for personalization. This configuration is important to set up because personalization looks for the identity configuration to match existing users with unknown users who are trying to log in.
  • Create the sitemap blueprint. This is a document that reflects the sitemap on paper.

The Sitemap Blueprint

In the blueprint, you take all the pages that exist on the website and assign them to a pagetype. A pagetype is a collection of pages or a group of pages. For example, let’s suppose this client sells clothing, and their site has the homepage, pages for shirts, pants, shoes, etc., and the 50+ product pages they sell. They also have forms used for promotion, login, register pages, and a shopping cart.

Inside the blueprint, you will define how those pages will be grouped. Another important step is to ask the client to create a list of the sites they have.


How Can I Define Those Pagetypes?

With the information you got on the blueprint, you can define those pagetypes like this:

  • The homepage will be one pagetype called home_page.
  • Define a Content Zone in the home_page. For that, you will select, or ask for creation of, a CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) selector. This element tells the browser which HTML elements should be selected for future work. In our case, a zone we are going to use to target for campaigns is called Content Zone.
  • The shirts, pants, shoes, etc. are general sites that can be grouped into the category_page.
  • The 50+ products they have will fall into the product_page. From these pages, you will also grab the product information like product name, URL, value, stock amount, and description.
  • The login form will have its own pagetype called login_form. With this, you are going to scrap the user email. Take into account if you define the email as an Identity Attribute, personalization will use it to match known users.
  • The registration form will have another pagetype called register_from. This pagetype is for users who register on the site for the first time (we can also combine this page and the promotion form, so we can reuse code). Here you are going to get information like first name, last name, email, location, and if they want to receive marketing information.
  • The shopping cart will also have a pagetype called shopping_cart. Personalization has the functionality to implement the logic of a shopping cart. With this, you can also know how much the users are spending on the site.

After defining, validating, and approving the blueprint, it will be time for your developers to start creating the sitemap

I’ve Finished Sitemap Development – What’s Next?


Finding Nemo Bags


You’ll never end with the sitemap. Like a heart that is always working, this code is always evolving. You will continue to find ways to be more accurate so it can fit the client’s requirements.

You can achieve that by paying attention to:

  • How the user behaves
  • If your pagetypes match the correct pages
  • How the information comes in so you can clean that data and make it useful for future work

The sitemap is only the starting point for the personalization work. With this tool, you can do many great things that will benefit the customer engagement with the user.

Want to Learn More?

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Learn more about what Marketing Cloud can do for you by reading more about Marketing Cloud personalization or contacting us to set up a meeting.

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Raul Juliao Colina

Raul is a 3x Salesforce Certified and a Personalization Accredited Professional here at Perficient. Raul is very committed to his work, ready to help and always learning new things. He lives in Barranquilla Colombia with his family and friends and also loves doing quilling paper.

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