Key ingredients for succesfull personalization


Key ingredients for succesfull personalization

For any personalization to be successful, a base preparation is required. This post will guide you towards the key ingredients to make personalization successful.

The key ingredients of any successful marketing personalization boil down to two approaches:

  • Content strategy
  • Marketing strategy

Content strategy

Is your content adequately organized, and how fast can users find the right information?

When we talk about content, you need to look at it from two different angles:

  • How search engines see your website,
  • How users see your site.

One way to organize your content is to introduce content pillars and clusters (subtopics).

A pillar is a form of a landing page that describes your core topic. For example, "marketing." A cluster is a derivative of the core topic, which links to and extends it. In this example, if your pillar is marketing, the cluster could be "social marketing." Your content strategy comes to life when these subtopics are linked.

Furthermore, every piece of content that you introduce should be appropriately tagged. Tagging is done not just from the organizational perspective but also the SEO purpose. You can look at your content tags as SEO metadata descriptions.

Now when you have your data organized in a structured manner, visitors will be able to find the relevant information faster. But as much as the speed is essential to find the correct content, sometimes we want users to slow down to be able to read the message which we are trying to send. Introducing content disfluency can help in accomplishing this.

By content disfluency, we refer to a type of content that will slow down the user to stop and read. You can use this tactic when you want to bring an important message which you want visitors to remember. Think of highlighting relevant sections with a different design, breaking your content with a diverse content model.

Marketing strategy

The second crucial step of any successful personalization is marketing strategy planning. In this stage, you want to address the following points:

  • What is the outcome of a marketing strategy?
  • In what time frame do you expect to see results?
  • How will these results be tracked?
  • What will you utilize to track personalization performance?

All of the above within the Sitecore platform you can do with:

  • Engagement Values
  • Campaigns
  • Goals
  • Profiles

Engagement Values

The Engagement Value Scale (EVS) is a Sitecore measurement methodology used to measure the engagement level of visitors. Not every visit has the same effect as an action performed on the website.

For example, if you have a shopping website, you can have many visitors visiting your site without completing an order. Completing an order, in this case, would have the highest EVS points. These points are defined on an EVS scale and assigned to goals, respectively.

The value per visit = total EVS points from all visitors/number of visits.

Why is EVS useful?

The EVS results are used to measure performance in Sitecore, such as AB testing, personalization, campaigns, even content performance. EVS reports are your most valuable insight into how your strategy is performing and for your ROI.

You can also utilize EVS to trigger a personalization rule, creating a segment out of those who have already completed a goal. For example, if a user has already downloaded a whitepaper, show them the next goal in your sales funnels rather than showing them a CTA to download that same whitepaper.


Goals in Sitecore are the easiest way to see how your marketing strategy is performing. By assigning goals, you can generate reports, examine the EVS scale, and deliver personalization. The reports can provide insights is your business strategy on track and are visitors completing the most worthwhile goals. Although goals are valuable, not every page should contain a goal, and not every goal is valued the same. Goals can be split into high, medium, and low-value goals based on your business requirements. A high-value goal could be a sales inquiry, medium signing up for a webinar, and low could be downloading a file or reading an online article.


Sitecore campaigns can help to confirm and adjust the insight into what is relevant for a consumer. This helps in aligning business outcomes. With campaigns, you can see how the visitor is interacting with the rest of your platform: what did it do, where it went.

The vital part of the campaigns is how you define taxonomies. Used taxonomies are Campaign Groups, Campaign Facets, and Channels. Each taxonomy is beneficial for Report insights in Experience Optimizer. If Campaign Group is not specified or assigned, reports will display [unknown campaign groups]. Facets are used to describe a campaign from the business aspect, for example, region. Channels are a great way to track online/offline campaigns if you are using more than a website.


Profiles in Sitecore are beneficial when it comes to segmentation. Think of it as a segmented group, a cluster of data, which shares similar patterns, behaviors. Those would be the visitors who share similar interests. Profiles are used to target visitors based on their activity on the platform and to personalize their experience.

When defining your key areas, you also need to take into account business needs versus customer needs. Take the data into account and check are the visitor's expectations matched with your business outcomes. If you skip this step, and personalization rules and profiles are already in place, there is a high chance that the result will not be desirable. Instead of personalizing the experience, you are at risk of pushing your visitors away.

In the next post, we will look at how Sitecore Cortex Personalization Suggestions can help you with personalization challenges described in "Personalization challenges that every marketer's faces."


Una Verhoeven


Do you have questions?  Una is happy to help!

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