Context MarketingCustomer ExperienceSitecore

Personalization Should Never be Phase Two!

By September 8, 2018 No Comments

I’ve seen this so many times, I have honestly lost count.

After 9 years working with Sitecore customers all over the globe the one, really big, common mistake I see is Sitecore being run as a generic CMS product – when it’s so much more, and that “much more” is the part that really drives business and customer experience outcomes.

It’s like buying a racecar and keeping it in first gear!

I understand the internal drivers for this decision:

  • The migration, or “lift and shift” is Priority One.
  • Using personalization and optimization may well have been why the business bought Sitecore, but using it as intended is “in the future”, i.e. the dreaded Phase Two.
  • Stakeholders don’t really know how to approach optimization, and struggle with a road map for adoption that makes entry easy and delivers measurable business results – without “boiling the ocean”.


The grim reality is that once Phase One is done teams are fatigued, often leadership or the internal team has changed and, worst of all, because personalization and optimization were hazy “future” issues the site is not instrumented for the capability at all.

I wish I had ten dollars for every time I’ve walked into new, shiny Sitecore build and thought “Rebuild” or at least severe refactoring once I’ve logged in and looked below the creative waterline.

The site may well look fabulous, but it is often crippled in terms of optimization. The baby has been thrown away with the bathwater in an effort to cut costs, hit timelines or just through poor development practice.

As someone who loves Sitecore and has seen firsthand how powerful it can be in terms of shifting the fiscal needle it’s always a horrible moment.

This is why we believe that light optimization and personalization should be mandated for Phase One:

  • The build is completely undertaken knowing that personalization is not a distant consideration. Its next week.
  • Your team is gently eased into the reality that their job has changed from content author to experience designer.
  • The site goes live with crucial engagement based and business focus analytics – this is so important!


Sitecore analytics are actionable and drive so much of the customer journey.
Personalization really should be light, non-intrusive and ambiently used to steer customers towards conversion points that make sense from a business perspective. Wrapping this into Phase One may be as simple as only undertaking personalization on the home page, on limited placeholders like the “hero image” and one or two above-the-fold content spots.
When you plan for this inclusion, suddenly all the factors become known:

  • What is the engagement value scale that drives analytics? How much work will it be to get engagement analytics and xDB population happening?
  • Where and under what circumstances does the site sense and adapt to customer intelligence?
  • How many rules and content will be required and need managing ongoing?


It’s not the mountain you think it is! A well-conceived personalization and optimization strategy should be designed not to impact timelines, or budget, severely – but it gets you to the starting line with an optimized site that can demonstrably drive business and Sitecore ROI.

The best thing is, your brand-new website is purpose built for Sitecore optimization, personalization and success – right out of the gate. No future landmines, ready to drive the CMO agenda and ready to deliver business orientated outcomes that define success in a data driven world.

Get in touch with us, and we will walk your through the entire process – and remember, when you launch your site it is no longer the finish-line, it’s the starting-line, so make sure your site isn’t crippled from the very beginning!

Author Greg Baxter

More posts by Greg Baxter