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13 May 2014

Choosing Sitecore as Your CMS Platform

by David Pook

Sitecore CMS platform

In my previous post Choosing the Best CMS Platform, I outlined a set of considerations for choosing a content management system from a systems agnostic point of view. In this post, I will discuss one of our preferred systems, Sitecore.

Sitecore is an enterprise level content management system (CMS) and customer experience platform (CEP) that runs many large brands’ digital marketing systems. With a Sitecore solution, you are looking beyond merely serving up content on a website; it takes a holistic view working with your marketing strategies across all channels to produce a far more sophisticated marketing lead approach than any other content management system on the market.

SITECORE

Wickedweb is an official Sitecore Partner and Sitecore is our premium CMS platform. It is not suitable for all but when it is, it’s a highly effective option. The following Sitecore CMS solutions built by Wickedweb, demonstrate the range of sites we have used Sitecore for:

wagamama: A worldwide suite of 17 websites and backend tools for the marketing and management of wagamama, including restaurant management, intranets, asset management tools, CRM integrations and other 3rd party systems such as a verity of job boards.

wagamama

Law Debenture: A suite of 6 websites including integration with back office systems.

lawdeb

Hidden Hearing: A marketing lead website making full use of Sitecore’s targeting and analytics functionality, as well as leveraging its strengths in producing flexible easy to maintain content and layout.

hidden hearing

Sitecore’s main focus is a digital marketing platform with content management features, which for us as a digital marketing agency, makes for a good fit.

So what makes it so suitable for digital marketing?

Personalisation and analytics are at the heart, and this flows through all parts of the system. By coupling personalisation, usage analytics, A/B and multivariate testing results in a system where experimentation leads to evidence based tuning of site. This means that the effectiveness of a website can be improved over time using an integrated toolset; most other systems would rely on a hotchpotch of tools patched together, that would require careful maintenance and expert analysts to interpret and would be unlikely to yield such an accurate picture.

So in conclusion from a marketing perspective, developing a Sitecore site is more about goals and planned user journeys to achieve those goals than about fixed information architecture. A Sitecore site tends to be more dynamic in nature and provide more flexibility in terms of layout, presentation and user journeys than more traditional content management systems; it may well be that no two users need ever see exactly the same site!

From a technical point of view, Sitecore is a content management framework rather than a content management system. We have built our own set of components and libraries within Sitecore to meet our requirements and the flexibility of this approach means we don’t have to say ‘no’ to functional requirements. We have been able to focus on SEO requirements that would be hard to meet on most systems for example.

Our Sitecore development uses good solid modern methods and unlike a lot of CMS systems, has kept up to date, not carrying legacy code and associated problems from version to version. It has enabled us to keep on the bleeding edge of technology and we are very proud of our Sitecore solutions. Being a Sitecore partner agency means we are always aware of the latest updates and best practice for delivering solutions.

Our Sitecore Recommendations

So when would we recommend Sitecore? Here are some of the main considerations:

Marketing lead

Sitecore comes into its own when the content is marketing focussed. Is there to be a large degree of marketing activity and content on the site?

Clear set of goals

A Sitecore site is most effective when there are a clear set of KPIs that can be measured against. Is there the potential to work out a set of well defined metrics to measure the effectiveness of the site?

Targeted content

Sitecore works well for sites that would benefit from using segmentation and personas to personalise content to encourage individual conversions. Would your site benefit from content based nurture strategies based on personas and rules?

Analytics and testing

Sitecore excels at providing facilities for marketing professionals and content editors to be in charge of testing variations of design and content and to measure their effectiveness and value. Would you benefit from constant testing and tuning?

Investment in uplift

Using Sitecore as part of a campaign strategy can produce significant ROI, immediately from the moment of deployment a Sitecore site can result in a measurable uplift in sales or leads. Are you considering using a budget over time to provide uplift in sales or leads?

Budget

As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, Sitecore is not suitable for all yet this has been a positive article, the main reason it may not be is that Sitecore requires a certain level of investment, both for licensing and development. It is not the cheapest solution on the market; do you have the budget to support a Sitecore build? Or conversely can you afford not to?

If any of the answers to these points are yes, then Sitecore may well be the right solution for you, as a Sitecore agency, talk to us …

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