In today’s digital age, with the number of users of the digital medium at an all-time high, just having your content available online on a website doesn’t make the cut! Delivering content to the consumer in the most relevant way is almost a basic need today.
‘Relevance’ here being the key! How do we determine what is relevant to this no-name – no-face user that is browsing our site? How do we determine intent and make decisions about what they want to see? How do we decide which content will make them want to make a purchase on our site?
These are some of the questions we can hope to address by putting in place an effective personalization strategy.
Sitecore provides us with many concepts and constructs, which allow us to realize personalization needs and eventually put a “face” on our visitors.
Let’s talk Profiles, Patterns & Personas
Profile keys are categories used to define the relationship between the website and the visitor.
These are the key indicators or tags that you can use to categorize your content or to define your visitor behaviour. There needs to be a correspondence here between profile keys, and how you classify your content and also how you define your potential visitors.
Profile Cards are predefined set of profile keys by which you identify / tag your content
You will use a set of profile keys and define profile cards, which you can then associate with your content as is, or you could also customise the relationship between your content and the set of profile keys which best describe it.
Pattern Cards are predefined sets of profile keys by which you identify your visitors.
These are not assigned to content, but rather to visitors. Sitecore automatically assigns Pattern cards to your visitors based on their behaviour on the site. Pattern cards are again a weighted set of profile keys – which help Sitecore classify your visitors based on their behaviour on the site and their interactions – with the classified content you have configured.
We take an example here of classifying content pertaining to Cars. We can define various Profile keys which would highlight features of the cars or intent of use.
Here we have created a new profile ‘Motorist Categories’ – which is essentially a grouping in Sitecore which would hold together the related Profile keys, Profile Cards & Pattern Cards.
In your Marketing Control Panel, profile information is available under /sitecore/system/Marketing Control Panel/Profiles
Figure 1 Marketing Control Panel from Sitecore launchpad
Figure 2 Sample Profile keys, Profile cards & Pattern cards
Profile Keys need to be defined with a minimum & maximum value – this will determine the relative scale of measurement.
For our example here, we have set the minimum & maximum values to 1-10.
Figure 3 Configuring Profile Keys
While defining the Profile cards & Pattern cards, we define the weighted combination of profile keys which correspond to a card. As mentioned before – remember – Profile cards will be assigned to the content – which is to say, the combination of Profile keys set should be closest to the content classification. Since Sitecore provides for Pattern cards which correspond to visitor behaviour, we can provide separate sets of combinations for both of these.
As an example here: the Adventure Motorist – gives most value to High Performance, racing, upgrades, while not attaching much value to Spacious / regular commute keys.
Figure 4 Configuring Profile Cards
Further, as an example of a Pattern card, Chandan the Commuter motorist – places most value on Economical cars, regular commute & spacious key, while not so much on racing or upgrades.
Figure 5 Configuring Pattern Cards
Say you have articles / category pages on the website which can be categorized and hence tagged with the Profile cards – For example, an article on Custom upgrades for your car:
Figure 6 Tagging your content with Profile Cards
Figure 7 Customizing Profile Card parameters by content
You could also customize it using the toggle highlighted above.
Figure 8 Customizing profile card parameters
Now when a visitor lands on this page, Sitecore would automatically assign the Pattern card which scores closest to the combination on this Profile card.
As a next step to the personalization journey, we can set personalization rules for content and functionality based on the pattern cards associated with the current visitor. This would allow you to tailor the experience of the visitor based on their behaviour, and all this can be achieved simply with configurations, with the power of Sitecore and without writing a single line of code!