Sitecore Online Marketing Suite

Sitecore has built a companion suite for its content management system that integrates web analytics, profiling, campaign management, segmentation and personalisation.
Written by Manek Dubash, Contributor

If you're a medium- to large-sized company with a Microsoft-powered web presence, yours might be one of the 20,000 sites that Sitecore claims are handled by its content management system (CMS). But are you optimising your web site analytics? According to Sitecore chairman Laust Sondergaard, probably not — in which case you should take a look at the company's new Online Marketing Suite (OMS).

Most organisations have a variety of different, often incompatible, systems for marketing functions such as analytics, customer relationship management (CRM), lead-generation and tracking, says Sondergaard. Also, many web analytics systems are designed not for marketers, but for web site managers.

To make sense of web site data, to track potential and actual customers, to understand what elements of the site efficiently deliver personalised information, and to maximise the site's earning and marketing potential, Sitecore reckons you need a system that both analyses and allows you to react to visitors. And that's what OMS is designed to do. ZDNet UK has been given a sneak preview of the product, which ships on 30 June.


Visitor experience analytics form a key part of Sitecore's Online Marketing Suite, allowing you to determine who visits your site and what they do once they're there.

To put it in context, OMS is a module that sits alongside Sitecore CMS, which runs on Windows Server, SQL Server 2005 and .NET 3.5. It uses a slick, AJAX- and XML-based Windows-style interface inside the browser to manage the system. Sitecore can provide connectors to link this information to, for example, your Salesforce.com CRM database.

Sitecore CMS also entirely configurable, according to the software's demonstrator, Chris Gamblen. This means that you can set it up with policies that cover most of a web site's attributes. To pick three random examples: you can specify that no graphical element is larger than a set size; that certain privilege levels are required to edit site attributes; and that brand guidelines are adhered to.

That's the base system, but what's new is OMS, a core function of which is analytics. Sondergaard is keen to emphasise that his company hasn't set out to build the best analytics engine in the world, but that it does about 80 percent of what a marketeer will require and that it's more accurate than, for example, the widely-used (and free) Google Analytics (GA).

That's because users visiting sites from within large enterprises and security-aware users who turn off cookies and JavaScript are both under-reported by GA, whose results are often skewed by security software. Sitecore claims GA under-reports visits to its site by around 45 percent, for example.

Sitecore also improves on GA, says Sondergaard, because it knows the context of the content: "Our analytics understand that people will cycle through data and reject double counting when visitors hit the back button. We also reject double-counting on aliases of static pages."

According to Gamblen, once you've identified visitors, you need to qualify them by their progress through the web site: "We've brought everything together in one solution and the key integration point is the CRM database." Sondergaard adds: "The end game is to aim for real-time personalisation for each individual", citing Amazon as an example.

Once the raw data in the form of cookies, IP address and/or site registration information has been collected, Sitecore OMS allows you to report on and analyse them. You can set up your site to analyse where visitors go and then present them with relevant content — depending on whether they're from IT or marketing, for example. Visitors can be assigned a profile and lead scores, as well as linked to others with similar profiles.


Sitecore OMS lets you pick apart marketing and advertising campaigns on your site in order to maximise their effectiveness.

 Sitecore OMS can also analyse your site's advertising campaign performance. This allows you to present relevant ads to visitors and, if they respond, helps to qualify their interests. "It's about getting the site to start the process of engagement," said Gamblen. A site manager can then examine the data and make a judgment on the campaign's effectiveness.

The system aims to improve a site's business outcomes by testing how effective a company's marketing campaign is using multivariate analysis — looking at different site elements, such as box-outs, for effectiveness and response. You can also analyse where traffic has come from and where visitors go.

If you need a web analytics engine hooked up to a system that's more than just a reporting system, Sitecore OMS might repay investigation.


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