Cleve Gibbon

content management, content modelling, digital ecosystems, technology evangelist.

Sitecore Marketing Technology Platform Interview with John Fields

John Field has worked with some of the best and brightest software vendors over the last decade spanning Enterprise Search, Content Management, Social Media Management and Engagement Management. He has a passion for understanding current business problems and objectives and articulating the technology options available to help solve them. As European Product Marketing Manager at Sitecore, John supports the region’s Business Development and Marketing teams as well as communicating with Product Management, Analysts and Technology Partners around Sitecore’s capabilities.

A world leader in innovative software for enterprise content management and online engagement:

  • Sitecore offices and 700+ certified partners cover more than 50 countries around the world.
  • More than 3,900 certified developers worldwide use Sitecore software.
  • More than 2,225 customers run 27,000 dynamic websites on Sitecore software
  • Customers include Fortune 500 and FT 1000 companies, governments, public and non-profit organizations and educational institutions.

But where does Sitecore fit as a marketing technology platform? Let’s find out!

Sitecore is a Customer Engagement Platform (CEP). What do you consider to be the essential characteristics of a CEP (e.g. integration, user experience, data aggregation, marketing automation, other?)

We invented the term to describe the broadening reach of our combined products. The essential characteristics of Sitecore’s Customer Engagement Platform are cross channel marketing, consistency, more transparent customer journeys and the nurturing engine.

Customer experience matters. Can you give me a couple of areas that the Sitecore CEP contributes to making digital experiences optimal for their customers?

Imagine Cleve that we’re at a cocktail party and I say, “Hi. I’m John. Nice to meet you, Mr XXX.?” Your cocktail party experience has drifted downward a notch and you respond, “Hi. John, we’ve ALREADY met multiple times before “. THAT is the typical website visitor experience today. When we extrapolate that to the multiple touch points customers have today; social, mobile, email, call centres it breeds frustration.

We’ve heard a lot about Customer Experience but content creation, curation and publication relies heavily upon investing in Author Experience. What steps are Sitecore making (made) to lower the effort required to plan, manage and execute digital marketing campaigns for their internal customers?

We have a human factors expert – that’s evident in the updated Page Editor experience (ver. 6.4, 6.5). We also use our own software and have constant feedback on our own user experiences and feedback from certified Sitecore Partners. As a company we’re always interested in development so there are always more tools in the cooker.

Can you give us some interesting stats (e.g. installations, developers, partners, web sites, digital campaigns, etc.) that communicate the scope, size, use, and reach of Sitecore?


With respect to a marketing technology platform, the line is blurring between Content Management Systems and Marketing Automation Solutions. Do you think there still is a line and if so, where does Sitecore draw it?

Sure there’s a line that exists for other vendors. Marketing Automation has never been in control of the website or user experience – they’ve dabbled in email, campaign sites and landing pages – but as soon as the visitor leaves – there’s no handover. We consider the website the point of convergence and therefore why Sitecore CEP can uniquely blur that line.

Real-time feedback and measurement are strategic tools within any marketing technology platform. Microsoft has just endorsed WebTrends as the measurement tool for Sharepoint 2010. What is Sitecore measurement story?

We have our own analytics, the executive insight dashboard, with Engagement Value built in so that you’re not just measuring the quantity but the quality of your visitors’ engagement. We also live and breathe integration – so of course Sitecore can be elegantly integrated with whichever additional analytic/measurement tools you need.

A marketing strategy encompasses both offline and online customer journey touch points. Print is still important. How is the Sitecore CEP managing the end-to-end journey?

For starters, we recently acquired Pectora which really allows print teams to utilise the same content and images for their physical media. There’s more to come.

Sitecore CEP leverages the power of cloud computing. What were the key drivers for moving into the cloud and what have been the main benefits/drawbacks in doing so? Would you consider this a core
element of any marketing technology platform?

Flexibility is at the core of that decision. We’re not cloud-based – so there are no real drawbacks to Sitecore’s offering – we offer cloud-based delivery. As a fast growing company we have first-hand experience with growing pains and know how valuable this hybrid cloud delivery service can be. Spike? Burst? No problem.

If you could improve one thing in the CEP what would it be and why?

Well our development team is one of the largest in the industry – we’ll have to respond, “stay tuned…”

Consider the total amount of effort required to plan, execute and manage a digital campaign. Now do a percent split of that effort between marketers, creatives, content creators, marketing technologists (any others?) and the underlying marketing technology platform, what would your numbers be for both today and say two years into the future?

There’s a lot of ground work Marketing Technologists do to integrate disparate systems – in 2 years there will be far more integration points and integration solutions – so their work will decrease. However the number of channels will increase; there’s always something new!

Because marketing ROI is becoming more easily defined – marketers, creative, content creators, marketing technologists – will be able to do their jobs more efficiently but they will be more accountable. Ultimately, each of these roles will become more valuable as they can prove/quantify their worth to the business.

We also see that marketers are moving from the old “Firework display” approach of big, showy efforts that are expensive, spectacular, if short lived and very one sided to more of a “Chat by the campfire” approach where they are both listening and responding to conversations with their prospects and customers.

Wrap Up

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us John. It sounds like Sitecore are still packing a lethal marketing technology punch. It was very interesting to learn that it was way back in 2004 that Sitecore had the vision to join the “digital experience dots” on consumer decision journeys with engagement automation, a key tool in their Digital Marketing System. We look forward to seeing more from Sitecore in the marketing technology platform space.

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About Cleve Gibbon

I'm Cleve Gibbon, CTO at Cognifide where we are passionate about digital content.

My sort of up-to-date cv tells you my past, linked in shows you my professional network and on twitter you can find out what I'm currently doing.

This year I plan attend a number of events. Hopefully I'll see you there. I'm easy to find as I'm always laughing. Find out more about me and get in touch!