Thursday, March 08, 2012

SDL Innovate - what a blast!

This year's SDL Innovate conference was certainly one of the highlights of my career with SDL. What a great event we had (leave a comment if you agree!) with many interesting sessions, partner demos, guest speakers, and more importantly, good networking.

As promised in my previous post, here's a run-through of my short session on Tuesday afternoon about Targeting and your content.

The topic of the session I was involved in was "SDL Tridion Roadmap and Community Panel", with our VP of Products Ian Truscott getting us started by sharing the release plan for 2012, with the highlights being a new Tridion user interface (previously known as SiteEdit) for content editors, Enterprise Content Libraries for external systems integration and a new Tridion release towards the end of the year - more on these topics at a later date sometime soon.

While we were preparing for this session, me & Frank decided that rather than discuss what's coming up in products we should talk about what our current products already do but not all customers are doing:
  • Social
  • Targeting
  • Mobile
Here's what I had to say about Targeting.

We've been targeting (and targeted) for a long time
Ever since humans started trading, targeting has been done by everyone. From the butcher that tries to sell you his "best" meats, to the baker, there has always been an element of targeting, so it is certainly not a surprise that we do it on the web.

Targeting is always about getting something from you
We are always trying to sell something - content you're interested in (increase my views!), a visit to the closest store, a product, a return visit to the site. The objective of targeting is always to convince you of something you may be interested in.

There's many ways to target visitors
Almost everything on the web today involves targeting of some sort. We can always think about good old as the grandfather of targeting, and one of the things about Amazon is that they don't even try to be subtle about it - You bought this before, so you're likely to want this now.

Other sites also target you, but in subtler ways - LinkedIn regularly shows me job ads for jobs with the same Job Title I currently have, and google will show you a map in the search results page if you search for "walmart" or "starbucks" - all of that is targeting.

So, let's take a tour of how Targeting evolved in the past 10 years
10 years ago we could already target visitors (yes, Tridion had it!) based on 2 types of information we could retrieve from you:
  • Data you would tells about you on a registration form (Explicit)
  • Your click behavior browsing our site (Implicit)
We could do quite a lot of targeting based on this data, but the only data source we had for this behavior was our own website.

Fast forward 5 years to 2007
By 2007 most enterprises had finally sorted out their back end integrations, and we could start merging information from your "real" life and your virtual life. I suddenly knew that you were now at my site, and just had bought 5 cans of beer on one of our supermarkets this afternoon, and that perhaps you were trying to get some more delivered (long live loyalty cards!).

So now my data sources about a visitor were certainly growing - but still mostly confined to my own space.

Targeting in 2012
Now we have SO much information about visitors that the challenge becomes a "data management" challenge rather than an operational one. We (can) have access to so much data - your twitter streams, your facebook profile (and your friends'), your LinkedIn profile, your stack overflow, your blog, and this coupled with Social Intelligence tools can give us such a fine grained view of who you are, where you live, which products you like (and dislike) that the visitor becomes its own marketing segment.

What does it mean to content?
The biggest challenge for content creation teams is that with targeting comes content explosion. We have to start having a LOT more content than we ever did before if we want to cater to all possible variations of a user's preferences, history, Twitter opinions, frequent flier program, job title, etc, and a strong usage of taxonomy for your content is definitely recommended.

Key take away points:
  • More data than ever before about your visitors - and this will only increase
  • Customers want targeting. They want you to know who they are
  • Your content model must evolve from being page-centric to being customer-centric
  • Tools help execute - but cannot define your strategy

1 comment:

Nivlong said...

Definitely a highlight of my SDL career.

Really enjoyed the focus on business challenges and opportunities over software (at least in the sessions I saw).

I hear the software actually shown was impressive--Frank keeps talking about SM2 from our new colleagues. How do we get demo accounts?