Matthew Tilbury, who this week was once again awarded the status of Sitecore Strategy MVP – one of only 39 Strategy MVPs worldwide – gives us his views on the year ahead and the future of digital experience.

Congratulations on once again becoming a Sitecore Strategy MVP, Matt!

Thank you. I’m delighted! Gaining this award and recognition shows how Codehouse is not just brilliant at designing and building websites for the platform, but that we’re also proven experts in showing brands how to utilise Sitecore’s advanced personalisation, analytics, digital marketing, and marketing automation features, which can have a huge impact on customer loyalty and revenue.

What is a Sitecore Strategy MVP and how do you become one?

A Sitecore Strategy MVP is someone who really understands data-driven marketing, and can deliver on the power of the Sitecore Experience Platform to create personalised experiences, driving revenue and customer loyalty for organisations using Sitecore. You also need to be an evangelist for what Sitecore can do, and promote the platform wherever and whenever possible. For example, I regularly write articles and speak at marketing events both here in the UK and in Australia, where Codehouse also has an office, on topics covering customer experience, martech, digital strategy and optimisation, and how Sitecore can help address most of the challenges that marketers and organisations are facing today. We’re firm believers in the powers of Sitecore, so we want more people to know about it and use it!

So, what are the big things coming out of Sitecore that people should pay attention to?

Well, Sitecore recently announced the launch of both Sitecore XP9 and Sitecore Experience Commerce (XC) 9, which take everything that Sitecore is known for – delivering content with context and creating personalised experiences for customers – to the next level.

Sitecore XP9 improves the experience for Sitecore users. Marketing automation has been improved, with an easy-to-use drag and drop feature to construct your engagement plans and workflows, based on any combination of website goals. Although it’s not quite live yet, Cortex – Sitecore’s machine learning application – will mean your personalisation can be managed with a lot less human intervention, with content and calls-to-action on your website being automatically substituted based on rules you define and how visitors are using your website. And what’s more, Sitecore XP9 has a number of built-in features that will help brands comply with GDPR.

Sitecore Experience Commerce 9 is Sitecore’s new ecommerce engine targeted at retailers or businesses that want to launch direct-to-consumer operations to get closer to their customers and improve revenues and margins. Sitecore Commerce will enable companies to use everything they know about their customers, or prospective customers, to deliver personalised shopping journeys based on people’s browsing and purchasing intent history and context. On the back-end it will handle catalogue and inventory management, and allow management of tracking and shipping options, multi-store locations, multi-warehouse management, and more. On the front-end, you’ll be able to test content, promotions, checkout and shipping options, to constantly refine and deliver the best experience for customers that drives results for you. If you want an ecommerce website that delights customers through a never-forgotten, tailored digital experience, then Sitecore Commerce is absolutely worth looking at as a platform for your website and more.

How do you see the future of digital experience? What is going to change? What do brands need to do?

Trust will be the currency of the future when it comes to relationships between brands and customers. Customers are demanding personalised experiences, and they’re willing to give up their personal data to get them. But the sad fact is that most companies do not have the technology to deliver personalised experiences for their customers, and even within those that do, most of them are delivering only basic personalisation. Customers will be expecting more in return for handing over their data.

Brands are not keeping up with customer demand in this area. There’s a distinct gap opening up between those companies that think customer first and have invested in improving the digital experience, and those that are either late to the party or pushing their products and services without thinking about what the customer really wants or needs.
Brands need to invest in the systems, technology, platforms, and people, to focus on improving the digital experience for customers, or they will lose out and become redundant and irrelevant.

If companies want to get in touch with you to talk about Sitecore, personalisation, and how Codehouse can help, what should they do?

They can contact us or call our office in London or Sydney. Both myself and all my colleagues would be delighted to help.