Sitecore Marketers: Here Are My 10 Sitecore New Year's Resolutions

Dec 26, 2016Sitecore

Is it that time of year again already? Well, since this is a Sitecore blog, I thought I’d write a resolution post about my top 10 Sitecore New Year’s Resolutions. I have a lot of goals for 2017. What are you looking to accomplish?

Happy holidays, everyone. I hope you’re enjoying some down time toward the end of the year. Celebrations will eventually end and we’ll have to get back to work, so I thought I’d put together a list of my top 10 Sitecore New Year’s Resolutions for 2017. These are the tasks, projects and goals that I’ll be hoping to accomplish in the coming year. This isn’t everything Sitecore that I want to do, but if I got most or all of these done, I’d consider it a pretty good year.

I’d love to hear what’s on your Sitecore Resolutions list. Be sure to leave a comment and share!

Resolution #1: Deploy xDB

Sitecore xDB is a huge hurdle for many in their Sitecore development roadmap. Sitecore xDB serves as the data backbone for almost every XP related functionality, and let’s be honest – XP is why we love Sitecore in the first place.

You’d think that deploying xDB would be simple, but it’s still a pretty big milestone for many marketers using the Sitecore CMS platform. I have a plan in place, budget allocated and a timeline already established. We have a lot riding on our ability to use some of the advanced features of Sitecore XP, so this is a pretty big goal for me in 2017.

Resolution #2: Pursue Sitecore MVP Status

My goal of achieving MVP status is my first personal Sitecore New Year’s Resolution for 2017. MVP status may just be a label in some ways, but I personally put a lot of weight in it. Becoming a Sitecore Digital Strategist MVP would be a huge accomplishment for me, and continue me on the path I’ve been on for the past 5 years or so.

Resolution #3: Become a Sitecore EXM Expert

Sitecore EXM (Email Experience Manager) is one of the most intriguing features of the platform for me, and also one that I know the least about (so far). I’ve spent my Sitecore career thus far in the “CMS” portion of the functionality, but Email shouldn’t be ignored.

Email, as a channel, still has one of the highest rates of return and continues to be a significant area of investment for many companies. You’re not a true digital marketing expert if you don’t have expertise in Email marketing, and that’s why I want to be sure I stay ahead of the curve when it comes to Sitecore EXM.

Resolution #4: Build My First A/B or Multivariate Test

I’ve been reading and re-reading the book, Connect the Experience the past year. There are a lot of useful ideas in the book, and I don’t just mean for Sitecore. One of the topics they mention specifically is A/B testing.

A/B and multivariate testing are both art forms, but in Sitecore, you really can’t even begin without XP and xDB in place. Once you have xDB up and running, some of the simplest, lowest-hanging fruit you can take advantage of involve A/B tests. Testing takes the guess work out of optimizing experiences. You don’t have to guess if a blue button or orange button works best – you can test it and know for sure!

Resolution #5: Find a Better Way to Deploy Webforms (like WFFM)

Ugh…web forms. They’re the bane of my existence and yet, a very necessary evil for all marketers. Forms are one of the biggest ways we collect information about our visitors and turn implicit personalization into explicit. I’ve investigated Web Forms for Marketers (WFFM) a bit, but I really need to learn more about it so that I can make a decision if it’s the correct path or not.

I know a lot of marketers struggle with integrating their CRM and Sitecore CMS. There are products out there that can help with integrations, but how do you even get to that point? Full CRM-CMS integration is on the horizon, but for 2017, I’d be happy to have a better editor experience in building my forms.

Daniel Ruyter - Sitecore Marketing & Technology Pro

Who is Daniel Ruyter?

An Orlando, Florida Sitecore enthusiast and MVP hopeful, a marketing consultant, content creator and photographer.
One-Page Resume (PDF)Full Resume (PDF)

Resolution #6: Build at Least 3 User Personas With Journey Maps

I’d like to start getting into more advanced marketing initiatives, and in order to do that, I really need to know more about my customers. The technology implementations like xDB and XP, EXM, SxA and others only expand the capabilities of marketing – they don’t actually do the marketing. You have to create those experiences through content once you have the ability to personalize and that’s what I want to be one of my top areas of focus for 2017.

Resolution #7: Continue Working on My Sitecore Product Idea

I’ve had this idea for a new Sitecore add-on for almost two years now. I make progress on it occasionally, writing out more information for functional specs and working on my product wireframes here and there.

I’m convinced it’s a solid idea and one that I need to stick with. I have to dedicate the time to it this year and finish it. From there, I can decide how I pursue product development and eventually (2018?) take it to market.

Resolution #8: Attend a Local Sitecore Meetup Event

Sitecore events are really important to me and to the industry. I have to attend events in order to stay up on trends and work toward achieving my MVP status.

There’s a meetup coming in January to Tampa that I plan to attend. A number of agencies and brands that use Sitecore will be there presenting on various topics from both perspectives. I think it will be a great way to get even more exposure to Sitecore and maybe meet some other Sitecore marketers that I can talk to.

Resolution #9: Attend Sitecore Symposium 2017 in Las Vegas

I attended Sitecore User Group Conference (SUGCON) and Symposium – both in New Orleans – in 2016. I really hope to be able to attend the next Sitecore Symposium North America (NA) in 2017 as well. They announced at the end of Symposium 2016 that the next event would be returning to Vegas (2015 was also in Vegas). Sitecore Symposium is, by far, my favorite event of the year.

Resolution #10: Attend SUGCON 2017

If Symposium is my favorite Sitecore event, then SUGCON (Sitecore User Group Conference) is definitely a very close 2nd place. I attended SUGCON this past year in New Orleans and learned a ton. My focus during that session was XP and xDB.

SUGCON offers the unique perspective of the user (developers, marketing and the business side), which you don’t get as much of from attending Symposium.

A tweet earlier this year announced there would be a SUGCON 2017, but it also said that it would be in alternating years with Symposium. Well, Symposium has already been scheduled, so I’m not sure if that means user group will be skipped. I’m very curious to see if they’ll have both conferences next year.

The Story Behind the Photo

Jackson Square, French Quarter, New Orleans
The photo on this post was taken while attending SUGCON NA 2016 in New Orleans, LA. I like to explore the cities I visit in the evenings and one evening, after the conference sessions ended for the day, I set out with a group of fellow attendees to explore the French Quarter. I snapped this photo looking toward St. Louis Cathedral. The statue in the foreground is of Andrew Jackson, the subject of controversy earlier in 2016.

Jackson Square, New Orleans, LA

What's on Your Sitecore New Year's Resolution List?

There’s my list of Sitecore New Year’s Resolutions. What about you? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this article and hear more about what you’d like to accomplish in 2017 (and beyond). Please leave a comment below or feel free to contact me with your thoughts.

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