Experts on personalization speak in joint event from VSA, Agency Oasis and Sitecore

On November 12, VSA Partners joined with Agency Oasis and Sitecore to present “Personalization for an Omnichannel World,” a one-of-a-kind event featuring digital content and strategy experts from VSA, including Stratton Cherouny, Associate Partner, Client Engagement; Andrew Falconer, Associate Partner and Development Lead; and Karen Semone, Associate Partner and Director of Content Strategy. Representing Agency Oasis was Nick Laidlaw, Chief Technology Officer; and describing his company’s use of the Sitecore platform was Neil Thornburn, Manager, Global Digital Business at Smiths Medical.

Over the course of the 60-minute event, the speakers took an audience of 50 through a number of case studies of how sites and brands define the “personal” in personalization experiences for customers. In an exploration of characteristics of highly personalized brands—interconnected across multiple devices; timely; social; relevant and predictive—Semone and Falconer presented examples of emerging sites, unique interfaces and personalized content including Jukely, Hotel Tonight, Lincoln Concierge, Black Milk Clothing, Molson’s passport-activated fridge, Trunk Club and the VSA-created Kool-Aid Photobomb App and Belgard website.

Laidlaw introduced Agency Oasis’ three forms of personalization: systemic (requiring active visitor participation), rules-based (offering configurable conditions that match to available content) and predictive (based on behaviors, click patterns and specific actions). He also gave Agency Oasis’ guidelines for brands planning to personalize: identify content objects in the user experience phase that serve as dynamic objects for users; identify personas—customers, regions, brand consciences; tag and categorize content; create rules to track and organize content variations; and always prepare to revise.

Thornburn described Smiths Medical’s experiences working with Agency Oasis to reengineer their online experience. He discussed their customers’ journey through their website and the company’s persona mapping process, resulting in an information architecture featuring significant personalization opportunities based on their logins, IP addresses and browsing history—all of which quickly connect their customers to the right people in their organization.

“The event offered a rare moment of clarity and insight into the different aspects of ‘personalization’ in an industry where buzz terms and phrases can seemingly appear from thin air,” said Thornburn about the evening. “The underlying message across the evening was ‘walk before you run’—when approaching personalization, you must keep your customers in mind at all times.”

“Technology is enabling forward-thinking brands to create highly personal experiences that transcend physical limitations,” said Cherouny. “The event offered audience members a glimpse at some of the more innovative and potent ways in which this is happening. VSA looks forward to engaging in this dialogue further as the practice of personalization evolves.”

Learn much more about Sitecore at Agency Oasis’ Sitecore Development Blog and follow VSA on Twitter to find out about more specialized events happening at VSA in 2014.