Philadelphia SUG Meetup – February 2017: Personalization to Presentation Details

The Philly SUG had a great meetup this past Wednesday (2/22/17). This meeting was geared towards both marketers and developers alike as it balanced marketing and tech perfectly. The topics this time around were: Personalize using PXM; Personalization, A Love Story: Creating an Amazon like experience; and Navigating Presentation Details.

J.D. Little from Sitecore along with PCA lead the discussion of personalization and the PXM (Print Experience Manager). As someone who once was the Director of Web Development for a large magazine, this product resonating with me. If only I could turn back time and make this available back in 2001. Many from the world of Sitecore are familiar with PXM but I don’t think many were utilizing in the ways the J.D. Little described. Most are aware that PXM works as a connector so that Sitecore content can easily be utilized within InDesign. This means that there is a single source of truth for both print and web. That has always been the basic use case in my mind, but J.D. did a great job of opening my eyes to a world of additional possibilities. Personalizing print increases responses rates dramatically and it can be a lot more than incorporating a name into the print. Think of it from a magazine’s perspective. Editors debate all the time what will be the most effective cover image for the monthly issue. Some pictures appeal more/less to various demographics, so why not apply the rules engine to utilize the demographics of the user to deliver a cover image that will be most appealing to them. I’m sure as a developer I’m only scratching the surface of the possibilities but I plan to give PXM a real deep dive in the near future to see how I can leverage it for Mathematica.

Next up was a cocky SOB talking about personalization – his name – Scott Freeman. Oh wait that’s me! I can’t really speak to how good/bad the presentation was as the presenter, but I felt that the crowd seemed to connect with the topic. The presentation was how Mathematica applied content taxonomy tags, user patterns, and trending content to get the right content in front of the right eyeballs at the right time. It solved the problem of low user engagement on internal pages by scoring the trending content based on every piece of valuable data that Sitecore knew about. This included the content that was currently being viewed (# of matching taxonomy tags), the user pattern of the visitor (xDB), and the top 100 trending content items (# of pageviews). Scott applied this to a weighted algorithm to provide an Amazon-like experience. Slides of presentation.

Last but not least, Zach Kniebel presented on ‘Navigating Presentation Details’. This was very informative for those that haven't played too much with versioned layouts which is available in the newer versions of Sitecore. He explained the workflow of how Sitecore now renders an item’s presentation. It is far more complex of a flow now that versioning has been introduced. Finally he walked us through various design patterns that are used within Sitecore. He discussed the pros and cons of each design and talked about various accelerators that utilized them such as SCORE and SXA (S-E-X-Y).

As always, I want to thank Delphic Digital for hosting this event! Ashley Bernard has been doing an amazing job of keeping the user group organized and this event was a great example of how far the group has come.