How to Plan for Your First xDB Implementation

So, you’ve just bought Sitecore and are ready for your first implementation. You’ve heard how great xDB is, and all the cool things it can do for you. How do you prepare for its use?

At Launch

Tracking

At launch of the site you should be ready for personalization, but shouldn’t be customizing anything at that time. This is a time to baseline site performance, and to gather information. All tracking & scoring should be turned on for xDB, but no (or very few) actions should trigger events.

Personas

All base level personas should be defined, and in place. It should be reportable that X number of USER A came to the site versus Y number of USER B. The score cards for each persona should be collecting scores. You should be able to find out what programs are generating more interest on the site.

Immediate Post Launch

Planning

This is when to plan for the future personalizations of your site. What are your personalization goals? What modules are ripe to be customized. How much screen real estate do we wish to change based on a user’s segmentation. Remember – small changes can have very large impact.

Ongoing

Tracking

Tracking may need to be updated. We may require more information on the user journey. What else can be tracked to supply useful information.

Personas

Do you need new personas? Are your personas granular enough to segment your visitors correctly?

Planning

Keep an open mind. Changes can be made quickly and cheaply. Don’t be afraid to experiment, and react. The Experience Editor can automatically be set to chose a winner in your A/B tests, based on your pre-set criteria.

Conclusion

Personalization is an ongoing process. Don’t be afraid to be adventurous. Try something, if it doesn’t yield the results you expect, try something else – the cost is relatively low. xDB is very powerful, and Sitecore have kept the tool flexible and lightweight as it needs to be.

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