Code & Platforms

Congratulations, You're Live on AEM ... Now What?

02 Apr 2016, Tony Rems

Your organization set its sights on Digital Transformation, and Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) was at the heart of that vision. These initiatives begin with big dreams of deep and meaningful personalization, streamlined marketing and a brave new world of Digital Marketing. However, by the time the site redesign is in place and AEM is launched, the experience may have been a little rockier and more challenging than you expected. Still, the initial work is done, and you’re live. So what happens next?
More often than not, we see organizations that aren’t prepared to answer that question. Transformation is a journey with many stages. It requires a vision, roadmap and commitment to pushing forward. The resource requirements and timelines are often daunting. The complexity of personalization and the path to integration with the rest of your digital marketing ecosystem can seem unclear.
The first step is twofold: identify the things that you can do to make the biggest impact, gather feedback, and then learn and adapt. If that sounds overwhelming, don’t worry. There are some best practices for creating an impact in the short term while preparing for the future.
We recommend tackling the following 4 key areas first:

The Two-Step to Personalization

A/B Testing Personalization is an invaluable component of Customer Experience Management. However, the truth is that learning how to do deep personalization and building up the resources to create the content, monitor results and optimize can take time. That is why we recommend starting with A/B testing, using Adobe Target, and building from there. Using Adobe Target for A/B testing keeps it from being a development task and puts it in the hands of the Marketing organization. A/B testing of your top pages – home page, product/services pages or other important content – can deliver a huge amount of value. Focus and message optimization is critical to success with A/B testing. The following are the key steps:

  • Identify your most popular content – leverage analytics to identify the pages people are viewing the most. We recommend starting with no more than 5 or 6 content areas.
  • Create alternate content – develop some alternative messaging for those key content areas. Work with product managers to identify different approaches and create alternative messaging for the top content areas.
  • Adobe Target setup – incorporating A/B testing is simple to do, because it only requires placing JavaScript on the key pages. Once this is in place, Marketing can create alternative messages and test without needing developer support. Some HTML or graphics support may be required depending on the page design. You will need to set up the details of the program you want to run: duration, split, etc.
  • Program run – at this point you are ready to run your program. The biggest reason to use Target, aside from taking the development tasks out of A/B testing, is its reporting functionality. With Target reports, you can track how customers are responding to messaging.
  • Messaging optimization – now you can take the results of your Program and determine which messages are driving the results you are looking for and fine-tune your messaging accordingly.

Many large enterprises such as SAP and Cisco have seen some of their highest value results from basic A/B testing and credit the process with increasing lead-generation and conversion significantly. As you move toward deeper personalization, this is an opportunity to get to know Target better. Start by taking the user personas that were developed during the site design effort and tune them for deeper personalization in the future.

Leveraging Analytics

While every successful site redesign involves a fair amount of research to determine what customers want — including a data review, building personas, identifying key customer journeys and developing a content strategy — most projects still rely on certain assumptions about customer needs. Developing effective Customer Experiences starts with a set of assumptions but it doesn’t end there. Leveraging a set of assumptions is what we call Intuition Marketing. Moving on from there, what we think we know about customers needs to be informed by customer behavior and data.
The most common situation we see in new site launches on AEM involves a basic Analytics implementation. The analytics tool generates a set of reports that are sent to key team members and executives. However, analytics are only meaningful when they are used to derive insights and inform actions. Often, the right set of reports — one that enables action — is not available, because it involves data that’s not being tracked in an effective way.
At this point, it is critical to review the KPIs for the site, identify the things that need to be tracked and to update your analytics implementation to track the flows and funnels required to manage your KPIs. In addition, there needs to be an individual or team who is responsible for deriving insights from the analytics and translating those into recommend changes on the site. This may be the single most important process to ensuring long-term success.

DAM Optimization

The Adobe Assets DAM is a powerful tool for managing your digital assets, streamlining the production process and enabling asset search. An initial Assets implementation typically has a base set of folders and some metadata. Once the team has started using the system, there is an opportunity to optimize the way Assets are managed and how users work in the system.
Two of the most powerful constructs in the Adobe Assets DAM are often the most underutilized:

  • Workflows
  • Projects

Workflows enable the automation of tasks and the incorporation of a review and approval process. Projects allow us to create a combination of tasks, workflows and assets that are tied to a specific type of effort and a specific set of users. Trying to define these before the team has used the system is often ineffective, as the team lacks context for their needs. Now that you are live and the team is using the system, there is a great opportunity to optimize the way internal teams and agency partners collaborate. The result should be improved efficiency and more consistency in how assets are created and used.
The following additional key areas can typically be refined to better meet the needs of the organization:

  • Taxonomy and metadata
  • Folder structure and views
  • Renditions

Campaign Integration

E-mail is a critical channel for any type of business in B2C and B2B. Whether you use Adobe Campaign, ExactTarget, Marketo, Eloqua, Salesforce Pardot, or another tool for your e-mail campaigns, e-mail campaigns are an important component of your business. It is a channel that often ends up siloed from your website and content management system, which can not only lead to inconsistencies and repetition in messaging but also leave your email campaigns out of all analytical power being aimed at the rest of your website. Adobe Experience Manager has powerful features that can help unify the experience of your customers, improve and simplify the management and use of digital assets and streamline your campaign-development processes.
Well-planned and executed e-mail campaigns have some of the highest ROI of any digital marketing investment. Paired with your new site on AEM, your organization should be well positioned to start driving the customer journey and increasing your overall conversions, whether those be purchases or lead generation. With AEM, you can begin creating your e-mails in AEM and leveraging the digital assets stored in AEM Assets. Then build out your landing pages and publish the e-mail directly to your Campaign platform. This allows you to take advantage of all the workflows, authoring capabilities and the asset search features of AEM. You can build out controls for review and approval that are consistent and familiar across your marketing team, and you can ensure consistent experiences across your different customer interactions.

Completing the Roadmap

Taking the steps identified here will put your organization on the path to achieving your vision and objectives, but there is still more work to be done. While tackling these tasks, now is also a good time to build a roadmap – or update your existing roadmap. It is critical to remember that when you launch on AEM, it is a Launch, not a Landing. If you take that perspective and leverage this approach, you will be on your way to successful digital transformation in marketing.
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Learn how to increase your Adobe Experience Cloud ROI or contact us to start your digital transformation process.