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Sitecore 10: What’s new for digital marketers and web teams

  • By Bryan Archer (CTO)
Bryan Archer (CTO)

Over the Summer, Sitecore 10 was released, bringing with it a range of new features and capabilities which will be of interest to both developers and digital marketing teams.

In my first post, we looked at how features around container support and content serialisation will deliver value for development teams. Now it’s the turn of digital marketers and what Sitecore 10 delivers for them.

One of the reasons we love working with Sitecore is the continuing investment in the platform. Each new release brings new capabilities, but also enhancements and fixes that are driven by customer feedback. The emphasis in this Sitecore 10 release is on real-world improvements of existing features rather than just new and shiny additions – this means the whole package will bring great value to marketing teams. For example, the power to properly paste from Word into Sitecore’s editing experiences alone will be worth the price of entry for some teams!

Let’s explore some of the main enhancements that are bundled in Sitecore 10.

More integration between Sitecore Content Hub and the main Experience Platform

Sitecore’s Content Hub is a relatively new product that emerged from Sitecore’s acquisition of Stylelabs in 2018, and introduced a bundle of content management related features to the platform, including:

  • Digital Asset Management
  • Various content marketing capabilities including campaign and content calendar
  • A Marketing Resource Management module
  • A more niche offering based around product marketing for those with a complex product or service catalogue.

As time has gone by, Sitecore has increasingly integrated the Content Hub into the main Sitecore Experience Platform. While this may not be seamless just yet, Sitecore 10 promises better integration, especially for content editors during the editing experience, and in sharing taxonomy items between XP and the Content Hub.

Sitecore Content Hub itself went through a recent standalone upgrade (3.4), and the combination of enhancements and better integration with Sitecore 10 makes it an investment worth considering for digital marketing teams with more complex content needs, and those who wish to evolve and extend their Sitecore ecosystem.     

Improvements to the Horizon editor

For marketers, the most exciting feature in Sitecore 9.3 was the introduction of the Horizon Editor. At the time, I described this as the star of the show – a brand new editing experience that eliminates some of the frustrations associated with the Experience Editor, which can be slow at times and is also prone to some quirks. 

Horizon brings a great interface with lots of useful capabilities like autosave, and provides straightforward access to marketing capabilities such as personalisation and A/B testing, as well as analytics. The closer proximity of marketing features to the editing experience makes a lot of sense, especially if Horizon ends up being the editing experience of choice for marketers. Horizon also consistently performs well and is remarkably quick. Given this, over the next few releases, Horizon may eventually supersede the Experience Editor.

Unsurprisingly, Sitecore 10 adds a little more power to Horizon, with support for numerous languages, the capacity to switch between multiple sites as well as choose assets from Sitecore Content Hub. For digital marketing teams with multiple sites or using more than one language, these are the kind of features that will encourage teams to switch to the Horizon editor.

Personalisation added to Sitecore XM

Sitecore’s personalisation capabilities are often why marketing teams choose to invest in the product, but there are a surprising number that only end up running very limited personalisation, or even just using it as a CMS. Sitecore is keen to get as many clients started on personalisation using these features as possible, and has recently introduced various capabilities to make this happen, including automated approaches.

In Sitecore 10, personalisation is now a core feature of Sitecore Experience Manager (XM) which is Sitecore’s CMS-only offering; it’s great to see barriers to getting started with your personalisation journey being removed. Additionally, there are a few enhancements that should contribute to better performance and load times for personalised pages, as Sitecore has cut down the chatter and traffic going on behind the scenes. 

Segmentation enhancements

Analytics and the ability to segment customers to enable targeting and personalisation are some of Sitecore’s primary strengths, so it makes sense that Sitecore 10 allows you to slice and dice your analytics by implementing different audience segments. This enables teams to better ascertain audience behaviour and the value this brings, as well as allowing segmentation numbers to appear in web reporting and associated improvement processes. 

Better support for privacy around Sitecore Forms

Sitecore 9.3 saw various enhancements around Sitecore Forms, and version 10 builds on this, particularly in supporting privacy and GDPR. We do quite a bit of work with law firms and other professional services, and we can see these changes being of interest in such sectors.

You can now mark fields as including Personal Identifiable Information (PII), whereby Sitecore automatically ensures that this information is anonymised, for example in Sitecore xDB, and is not viewable to admins. It also means you can execute the right to be forgotten far more effectively and comprehensively with great confidence. . When something is deleted, it’s really deleted, so you don’t have to caveat messages to customers with dissatisfying references to time delays that could cause alarm.

There’s also more support for consent and identifying the level of consent a person has given to any information that you are accessing, providing more confidence in ensuring that marketing teams deliver on their GDPR commitments.

Pasting from Word

For some digital marketing teams, a continual frustration in the past was the inability to easily paste content from Word directly into the Content Editor or Experience Editor without formatting headaches and reams of unwanted HTML.  Sitecore 10 has corrected that, and I know some clients will be VERY happy about this. It also  helps busy central marketing teams who are seeking to decentralise content management processes to non-marketing users who are more likely to prepare their content in Word, paste it into the editor, and then ask the central marketing team to make more advanced changes.

Other enhancements

There are a range of other improvements worth noting, including:

  • The introduction of new email templates
  • Additions to marketing automation, including the ability to introduce rules based on birthdays (expect those “Happy Birthday” messages from your favourite brands…)
  • More support for connecting Sitecore to Salesforce Marketing Cloud
  • New product bundling capabilities added to Sitecore Experience Commerce 10.

Any questions? Get in touch or book a demo!

The changes in Sitecore 10 will help marketing teams across a number of different elements and ensure Sitecore continues to add value. If you have any questions about the new features in Sitecore 10 or whether to upgrade, then why not get in touch?

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