September 07, 2016 by Mike Shaw

What to Think when Developing Profiles and Patterns in Sitecore

When it comes to Sitecore marketing strategies, profiles and patterns are among of the most complicated to grasp and control. In the beginning, setting up patterns requires that businesses make several "assumptions" about the actual make-up of the customer. Ideally these hypotheses are informed by supporting data from historic analytics, customer interviews, previous personas, and so on. Over time we measure the rates at which patterns are matched by actual visitors. But there is a major flaw in this set-up; if the pattern review only looks to iterate and not fix fundamental assumptions then the marketing strategy may have serious issues.

Because visitors are real people, it’s not possible to fit all of them into a subset of predefined boxes. That’s the fundamental flaw in pattern creation: businesses are dictating the behavioral make up of a specific pattern to the visitors themselves. Creating a true picture of a customer base, as well as customers individually, requires patience, high attention to detail, and most importantly, flexibility.

Patterns can be incredibly useful, and many companies want to adopt all of this at once. But a good digital strategy doesn’t happen overnight; it needs time to mature. We need to change the way we look at profiles and patterns, adjusting from a strategy that matches visitors to our pattern to one that allows visitors to tell us what their interests are and fine-tuning for that over time.

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