SDL Mobile’s Context Engine Cartridge – It’s About Context

When we think about how prevalent smart phones and devices are nowadays it’s no wonder tech companies are building out solution offerings to meet the demand.

Mobile delivery means different things to different folks. For example, I’m very happy going the responsive design route here on my personal blog. I don’t get a lot of traffic and I have nothing to sell.  If however I ran an e-commerce website I would be more concerned about customer satisfaction and conversion rates and thus performance. I might be better off having more of an adaptive website that optimizes the assets returned to mobile users as the request is coming in and not after it’s already been returned.

Both responsive design and adaptive delivery have their strong points and can often be used together.

Responsive Design
Adaptive Delivery

SDL doesn’t discriminate against either solution and they will happily develop your site to use both approaches if necessary. We are however a CXM (Customer Experience Management) company. As a result we are always interested in the customer journey and the customer’s experience through that journey. SDL Mobile is not just about serving up the same ECM managed content in different templates for different devices. It can be, but it also takes into account that customers prefer their web experience to be tailored to them.

It’s not just about mobile, it’s about context.

If we already know who a customer is then we can personalize the content in the response. If you record any information about known users or anonymous uses then that information can and probably should be used to personalize content on your site.

A subset of the information that SDL can use to personalize a web site response
  • age-range of user
  • sex of user
  • geographical location of user
  • family member demographics and totals
  • past purchasing behaviour of user
  • past purchasing behaviour of anonymous users with similar browsing habits
  • past clicks on email campaigns
  • past conversions as a result of email and offline campaigns
  • predictive analytics
  • browser characteristics – JavaScript support, JS version, CSS support, CSS version, etc.
  • device characteristics – touch enabled, retina display, display with, display height, vendor, etc.
  • operating system characteristics

This is not a definitive list and it can include any information that you already know about your customers. SDL CMA is a product that able to build a single customer view from any number of disparate sources of information:

  • web analytics
  • email campaign response information – opens, clicks, time of day, purchases as a result of a campaign
  • social media – mentions, campaign codes
  • customer information
  • customer purchase information
  • etc..

SDL CMA gives marketers the tools to QUICKLY analyse millions of records in an intuitive interface. The reports and graphs that are generated are used to identify segments of users that you would like to target. Once identified the tool will allow you run campaigns against these users,. Campaigns can be email, offline direct mail or specifically for the web.

A contrived example might be that you want to sell more tablet computers. The marketer uses the SDL CMA single customer view to identify customers that have previously purchased tablet computers. They then use the tool to identify customers who have similar characteristics to those that previously bought a tablet. It’s clear that the bulk of customers that bought a tablet are married with one or more children older than 4 years old. The reports also point to the fact that customers in the Midwest tend to purchase more. The marketer can now identify a segment of users that match these characteristics but have not yet purchased a tablet. This target group can them used in an email campaign and/or be sent to SDL Tridion to be used for personalization.

In SDL Tridion this segment of users is represented as a Context Expression in a Target Group. Target Groups in Tridion can be applied to Content Presentations by Content Editors and the expressions themselves are also available to developers in the delivery tier. When a request comes in for a page Tridion will evaluate the Context Expression against what it can determine about the current user making the request. The result is that you can personalize the content on a page to highlight the latest greatest tablet you have for sale on your site. This will only be displayed to users that match your segment.

These contextual expressions are created by marketing, used by content editors and enjoyed by website users. It’s not just about mobile, it’s about context.

Whilst satisfying the request we have a wealth of device, browser and OS information that can still be used to personalize the look and feel of the site. You can still use those shiny new responsive designs that you worked hard on getting developed.

The main takeaway is that you should be thinking about how you can use the wealth of information gathered everyday about your customers. This information has historically been difficult to leverage because it usually resides in different silos. With the integration between SDL CMA and SDL Tridion you are now able to personalize your website content based on who is viewing your site and on what device.



Peter Joles

With 14 years of experience in the IT Sector, Peter Joles is an expert in Enterprise Content Management. He has and continues to work with numerous large international clients. Peter has been involved in numerous IT projects that have taken him to the shores of Europe, Australia, South Africa and the United States. Born in South Africa, Peter moved and lived in the UK for 11 years where he worked supporting, delivering and selling Content Management to a variety of large enterprise customers. In 2010 Peter and his family moved to the US where he is currently a Technical Account Manager for SDL.

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