8.1 reasons to upgrade to Sitecore 8.1


89% of marketing leaders expect to compete primarily on the basis of customer experience by 2016, as compared with 36% four years ago. (Gartner)


It is the Age of the Consumer, which means that if you aren't putting your customers at the heart of every brief - you need to change your thinking (and most certainly, your website). We share the mantra of putting customers at the core of what we do, which is why we are particularly excited about Sitecore's latest release.

The Sitecore® Experience Platform™ 8.1 provides marketers with the tools they need to create the remarkable customer experience they need to stay at the top of their game.

If you are currently on a previous version of Sitecore and value customer experience, it is time to start looking at upgrading.


Two 8.1 platforms are now available:


The Sitecore Experience Management (XM) system, allows users to start only with Sitecore’s top-rated web content management system and its in-session personalization.

Sitecore Experience Platform (XP) - XP takes a lot of pressure off of IT support by providing marketing teams with easy-to-use analytics, testing and optimization, personalization, and content management capabilities.


Here are 8.1 reasons we think you should updgrade to Sitecore XP 8.1:


#1 A Better Customer Experience

A Better Customer Experience 


In the ever-evolving digital world, it is more important than ever to focus on how you communicate with your customer – and to connect with them on a personal level. This is exactly why Content Management Systems are now being called Customer Experience Platforms. It reflects an increasing customer-centric view by brands and businesses who place customer’s experiences at the top of their value chain.

The latest release of the Sitecore® Experience Platform™, Version 8.1, has put years of industry experience to the test in order to ensure that Sitecore users have the right tools to deliver highly customer-centric experiences that will help win loyal customers.


Putting Marketing Into Context

Sitecore: "Delivering the right information to the right person in the right place and at the right time, based on the sum total of that person’s past behaviors and current needs, is the only way to stay relevant. Sitecore, calls this context marketing and believes it is "the only way to manage a customer experience in which the customer is in charge".


We agree.


Context marketing is extremely important and requires a platform that meets these three criteria (as laid out by Sitecore).

 Integrated Content Management: The 8.1 content management function is built from the ground up to integrate with other parts of the platform and makes it possible for content to be automatically delivered at-scale across any channel.

 Contextual Intelligence: Quality customer analytics must capture individual visitor data in order to enable targeted and truly personalized experiences.

 Omnichannel Automation: Marketing automation should extend beyond email and landing pages— it is 2016. It correlate with real-time behaviors and on-the-spot decision making so you can customize the experience across multiple touch points.


Sitecore 8.1 - tick, tick, tick.


#2 Personalisation

Persona Building  


Personalisation is key to guaranteeing a better customer experience, so this ranks high up our list of reasons why you should be upgrading to Sitecore 8.1.


Sitecore Experience Management 8.1

The new edition addresses the needs of those who are primarily interested in Sitecore’s content management system (the Sitecore® Web Experience Manager). This system’s market-leading content management functionality is what we love most about this upgrade.

In-session personalisation—Delivers targeted, relevant content to visitors by setting personalisation rules that test details about the visitor. Device Detection lets you automatically detect and optimize content for visitors’ devices, and Geo IP Detection lets you personalise based on physical visitor location

The Sitecore Experience Platform 8.1 combines Sitecore’s Experience Management with advanced functionality to deliver one integrated marketing system that utilises key customer information that will allow you to create highly personalised experiences for each customer.

Contextual personalisation— The new platform collects intelligent data from all customer interactions (current, past, even offline) across all channel sources in a real-time, big data repository. That way, you can deliver an experience in context of how customers interacted with your brand yesterday, last week, in the last seconds.


#3 Add-On Functionality

Sitecore’s version 8.1 allows for even more integrations with other tools with these add-on functionalities:


Sitecore Commerce

Sitecore’s Commerce add-on provides native capabilities such as order management and product catalog management, and integrates product search, shopping cart interactions, and purchasing into the Sitecore® Experience Database™ to give you a complete customer view.

Print Experience Manager (PXM)

PXM allows users to personalize print documents in real time. This means that content can be shared from the web in a streamlined, custom manner. Tight integration between the Print Experience Manager and Adobe® InDesign® ensures that personalized publishing from dynamic data is simple and automated.

Email Experience Manager (EXM)

Sitecore’s EXM enables users to combine email with everything you know about your customer and their experience with your brand, and subsequently tailor every email interaction with the utmost precision.


#4 Ease of Use = Lower Training Costs


Sitecore 8.1 Ease of Use


When it comes to the functionality of any website, particularly commerce - simplicity is key.

Sitecore 8.0 (released in 2014), provided a new UI that was consistent across the entire Sitecore Experience Platform, making working within Sitecore easier than ever before. This meant lowering training costs for users and the costly time for IT support.

The additions from Sitecore 8.1 include the ability to customize your users’ experiences based on their location, and optimize their load times and display based on the device they are using. Sitecore also introduced a new, easier way of doing business with Sitecore with its two versions of the 8.1 platform.


#5 360* Customer Analytics

Keeping up with customer demands and truly understanding your customer’s needs are vital to your company’s successful marketing strategy. Working across multiple tech platforms for analytics can make it nearly impossible to get the big-picture.

Sitecore 8.1's 360* customer analytics gives marketers the foundation to create an integrated user experience that enables both the business and marketing teams to remain relevant and effective by being able to see a real-time snapshot of how customers are interacting with your brand; whether it is yesterday, last year or in the last few seconds.


#6 - Support

More of a necessity than a benefit. If you are currently using Sitecore 6.x, it is extremely important ot know that Sitecore 6.x is now out of mainstream support.

Sitecore: “You’ll no longer receive free support for errors and unexpected behaviour during development, compatibility fixes for supported platforms or hot-fixes, and patches for product defects”


#7 - Automatic Testing

Sitecore 7.x allowed marketers to test content themselves, which was brilliant. But Sitecore 8.x now allows marketers to automatically test every edit and analysing the results. To help with ease of use, 8.1 makes it easy accept or reject any suggestions made.


#8 - Your Marketing Team Will Thank You

Marketing team will thank you for using Sitecore 8.1


In addition to its ease of use, your marketing team has virtually every tool they need to execute a brilliant marketing plan. A few of it's gems across both the Sitecore Experience Management and Sitecore Experience Platforms include:

Reusable content— Share one piece of content across a multitude of digital channels with content decoupled from presentation mode.

Multisite management—Share content, presentations, and modules with Sitecore 8.1's central management and monitoring across multiple sites.

Multilingual content—Presents the right language to the right customers regardless of their digital channel. Content authors manage and write multilingual content in one place, without having to jump between multiple language sites.

Marketing automation— This functionality can help organize marketing activities in a meaningful, structured way, as well as engagement plans and email management. Marketing teams can use automated marketing to nurture relationships with visitors by adapting communication to each stage in the customer journey.


#8.1 - Your customers will thank you, too.



Are you ready to upgrade?

Get in touch with Lab’s award-winning Sitecore team at hello@lab.co.uk, and they will walk you through the new platform and tell you how it can improve your customer experience and increase revenue.


Paige Guyan - Marketing Manager at Lab

By Paige Guyan

Paige brings a decade of marketing experience to Lab. Paige has been a published journalist in the American music and fashion industries, and is now an Inbound Certified marketing professional within the UK digital community.

Keep up with Paige on Twitter @paigeguyan.

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