In the dynamic landscape of marketing technology, we continue to hear that staying ahead of the competition through customer experience is a main priority for practitioners in all industries.

In this spirit, we are thrilled to announce that Sitecore has been recognized as a Leader in the 2023 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Personalization Engines. This recognition reflects our commitment to providing top-notch personalization and customer experience capabilities as a standalone product.

We view this as a critical milestone of our innovation strategy and I want to dig deeper into Gartner's report and explore why personalization engines matter for brands, the latest trends in personalization, and some key considerations when moving to a personalization engine.

What's a personalization engine, and why does it matter?

Let’s acknowledge something about personalization. In the last five years of speaking with brands in all industries and across six continents, I haven’t had to convince anyone of the value of personalization. Scores of research and metrics have convinced digital practitioners of its benefits, but the blocker has always been everything else around personalization because it’s always been viewed as “marketing’s job”.

Gartner defines personalization engines as technology that empowers brands to craft and deliver tailored experiences for individuals based on their knowledge, intent, and context. These engines play a pivotal role in three key use cases:

  • Marketing: Delivering the right message to the right audience, in the right context, to optimize marketing and advertising performance.
  • Digital commerce: Customizing content, offers, recommendations, and experiences across digital sales channels to boost conversion and online revenue growth.
  • Service and support: Using customer insight and journey context to enhance online and offline experiences, reduce customer effort, and increase customer satisfaction.

These capabilities are supported by various features, including in-session behavior tracking, real-time triggering, user segmentation, testing, and predictive analytics.

What’s the key takeaway here? Personalization is a cross-functional program. It is a discrete commitment by a brand to invest in and deliver a compelling customer experience whose outcome is shared by many.

In contrast to many vendors in the digital marketing industry, we agree with Gartner that personalization does not need to be tied to a specific tool such as a CMS; it should complement and amplify existing capabilities.

Gartner's latest views on personalization

Personalization remains a top priority for marketers. The report highlights that 48% of respondents plan to enhance digital commerce experiences through personalization in the next 18 months. Additionally, 67% of brand leaders have seen their ROI expectations exceeded when delivering personalized, contextualized brand messages. These statistics underscore the importance of personalization engines in today's marketing landscape.

However, challenges persist. The report indicates that less than one-third of marketing technology leaders have what they need to orchestrate personalized journeys across multiple channels successfully. This gap suggests a lack of organizational commitment or a mismatch between personalization tools and strategic ambitions.

Unveiling the 2023 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Personalization Engines

In this year's Magic Quadrant, Sitecore has been recognized as a Leader. Our Personalization Engine focuses on marketing and customer experience personalization across four core modules:

We’re particularly pleased that our investments made in prior years have been noticed in the market. For example, 18 months ago, we introduced Sitecore360 as an outcome-based assurance service to ensure our clients achieve predefined outcomes. From a product capability, we’re expanding our capabilities like content search and audience sharing to cater to a broader range of industry needs.

And for the second year in a row, our unique decisioning canvas was noted as setting us apart, enabling us to support diverse and complex client use cases. As transformational technology advances such as Generative AI continue to mature, we believe Sitecore represents tremendous long-term value for brands and our approach to personalization, in particular our design of the decision canvas, which will enable our customers to quickly take advantage of breakthroughs as they occur.

What to think about next

As you contemplate adopting a personalization strategy that is omnichannel and not tied to a specific monolith architecture, Gartner advises you to consider the following guiding principles:

  • Alignment with goals: Ensure that your choice aligns with your strategic marketing and customer experience objectives. Identify the specific use cases and outcomes you aim to achieve. Sitecore offers many services to help you create the vision and business case aligned to the outcomes you want. Talk with your account team today.
  • Composability: Explore vendors' approaches to personalization composability and determine how they fit your organization's needs and martech architecture strategy. Personalization has always been a strength of Sitecore, and we are building on this legacy by making the power of Sitecore personalization easier to insert into your technology stack.
  • Anonymous personalization: Assess the vendor's capabilities in addressing the challenge of personalizing experiences for anonymous visitors. Being able to meet the needs of the customer ‘in the moment’ is crucial as user preferences evolve, and data privacy concerns grow around the world which will hinder the use of cookies or rented data.
  • Support across the customer lifecycle: Evaluate how well the personalization engine supports customers at different stages of their journey, from initial exploration to post-purchase engagement.

Gartner's recognition of Sitecore as a Leader in the 2023 Magic Quadrant for Personalization Engines reaffirms our commitment to delivering cutting-edge solutions in the ever-evolving world of marketing technology. As personalization continues to be a driving force in the industry, we believe Sitecore has the right portfolio of product capabilities and guiding services to help you scope, plan, and deliver on your vision for personalization at your company.

David Schweer is Vice President of Market Insights at Sitecore. Connect with him on LinkedIn.