Johnson Controls is the global leader for smart, healthy, and sustainable housing and buildings. Their mission is to reimagine the performance of buildings to serve people, places, and the planet. During a breakout session at Sitecore Symposium 2022 in Chicago, Erica Deitzel, Director Digital Marketing at Johnson Controls, and Steven Lamensdorf, Senior Vice President of Customer Experience at Icreon shared all the key details of what Johnson Controls is doing to enhance the customer experience.

Navigating a complex ecosystem

After merging with security systems company Tyco International in 2016, Johnson Controls faced the complicated task of managing over 300 public-facing websites. These websites were hosted on various platforms and were at different stages of maturity and strategy. This complex and siloed ecosystem represented a huge internal cost, not only in monetary terms, but there were also major pain points for the company’s customers and marketers.

Customers had trouble finding the sites, and when they did, their experience was disjointed and inconsistent. Meanwhile, marketers were having to use up to 12 different technologies to create lead generation campaigns.

Combined, these issues were getting in the way of progress. Johnson Controls needed a new approach. Taking a step back, they looked at their tech stack, not only the solutions responsible for web content, but also for product content, and their marketing collateral.

Delivering a coherent customer experience

Having already used Sitecore 9 for their flagship site, the company trusted Sitecore Experience Accelerator (SXA) to support their growth strategy, their customers, and their employees. With SXA, Johnson Controls could take the complexity out of what they were sharing with the public and deliver a coherent customer experience. The solution’s shared codebase and design pattern library allows them to spin off new sites and campaigns quickly and efficiently. The platform also empowers Johnson Controls’ marketers to own their websites. They no longer need to be overly dependent on IT. Marketers can run at speed and do what they do best – marketing to their customers and driving growth.

The Sitecore-powered solution helps talent development – instead of spending time learning new technologies, employees and teams can channel their energy into strategizing and building out great programs. In addition, SXA enables the company to embrace best practices for SEO, compliance, security, and GDPR, with specific features built into templates that give marketers peace of mind.

So far, around 40 of Johnson Controls’ sites are on SXA and another eight are set to launch this fiscal year.

A strong vendor and partner ecosystem

Partnering with Accenture made it possible for Johnson Controls to build a strong foundation for progress. They have extended that journey further with Icreon, who is supporting their strategy to evolve and advance at scale.

Lamensdorf referenced a recent McKinsey survey, in which 83% of global CEOs said they look to marketing to be a major driver for most or all of a company’s growth.

Commenting that the modern marketer is “savvier, more digitally native, and they need to be set up for speed, collaboration, and true customer focus”, he said Icreon’s focus for Johnson Controls was strategy, insights, content, customer experience, and personalization.

Building on success and adding value

Each one of Johnson Controls’ 300 or so websites was a unique brand. Icreon carried out analysis on these sub-brands, both quantitative, and qualitative. Some businesses were still hosting legacy content from 10 years ago. It was necessary to change the narrative, create content interactivity without building something new, and add more value to what was already there.

Sites for brands including Tyco, Verasys, and Ansul were transformed within six weeks. They are consistent, easy to navigate, feature interactive components, and users have the freedom and ability to self-discover. Marketers have control over page layout and can deliver unique narratives.

Guiding principles for large scale marketing transformation

Rounding out the session, Deitzel walked through the guiding principles required for large scale marketing transformation:

  • Be agents for change for the new transformation — get people to think differently, not just your marketing teams, but also your product teams
  • Realize that one coherent brand experience is greater than individualized siloed experiences
  • Don’t reinvent the wheel, leverage the shared features
  • Remain within the lanes of lead generation – build a community with social media, PR, marketing automation, CRM and data teams so that you have a feedback loop and can build trust
  • Consistency builds advocacy through trust and ease of use
  • Learn from the past, celebrate differences, focus on the future – just because it worked two years ago, doesn’t mean it’s still an effective approach

Why choose SXA?

  • It is customer focused. Customer-centric experiences lead to greater ROI from website content and marketing
  • A shared platform establishes a position and expectation in the marketplace for all business units
  • Cohesive measurement and benchmarks create accountability for both internal and external partners
  • Improved funnels: Ability to tunnel in on each step of the customer journey
  • Reduced cost of ownership: Every new site and functionality is more economic than the last
  • Enabled self-service: Self-service for internal and external stakeholders

Learn more about Sitecore Experience Accelerator and how it can help your UX and design teams improve the customer experience.

Fiona Hilliard is a Content Marketing Manager at Sitecore. Connect with her on LinkedIn.