While getting personalization right offers huge benefits, only one in 25 marketing departments are highly effective at creating digitally personalized content for customers throughout the brand experience. Why is that?

Many factors go into getting personalization right or wrong — including technology, resources, and strategy — but one of the most overlooked is also one of the most critical: building and evolving the right team.

In this blog, I consider two extremes of the personalization spectrum: The Lean Team and The Enterprise Team. Whether you’re on one end or somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, understanding the roles and skills needed, and how they all relate, is the starting place for creating, maintaining, and evolving a personalization dream team.

The Lean Team model

If your organization is a bit smaller, you’re strapped for resources, or you’re just interested in personalizing one channel (say, your website), we recommend building what we call the “Lean Team.”

The Lean Team contains three members:

  • Executive Sponsor
  • CX Lead
  • Marketing Engineer

Executive Sponsor

The Executive Sponsor is the decision maker. This person needs to be able to escalate issues, get budgets approved, build executive-level buy-in, and clear the path for your personalization team to hit the ground running. Because personalization affects so many parts of the business, the executive sponsor needs to be able to work across teams and influence other departments.

During the initial phases, we recommend the executive sponsor spend roughly one quarter of their time working on personalization.

CX Lead

Next, we recommend empowering a CX Lead. This person could be from the CX team, marketing, or product – it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that this person understands the problem you’re trying to solve with personalization from your customers’ perspective.

For example, perhaps you want to increase conversions on your website with personalized urgency messages. The CX Lead needs to understand customers inside and out: how are they spending their time on the site? How are they navigating across pages? What feedback are they providing?

The key here is the CX Lead needs to view personalization from a holistic lens that considers customer goals in addition to business goals.

Marketing Engineer

The third member of your personalization Lean Team is your Marketing Engineer. We recommend someone who has a bit of JavaScript, CSS, and HTML under their belt so they can make things happen on the front-end of the website. The marketing engineer is there to tag up the website, build integrations, and work in close partnership with the CX Lead to execute the personalization game plan.

The Enterprise Team

Now let’s look at a potential team structure for a larger organization. The Enterprise Team model works well for organizations with lots of resources, as well as for those that want to set up omnichannel personalization across all channels — such as websites, mobile apps, email, and a call center.

Executive Sponsor

In this set up, we still have a core team with an Executive Sponsor. But at this scale, the Executive Sponsor is spending a bit more time on personalization efforts than in the Lean Team given that this project will touch so many groups — marketing, sales, analytics, digital, data.

CX Lead

You’ll still want a CX Lead. But here we recommend empowering someone who is a bit more senior in the role, such as a director-level individual with a team. They can oversee CX efforts by channel — web, email, app, call center. Or they could oversee them by business goal — acquisition, onboarding, and retention. Again, the key here is that the CX Lead maintains a holistic viewpoint across the entire customer journey.

Project Manager

Given the scale of the project at this level, you’ll want to pull in a Project Manager to keep everything and everyone organized. At this scale, you’ll likely have an email development team, a web development team, and an app development team. The core team will need members of each of these teams to do specific things they can’t do themselves. By keeping everything organized, the project manager ensures everyone has the right requirements and deliverables.


We also recommend pulling in an Analyst — someone who can take a deep dive into Google Analytics, HubSpot, Sitecore Analytics, and whatever other tools your business is using to measure web performance. If you’re running a lot of A/B tests and other experiments, the analyst can help you understand and interpret things like p-values and optimal traffic allocation. The analyst can also ensure that all teams are looking at the same information.

In addition to the core team, you will likely want to leverage pooled resources across other departments. Depending on the channels you’re personalizing, you’ll want to pull in marketing engineers with channel specific skills. Similarly, you’ll also want to pull in channel and functional leads. For example, the website product manager and mobile app product manager can each take ownership and facilitate these projects within their respective areas.

Just get started

As noted in the beginning, these two examples — The Lean Team and The Enterprise Team — are two ends of a wide spectrum. Now that you know the optimal skillsets and roles for each, you can begin to look at your organization and think through what’s needed, how to work with what you have, and how to best secure new resources, if needed. As I hope I made clear by the Lean Team model, it doesn’t take a massive team to get personalization running and delivering ROI. It just takes a team committed to seeing its results realized.

Whether you’re just beginning your personalization journey or looking to level up an already mature strategy, we have the solutions and strategic support to help you become a personalization master.

John Massie is a Sitecore Product Marketing Manager who focuses on Sitecore CDP and Sitecore Personalize. Follow him on LinkedIn