Dusty Eves


Sitecore Architect with Paragon Consulting

Marketing Stencils — Visitor Insights

Marketing Stencils at a High Level

At the Sitecore Virtual Summit I presented the concept of Marketing Stencils.  Broadly speaking in Sitecore a Marketing Stencil is a content authoring artifact that abstracts aspects of the digital strategy from the authoring experience, empowering a content author to create content for the entire digital experience without needing to understand the digital strategy.

As this article assumes familiarity with the use cases and approach I recommend checking out the Virtual Summit presentation here.

Technical Approach

The goal of Marketing Stencils is the abstraction of the digital strategy into the authoring experience.  The ideal breakdown is to start with the base page authoring stencil and from the base component to create the Marketing Stencils.  One you’ve defined your base authoring experience your next step is to identify the digital strategies you’re looking to manifest with your Marketing Stencils.  There are three basic digital strategy facets you can abstract with marketing stencils: Visitor Insights, Custom Visitor Experience, and Digital Journey Mapping.

Visitor Insights

Starting articles as an example, the subject matter of your articles will very but give you a great deal of insight as to what your visitor is interested.  A visitor reading on your new offerings may well be a buyer.  A visitor reading about new innovations is likely a technical consumer.  For many of these examples you can often express this idea in how you conceptualize your content.  Creating distinct stencils for “New Offering Article” and “Innovations Article” allow you to abstract the audience type directly into the stencil.

The technique for doing this is simple but slightly tricky.  The way we manifest this information in Sitecore is to edit the profile card associated with a particular piece of content.  In designing your authoring experience your authoring artifacts will be either template standard values or branch templates.  In viewing either a branch item or a standard values item we fine the profile card icon in the upper right is conspicuously absent.

Slightly inconvenient but not an impossible problem. When you setup a profile card the relevant data is stored in the “Tracking” field.  If we show all standard fields and scroll down to your tracking we find it under the advanced section.  Unfortunately we’re blocked here to.  In attempting to set the profile we find the profile button here doesn’t respond by bringing up our profile card dialog.

Knowing where it’s stored however gives us what we need.  To setup the proper profile all we need to do is setup our desired profile chard on a piece of throw-away content, extract the field value in raw values mode, and copy it into our authoring stencil.  Viola!  Our content now has it’s target audience built in upon creation!