• Understanding the customer to the core
  • Understanding the customer to the core

    Paige O'Neill talks about measuring the right values in customer interactions

    "It has got more competitive and that is exciting," says Paige O'Neill, CMO for Sitecore, the San Francisco headquartered digital experience and content management systems (CMS) provider. 

    Paige O'Neill

    O'Neill joined Sitecore in the summer of 2018 and says the last three to four years has seen Sitecore expand significantly and since 2011 has been on a major acquisition spree. Its most recent deals being consultancy Hedgehog in 2019, marketing technology provider Stylelabs in 2018 and Komfo a social media marketing business in Sitecore's native Denmark in 2015. 

    On joining the business, which moved the majority of its operations to San Francisco in 2015, O'Neill began to build an ability to market to the C-suite of major enterprises.  "Sitecore was well known to the developer and technologist communities, but they hadn't made the transition to talk to the C-Suite and they had not stated their point of view to this community," she says.  Today Sitecore has marketing messaging across the entire spectrum of the enterprise.  

    "In the first year there was a real focus on the C-suite and we did a lot of thought leadership to make sure we were out there. Now we are reaching out equally to both communities," she says. 

    A key part of this transition has been a focus on content driven marketing and thought leadership, but with a major focus on analysing the performance of content. "There is a content crisis where for a lot of organisations there is not enough insight," she says of how a content programme must be tied to measurable outcomes.  

    Alongside the content O'Neill is an advocate of spending as much time with the customer as possible. "I am out talking to customers to discuss their experiences," she says.  Adding: "We worked to really understand the the different types of customer and then we have mapped the marketing KPIs to difference stages that the customer was coming to us at," she says of using metrics to optimise each and every part of customer interaction on their journey with the technology marketing team. 

    "So we have KPIs on personalisation and we look at how this can change calls to action for example. We have done some tremendous work on our pipeline and this year we are working to build up the conversation," she says of each step tailors improvements to the next level of a marketing programme. 


    As a provider of digital experience software, inevitably the CMO uses the Sitecore offering. The CMO admits to initially being unsure of the value artificial intelligence (AI) would offer technology marketing leaders, but says she sees developments in the technology now that will make a major difference to her peers.  "My viewpoint has evolved in the last year; AI is promising to be a big saviour in terms of the levels of automation it offers," she says, adding that AI could benefit areas like the content that technology marketing leaders manage to increase the personalisation and effectiveness.  

    "AI does have tremendous promise, but we as marketing teams will have to do the work initially to get rid of silos," she says of the need for good marketing, data and information management. 

    "The skill set has really changed in the 25 years I have been in technology marketing leadership and in many ways now it is highly specialised. Each person in the team has a technology that they use and specialise in, so this means we are going to be extremely data driven," she says of how her team of 90 is shaped by the technology it uses to deliver results. 

    Prior to joining Sitecore in 2018 O'Neill spent two and half years with software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider Prysm. Sitecore is not O'Niell's first experience of the digital experience sector, prior to joining Prysm she was CMO for SDL for just over two years and before that she was Vice President of Marketing for Aprimo, a maker of demand generation technology. The CMO has also worked for Aravo Solutions, Green Road Technologies, PHH and spent eight years in various marketing roles with Oracle. 


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    About Mark Chillingworth

    Mark Chillingworth is Contributing Editor to Tech Marketers and one of Europe's leading CIO Editors


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