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MethodFactory Builds New Site on Ektron 9

Every couple of years we redesign and re-architect our public facing website.  We do it primarily because we get bored of looking at it, and often times as a way to try out something new and different. This summer, we did it again on Ektron CMS 9.0.

We started the project with objectives that included:

  •   A fully responsive design.  Our analytics are the same as everyone else's; showing an amazing surge in the amount of traffic from tablets and smartphones.  Our separate mobile-only templates just aren't going to cut it anymore.
  •  A site that can engage with our visitors in the context of what they're researching (as a Marketer, IT professional, Executive)...taking a page from IDEO's continuous conversations play book.
  •   A site that fully integrates with our CRM & demand generation systems.  We use, HubSpot and a custom developed business 'look-back' system. 
  •   A site that leverages a rich taxonomy.  This taxonomy will provide detailed associations between MethodFactory's value points (services offered, systems supported, industry insights) and the visitors' demographic and psychographic tags (industry, job type, business interest, opinions, etc.).  This structure will be delivered via faceted search results and dynamic content personalization based on things like referral information, 'look-back' insights and on-site behavior.

So, how did we do it?  We retired the SharePoint 2010 CMS and implemented the new Ektron 9.0 CMS/DXM system.  As an Ektron Elite Partner, we do this type of work for the benefit of our clients.  When the Ektron 9.0 offering was in Beta, we took the opportunity to do a production implementation before the release to market (RTM).  We're leveraging of all the rich features in the new 9.0 release, including:

  •  Responsive design management: We've set up break points for three form factors (desktop, tablet, smartphone).  We're using the native responsive image management.  We've also implemented the bootstrap framework, which is built into Ektron now.
  •   DxH: We're using the DxH hub to integrate and HubSpot data into the new site.  If there's time in the project, we’ll write a custom DxH connector to expose data from our 'look-back' system.
  •   Personalization: Our content organization, templates and Ektron's content delivery functionality supports the presentation of contextual content... More on that later.
  •   Search: Using enterprise search, which is integrated with Ektron, we'll provide search results with refiners, recommendations, synonyms and auto-complete options.
  •  Content standardization enforcement: We're using two PageBuilder templates to render all the site content.  We're delivering structured content (case studies, sliders, etc.) through smart form widgets.  We've built in all design elements as styles that are presented to the CMS editor inside the HTML editor.  So, if you want to add a button link you type the button name and select the button class from within the browser.  CMS editors have a full selection of presentation options, which match the agreed-upon style guide.
  •  Advanced analytics: All user journey targets are identified within Google Analytics as goals, so that site activity can be tracked in the context of desired outcome.  Variable content like hero sliders can be tracked within Google Analytics.  Third-Party search and landing page heat-map reporting is also incorporated into the site through Ektron's metadata management.
  • The Cloud: We're pushing the site to the cloud, using eSync and Ektron's Cloud Manager. will live in Azure.

There's one more overarching project goal that we should mention; minimal developer involvement.  When we kicked off the project we committed to doing as much as we could using what is out-of-the-box.  To date, our developer involvement has been limited to implementation of our design into Bootstrap, development of a few smart form presentation widgets and development of a menu model that includes embedded CTA's.  Content editors have built all the smart forms & HTML forms, configured the DxH integration and analytics integration, and configured all content targeting scenarios.  It's a DIY initiative.

Stay tuned.  We plan to publish a 'how we did it'.  We hope this will serve as a good best practice example on how to best leverage your enterprise CMS investment.

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