What’s the difference between Sitecore Outcomes and Goals?

Sitecore 8 introduced a new tab in the Marketing Control Panel, called Outcomes.

Sitecore defines Outcomes as “the business significant result of a dialog between a contact and a brand.” In other words, Outcomes are used to identify users who have reached an important milestone in their journey.

Outcomes will often describe relationship levels.

For example, an eCommerce organization might set “Email Newsletter Sign Up” as an Outcome — this is when an unknown user becomes a known user. Or perhaps a user creates a free account. Or purchases a product. All these can be desired Outcomes towards nurturing a lifelong customer.

For a sales-based organization, these relationship levels might track with sales phases. A prospect might become a Marketing Qualified Lead. Or a Sales Qualified Lead. Or a Customer. Once again, all these can be Outcomes towards nurturing a lifelong customer.

Sitecore Administrators can create custom Outcomes in the Marketing Control Panel. Once a user reaches an Outcome, they receive a flag on their profile. Sales, Marketing and Support folks can then use this information to pick up relevant and targeted conversations with the customer.

Sitecore also allows marketers to group specific Outcomes together. So, an Outcome Group called “Purchased” might include several variations on the Outcome for individual products, e.g. Purchased Basic License, Purchased Elite License, etc.

Sitecore Marketers cannot assign Engagement Values to Outcomes. But they can assign monetary values to them. This allows projections for a pre-sales pipeline or an ROI on sales.

So, what are goals?
Goals are online activities performed by a user. A user might Request a Brochure, Register An Account, Sign-up for a Newsletter, and so on.

It’s fair to say that, typically, most users who reach an Outcome will have accomplished several goals along the way. For example, before reaching a “Purchase” Outcome, an online buyer might have clicked on an email link, watched a demo video, added the item to a shopping cart, confirmed their order and other actions.

Not all Goals are equal. Users that add an item to their cart, for example, are more engaged than those who are watching a video. Sitecore allows marketers to add Engagement Values to these goals. For example, a click might be worth 1 point; signing up for a newsletter, 5 points; attending a webinar, 10 points; requesting pricing 20 points; etc.

To identify Outcomes, think about the relationship levels between you and your customer or potential customer. When team members say, “we should reach out to ______,” who are they targeting? (Newsletter Members, Customers, Advocates, Trial-Takers, Marketing Qualified Leads, etc?) This list will be a good starting point towards developing Sitecore Outcomes.

To identify Goals, think about online activities that help facilitate a user’s movement towards each Outcome. (Demo Requests, Newsletter Sign Ups, Brochure Download, Pricing Request, etc.)