In the age of the connected customer, organizations must focus on the brand experience — nurturing customers throughout their unique journeys, from awareness to advocacy — and deliver personalized experiences that connect.
Doing both requires overcoming two connected challenges: the content crunch and implementing personalization at scale. Both Sitecore Content Hub and Sitecore® Experience Platform™ (XP) were designed to help teams meet these twin challenges.
While teams will find value in each immediately after implementation, to take full advantage of these powerful technologies, most will need to mature. We say it all the time – digital transformation is more than technology; it requires transforming structures, organizational approaches, and teams.
This is precisely why we developed our Digital Experience Maturity Model® (DXMM), which shows how organizational digital experience capabilities are built over time while delivering real business value at every stage of maturity.
The DXMM helps organizations understand their current state of digital experience maturity and how to reach the next levels of excellence.
In this post, I outline the three major phases of the DXMM with a focus on the team roles each phase requires.
Three Phases of digital maturity
The “Interested” Phase
Organizations in this phase have only basic mobile and desktop experiences, which are little more than static online brochures aimed to build interest among their visitors. Often the messaging is more relevant and meaningful for the company than it is for the audience, and the focus is on attracting as many visitors to digital channels as possible. Success is often measured by impressions, visits, time on site, and page views.
The “Converted” Phase
In this phase, organizations align digital KPIs to their strategic objectives and strive to take advantage of marketing technology and optimization processes. They are focused on converting visitors on the digital goals that matter most for the business, they personalize content, and they run tests to see what delivers the best results. Organizations in this phase are focused on carefully nurturing individuals with automated, trigger-based marketing and experiences that delight.
The “Trusted” Phase
In this phase, the focus shifts to customer retention and increased customer lifetime value — achieved through building customer engagement, trust, and loyalty. Organizations in this phase collect all customer interaction data into a connected, comprehensive view. This enables them to engage each customer with highly relevant and targeted experiences across all touchpoints. Machine learning capabilities even power individualized communication.
Insight: For a full discussion of the other “layers” of the DXMM, please refer to our ebook, “Plotting your Path to Personalization with the Digital Experience Maturity Model.”
So how do you align digital experience program roles with your digital maturity? Below I summarize our recommendations for the marketing team roles. But before I go on, I need to highlight two things.
First, the team roles listed below might consist of entire teams (e.g. a content marketing team) or, on the other end of the spectrum, they may be multiple hats worn by one team member (e.g. a content marketer who is also a UX designer). It all depends on the size of your organization. Separating them by distinct roles helps reveal what you need and where to look for skill sets.
Second, while I include enough information below to make clear the demands of each role, I do not explore them in detail here. If you want to go deeper after reading this post, I suggest getting the full guide (link below).
Now we can consider the team roles for each phase.
Team roles in the “Interested” Phase
In this early stage of building your digital experience capabilities, it’s best to begin with a small, focused team that can get the ball rolling quickly. Here are key characteristics of this phase:
- Teams are mostly siloed by channel and business unit, with some ad-hoc coordination
- Roles and team processes are rudimentary and are unlikely to be organized around an explicit digital experience vision and roadmap
- Roles skilled in using marketing technology for collecting customer intelligence, measuring digital goals, and managing inbound campaign activities begin to be part of the customer experience team
- Digital Strategist and Optimization Specialist roles become part of the team
- An executive sponsor has often been chosen to ensure needed resources are secured and to engage senior leadership in the customer experience program effort
The core team
Those in this stage may feel left behind. The good news is it’s the perfect time to build a solid foundation by assembling a strong core team, which can be added to in future phases:
Digital Experience Leader
Has overall responsibility for the program’s vision, scope, objectives, design, and execution. They are accountable for business outcomes, have the authority to lead the marketing, operational, and IT aspects of digital experience and proven leadership skills in recruiting, staffing, inspiring, and leading teams.
Translates organizational strategy into cross-channel digital experience strategy. They study customer segments, cross-channel behaviors, competitive offerings and experiences and use that knowledge to formulate digital campaign and experience strategies.
Responsible for all aspects of content creation, with a combination of great content strategy, editorial, and copywriting skills.
Experience Optimization Specialist
This critical new role executes and optimizes marketing tactics within the MarTech stack.
Responsible for the overall user experience, including designing the information architecture to optimize findability and creating a user-interaction design (e.g., use-case definition, storyboarding, wire framing) behind personalized experiences.
Uses web analytics to provide insights into customer journeys and intent, as well as channel, campaign, and segment performance.
Technical Solution Architect
Defines the structure of your systems from a technical perspective, ensuring all your business requirements are addressed by the technology infrastructure.
Team roles in the “Converted” Phase
In the Converted Phase of digital experience maturity, your organization is focused on responding to the customer journey and aligning your organization’s strategic objectives to digital goals. Some key people and process characteristics of this phase include:
- Proactive, repeatable, and measured standard processes are set across the organization
- Content marketer team roles expand and are more differentiated. They drive the creation of content leveraging user data, customer experience, and personalization tactics at higher scale and velocity
- The Digital Strategist focuses on identifying high value use cases and implementing data-enabled personalization and marketing automation tactics
- The Experience Optimization Specialist focuses on executing personalization tactics, content tests, marketing automation plans, and machine learning, while considering user data available in the experience platform and in adjacent systems
- Additional project and program management roles, as well as data roles are required
Content management roles in the Converted Phase
In this phase, the content management team moves from a relatively static and waterfall-based to a truly interactive content strategy, leveraging personalization tactics and experience-automation flows across distinct channels (e.g., web, social, mobile, email, app, commerce).
Content Program Lead
Leads the content marketing program and manages the expanded content marketing team by setting the overall editorial or content marketing vision across all channels and audiences.
Content Strategy Lead
Responsible for the functional flow and governance of content as an asset throughout the business, defining content structure (taxonomies, meta data, SEO strategy, and, in collaboration with the Digital Strategist, may design personas and user experiences.
Focuses on planning, projects, and traffic management in the content department.
Manages the visual experience. Typically leading a cross-functional team of creative specialists (e.g., writers, web graphic designers, video specialists, photographers).
Responsible for writing and integrating content (images, video, sound) that aligns with marketing campaigns and the strategic direction of the content marketing initiatives.
As the organization increases in scale and complexity and timely content distribution becomes a strategic imperative, organizations begin to use a Content Hub. A Content Hub acts as the home base for all your disparate content, as well as a platform that helps streamline, speed up, and simplify every part of a marketer’s job — all in one solution. With it comes a new role -
Digital Asset Manager
Responsible for managing the Digital Asset Management system and enforce internal and external (agencies, contractors) user permissions, administer records, and review usage report.
Digital marketing roles in the Converted Phase
Can begin including AI initiatives in their plans. With more mature technology and analytics, they can focus on KPI optimization, prioritize efforts based on detailed information provided by the Digital Analyst, create financial business cases, and more.
Experience Optimization Specialist
Now responsible for implementing tactics, tests, experience-automation plans, email, and social-marketing tactics that leverage user data, making optimization recommendations, and supporting implementation of AI-based tactics.
Implements more advanced analytics that capture data across the customer journey, typically combining insights from integrating data from DXM, CRM, Commerce solutions ,and ERPs in a data lake.
Added to build attribution and predictive models and begin using AI capabilities to provide “automated” data-driven optimization.
Demand Generation Lead
Works with an organization’s marketing automation capabilities, CRM and consumer-data service providers (DMPs), and customer-identity management services.
Project and/or Program Manager
Aligns the efforts of the extended cross-functional team, tracks progress against goals, and removes barriers. Also act as scrum master in teams using agile approaches.
Team roles in the “Trusted” Phase
Teams in this phase can use connected real-time data across all channels to predict customer needs and behaviors and create timely, optimized, one-to-one omnichannel experiences — automatically and at scale.
Organizations in this phase provide a very consistent and unified brand experience online and offline. Customers experience very little friction, and many have become loyal advocates. The culture emphasizes agile marketing, experimentation, and automation. Key characteristics include:
- Customer experience is the center of an organization-wide digital transformation vision and strategy
- Digital experience strategy is led by top management, and a digital-savvy board oversees the program; led by a Chief Digital Officer in the most ambitious programs
- One-to-one digital experience journeys (including commerce) are automatically created from atomic components based on pre-defined rules and machine learning algorithms
- A high level of experimentation and innovation activities are supported by robust agile processes and top-level management, and the fail-fast approach to validate new ideas is broadly adopted
- Content management and experience optimization processes are highly integrated and automated
- The organization expands the use of data science, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), supported by expanded roles and the addition of ML Engineers role
The above roles are just outlines. If you’re interested in a deeper dive into the phases and roles I outline above, as well as detailed descriptions of the team roles in the Trusted Phase, you can find all of that and more in our guide, “Digital experience management: Organization and governance.”
An experienced business leader, Elan Bair guides Sitecore customers and partners in planning, designing and optimizing digital marketing, customer experience and business performance programs using big/smart data, advanced online analytics, personalization and engagement automation. You can follow him on LinkedIn.