Marketing in the digital age
Remember the time when almost every digital experience started on a company website? A brand's website represented the digital core of the brand, and marketers could count on customers to go there first. That era is long gone, of course. Marketers today must deliver multichannel experiences across many devices to meet rapidly accelerating expectations. Customer journeys are more complex than ever, and to cut through the noise, brands have to share consistent and personalized messages at every opportunity.
Technology alone can’t solve strategy issues, but the right combination of tools can help companies reach their full potential in the digital age. This article provides a framework and guidance for professionals who are responsible for selecting, deploying, and managing a unified digital experience platform (DXP).
Simply defined, a DXP is an integrated suite of tools and services that scales personalized, omnichannel engagement for the digital age. DXPs empower organizations to drive the meaningful interactions that build customer loyalty by providing the means to speak and listen to their prospects, customers, employees, and other stakeholders. Companies that choose and deploy their DXP wisely reap the benefits of faster time-to-market, streamlined marketing workflows, and long-lasting customer relationships.
6 questions to prepare
If you’re just beginning to explore the need for a DXP solution, start by answering these six questions to clarify objectives and frame the project:
- Who are the key stakeholders?
Identify a small group of individuals to discuss and guide the decision.
- What business goals do you want to achieve?
Digital experience technology should not lead the agenda. Rather, it should underpin the strategy. Set your objectives, determine your roadmap, and then look for a solution that will enable it all.
- What foundational capabilities do you need to meet these specific goals?
Are you looking for commerce, analytics, omnichannel delivery? Make a list, then group the requirements into capabilities you already have, and those you’ll need to acquire.
- What is unique about the way you curate digital experiences for your customers?
Understanding the nuances of your own marketing campaigns and publishing environment will help ensure that the DXP you select can align to the company’s existing workflows.
- What type of analytical insight do you need to make decisions?
With a realistic picture of the data you want to collect and how you'll use the insight it reveals, you’ll be better equipped to choose the best DXP.
- What does the current martech stack look like?
Don’t go any further without conducting a thorough review of your current martech stack. Note who in the organization uses which parts of the stack, which phases of the buying cycle each component supports, and any existing connections within the stack. You’ll also want to look beyond just martech and consider other technologies — such as CRM — that will need to integrate with it. This information will be invaluable, not only for planning but also for deployment and adoption of your DXP.
Top DXP characteristics
With a clear sense of priorities and agreement among key stakeholders, you can start to consider the characteristics of a specific solution. For almost every organization, flexibility is going to be priority number one. Here are some additional considerations:
- Analytics: Yes, you need to gather data from every interaction, including across every channel, to get a clear picture of your customers. But this data is useless if you can’t make it actionable. Many companies end up drowning in their data, without gaining any real insights that drive results. Make sure the solution you choose includes analytics that filter out the noise to offer actionable insight.
- CMS: At the foundation of every leading DXP is a powerful content management system that runs the company’s website and supporting editorial processes. For more on the differences between a CMS and DXP, read this article.
- Commerce: If you’re looking for an e-commerce engine, it should be integrated with content, so it can handle the end-to-end shopping experience, from inventory and orders to pricing and promotions. For more tips on evaluating commerce solutions, see “Six key capabilities for a modern commerce platform.”
- Cost: To evaluate the true cost of ownership for your DXP, consider subscription, licensing, professional services, and other fees — then consider these costs in relation to expected benefits. Don’t settle for anything less than exceptional ROI.
- Future-proof: At some point in the not-too-distant future, you will need to add DXP capabilities that weren’t important to the original scope. How difficult will it be to extend the platform to support digital asset management, marketing automation, or other urgent needs? Better to know before you commit.
- Interoperability: Is interoperability central to the solution or does it appear to be an afterthought? The solution you embrace should be able to integrate easily with third-party solutions.
- Security & compliance: It goes without saying that any DXP you select must provide top-notch security at every level. For global organizations, compliance with privacy regulations around the world is another critical factor to compare.
Successful DXP deployments
Once you’ve settled on a preferred DXP, the real work begins. As with any new technology, excellent communication and training are critical to driving end-user adoption. Keep an eye on the objectives that you established during the planning stage, so you’ll have a clear picture of the before and after comparison. For example, you may want to measure and document whether time-to-market has accelerated or customer satisfaction has improved. Take the time to gather real-time feedback, so you can adjust the implementation and rollout as needed to maximize ROI.
Your DXP platform should provide a fully integrated and seamless digital experience across channels and devices and throughout the entire customer journey. Give marketers the opportunity to focus on quality over quantity, and amazing things surely will happen.
Time and time again, we’ve seen how the right DXP can enable more efficient marketing processes, strengthen customer relationships, and overcome business challenges. Explore our digital experience platform.