A Beginner's Guide To Digital Experience Platforms
Maybe - but the fact is that customers are increasingly demanding high-quality, personalized experiences from brands across consumer channels and touchpoints. Luckily, there’s an easy solution to your issue — the Digital Experience Platform (DXP). This solution helps businesses deliver top-notch experiences to customers by combining customer relationship management features with marketing and content orchestration to deliver personalized interactions across multiple channels. It’s fun stuff!
Read on to learn everything about Digital Experience Platforms and what they bring to the table!
At some point over the past decade, customers began noticing — we mean really noticing — how businesses treated them. Where once a customer might visit your physical location or pop onto your website to get more information about a product or service, now they’re visiting your Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram pages. They’re tweeting a question to your company or having a conversation with your website’s chatbot. Each interaction that a customer has with your business contributes to their overall customer experience.
If you fail to provide a good customer experience — and this can happen at any time along the fragmented customer journey — you risk losing your customers. As we say - never fear! There’s a tool out there that can help you get to know your customers, manage your customer relationships, remember who your customer is no matter what channel they use to reach you and connect all these moving parts seamlessly. It’s called a Digital Experience Platform (DXP). It’s like having a personal assistant that remembers all your customers’ names, preferences and favorite colors and whispers them into your ear exactly when the customer materializes in front of you.
What Are Digital Experience Platforms?
Digital Experience Platforms are a relatively new type of marketing technology focused on helping businesses manage customer relationships. They combine customer relationship management features with marketing and content orchestration to deliver better omnichannel experiences for customers. We’ll get into exactly how DXP works in a second but for now, think of it like this.
Your customer is like Miranda Priestly, the unremittingly demanding boss from the 2006 film The Devil Wears Prada. Miranda expects you to anticipate her every desire and live up to impossible expectations. At the same time, she is also kind of vulnerable and needs you to deeply understand what makes her tick. A DXP, on the other hand, is like Miranda’s tireless, dedicated and perennially underestimated personal assistant, Andrea Sachs. She can accomplish anything that Miranda needs almost before Miranda knows she needs it. She is the perfect personal assistant.
Before we go into the specifics of how DXPs work, let’s take a shallow dive into where they came from.
Digital Experience Platform — A Brief History
Before we had the DXP, we had the Content Management System (CMS), a type of software that appeared in the 1980s and enabled companies to store and manage static content.
In the 90s, the rise of the internet (and the websites that formed its foundation), led to the need for content to be more easily updatable and dynamic. New consumer behaviors and technologies arose, including user-generated content, widespread adoption of mobile devices and early social media platforms. This changed how consumers interacted with businesses. Web experience management (WEM) solutions appeared during this time to help businesses gather consumer engagement data, create customer personas and develop more personalized content experiences.
CMSs and WEMs helped manage customer relationships and experiences but they were disparate systems that served different teams (namely, the CMS is focused on sales while the WEM is focused on marketing.)
Starting in the early to mid-2000s, DXPs like Sitecore and OutSystems began bridging the gap between the CMS and WEM. DXPs integrate all customer systems and data into one central location. They help organizations orchestrate data-driven sales and marketing strategies across multiple channels and customer touchpoints, mapping content and messaging to deliver personalized experiences aligned with the individual customer journey.
Just like Andrea, they handle various tasks simultaneously with great expertise – let's see how.
How Do Digital Experience Platform Work?
DXP are like the perfect personal assistants to a relentlessly demanding boss. They operate as standalone platforms or suites of tools that work together to deliver a delightful customer experience.
How? We thought you’d never ask! DXPs are connectors. They essentially take three key ingredients critical to the customer journey — content, customer support and data — and house them under one digital roof. The five key features of a DXP are:
DXPs connect data sources and integrate different systems. They use tools and APIs that ingest, standardize and persist customer data from one location. Think of it as a personal assistant, like Andrea Sachs, with the astounding ability to make order out of chaos.
Data Governance And Privacy Features
Enterprise DXPs include built-in privacy features that capture customer consent across all touchpoints. Let’s face it, privacy issues don’t go over well with customers. DXPs can help you avert disaster with built-in security features that make it easy to comply with existing privacy laws like GDPR and CCPA. They also make you more agile when new privacy regulations inevitably crop up.
Customer Segmentation/ Profile Creation
Platforms like Adobe Experience Cloud use AI (Artificial Intelligence) to segment customers and build customer profiles. Understanding your customer lies at the heart of improving the customer experience. DXPs get to know your customers — what they love, hate and desire (this is not at all evil). This information can be used to create data-driven personalized messaging across multiple channels.
Ah yes, personalization, the golden goose of creating good customer experiences. DXPs use behavioral, transactional, financial and operational data to create profiles that help deliver hyper-personalized messages to customers wherever they happen to be in the customer journey. This prevents awkward (unpleasant) moments, like showing an ad for a product your customer has already purchased or not recognizing someone just because they had the audacity to access your website on their phone versus their laptop.
Data Analysis And Insights
It always ends with data analysis, doesn’t it? DXPs provide quick, helpful campaign reports. They measure the success of different sales and marketing initiatives. They’re smart too! Many DXPs include embedded analytics that leverage ML (Machine Learning) and AI to surface insights about campaign performance. This saves you from having to crunch numbers and pull reports, enabling you to get to the fun stuff — optimizing the customer experience.
We know what you’re wondering next – do you really need such a platform? Yes, you do and here’s why!
Why Do We Need Digital Experience Platform?
Do we say more? Well, for the skeptics, let’s look at some benefits that DXPs have to offer.
Everyone’s better off with a talented personal assistant. DXPs can do that for your company. They make it possible to manage the many moving parts inherent in the modern customer journey. That equals happy customers. Who doesn’t want that!
Personalized experiences across all channels demonstrate that you’ve got your act together. This keeps the customer happy (so they won’t leave you for a competitor or take to social media to complain about a poor experience!). Hence, Digital Experience Platform is necessary for any modern business to manage organizational content, data and customer pain points effectively.
Key Benefits Of DXPs
DXPs deliver customized and personalized content across all channels - offline and online. Omnichannel marketing strategies have been shown to improve customer retention rates by over 90%. Even Miranda Priestly would be impressed by those kinds of numbers!
Agility And Flexibility
Centralized DXPs help different teams make changes independently of each other, reducing the dependence on IT resources and freeing up all teams to make more agile, customer-centric decisions. Now you can rely on technology instead of each other! (Actually, a DXP can free up your human resources so they can be, well, more human, creative and responsive to each other and to your customers).
You can’t have digital transformation without automation and you can’t have automation without Artificial Intelligence. AI-powered data management, customer segmentation and content optimization reduce the amount of time spent manually pulling and analyzing data or customizing content. The DXP keeps everything running smoothly on the back end so that your customer teams can focus on the interesting, important stuff — keeping customers happy!
Great content powers great experiences. DXPs house and organize your content in one place, making it easy for large enterprises with distributed teams to update, share and (most importantly) use your content assets.
Enough with the present, let’s talk about the future!
The Future Of Digital Experience Platforms
The future of DXPs is wildly exciting. It’s all about integrations. If you don’t think data integration is exciting, then we challenge you to order your groceries from the Sam’s Club app, then log into their website in a week. You’ll see all the stuff you ordered right there in front of you — ready to order again! That is some exciting stuff, folks. Integrating data and systems on the back end is what makes this stellar customer experience possible.
Gartner reports that about 85% of DXP investments this year will be spent on integrating DXPs with internal and external enterprise systems. This makes sense as the only way you can be sure to get a unified view of your customer is to combine customer data from every single touchpoint and platform into one central location.
To Sum Up...
DXPs are relatively new to the marketing technology ecosystem. They’re quickly finding their groove in the cluttered marketing technology landscape. As this category matures, we’ll likely see more low-code DXP options and even more robust integrations.
One thing is definitely clear — customers want (nay, demand) good experiences across all channels, particularly mobile (nearly 60% of customers won’t recommend a business whose website performs poorly on mobile). If your customer is your boss and your boss is Miranda Priestly, then your DXP is Andrea Sachs that can meet her impossible expectations.
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- over 90%:
- about 85%:
- nearly 60%:
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