What Is a Digital Experience Platform (DXP)?
OK, real quick, a DXP (according to Gartner) is “an integrated set of technologies, based on a common platform, that provides a broad range of audiences with consistent, secure and personalized access to information and applications across many digital touchpoints.”
Ok, so that's cleared that up... right?
Yeah, didn't think so!
Some (not all) DXPs can be complex and multi-faceted technologies. They vary from vendor to vendor and cater for different needs, from the specific software employed, and the volume and richness of data fed into the system, and the capabilities they yield for marketers and developers alike. Read on to find out why you need one!
From CMS to DXP
The content management system (CMS) has been with us for well over 20 years, helping us manage and create content, amongst other things. The noble CMS has served us well, but as the need for more sophisticated digital marketing including content personalization, A/B testing, omnichannel marketing, deeper marketing analytics has grown, other forms of isolated software have been tagged on, bloating technology stacks, slowing everything down, increasing complexity, and leaving valuable information buried in unproductive silos.
You can think of a DXP as a kind of evolutionary mutation in the CMS’s DNA (or not, if that’s too trite a metaphor for you). One thing’s certain, over time the DXP will render the CMS obsolete. For sure, there’s some overlap between a CMS and a DXP in terms of content creation and asset management, but a DXP offers infinitely more opportunities to craft highly creative experiences for customers as they navigate through an omnichannel commercial landscape.
So What Exactly Can a DXP Do?
Picture the scene: You’re watching the latest Marvel movie on the latest film streaming app. The movie comes to an end. You jump on the latest social media platform to tell your friends that “This movie is totally awesome!” Instantly, you’re presented with the opportunity to pre-order tickets to the next Marvel movie, an offer to buy a mug emblazoned with your favorite superhero’s face (or possibly mask), and an invite to attend Marvel-Con 2020.
We're talking about tracking search history, browsing history, purchasing history, social media interactions, location and demographics to know what consumers want, when they want it, and where they want it - before they even know themselves!
We're talking about using targeted customer profiles to create hyper-personalized, captivating and continuously improving experiences to keep customers fully engaged and loyal over time.
Such is the power of a DXP.
With a DXP you can sync, manage, and push consistent content across an array of channels from desktop and mobile to social, email, e-commerce, and more.
In this increasingly omnichannel environment, physical purchases are researched online, digital purchases are researched in-store, and immersive experiences are promoted through social. One central platform is needed to serve as the control center for this complex fabric of compelling customer touchpoints. A DXP is equipped to handle this role and house the vast amount of intelligence and assets required to do the job.
A DXP can help you define consumer profiles at the most granular level. No more generalized mass-distribution messaging: this is a one-to-one marketing paradigm. Speaking to your customers in a profoundly personalized way you can captivate their imagination, keep them engaged, and build long-lasting brand loyalty. And I don’t just mean customers who have bought before. This personalized messaging is for all customers, current and prospective, no matter where they are in the buyer's journey. Marketers can let their creativity run wild.
A well optimized DXP can super-charge e-commerce performance and productivity. Advanced testing, machine learning, and huge data sets allow for individually tailored shopping experiences that mesh seamlessly with marketing efforts across all other touchpoints. Intelligent merchandising can boost efficiency, saving you money.
Is It Really as Straightforward as It Sounds?
Alas, nothing in life ever is…
However, a DXP may well be the answer to your digital dreams, but remember you only get out of it what you put in. According to the whitepaper “One-to-One Marketing and the Elusive Digital Experience Platform”, technology is but one fundamental piece of the DXP puzzle.
Examples of other key requirements include:
Clean and Elegant Data: If your DXP is a Lamborghini and your data is your fuel, you don't want to fill it up with used vegetable oil or you're not going to get very far.
Digital Asset Management (DAM): You need high-res images and media with customer-centered metadata for optimum visual performance across all channels.
Product Information Management (PIM): A structured database of product data is essential. And it needs to be aligned with digital assets and customer data to be truly effective.
CRM: No customer data = no one-to-one targeting.
Governance: Does your organization have the capability, structure and disciplined approach required to implement, manage and maintain a DXP? Compliance with the GDPR and others is essential!
Hanging with the Big Dogs
E-commerce, as we know it, is under real threat. How can mid-size businesses compete with the Amazons, Googles and Netflixes (Netflixi?) of this world and their astronomical R&D budgets ($23b for Amazon in 2017, for example)? Well, the answer is that you can harness the power of this technology yourself with your own DXP. The legwork has already been done and the spend has already been made! Now it's time for us all to reap the rewards. A DXP isn't some kind of utopian vision of the future for your business: it should be the right here, right now.
The thing is that mega-retailers' DXPs are performing so well, delivering such a pleasurable, personalized e-commerce experience, that customers feel like they should be getting the same level of service everywhere they shop. If they don’t, they feel unwanted and customer loyalty slips away. You can no longer avoid these realities. It’s time to break free from inflexible e-commerce platforms and embrace a DXP that levels the playing field and leaves your customers feeling valued once more!
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