There's certainly been much written about Customer Experience Management (CXM) of late, but little about the related technology gap.
In a newly released report, Forrester Research talks about how companies need to foster “customer journeys” to “better understand their consumers and develop a better engagement strategy”. Meanwhile, Michael Assaad wrote an article in early March that claimed CXM solutions don’t even exist. And finally, Robert Rose, a senior analyst with Digital Clarity Group proposed that the process of CXM is a need that will exist, that the solutions are coming, but that marketers may not be quite ready to deploy it yet.
We would agree with portions of what all have said here, and we've seen organizations struggling with deploying customer experience strategies for digital content. But, interestingly, one of the main challenges that we see is that even when marketing strategy, internal process and desires are aligned -- there remains a technology gap which can kill the whole initiative before it even has the chance to launch.
The CXM Technology Challenge
To truly realize the CXM vision, any enterprise must create an environment where content is truly liquid and dynamic. It’s simply not CXM when the system merely displays a banner ad that is targeted to a persona on a mobile website. And, it’s not CXM when the website simply shows a list of “related content” in the right column. No.
If, as marketers, we're to truly deliver a dynamic, relevant and personalized customer experience with digital content, everything has to be dynamic. That not only means the content populating every piece of screen real estate is dynamic, but that the data informing the content’s relevance and the design that is adapting to the user’s contextual environment is as well. In real time.
From a Web CMS perspective, the challenge is that many solutions deployed by today’s enterprise have been (sometimes without the rest of the business even knowing) cobbled, hacked and held together with duct tape and bailing wire, just to facilitate how the production of static content has changed over the last three to five years. From global, mobile, social and even micro-sites, many enterprise technology teams have been working feverishly to quietly ensure that the existing Web CMS can stand up to new performance, content formatting, and even new integration requirements.
But now with CXM the game has truly changed. Enterprises that are embarking on the CXM “mandate” are now discovering (quite painfully sometimes) that the existing technology solution that they've spent years and hundreds of thousands of dollars on is just not going to be up to the task of truly delivering on the dynamic, liquid content requirements of a CXM solution. Many enterprises, are still in the “what next” mode and are simply trying to deliver the best experience they can with the tools they have at their disposal.
So is it any wonder that we so rarely (if ever) see true CXM “in the wild”? And we shouldn't be surprised that some people believe that CXM solutions don’t exist (because they've never seen it), or that marketers aren't ready for it (because they can’t deploy it).
But True CXM Technology Is Beginning To Emerge
In a recent Forrester report called "CXM Solutions Visible On The Not-So-Distant Horizon," author Brian Walker says:
Customer experience management (CXM) solutions are emerging on the eBusiness technology solution horizon. These solutions promise to enable businesses to manage and optimize the customer experience across customer touchpoints through a combination of content management, search, customer targeting, analytics, personalization, and optimization capabilities. As digital experiences have grown more complex and the need to target and personalize the customer experience across the Web, mobile, contact center, and stores or branches becomes more and more critical, siloed systems that limit the eBusiness & Channel Strategy capability are failing to keep up.”