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Are Best-Of-Breed Customer Experiences Really Best?

2014-6-17 e-spirit.jpgAt the end of May, e-Spirit upgraded its web CMS offering to make it easier for content creators to provide personalized content. It followed hot on the heels of the v5.1 release which aimed to significantly boost companies online time to market and improve the overall customer experience.

Both announcements form part of a wider strategy to offer users a best-of-breed web CMS. E-Spirit has from the start pursued the best-of-breed approach as opposed to creating an enterprise suite. But why best-of-breed?

We asked Oliver Jaeger, vice president for global marketing and communications at e-Spirit why his company has consistently taken this approach and where this strategy will take the company in the future.

Integrated Content

In the 2012 white paper "Climbing The Digital Experience Maturity Ladder Through An Integrated Technology Approach," Forrester noted that the content silos created by legacy CMSs have generally driven the  best-of-breed approach. 

When organizations ignore the separation between these silos, their CXM efforts lose context and become ineffective. By this, Forrester meant that customer information that would otherwise aid marketers remains isolated, preventing marketers from forming a full picture of the customer.

As a result, many vendors have developed over the last two years a single system approach that includes web content management, e-commerce, analytics, testing optimization and other components that are deemed necessary to manage the customer experience.

According to Forrester this approach does not work for two reasons:

  1. The lack of truly integrated CXM suites
  2. Existing investments in CXM technologies prevent enterprises from adopting what Forrester described as a rip-and-replace approach, where enterprises throw out existing technologies and replace them.

2014-6-17 e-spirit multichannel marketing.jpg

E-spirit multichannel marketing

Technology Disruption

The most significant result of this, Forrester said, is profound disruption where enterprises can't keep up with technology-driven shifts in consumer preferences and end up struggling as their business models fail to keep up with customer expectations. From this a number of challenges arise:

  • Content issues: With the increasing number of people in the enterprise creating content, combined with the external stakeholders also creating content through social media or other channels, it is becoming increasingly difficult for enterprises to place the right content in front of the right customer at the right time.
  • Consumer touchpoints: Related to this is the fact that there is growing number of customer touchpoints which organizations are now forced to manage. These include traditional touchpoints like print, Web, mobile, or email, but also newer touchpoints like self-service kiosks, or smart TVs. This situation is only going to get worse with the emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT).
  • Technology development: With new technologies come new silos and the difficulties around connecting them
  • Marketers: Not all the tools have been developed with marketers in mind.

2014-6-17 e-spirit demandware integration.jpg

E-Spirit Demandware integration

Best-of-Breed Content Management

It is against this backdrop that e-Spirit has been developing its best-of-breed approach. While suite vendors will no doubt argue that using a single suite provides direct access to all content from a single interface as well as all the tools to manage the customer experience from a single place, the e-Spirit argument revolves around agility.

According to Jaeger, the best-of-breed approach makes it easy to expand individual digital marketing campaigns because the tools for Web analysis, email marketing, A/B testing and comprehensive marketing automation can be integrated as needed. And this is the core of the e-Spirit strategy. Jaeger explained:

Vendors need to support the customer journey across all channels and bring great customer experiences to all the touch points. They can only do this by creating digital content and managing that content where ever it is … and just as importantly they need to measure the results and cross channel engagement."

 

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