Everyone knows the world’s gone digital, that many of our experiences with brands, products, companies and even people are virtual.

We shop on websites before we visit stores, we are directed to FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) instead of customer service reps, we tweet for help before we dial an 800 number …

But how satisfying are those digital experiences?

Do they feel personal, one-to-one?

Are they productive?

Or do they leave us frustrated, trudging through website content, sometimes even stuck, at a dead end, when we’re trying to get something done, like buying perfume, in a hurry.

Not So Delightful

With few exceptions, chances are good that we’re less than delighted. But here’s the good news: the frustrations of the collective are being heard.

At least by the nearly 200 digital experience professionals and experts who have come together at CMSWire's DX Summit to trade stories, share best practices, and discuss lessons learned.

CMSWire caught up with a few attendees at the opening cocktail party to find out what victories and frustrations they brought to the DX Summit to share, what takeaways they had captured at the pre-conference workshops and what they hoped to take back to work.

tim mcgovern
Tim McGovern, Director of Marketing Technology at the Heritage Foundation in Washington DC, was mostly kidding when we asked him what insight he gleaned from Tony Byrne’s workshop “An Insider’s Guide to Selecting the Right DX Technology”.

“What did I learn? That we’re doing a lot of stuff wrong,” he kidded.

On a more serious note, McGovern said one of his big takeaways from Byrne’s talk centered on scenario-based RFP’s. “It’s a very useful concept for us given the challenges that we’re facing,” said McGovern.

Personalize and Target

At his afternoon workshop, “Mapping Data to Stages of the Customer Journey for Better Data Driven Marketing,” Scott Wheeler, VP of Consumer Intelligence and Business Intelligence, impressed McGovern with his emphasis on mapping the different data sources that can be used to personalize and target content, the breadth of options that are available.

“We’ve been focused much more narrowly than we needed to be,” said McGovern.

Abhishek Upot
Abhishek Upot, Manager of International Sales at India-based Suyab Technologies, came hoping to hear a conversation about DX related integrations, be they with CRM solutions offerings like Salesforce or Marketing solutions like Marketo. “No one software offering does it all,” he said, and the combinations and variations of solutions that need to talk to each other seems almost unlimited.

Daniel Backhaus, enterprise technology executive, and Timothy Steleman, SVP Delaware Consulting, North America
That’s why you need an integrator, explained Daniel Backhaus, an executive at Delaware Consulting, shown in the photo, on the left, with Timothy Steleman, SVP Delaware Consulting, North America.

Some of the summiteers we spoke to couldn’t give us permission to use their names. “Company policy, sorry.” But the content they shared is, never the less, golden.

Making Sense of Data

Unlike content management systems, digital experiences are data driven, explained a project manager from a Fortune 100 company. She’s leading a multi-million project that has a number of objectives, one of the most important is providing the same experience among different product sites. No, we’re not talking about desktop, tablet or phone but something altogether different.

Does doing business with division and product line A look and feel the same as product B? If Division A knows me as Mary Smith and has 10 years of my customer history, do I have to start from scratch with Division C?

In a data driven, digital world this shouldn’t happen, but all too often it still does.

And this is just one of the problems.

Letting the business call the shots on what projects should be done isn’t always a good idea, it seems.

“Aren’t they IT’s customer,” CMSWire asked the IT and Analytics leaders who made the comment. And while they answered that question with an easy yes, they qualified that that doesn’t mean that the decision should be solely in their hands.

“The data should drive the project,” they said.

It seems they learned this early on after they built a solution that called for data that couldn’t be obtained.

In other words, you can deliver all of the functionalities that the business wants, provide all of the algorithms that they need and without the right data it’s all for naught.

Agile and “fail fast,” have become the default strategies on their projects now.

Not only that, but data is now their starting point.

It’s interesting to note that that’s precisely the approach of many data scientists.

Great minds think alike? That’s not necessarily the case at the DX Summit. There are no bibles here, just thought leaders.

Title image by Asa Aarons Smith