Jeff Cram said the 18-year-old web content management and digital experience agency he co-founded is known as a straight-shooter.

How's this for straight talk: Vendors spin a lot of BS about customer experience and digital marketing, he said. Personalization, a 360-degree view of the customer, on and on.

When you look under the hood, he said, the tech doesn't always work.

"But why not?" the co-founder of the agency that just today rebranded as Connective DX told CMSWire in an interview. "This is 2015. This should be working better from our point of view. And it's not on the agencies or the MarTech vendors. It's on the organizations to own this. And there is not enough focus on what this all really means and there's oftentimes not enough commitment internally to see that through."

Content Meets Technology

Organizations that want to nail digital experience today in reality are in an "awkward in-between period," Cram said. 

"The technology isn't integrated as well as it should be," he added, "and the frameworks aren't quite there yet. We're all behind, and we race from project to project to do a redesign every couple of years."

Naturally, Cram and his team of 80 consultants splitting time between Portland, Ore., and Boston offices believe they're the best to make sense of the "in-between." That's their business -- and today they rebrand from ISITE Design to Connective DX and "embrace the power of digital, align around the customer and own their digital future." 

"Most organizations struggle with the intersection of content and technology," Cram said. "In the CMS space there are a lot of system integrators," he added, "but the difference for us is the experience lens we put around content and technology."

Learning Opportunities

Staffing Needs

With the rebranding of Connective DX comes the addition of an "enablement" layer on top of the organization's existing digital strategy, experience design and technology capabilities. The new services -- led by agency veteran Andrew McLaughlin -- will help organizations "identify and improve gaps in key competencies required to thrive in the digital age," officials claim.

Specifically, the enablement offerings include a proprietary DX7 assessment framework partly established from third-party research. It includes recruiting and staffing services.

"The No. 1 thing to figure out inside of large companies is how can they can bring digital strategy and engagement more natively to the teams they have," Cram said. "We’ve known this for many years. The relationship between agency and client is adapting to a much different landscape."

What's Next?

Where's the industry going? Cram spoke at last week's second MarTech Conference in San Francisco. The growing MarTech landscape has "made things more fragmented" because the "pace of change is so great" that organizations feel like they never get ahead, Cram told CMSWire.

One technician told Cram their organization is migrating 7,000 web pages and had "no real structure to really support it in a meaningful way."

"I don't think people have the anchor points to feel like they're on top of it," Cram said. "The takeaway for me at the conference was we don't need more tech, but we need to make the tech we have work better."