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As companies seek to maximize the effectiveness of their digital experiences, they can fall into a trap of adding too much technology, bloating their DX stack as a result. Marketing experts shared tips to help companies trim the fat, without trimming so much that there are unexpected negative consequences.

Think Long-Term: Consider DX Platform Flexibility

"When implementing a DX stack, you need to get two things right: content and data," said Aston Whiteling, Jahia product marketing manager. "The data collected across your entire ecosystem can inform your content strategy. This data-driven content can produce more valuable insights than content from readership and on-page metrics alone. It will come as no surprise then, that content management is where stack bloat tends to occur."

The temptation to keep buying new tools to individually handle each aspect can become irresistible, resulting in a company eventually having multiple siloed content tools, Whiteling explained. "This issue then snowballs into your data strategy. Having siloed applications makes it extremely difficult to maintain complete user profiles, informed by their actions and interests."

To reduce content management bloat without any significant loss, think long-term about your DX stack, Whiteling advised. “Expectations can change, which means you need to take platform flexibility into account.”

He recommended having an omnichannel platform at the heart of the DX stack so that new data collection requirements don’t tempt you to purchase yet another tool.

It’s critical for companies to plan for the future when building their DX stacks, agreed Iliya Rybchin, partner with Elixrr. “DX is an evolving capability for the company. It’s not a matter of buying some things and getting rid of some things. Companies need a methodical long-term plan and vision.They need to invest in a strategy that defines what actions/investments will be made in the future and how the company will evolve as customer and market needs change.”

Related Article: Digital Experience Stacks Evolve Once Again

Think Strategically: Define 'Bloat' and Desired End State

Before attempting to cut the fat, define the excess in the DX stack, Rybchin recommended. “Depending on an executive’s role they may see something as bloat when another key executive may see it as a critical capability. Therefore, it is important to have a single and well-understood definition of how the organization defines bloat/excess in order to ensure nothing critical gets removed for the wrong reasons.”

Then determine why you want to reduce the DX stack, Rybchin said. Are you trying to cut operating expenses, reduce support staff or solve some other issue?

“What is the end state you hope to achieve when you are done with the reductions? Knowing the end state before starting is key, otherwise there is a high risk of making the wrong cuts,” Rybchin said.

Related Article: How to Simplify and Increase the Complexity of Your Martech Stack at the Same Time

Management Considerations

Digital customer experience is often distributed across multiple departments, Rybchin said. Even companies with a chief digital or chief experience officer have problems because these executives are rarely fully empowered over all aspects of DCX. 

“At many companies, the CDO owns the strategy for digital but owns very little of the budget and has no technology resources to implement/manage,” Rybchin explained. “This is a recipe for failure. CD/DX must sit in a single organization, where the leader has full control of budget, resources, strategy, support, technology and operations.”

He additionally recommended involving the board and CEO in any DX reduction strategy.

Related Article: Where Does Customer Experience End and Digital Marketing Begin?

Look for Overlapping Functionality

We see often see clients choose a few key solutions when building their DX stack, said Cara Caruso, Capgemini North America director of marketing and interactive solutions. “This can include marketing automation tools, a content management system, digital asset management and analytics capabilities. There is also a place for experimentation with new technologies and unique value propositions … like personalization, for example. Many companies find that while a specific feature may not be included or integrated into the product today — it is likely to be added to the roadmap soon."

“One of our clients was using a popular provider for product recommendations, another for sending personalized emails in the loyalty solution, and an altogether different software for website personalization,” Caruso said. “After extensive evaluation, they decided to streamline efforts and leverage a single tool to replace all of these disparate solutions and deliver an optimized customer experience.”

Related Article: How to Cut Back on Martech Bloat

Finally, Don't Make Any Hasty Decisions

Don’t act too quickly to remove DX elements, Rybchin cautioned. “The desire is often to move urgently but some solutions — especially customer-facing ones — need to be wound down careful or methodically or they will create disruption and impact CD/DX of customers. The downstream impact on the company’s brand, reputation, and revenue may be severe if reductions are made too quickly or without a methodical wind down plan?”