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Last week, CMSWire held its inaugural DX Summit live in Chicago and via livestreaming. 

There were a few mission critical themes that should shape the way we’re all thinking about and planning for digital experience in the year ahead.

Face Your Fear

Tami Cannizzaro, senior director of marketing at eBay's Enterprise unit, spoke on the need for digital marketers to evolve, and, essentially, address the fear of falling behind customer habits, preferences and expectations.

That fear is real, but it gives way to a bigger business challenge. How do you plan and invest for tomorrow while successfully managing the business today? How do you operationalize digital experience innovation?

Carve out resources — time, talent and dollars — to chase new, innovative improvements to your digital experience without prematurely disrupting your existing business or taking your eye off of what’s working today.

However, set goals to incorporate innovation into your existing digital experience as it starts to show promise in order to keep pace with customer behavior and stay ahead of competitors. Place a series of small bets on innovation can help you find the next game changer.

Fix What’s Broken

The part of digital experience that often gets overlooked is operationalizing change, specifically getting people to buy into change, adopt and adapt in order to deliver a better digital experience.

The DX Summit showcased advice on getting executive alignment and case studies on building an alliance between marketing and technology. While digital experience trends and best practices were featured, it was really people that were at the center of these discussions.

In a session on customer experience lessons, the discussion focused on cultural and process changes that need to take place before real digital business transformation can occur.

This certainly holds true of organizations trying to impact the broader digital experience. Otherwise, operational complexities will override efforts to change, not just your marketing or technology platform, but also the way in which you do business.

This is already a difficult endeavor. Without addressing the people aspects, it is doomed.

Key Takeaways

If you’re a digital or customer experience leader or someone charged with improving one aspect of the experience, such as marketing, the takeaways are clear.

There are a host of ways to think about digital experience evolution, but all of them require you to simultaneously look in two directions:

  • Outside your organization for inspiration and innovation, driven by customer behavior
  • And inside your organization for the cultural shifts that will need to happen to evolve the way you relate to customers across functions.

This affects organizational structures and design, from building centers of excellence around key skills sites, like data-driven marketing, to embedding those skills into every function.

It also affects the way leaders are measured and the way they incentivize their teams, shifting from power centers based on tightly held knowledge to shared insights that inform decision making across the enterprise.

And, of course, it impacts the use of technology, with greater focus on connectivity and experience design.

What's the ROI?

The biggest questions coming out of the DX Summit revolve around measuring the return on investment for these efforts.

Digital experience initiatives are by definition cross-functional, large in scale and scope, and often long-term investments.

A major reason for executive and organizational alignment, as well as change management, is to help the enterprise maintain focus and momentum for what is often a lengthy endeavor with a fuzzy payout at the end.

As with any multi-year initiative, leaders need to build in milestones to mark progress and performance improvement and identify opportunities to refine the direction in order to keep the desired outcome focused on a current and future view of customer expectations.

They should also plan to improve business development and revenue generation as part of the digital experience or along a parallel path, such as connecting digital experience with digital commerce objectives to show business value.

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Title image by Marcin Czaja