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Digital experience (DX) leaders need to possess a more content-centric and technically-adroit skill set than their peers if they want to be more effective in developing and managing their DX ecosystems. In fact, according to Scott Brinker’s 2017 Marketing Technology Landscape, there has been a 39% growth in MarTech applications in just one year to a mind-boggling 5,500 solutions. Such a diverse and robust software universe, growing at such an accelerated rate, warrants any leader to be up-to-date on DX tech solutions overall. And with such a complex set of offerings, connectivity and interoperability becomes more of an issue, and the ultimate goal of a unified customer digital experience across the full journey can be compromised.

e-Spirit, a digital experience platform (DXP) vendor, conducted a State of the DX Ecosystem survey of more than 200 marketing and IT professionals in global companies across the U.S. and Europe, striving to learn how companies are developing and managing their DX technology ecosystems. They found that 20% of DX leaders are getting a high return on investment (ROI) from their DX ecosystem investments, while the rest find getting a high ROI challenging.

What are these DX leaders doing to get more ROI from their investments? What attributes do they have that will ensure their DX ecosystems are generating the most ROI possible for their organizations?

The Top 6 Attributes of DX Leaders and Their Ecosystems are:

  • Being Content-Driven: They Create and Distribute Content Globally
  • Getting Personal with Customers in Real-Time
  • Omnichannel Content Delivery
  • Deploying an Agile, Future-Enabled Infrastructure
  • Successful Integration
  • Maximizing Value from Their Investments
  • DX Leaders Are Content Driven

According to the Content Marketing Institute website, 86% of B2C respondents answered yes when asked if they use content marketing in their organizations. Content is core to all digital experiences for customers, and the ability to create it at scale and deliver it anywhere and anytime is critical to a great digital experience. But creating and distributing content globally is no small task for a large company, and having a DX platform that has certain capabilities, like the ability to integrate with other applications such as translation and digital asset management systems, will make this process much easier. According to the e-Spirit survey, 53% of companies find it ‘easy’ to create and distribute content globally due to the fact that 39% of them have the appropriate DXP capabilities for their business needs.

Related Story: What is a Digital Experience (DX) Ecosystem?

They Get Personal in Real-Time

51% of successful DX leaders deliver personalized digital experiences in real-time to their customers, according to the e-Spirit DX Technology Ecosystem study. That is great news, and shows DX leaders know how important delivering DX in real-time is. In fact, 23% of DX leaders say that they don’t currently deliver content in real-time, but they know they need to and want this capability.

They Deliver Content Omnichannel

DX leaders need to be able to deliver content omnichannel – across web, mobile, Internet of Things (IoT) – really anywhere people can and want to consume information. IoT devices, are making the need to provide a seamless digital experience for their customers across all touchpoints challenging for digital marketers. To optimize customer engagement and market agility, marketers need to be able to deliver content without custom integration and dedicated technical resources every time they need to publish or update something. The DX Ecosystem study found that 60% of DX leaders already deliver content to mobile and apps without custom integrations, but only 19% can deliver to IoT without any customizations. A DXP with strong interoperability in a multi-vendor and multi-channel environment is a key success factor in these scenarios.

As IoT grows in leaps and bounds, the growing number of customer touchpoints will continue to expand, creating both opportunities to connect with customers, but also creating technical challenges for marketers who need to create a unified digital experience without extensive customization. In addition to DXP interoperability, a more agile method of content delivery is needed, allowing content to be parsed and delivered dynamically and channel-agnostic, such as in a content as a service model (CaaS).

Related Story: Tech Strategies Digital Experience Leaders Use to Support Innovation

They Deploy a Future-Enabled, Agile Infrastructure

According to the DX Ecosystem survey, 73% of DX leaders who find it easy to add new digital marketing tools to their infrastructure, cite an open architecture as the core reason. While those that found it hard were limited by past technology platforms, lack of tool integration, lack of dedicated development resources, and a general inability to move the needle on locked-down IT systems that change at a glacial pace. All of these limitations inhibit marketers from doing basic digital tasks like content updates that are necessary to drive forward a unified digital experience.

"The world is moving towards open, agile platforms that easily interoperate with each other based on a microservices architecture" - Michael Gerard

Michael Gerard, Chief Marketing Officer for e-Spirit, advises businesses to be wary of getting locked-in to a vendor with a massive enterprise full stack solution. “The world is moving towards open, agile platforms that easily interoperate with each other based on a microservices architecture,” says Michael Gerard. “Microservices are a way to break up complex systems into smaller, manageable pieces that communicate with each other, and can be used on an as needed basis. This type of architecture not only makes technology more flexible, but also easier to scale.”

DX Leaders Successfully Integrate

The e-Spirit DX Ecosystem study found that DX leaders are the ones that have been successful at integrating their DX ecosystems. Here is how they break down.

  • 73% of DX leaders have integrated a commerce system
  • 62% have integrated a CMS
  • 54% have integrated analytics
  • 39% have integrated marketing automation systems

Related Story: What Are the Different Types of DXPs? Understanding Digital Experience Platform Models

They Maximize Value from Their Investments

DX leaders know where to spend their time and effort, and don’t bring on tech or solutions that they don’t leverage and utilize for the benefit of the business. The e-Spirit DX Ecosystem study found that 69% of DX leaders have high usage of their DX ecosystem capabilities. This higher level of usage and utility is directly related to how open, agile and scalable their platform is. Users who go for the all-in-one monolithic solution tend to find they have many features they don’t use or are applicable to their business accompanied by a lack of interoperability, while DX leaders who use more interoperable platforms find it easier to satisfy their business requirements while still being able to customize when the business needs change.

Moving Forward

DX leaders need to future-proof their thinking and planning. They must be content-centric in their methodology and prepared to deliver that content omnichannel, be hyper-focused on real-time personalization to tailor the experience for their customers, and need to deploy a flexible, agile, open architecture so their platform can be customized and updated when, inevitably, the business needs it.