In a world where personalized digital experiences have become the norm, a Digital Experience Platform is indispensable. But having a DXP is not enough: it’s about how you use it optimally to provide relevance for your customers.
A Digital Experience Platform (DXP) enables the management, delivery and optimization of personalized digital experiences. Essential parts of this are the CMS, for the content that you as a company send to the outside world, the CRM, with which Sales & Marketing manages the customer relationship, and the Customer Data Platform (CDP), with which you listen to customers by collecting and analyzing customer data . However, these three components do not yet provide value to customers. It only becomes valuable when you combine them to provide a personal and relevant experience everywhere where all communication channels reinforce each other. That is exactly what a DXP does: serve the online customer personally.
Companies have therefore found their way to DXPs. The global DXP market was valued at over USD 12.2 billion in 2022, which according to Marketwatch will grow to over USD 27.1 billion in 2028. Yet I regularly speak to companies where these investments do not or insufficiently lead to the benefits mentioned. Often the same problems lie behind this: the use and responsibility lie almost entirely with the marketing department, there is only limited integration with other departments, software and processes, or the overall support is limited.
Fortunately, the same solutions work for that too. The following insights and best practices will help you get more out of your DXP.
A DXP requires vision and ownership
When you recognize the importance of relevant, digital experiences, a DXP automatically comes into the picture as the solution. However, that is not (entirely) the case: it is an essential element of the solution, a part that stands or falls with the integration within the company. By that I mean that the DXP must match the needs of the company: it must be relevant to current issues. That relevance largely depends on strategic leadership. Is a DXP purchased as a silver bullet for a problem, without further vision or strategy behind its deployment, it will never be able to offer optimal value.
A DXP also requires ownership. When a DXP becomes the responsibility of a department, there are all sorts of enthusiastic plans. However, they fail when there are angry customers or new campaigns in the short, daily term. There must be one person with a mandate and with whom the DXP has the primary focus.
A DXP requires the same as a digital transformation
Integrating a DXP is often seen as a form of digital transformation, but the focus often remains on the ‘digital’ part. The “transformation” part often lags behind, and it always revolves around people. The major condition for a successful integration of DXP lies in both strategic and digital maturity. If you are aware of your strengths and shortcomings as a company, you can always find strategic partners who can support you in becoming digitally mature.
Make it measurable
Whatever you use a DXP for, make it measurable so you can prove the ROI. Research by Forbes (pdf) shows that successfully integrating a customer experiencestrategy often stumbles because they are unable to demonstrate value in the short term.
The best practices which Forbes quotes comes from LG Electronics: use quick wins to generate buy-in for larger investments. The underlying strategy is to look at the data differently internally: if something works well, then you should focus on that. This prevents lengthy development processes and also enables you to quickly test which changes work and which don’t. In short: fail fast.
Start a flywheel of first-party data
From a business perspective, the focus on relevant experiences is self-evident. It not only ensures higher customer satisfaction, but also more willingness to share personal data. Companies that understand this have a significant head start on those that have not yet fully realized the impact of the death of the third-party cookie.
First-party data is essential to providing a personalized experience, and you only get that from customers when you provide relevance. The whole therefore works like a flywheel: relevance provides first-party data, and that data in turn provides more relevance.
Integration and implementation
A successful DXP relies heavily on fundamental integration in the organization and architecture. The solution often mentioned in the market is called composable, whereby components of the product can be used flexibly so that the platform can be adapted to the needs and situation of the organization. But this is accompanied by a greatly increased technical challenge. As Gartner wrote last March in the Magic Quadrant for Digital Experience Platforms: “An end goal of composability is to make this composition no-code. However, today, no true ‘composition platforms’ exist. Going composable remains very much pro-code, and thus advanced digital maturity is required in those taking this path.”
It is therefore not only about the software itself, but especially about how it can be used in the most effective way within your company. You always have to deal with legacysystems and business-critical software that do not connect to your DXP as standard, but that are an important source. Linking with these systems is always tailor-made. This means that there is also a need for technical maturity, internally or with your digital partner.
By putting the user at the center you prevent value risk: the risk that you build products and services that the customer sees no value in. But there is an equally important risk in it business viability: how do you create that value within the constraints and possibilities of your company? What is realistic when you look at developers, budgets and time to ROI? Bee value risk look outside and at business viability look internally. Relevance is key for both.
The customer doesn’t care about your plans, systems and processes. The question is, what’s in it for them? In short: you have to offer value for your customers. I see a lot of people sticking with them targetsplans or internal priorities, but as Kendrick Lamar sings: Be humble. Most users have nothing to do with that.
An example of a customer-centric approach is CitizenM, a hotel chain that chose to digital-first without compromising the user experience. Hotel guests expect online booking, changing the reservation or ordering room service to be completely digital and frictionless.
We helped citizenM take their service to the next level by giving guests full control over their own hotel experience. From booking to check-in, and from controlling room lighting, blinds and temperature to listening to familiar playlists, the entire customer experience is automatically tailored to personal preferences for each stay. And that is appreciated by the hotel guests: the NPS scores 15 to 20 points higher. As a case, 13 awards have already been won, including ‘Best digital customer experience’ at the International CX Awards.
Make DXP part of your organization
Above all, a DXP must be worn in the organization, it is not a toy for the marketing department. A DXP must be fully integrated into an organization so that it does not become a separate silo. Each person and department derives its raison d’être from the user, the rest is actually secondary.
If the user is dissatisfied with your service, you lose relevance and eventually the business. Everyone is therefore responsible for the user experience and therefore for the optimal use of a DXP. If you take one thing from these best practices, let it be this: focus on the user, and the rest will follow.
About the author: Tim Aardenburg is Proposition Owner at Triple.
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