Do you want to enthrall your digital content consumers? Are you eager to increase site traffic, capture greater market share, and create powerful omnichannel impressions? Choosing the right driver to take the wheel is important. But what's under the hood of that race car you call a company is equally significant-the engine and related systems you've implemented to power your text, photos, videos, posts, and other content across the modern information superhighway. Consumers increasingly demand consistent, delightful digital experiences as they interact via desktop, mobile, tablet, digital signage, in-car, and in-store experiences. But the days when you could create a mobile experience that closely mirrors the desktop are long gone. Brands must create tailored experiences by carefully considering the consumer's preferences.
Accomplishing this requires well-oiled and well-managed interconnected technologies. Culling necessary data from various customer touchpoint devices and employing it to personalize each consumer's experience on a constant basis demand a new level of sophistication in content-related infrastructure and architecture.
The good news is that today's content management tools have become sophisticated and robust enough to administer the complex digital experiences customers crave. The bad news is that many organizations rely on outdated platforms and resources that can't bridge the gap between simply delivering good content and delivering that content at the right time to the right user. In short, the tools they wield don't offer the kind of digital experience management (DXM) capabilities that are needed today.
But fear not, concerned content and marketing professionals, by modernizing and tweaking your content infrastructure and architecture, you can provide the best possible digital experiences.
Turbocharging the Engine
Traditional infrastructure refers to the hardware, servers, networks, and bandwidth needed to deliver digital experiences. These all have to be responsive, healthy, and upgraded relatively often. But what's significantly responsible for wowing your digital consumers are the software, apps, and other tools of choice-your content infrastructure, which typically comprises a CMS or web content management (WCM) system, an analytics platform, and supplemental or alternate systems such as an online video platform.
Jason Thibeault, senior director of content marketing for Limelight, says that organizations should consider upgrading these components if they require more advanced features-including greater personalization-"especially if their existing system has no road map to implement those advanced features."
Another reason why it may be time for an update is that most infrastructure is incapable of timely data collection, which is necessary to deliver personalized experiences, including more targeted content, offers, and recommendations. "This timely customer data lives in many different systems, which don't talk to each other, and the data can often be very inaccurate," says Ian McCaig, CMO and co-founder of the London-based Qubit. "If you want to deliver winning customer experiences, you need to centralize your customer data into infrastructure that can be connected with an intelligent delivery engine to segment and serve personalized experiences to different customer cohorts, all in real time. But the challenge many businesses face is that their hands are tied with legacy systems."
Kevin Cochrane, CMO of Jahia in Geneva, says updating content infrastructure components for greater reliability helps employees be an agile and coordinated team, which in turn results in greater customer service and better digital experiences. "When employees do not have access to the same information, it creates a roadblock in helping the customer," says Cochrane. "We've all experienced calling an organization, only to be greeted by an automated system that prompts us to provide our personal information. Often afterwards, we'll be connected to a customer service representative, who will typically request the same set of information. Sometimes, it ends there, but often we will get transferred again, only to go through a similar process."
So what do the pros say is the ideal solution? Stop thinking solely in terms of CMS and WCM, and start thinking more in terms of DXM. "The proper digital experience management platform facilitates a customer-centric approach to marketing, enabling a customer to reveal information about themselves and their intent, and in doing so is offered the next best information or offer they need to guide them on their decision-making journey. This is the new context and personalization imperative for digital experiences," says Cochrane.
As a relevant example of a DXM-focused company, consider United Airlines. "They're providing digital experiences unlike anyone else right now, because they know everything about the customer and their preferences to ensure they're delivering a personalized experienced. Things like seat preferences, preferred flying times, annual travel schedules, and flight changes are all known," says Cochrane. "Another example is Ben & Jerry's, which receives 45% of its traffic on mobile devices. Because of this, the company prioritizes responsive web design to ensure that customer experiences are consistent across platforms while ensuring the consistency of data."
(Image courtesy of Shutterstock.)