Digital Experience Platforms (DXP) or Experience Platforms (XP) can help you create truly personalised digital experiences. And they’re evolving fast. The advance of AI plugins, from Microsoft’s Copilot to Adobe’s Firefly, promises greater productivity and creativity for content marketers.
Whether you’re looking to build your content strategy and digital presence from scratch or want to migrate to a DXP, it’s important to choose the right DXP for your needs.
Understanding the role of DXPs in content strategy
Unsure of how a DXP can help you? Check out our deep dive into content development and unlocking the full potential of DXP technology.
A DXP is your command centre. It's where you can manage all of your content platforms, plugins and tools and so manage the relationships you have with your end users.
With many DXPs, you can draw in content from multiple sources, like CMSs, and then seed content back out to them from one place. But it goes beyond just publishing content. DXPs help you create more personalised digital experiences and automate these experiences across various digital channels.
Imagine being able to manage data from your CRM to inform what you create on your CMS, publish it across social media, newsletters, digital advertising, apps, websites and IoT devices all from the one place and then have data feed back in to your central analytics platform with automated processes acting on those insights. That’s the power of DXPs for content strategists.
What to look for when choosing a DXP
This depends on what you need. Are you a small organisation or even a start-up looking to get started with the best tool to help you scale? Or maybe you’re a large employer that’s been around for 20+ years, you’ve gone through multiple content migrations and you want to remove silos within your organisation by unifying your digital tools. These differences will affect what DXP you choose, as some providers specialise in different industries and capabilities, while others focus on building solutions for enterprise organisations over startups.
We can't tell you what to choose! But knowing that not every product out there is built for you will help you ask the right questions.
Regardless of your needs, there are some core things to consider when choosing a DXP.
1. How does it help you create and orchestrate content?
This all depends on your needs. If you’re a university with 20 different departments, all of them using different CMSs to create content, then you’ll want a DXP that can help you orchestrate content from these different sources.
Perhaps your content creation and management revolves around digital media, so you want a DXP that can promise easier management of your DAM and integrate it with other important tools and platforms.
There are many needs different organisations might have for their content orchestration. When choosing a DXP, first define what your content needs are (e.g., do you have 20+ years of content you need to migrate? How can a DXP help you do this?) and then have conversations with providers to see if they are suited for your needs.
2. How easy is it to build and scale personalised experiences?
The biggest change DXPs can make to your content strategy in the long-term is the ability to create personalised digital experiences. This means being able to listen to what your end users need and create experiences that match those needs. You also want to be able to automate these processes over time, freeing you to scale up.
Explore how you want to be able to personalise experiences. For instance, if you’re a retailer, then you’ll want a DXP that has a good track record of facilitating customised/personalised advertising and product recommendations. But if you’re a local government council, you might want a DXP that prioritises effective search functionality. This is because you're a source of important information for your residents, and that information might be split up across different sources. You want a DXP that will hep residents easily find that information.
It’s important to define what you want the greatest control and flexibility around in your content management. Search, analytics, cross-channel customisation. Whatever it is, create a hierarchy of your priorities and grade potential DXPs based on your needs.
3. What integrations do you need?
Some market leaders promise the world when it comes to content orchestration, but a quick glance at reviews show that their integrations have been cumbersome and come with significant expense to install, manage and troubleshoot. Ask yourself how many different capabilities you need from your DXP. You may not need one that uses countless APIs and connectors to bring together every capability under the sun.
Whether you’re a small or large organisation, start small with your expectations and integrations, leaving yourself the budget and room to scale up and gradually remove silos across your digital content management.
4. What analytics capabilities do you need?
If you’re a startup, budget and scale will define what analytics tools and integrations you need for your DXP. Look out for DXPs that support analytics and testing across all of your platforms, from your websites through to your apps, marketing channels and social media. If a DXP can offer this functionality affordably, then you’re laying the foundation for being able to act quickly and adjust your content strategy to reflect the behaviours of your end users.
5. How easy is it to use and what will it cost?
Finally, cost and usability are some of the biggest concerns for most organisations, but not all. As an agency, we sometimes see major industry leaders take on digital transformation projects without prioritising backend usability throughout the build. And then don't even mention governance. These blindspots can often lead to unexpected costs as far as training, updates and fixes and further software integrations that seek to solve that usability issue. From scale-ups to enterprise organisations, ease-of-use is key to avoiding bottlenecks in your content production and ultimate ballooning costs. Meanwhile, ignoring governance will quickly see your content blowout and your content strategy fail.
Make sure you can get access to the user interface of any DXP you’re considering. Will using it require extensive training for your staff and what will that cost? How easy is it for content managers to create efficient workflows and set up clear governance permissions? Prioritise the usability of your DXP from the very start and keep it as your north star throughout a digital transformation. It will save you a lot of money and time in the long run.
Top 5 DXPs to consider
Adobe Experience Manager (AEM)
This is one of the biggest DXP providers out there. Many major organisations use it thanks to its strong customisability, but it can invite complex configurations and costs.
Pros: A comprehensive solution, favoured by organisations wanting a full suite of integrations and capabilities. It also has a clear user interface and is scalable for large enterprises.
Cons: May not be the best fit for every organisation as it can require significant onboarding for new employees. Some complaints are that it tries to do too much at once, limiting the impact of individual components.
Salesforce Experience Cloud
As a CRM, the Experience Cloud built on the Salesforce system is designed to enhance your ability to learn from your users and personalise experiences.
Pros: It integrates with the Salesforce ecosystem. It promotes drag-and-drop, simple usability as its customers tend to be in customer experience and require easy implementation. A great tool for enhancing your relationship with end users and creating personalised experiences.
Cons: It has been said that the drag-and-drop functionality of the UI is great up to a point, but more coding is needed if you want to create more sophisticated digital experiences. The scale of functions it can also provide has led some to note the large learning curve (and expense) or its various integrations.
More of a customer experience platform than a full DXP, Glassbox is favoured by enterprise organisations more than smaller or mid-sized organisations. It has a large suite of tools to help you create insights in real-time on your end users, giving you insights to inform your content and business strategies.
Pros: The biggest pro Glassbox is known for is its easy usability. Designed for CX specialists, designers and researchers, business analysts and strategists, it uses AI integrations to help visualise analytics.
Cons: More of an intelligence-gathering tool than an all-in-one DXP that unites your many digital platforms, this is a cost smaller organisations might not want to wear.
Sitecore Experience Platform
One of the more obvious examples of what we’ve been talking about in this article, Site Experience Platform promises a more unified and simple orchestration of your content, analytics and marketing.
Pros: Simple 'What You See Is What You Get' (WYSIWYG) user interface and ‘omnichannel delivery’ reflect the DXP promise to enhance personalisation through easier content orchestration.
Cons: Some have found it requires significant investment for its development and support and also has a learning curve that adds to the cost of training.
Disclaimer alert. Squiz are a great team that we’ve done work with before but we thought we’d mention them as a strong example of what a DXP can look like when it specialises in its offering.
Pros: Legacy organisations with considerable content from various sources (e.g., multiple CMSs) benefit from Squiz’s specialisation in pulling in content and allowing for easy orchestration. Its search functionality is also prized by government clients as it allows for greater personalisation and ease-of-use for end users.
Cons: Squiz doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles that larger competitors do, such as the intelligence gathering of Glassbox.
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