Our Insights


Keep the ultimate goal of a DXP in sight: relevance to your customers

Tim Aardenburg
Tim Aardenburg
22 May 2023 - 5 min read

- In collaboration with Emerce -

In a world where personalized digital experiences have become the norm, a Digital Experience Platform is an indispensable asset. But having a DXP is not enough: it's about how you optimally use it to provide relevance for your customers.

A Digital Experience Platform (DXP) enables you to manage, deliver and optimize personalized digital experiences. The key components of any DXP are:

  • Your CMS, for the content your company sends to the outside world
  • Your CRM, which Sales & Marketing uses to manage customer relationships
  • Your Customer Data Platform (CDP), which allows you to listen to customers by collecting and analyzing customer data.

However, these three components alone do not provide value to customers. The real value comes from combining them to provide a personalized, relevant experience across the board, in which all your communication channels serve to reinforce one another. That's exactly what a DXP does: it serves your online customers personally.

This is also why so many companies are now turning to DXPs. The global DXP market was valued at over $12.2 billion in 2022. According to Marketwatch, that number will grow to over $27.1 billion by 2028. Yet I still regularly speak to company leaders who say these investments are not helping them leverage the full benefits that they have in mind. Often they face the same familiar challenges: usage and responsibility lie almost entirely with the marketing department, there's not enough integration with other departments, software and processes, or overall support is limited.

The good news is that the same solutions can help overcome these challenges too. Below are some insights and best practices to help you get more benefit from your DXP.

A DXP requires vision and ownership

When you recognize the importance of relevant, digital experiences, a DXP seems like a natural choice. However, that's not (entirely) the case: it is an essential part of the solution, but it all comes down to how well you integrate it into your business. By this I mean that the DXP must suit your company's needs: it must be relevant to current issues. That relevance depends largely on strategic leadership. Simply investing in a DXP and expecting it to solve all your problems is not enough. To provide optimal value, it also takes vision and an effective deployment strategy.

A DXP also requires ownership. If you put an entire department in charge of your DXP, you're likely to see lots of ambitious plans for how to use it. However, it's easy for the team to become distracted when they've got demanding customers and new campaigns to deal with every day. What you need is a single individual who's fully in charge of your DXP and who is able to devote their full attention to it.

A DXP is truly a digital transformation

Companies often plan on approaching their DXP implementation as if it were a digital transformation. In practice, however, they wind up putting all their focus on the "digital" part. The "transformation" part often gets neglected. Yet that part is equally important, because it's all about people. To successfully integrate a DXP, your company needs to be ready, both digitally and strategically. If you're 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 your DXP for, make it measurable so you can prove Return on Invest. Research from Forbes shows that companies often fail at rolling out a successful customer experience strategy because they're unable to demonstrate value in the short term.

The best practice Forbes cites comes from LG Electronics. They use quick wins to cultivate buy-in for larger investments. The underlying strategy is to look at your company's data differently: if something is working well, place your focus there. This prevents lengthy development processes and allows you to quickly test which changes do and do not work. In short: fail fast.

Start a first-party data flywheel

From a business perspective, focusing on relevant experiences makes perfect sense. Not only does it increase customer satisfaction, but it also increases your customers' willingness to share their personal data. Companies that succeed in collecting personal data have a substantial lead over those who are still stuck in the era of third-party cookies.

First-party data is essential to providing a personalized experience, and you only get that from customers when you provide relevance. Think of it as a data flywheel: relevance creates first-party data, and that data in turn creates more relevance.

Integration and implementation

In order for your DXP to be a success, it has to be fully integrated into your organization and architecture. A common approach is to use a so-called "composable" solution which gives you the flexibility to deploy components of your DXP to adapt to your organization's actual needs and situation. But this approach presents many technical challenges. In the same way 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."

So it's not just about the software itself, but more importantly how it can be deployed most effectively within your company. You'll always have to deal with legacy systems and business-critical applications that don't link with your DXP by default but are still important resources. Linking with these systems always requires customization, which requires a lot of technical expertise, either in-house or from your digital partner.

Putting the user first helps you avoid value risk: the risk of building products and services that the customer doesn't see value in. But an equally important risk is in business viability: how do you create that value while taking your company's capacities and limitations into account? What is realistic in terms of developers, budgets and time-to-ROI? With value risk, you look externally, and with business viability, you look internally. In both cases, relevance is key.

Customer focus

Your customers don't care about your plans, systems and processes. Their only concern is: what's in it for them? In short, you have to provide value for your customers. I see a lot of people stuck on their targets, plans or internal priorities, but most users have no interest in that whatsoever. So, as Kendrick Lamar sings: "Be humble."

A prime example of how to take a customer-centric approach comes from CitizenM, a hotel chain that chose to become digital-first without compromising the user experience. Hotel guests expect online booking, adjusting reservations or ordering room service to be completely digital and seamless.

We helped CitizenM take their service to the next level by giving guests complete control over their own hotel experience. From booking to check-in, to controlling their room's lights, blinds and temperature, to listening to their favorite playlists, the entire customer experience is automatically tailored to the guest's preferences with every stay. And hotel guests have definitely noticed the difference: CitizenM's NPS scores have risen by 15 to 20 points. The hotel's new customer experience concept has already won 13 awards, including "Best Digital Customer Experience" at the International CX Awards.

Make DXP part of your organization

Above all, your DXP needs to expand to every part of your organization; it's not just a toy for your marketing department. Your DXP must be fully integrated into your organization so that it doesn't just turn into another silo. At the end of the day, your customers and their experience are what matters most: that's what every employee and team within your company should be working towards.

If customers are dissatisfied with your service, your relevance declines and you ultimately lose business. That's why everyone needs to be invested in providing the ideal user experience, which makes it crucial to deploy your DXP the right way. If you remember just one thing from the best practices above, this is the most important: focus on your users, and the rest will follow naturally.

Ready to unlock the potential of your DXP? Drop me an email, and we can explore the topic in greater detail.