With Digital Experience Delivery, Being Agile Pays Off—Literally
One tech story so common today that it almost seems cliché is that the pandemic has forced companies to accelerate their digital transformations. Organizations have made pervasive, and perhaps lasting, changes across their businesses and work styles.
It bears mentioning that when it comes to creating and delivering online content and experiences, speed and agility have been particularly important. With their digital experiences, companies have needed to be nimbler and still continually seek to do these things:
- Keep customers informed, in the moment, before conditions change. For example, when COVID first hit, many companies used their websites to alert customers to their response plans, new protocols and procedures, shipping delays, impacted inventory, etc.
- Expand multichannel and omnichannel strategies to meet customers and prospects where they are.
- Showcase messaging that reflects current corporate priorities, and is responsive to customers’ changing wants and needs. By staying abreast of trends and speaking to audience members at the individual level, companies can turn more prospects into customers.
- Gauge what’s working—then iterate and improve to drive deeper digital engagement and more leads.
And more, of course. It may seem obvious that when you have a digital presence, you don’t want it to grow stale. However, sometimes that can be more easily said than done, as convoluted processes, lengthy rounds of approval, and legacy technology can thwart rapid digital experience management and delivery.
Data on Digital Experience Delivery
Earlier this year, my company Crownpeak commissioned a study with market research firm Vanson Bourne, querying 400 marketing and IT decision-makers about digital experience management. The respondents’ sentiments echo the points above: Nearly all (94 percent) say speed and agility are “very important” to digital experience delivery.
But how well are their organizations executing?
- Nearly 3 in 4 businesses (73 percent) believe improvements are required to the speed and agility of their online content management and digital experience delivery.
- There is a stark disconnect between how long companies say it should take to make changes to their digital presence, compared to how long it actually does. In some cases, pushing out updates and creating experiences took double the time desired, adding on several weeks.
The culprits for this sluggishness? Multiple areas contribute:
- An overreliance on IT. Thirty-one percent of marketers and IT pros say their web content management system (CMS) or digital experience platform (DXP) requires specialists to operate or develop on it.
- Organizational red tape. Forty percent cite cumbersome internal processes as a challenge that impedes their agility.
- Clunky technology. The issues above are often exacerbated by legacy solutions that require manual updates and don’t integrate well with other systems. In fact, 28 percent say hard-to-use technology slows down their digital experience management and delivery.
Unfortunately, these are challenges many of us have faced firsthand. I’ve previously worked at companies where even minor web updates were a lengthy process—you’d need to wade through layers of bureaucracy, involve multiple teams, and go through multiple rounds of approval. Launching anything that wasn’t minor could span months and months.
Besides the frustration of it all, how does the delayed delivery of digital experiences impact companies? Our survey results showed that companies estimate they’d achieve a 38 percent lift in revenue if they could deliver digital experiences faster.
Tips for Improving Digital Experience Agility
How can companies accelerate this? Staff and organizational processes play a role. It’s important to:
- Keep content and messaging fresh. It’s great to be able (technically) to update your website, but you need the content to update it with first. The marketing team should have its ear close to the market – monitoring trends, competitive announcements, customer sentiment and analyst findings on a regular basis – and make sure that messaging is relevant.
- Take an agile approach to digital experience delivery. It’s okay to have your digital experiences be works in progress. Launch them quickly, A/B test them, and determine what’s working – then iterate (or change course) to drive incremental improvements.
- Perform regular website checks. Designate a marketing team member (or members) to check published content and campaigns for relevance and ensure functionality. A good goal is to do this on a monthly basis.
Technology is another piece of the puzzle too. Organizations can move more quickly with digital experience platforms that:
- Are easy for marketers to operate. With a low-code or no-code editing environment, marketers can make the quick changes they need, without causing a backlog in IT. In fact, 82 percent of survey respondents said that having to wait on IT delayed marketing’s business impact.
- Include personalization. An important way to keep your message relevant to your audience is to personalize it—at the segment and, especially, 1-to-1 level. Advances in machine learning enable companies to instantly detect and cater to individuals’ changing preferences and needs.
- Address digital quality. You can automate many parts of error detection—finding broken links, along with issues across PDFs, media files and other digital assets—with digital quality scanning technology.
As the data shows, when it comes to digital experience delivery, being agile pays off—literally. When companies can consistently deliver fresh, relevant, accessible digital experiences, it’s a win-win for them and their customers. Largely unencumbered by organizational processes and IT, marketers should be in the driver’s seat for digital experience management—and able to put the pedal to the metal!
Lacey Ford is chief marketing officer at Crownpeak, a leading digital experience platform. She leads marketing and sales development at the company and is responsible for go-to-market strategy and demand generation.