The Acquia Engage Digital Freedom tour stop in Miami, Florida, was incredibly informative—featuring keynotes, workshops, and customer success stories. As a developer and solutions engineer, I was particularly excited to hear more about Acquia’s product roadmap.
Phase2 and Acquia have a close association. We’ve been partners since Acquia’s inception in 2007 and we’ve worked side by side on innumerable initiatives including non-profit platform builds, enterprise systems for Fortune 500 companies, and multisite, multichannel media applications delivering personalized experiences to users internationally.
Recently, our team earned the Acquia Certified DXP Practice designation. We are proud to be one of the first digital agencies to achieve this status—which recognizes partners who demonstrate the highest levels of technical competence across all Acquia’s technologies, including Drupal Cloud and Marketing Cloud.
One of my favorite discussion topics from the Digital Freedom tour stop was future-focused DXP thinking.
First, What is a DXP?
Gartner defines a digital experience platform (DXP) as “an integrated set of core technologies that support the composition, management, delivery and optimization of contextualized digital experiences.”
Great definition, but what does it mean exactly?
DXPs are an integrated suite of tools (websites, email, mobile apps, customer portals, social platforms, IoT devices, VR and AR devices, in-store kiosks, digital signage, etc.) that connect and foster communication between organizations and their audiences (customers, prospects, partners, employees, etc.). With millions of devices out there and growing in number daily, content has to be consistent, connected, and reusable—delivering a seamless experience to users.
Core Tenets of a DXP
Effective personalization means making sure your DXP is serving the right content to the right audience at the right time and ensuring that content is effective. Uncovering whether the content resonates with its users through testing and adjusting is a crucial part of the process but personalization can be over-thought and over-engineered. A lot of companies don’t have explicit goals around personalization and there are easy site implementations that can make a huge impact.
For instance, targeting users from a specific location and serving them a tailored hero image to reinforce a local story. This isn’t a huge lift but it makes an impact. Over time with the crawl, walk, run approach, we can learn the small changes that make a big difference in marketing efforts.
The most important thing to start with first is understanding the client's goals, do they want to increase engagement or are their interests more transactional? Once we’ve figured out the macro level, we can create an effective personalization strategy.
People are increasingly concerned about their personal data and being tracked online. Consumers don’t want their data out there unless it’s being used for good. Marketers have learned that they can be more successful if they give the consumer something in exchange for their data. If there’s a value-add, people will provide their information. It’s important to remember, the clock is ticking—we’re heading toward a cookieless future—where only first party data will exist.
We routinely help clients by auditing their landscapes, looking at their KPIs and organizational goals and developing plans. Our Customer Data & Insights team works with OneTrust, a cookie consent management system that enables consumers to opt in or out of providing specific data. Additionally, we’ve built custom backend widgets for clients that permits their customers to specify exactly the personal data they’re willing to provide—understanding that it will be used for tracking purposes. First party data is always the better option. You know what people are interested in because they were willing to consent to using their personal information.
Really understanding your audience and knowing who will be using the DXP tools you create is critical. We tailor the experiences we build for technical and non-technical users alike. For instance, one application can have several different administration experiences. So if an admin is used to MS Word, we can build an experience for them that’s very, very similar—they’ll be able to copy and paste exactly as they would in a Microsoft product. Conversely, for a tech savvy marketer, we can build a sophisticated interface where they can access metrics from various platforms.
That's what makes Drupal really, really powerful—delivering a non-standard, user-tailored experience. This really resonates with people. We hear it all the time, “one team wants to do this, and one team wants to do that.” We can accommodate both teams relatively easily. The experience is never a one-size-fits-all proposition.
To the Future and Beyond (the Web)
The future of DXPs extends far beyond the web. DXPs power the world around us. DXPs are the Alexas and Google Homes. They're OTT apps like Roku and Apple TV+. DXPs are even behind the animated billboards you can see walking through Times Square. And DXPs will power the future through VR and AR platforms. Imagine being able to overlay our reality with helpful hints and reminders. All of this—all of this—starts with your DXP.
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