The Ultimate Guide to Understanding DXPs
To build the content experiences of the future, companies have migrated to DXPs. In this article, learn everything you need to know about DXPs and what they can do to support your business.
A digital experience platform (DXP) is an integrated suite of tools for multi-channel customer engagement tactics. A DXP offers a centralized way to listen to, communicate with, and engage customers. It tracks your customers’ interactions, behaviors, and activities across all channels, allowing you to deliver unified and personalized experiences at every opportunity, following the customer lifecycle.
Most people are familiar with content management systems (CMSes), platforms that allow teams to manage content on a single channel. Traditional CMSes work fine for businesses that need to deliver content to a website or mobile app, but they’re less valuable when there are multiple channels involved. In the past, companies required multiple siloed CMSes and tools to deliver content to each channel, but the experience was not connected or cohesive.
DXPs level up this approach. Monolithic DXPs offer a traditional CMS integrated with a suite of tools designed to deliver web experiences. These tools are often built directly into the CMS by the vendor and are designed to only work with the integrated CMS. They promise simplicity, as the tools are all integrated and designed to work together, but they often fall short in capabilities and often focus exclusively on the web channel.
The traditional DXP suite is monolithic and comes with a prepackaged set of apps and tools. A DXP typically includes:
- A content management system - This is the backbone of the DXP. A built-in CMS enables teams to manage and deliver content wherever their users might want it.
- Analytics software - Since the goal of the DXP is to optimize digital experiences, you need robust analytics to show you where to improve. Analytics software helps you parse data on what’s resonating with your audiences.
- Marketing automation software - These tools allow companies to automate important but routine tasks like sending out mass emails to customers.
- A personalization engine - Customers are won and lost on personalization. A personalization engine empowers you to turn data into customized experiences tailored to your customers' needs.
- E-commerce functionality - For any business that wants to sell products, this is an essential part of the DXP.
- Tools for digital asset management and data management - Data is the lifeblood of your business. These tools allow you to manage data and keep it safe.
It’s simple: businesses need to engage with customers across a wide array of channels. To find and maintain customers, content teams must deliver personalized, connected experiences across the internet, mobile devices, and social media, as well as wearables, smart devices, and digital displays. Delivering these types of experiences is way too much for a traditional CMS or monolithic DXP to handle.
DXPs offer a variety of benefits to organizations and customers alike.
- Easy to use. Regardless of your level of technical understanding, it’s easy for stakeholders across the org to engage with DXPs. Stakeholders can engage with the tools they need without having to learn how to operate the tools they don’t.
- Access control. DXPs simplify access control and permission, keeping the organization safe from cyber attacks and costly human errors. From a single platform, seamlessly keep track of who has access to what, onboard new users, and adjust security protocols.
- Personalized user experience. By mixing and matching apps and tools, you can more easily deliver personalized experiences for customers, find new markets, and reach users where they’re at. Track users across the customer journey to see what’s resonating and what’s not.
- Collect the data you need. Streamline content creation and optimize marketing campaigns by experimenting with different analytics software and data collection methods.
- Cut costs at scale. Reduce costs by consolidating the systems and tools you use to build out your content ecosystem. Instead of having to onboard a new vendor every time you need a new tool, take advantage of the tools built into the system. Add new tools and software as your organization grows and changes to create digital experiences that scale with your business.
Traditional, monolithic DXP suites share many of the same problems as traditional CMSes. They offer a variety of tools bundled into a single solution—but they often overpromise and underdeliver.
For one, not all of these tools will map seamlessly onto your business’s current needs. And while they promise the best of the best, the features included in the suite are often not best-in-class.
Another problem with monolithic DXPs is it’s all or nothing. Because the tools are fully integrated, you pay for them all—even if you don’t need them.
Many organizations buy a monolithic DXP because of the perceived value of having a lot of capabilities. In reality, most organizations never end up implementing much more than just the CMS and when they do try to use the extra features they find those features fall well short in capability.
What seemed like a great value is now an expensive system—not just in licensing, but in hosting. You pay for the infrastructure to power those additional tools even if they’re not used.
But next-generation platforms such as composable DXPs enable teams to select best-in-breed products. These platforms allow organizations to combine technologies that offer capabilities specific to their business and mix and match technologies as needed.
Modern DXP stacks aim to mitigate the challenges of the traditional DXP by introducing composability. A composable DXP enables teams to assemble services and microservices that meet the organization's needs. That way, teams can in fact invest in best-in-breed solutions that are handpicked for your particular brand.
As the organization grows, teams can add or subtract apps and tools as needed. This enables the business to build digital experiences faster and at scale.
Instead of needing to seek out and integrate a new tool every time you want to expand into a new market or investigate a new way of delivering content, you can simply plug in the new tool and hit the ground running. This is vastly different from a CMS, which has a set of fixed features that can’t necessarily grow with your business.
The CMS is arguably the most important part of your tech stack. Every DXP, regardless of its type, revolves around a content management system.
That’s why it’s essential to work with the best of the best. Sanity is a best-in-class headless CMS that delivers omnichannel content management, scalability, developer flexibility, improved security, and an agile editing experience. With Sanity, you can easily create the content you need to power your business and reach new heights.
Sanity is the best CMS for today’s composable DXPs. Learn more about how we enable businesses to deliver exceptional digital experiences at scale.