The world is full of buzz words, especially in digital marketing, but one that’s been out there for 10+ years is CXM (aka ‘Customer Experience Management’) and it still holds true in our litany of acronyms today. You’re probably familiar with CMS, DAM, CRM, and maybe DMP, but what is CXM and what does it mean in the context of your digital marketing capabilities? Let me start with a definition – one that came from Forrester years ago, when the major enterprise platforms were starting to reimagine themselves: “CXM is a set of solutions which enable the management and delivery of dynamic, targeted, consistent content, offers, products, and service interactions across digitally enabled consumer touch-points”. CXM provides modern digital marketers with capabilities that enable one-to-one personalization with customers across all brand touchpoints. In 2019, these personalized moments are vast, and go beyond traditional web, mobile and email channels to include social, IoT, voice, TV, in-store and many others. With all these different channels (and the list keeps growing), greater flexibility and delivery options are required to take full advantage of features such as multi-channel content & asset re-use, machine learning, multi-solution integrations, and data capabilities baked into CXM solutions today.
Recently at Adobe Summit, Customer Experience Management took center stage to reinforce the importance of true multi-channel orchestration and personalization, leveraging the Adobe Experience Cloud suite. Adobe has invested considerably in building out the necessary foundation and integrations across their solutions, which is indicative of trends that have been disrupting the digital marketing tech landscape over much of the last decade. It’s only until recently that CXM solutions have become more scalable, interoperable, and cost-effective from an ROI standpoint – and many enterprise platforms, including Adobe, have invested considerably in building out these capabilities.
Here are 4 technology trends that have helped contribute to the evolution of CXM:
1) Headless – In order to make content and assets truly reusable across multiple channels, it needs to be distributed in standard formats that allow for easier ingestion by the consuming application. Headless solutions provide an opportunity to de-couple the CMS from the user interface, delivering content in a structured format, such as JSON. This content can then be consumed by your application via a single-page application (built on Angular or React, front-end frameworks), or an IoT device such as a smart refrigerator. Adobe has built a framework in Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) that provides flexibility for your Headless implementations, while at the same time still makes it possible to take advantage of the core CMS capabilities such as in-context preview/editing and personalization to name a few.
2) Machine Learning / AI – This is probably one of the more game-changing technological advancements of the last few years. It impacts digital marketing and how we act on the data we’re collecting, enabling predictive personalization and dynamic segmentation. AI provides great opportunities for a CXM-to-scale content delivery, and greater content velocity, delivering multi-channel personalization without having to hire teams of writers and designers. Adobe Sensei provides these capabilities, and in the upcoming release of AEM 6.5, machine learning is baked into all aspects of the content & asset life cycle, from creation through delivery and optimization. The end result is increased velocity to make marketing and technology teams more efficient by leveraging automation and better insights into what’s working and what isn’t when engaging with customers.
3) APIs – The explosion of APIs (application programming interfaces) and microservices has allowed greater integrations across disparate technologies, enabling the flow of analytics and other customer data to be shared and exchanged. All the leading marketing clouds have built native integrations across their own solutions, including Adobe, and have invested in connectors between 3rd party CMS, CRM and marketing automation platforms, among others. Additionally, API frameworks like Adobe I/O provide capabilities for developers to create custom integrations across core services and functionality, such as Adobe Launch extensions — which is the replacement for Adobe Dynamic Tag Manager. These open APIs signal an endless set of possibilities that are providing greater cross-platform integrations — critical for a CXM platform.
4) Unified Customer View – Scalable cloud platforms and capabilities supporting the collection and activation of data for known and unknown customers has provided greater opportunities for enabling truly holistic multi-channel CXM platforms. Customer Data Platforms (CDP) and Data Management Platforms (DMP) provide solutions that digital marketers can use that bring together 1st, 2nd and 3rd party data that enables the foundation for a 360 view of the customer. The Adobe Experience Platform provides such a foundation for the Adobe Experience Cloud where customer data and analytics is stored centrally and is then actionable through a unified profile. Segmentation and personalization capabilities can be shared across each Adobe solution (AEM, Analytics, Target, Audience Manager, Campaign, Marketo Engage, etc).
It’s not only these trends that are responsible for re-invigorating CXM, but also a workforce of savvy digital marketers that have embraced data and technology as core to their day-to-day roles. They have helped to champion the importance of true multi-channel, one-to-one personalization, and are leading the charge in the industry shift towards creating more meaningful experiences for each and every customer.
Author: Charlie Bleau, VP/Group Director, Technology, Digitas