WCM: A Sexy Tool For Digital Customer Experience

This content also appeared in the June 2013 edition of CRM Magazine.

Web content management (WCM) software has been around nearly as long as the modern Web. This software enables technology pros to develop sites, lets content people create and publish, and helps marketers leverage online channels to engage customers and prospects.

Forrester’s recent research into this vibrant market confirms a fact that buyers of this technology need to be aware of: WCM has become an essential foundation for enabling successful digital experience efforts. And by doing so, it’s supporting one of the last things that corporations and brands can use to differentiate themselves.

Recently, vendors have put resources into expanding features, building, buying, or integrating with various things:

  • Visitor profile, segment, and targeting tools to deliver personalized content in context
  • Capabilities to develop and deploy mobile and social channels of engagement
  • CRM, email marketing, analytics, A/B testing, integrations, and tools
  • Cross-channel insights and reporting
  • Multichannel campaign management functionality
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Survey Shows Mobile Web Gets Priority Over Mobile Apps In 2013

As companies work hard to deliver multichannel digital experiences (DX) to their customers, questions persist. A big question: Which channels (and, by extension, which development strategies) should we prioritize for our DX initiatives? Recent Forrester survey data provides some guidance by indicating which channels DX professionals say are top of mind in 2013.

A focus on traditional web sites remains the highest priority, cited by 80% of organizations, according to data in Forrester’s March 2013 Global Digital Experience Delivery Online Survey. (Forrester colleague Anjali Yakkundi dives deep into the survey data and its implications in her The State of Digital Customer Experience Technology, 2013 report.)

But when it comes to addressing the mobile imperative, respondents indicate two distinct layers of prioritization.

The focus on building mobile web experiences is measurably higher than the focus on developing purpose-built mobile applications. See the accompanying chart to witness the gulf between organizations extending a web experience to tablets and smartphones, over those creating specific web apps typically developed to support more specific tasks or functions.

Many organizations tell us that they’ve shifted their mobile strategy away from creating specific apps built for iOS and Android devices, unless and until they have a compelling reason to create a custom app experience.

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When Digital Experience Becomes The Product: Examples From Three Brands

When people at your company talk about wanting to create great digital customer experiences (DX), do they quickly venture into the land of the abstract by talking about technology platforms and features?  

If so, you’re not alone. I see this every day in my research on web content management and related software that supports digital experience strategies. It’s easy for technology, marketing, and business people to embrace the concept of creating delightful multichannel digital experiences. But far too many organizations still find it difficult to actually create DX that matters to customers and helps their brand gain a competitive edge.

Fortunately, inspiration isn’t far away. We’ve reached an inflection point in the evolution of digital experience where companies and brands are now selling the digital experience as much as they focus on what they're actually selling.  

Suddenly, technology-enabled experiences have morphed into the product. This should be a wakeup call for application development and delivery (AD&D) professionals everywhere to grasp this challenge. The same goes for digital experience agencies and partners that service brands. When digital experiences become the product, technologists have the opportunity to help bridge the DX vision and DX technology planning and project execution inside organizations. Tech capabilities and features matter most when you interpret them for the business and show people what’s possible. 

Recent TV commercials here in the US from Geico, AutoTrader, and La-Z-Boy each shine the spotlight not so much on their products (auto insurance, cars, and furniture, respectively) but on sweet digital experiences that focus on the needs of their customers. Specifically:

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