What is a Digital Experience Platform (DXP)?
One of the most common questions we receive is “What is a DXP?” It’s not hard to see why – since the term was introduced a few years ago, seemingly everyone has come up with their own definition for it. From Gartner to Forrester to the tech blog your friend reads during their lunch break, these three letters have been dissected more than a high school pig cadaver.
The problem is, as more and more organizations try to stake ownership of what a DXP is, its very meaning has become muddled and confused. That’s problematic enough for those of us who work in this industry, but for a newcomer who is only starting to get their feet wet? You’ll probably wish you packed some scuba gear.
Instead of giving you yet another definition to toss on the pile, we want to make it simple by taking a step back and analyzing the three words that make up “DXP” – Digital, Experience, and Platform – to show how each one feeds into the other. Let's start with...
By virtue of being in 2019, you are digital. Your website, your emails, your social media, your data; Anything and everything relating to your business, whether you directly manage it or not, is digital or has a digital component. Why is this important?
Because, like you, your customers are all online. Oh sure, maybe not right now – we all need a break lest our eyes start to literally fall out – but the trends don’t lie. And when they’re online, they are engaging with you and your brand, in ways that you realize and (many) ways that you might not. This ties well into our next word...
What’s in an experience? You go skydiving, you get scared. You go bungee jumping, you get scared. You visit a haunted house, you probably also get scared. (Let’s face it – we just like getting scared a lot).
These are all experiences – events that shape our thoughts and feelings. But not all experiences need to necessarily be experiences. Something as simple as seeing the cute dog meme your aunt posted on Facebook is an experience. Browsing a local takeout’s online menu is an experience. Someone visiting your website to learn more about your products is an experience.
These three examples? Also digital. Digital experiences. Whether you know it or not, just by having a presence online your customers are able to have digital experiences with you and your brand in a multitude of ways. This is important, as often their experiences dictate whether they choose to buy your product or not. This is where our last word comes into play.
There’s a bad joke to be made here regarding raised surfaces, but we'll refrain aside from the above picture.
When we talk about platforms, we know you know we’re talking about the virtual kind. The kind that house all the software on your computer, including the browser that is allowing you to read this blog post right now.
Platforms are also important pieces of your digital identity, as they often act as the base upon which you build everything else. This can be as simple as a website and the content that’s on it, or as complex as an interwinding series of portals that link out to intranets, extranets, and everything else inbetween.
What does this have to do with a “digital experience?” Well, as we said before, when someone visits your website, that’s a digital experience. So it stands to reason that a digital experience platform is a platform built to manage the things that customers digitally experience.
To put it another way – there are many, many methods in which someone can experience your organization. Knowing this, wouldn’t you try to ensure that, no matter the method, their experience is consistent, controlled, and perhaps most importantly, valuable to them?
That, in a nutshell, is what a Digital Experience Platform (DXP) does.
We promised at the beginning that we wouldn’t give you yet another DXP definition, and we stand by that promise. However, we also know that this is just your first step into this very complicated world, and we want to help you navigate it with success.
Check out the other articles in our Make It Simple series to learn more about other common acronyms and phrases (we haven’t even mentioned CDPs yet!). If you’re feeling extra adventurous, why not check out our recent article on going headless?
And, hey, if you just want to learn more about one of the industry’s leading DXPs and what it can do for your organization (as well as chat with some of the most passionate and dedicated professionals in the business), give us a holler!