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Why digital-first marketing starts with a composable DXP

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Susan Beermann, Contentstack CMO, talks about the critical ingredients that make it possible for a company to adopt a digital-first marketing strategy.


  • What is digital first?
  • Critical ingredients for going digital-first
  • What’s happening with tech spending?
  • The advantages of a composable DXP
  • Making a business case
  • New technologies Susan is watching
  • Using AI to create content

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Key Takeaways

What is digital first?

Digital-first is not an afterthought or an add-on.

It's really embracing digital interaction with your customers or your audiences. And it's being the primary mechanism for reaching whatever audience it is you're trying to reach and meeting them wherever they are. It could be, of course, a website, that was obvious, or a mobile device—an app. It could be signage in a building or at a conference, it could be electronic billboards to the airport, as you're boarding your flight. Even at the gas station. Now, there's opportunities to serve up content to various audiences. And so really taking advantage of the power of digital to reach customers in a very personalized way."

Critical ingredients for going digital-first

It all starts with strategy.

It's really about the people and the tech. You can't just have one without the other, right? You've got to have the right team with the right mindset and the right skill set. And then you have to pick the best technologies to really achieve the objectives of your strategy. … There's a myriad of technologies at our disposal, and they're changing and evolving and improving all the time. And so it's really looking at what are the right technologies for your specific strategy and then building your stack your way. The exciting thing about composable architectures is it enables us to pick and choose various components that best suit the objectives of your strategy, and having the flexibility—if one component is falling behind, in terms of giving you what you need, you can easily swap that out for another component.

What’s happening with tech spending?

CMOs will look for the budget if they see the value and it aligns with their strategy.

The number one thing that CMOs said that they're investing in is new digital platforms and technologies. I think that is really interesting. And I think it echoes how I look at the investments that we're making in marketing ad content stack. When I looked at our budget for this year I looked at what was working, what the ROI was for different marketing spends last year and decided to invest much more heavily in digital this year. And so that's not only from a digital staff or digital media spend, but it's also from a technology perspective. In fact, I think we've chosen to acquire two additional pieces of technology this year that we didn't anticipate initially. But, the opportunity presented itself and it really made strategic sense to invest additional in some technologies that I wasn’t even planning to as I built the budget.

The advantages of a composable DXP

A composable architecture provides greater agility, faster decision-making, and a more efficient content lifecycle.

When I look at the composable architecture and across composable digital experience platforms, it really gives marketers and developers great flexibility to choose the components, the best of breed components, that really fit, again, your business strategy, and build your stack your own way to meet those very unique objectives. So if personalization is critically important to you, there are choices to plug in that offer different pros and cons. There's localization, extensions; there's digital asset management (DAM) technologies, etc. And so depending on your prioritization and what it is you're trying to achieve, you have a lot of different options to put together. I think that the really amazing thing about the composable is that it improves our ability to respond quickly to changing market conditions; to create content at a greater velocity in record time, to reduce development time and reduce publishing time and being able to create content and publish it to multiple different mediums—omnichannel—with a few clicks of a button, versus having to go through the heavy duty development every time that you want to do that. So, I think that it really opens up the world for us to make us more competitive, give our customers a really great digital experience, and the ability to flex and change and adapt as things evolve.

Making a business case

To sell the idea of composable DXP to the C-suite, focus on the advantages to the business.

In terms of selling it to the C-suite or explaining it, keeping it in business terms is the most important thing to do. And oh, and by the way, we get these benefits is a new approach or technology, but really keep it at a business level. … At the end of the day, for any investment you want to make, you want to show that there's some sort of return on that investment, whether that's helping you make more money, or helping you save money, or ideally, both … and here's how we did the math and got to a conclusion that it would be a good return on investment for our company.

New technologies Susan is watching

Looking at ChatGPT, automated workflows, and localization for marketing applications.

I think a couple things that are front and center are AI. Now you can't pick pick up any sort of digital newspaper or digital publication without hearing about ChatGPT or Google Bard. It was even on 60 minutes last week and and so I think that there's some really exciting things going on with AI that we're looking at as as part of our solution that we sell as well as looking to use internally within our marketing team to help generate content. So that's super exciting. I think that there's automation technologies as well that are very exciting in terms of automating certain workflows and integrations to make that time to market much quicker on the development side. … I also think there's some really cool things going on with localization that we're investing in right now. Some of you are global companies, and you want to reach a global audience. There's some very exciting technologies, leveraging AI, by the way, that help you translate your content insights at a very, very fast clip.

Using AI to create content

AI tools can be a kick starter for generating new content.

For generating content, there's some really exciting new tools out there to enable you to feed in a few ideas … and that will actually do a first draft of a blog or an outline. I think using that to generate content, whether it's blogs, or help generating a press release, etc,. I think we have to be careful though. It's not perfect … but it's definitely a kick starter for generating more content, and at a higher velocity in really short periods of time. So I think that that's one of the most exciting things.

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