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The Rise of Digital Creates A Marketer’s Dilemma

As a product manager at Acquia, I frequently speak with digital thought leaders at many organizations, small and large. It’s clear that the digital marketing profession at these organizations has undergone tremendous change over the past decade. Digital marketers now oversee large numbers of “digital experiences,” rather than the small number of static, branded web sites that were the norm just a few short years ago. And by incorporating web, social, mobile and offline touch points, managing these digital experiences has become very complex.

This complexity has greatly increased demands on digital marketers’ time, requiring difficult trade-offs on how they deliver branded experiences to their consumers. Brand consistency, consumer engagement, time to market, and delivery costs have all been trade-offs at one time or another as marketers struggled to meet the business needs of their organizations. These trade-offs may have been required of marketers in the past, but they represent significant liabilities today as competitors make waves through their own engaging communication initiatives.

To achieve success in a noisy marketplace where consumers are regularly bombarded by different messages, the modern digital marketer must deliver brand consistency and deep customer engagement while at the same time meeting strict delivery timelines and budgets. I’m a big believer that the only way marketers will be able to get the right message to the right customer at the right time consistently is through the application of what Forrester calls “digital experience governance.”

As this point, you’re probably rolling your eyes at yet another application of the word “governance.” This is digital marketing after all, where success means delivering the most creative branded experience that ends up gracing the front page of AdWeek. Digital marketing is all right brain stuff, right? Well, not entirely. While creativity is certainly important for designing engaging digital experiences, what is even more important is the cross-functional, and even cross-organizational, strategic alignment of the people, processes, and technology that are required to launch these experiences with consistency. This is what Forrester considers digital experience governance.

The price for failing to practice this governance can be staggeringly high. For example, Forrester estimates the lost revenue resulting from poor digital experiences as ranging from $31 million for retail companies, to $252 million for financial services firms, to more than $1 billion for travel and hospitality organizations. Why such large numbers? Forrester has identified a strong correlation between a better customer experience and customer loyalty: Companies with higher customer experience scores as measured through Forrester’s Customer Experience Index are more likely to have customers who will be repeat buyers. This is strong incentive to ensure that your organization successfully delivers engaging digital experiences!

At Acquia, we agree with Forrester’s take on this. Many of our products, like the Acquia Cloud Site Factory, have been designed and created to enable marketers to build the many great digital experiences required by their organizations, and to bring all of the content, community and commerce elements together across the growing number of platforms and devices. We know this is a challenge--maybe the challenge for digital marketers today.

Over the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing more detail on how marketers can achieve their objectives in this challenging environment, looking at some of the practical aspects of the tools, solutions and approaches that can help ensure success in addressing the Digital Marketer’s Dilemma. We’ll look at how marketers can deploy the many great digital experiences their business requires and easily take control in the way that Forrester describes--without making trade-offs that can impact the bottom line.

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