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4 key building blocks to success



4 key building blocks to success

Tech has turned marketing from a bit of a dark art to a tool for strategic business growth, but not without repercussions. Even more, consumers expect brands to not only remember — but to predict — their preferences, interests, likes and dislikes. 

The omnichannel struggle is very painful to orchestrate and manage. Companies need a unified and seamless approach that eliminates siloed user experiences, making things more efficient internally and effective externally.

Marketing professionals now wear many hats. We need to be part marketer, part operations officer, part technologist, part data analyst, part revenue officer, part experience officer, consensus builder, diplomat, etc. We have to do more with less, as Gartner’s 2022 CMO Spend Survey found. 

While marketing’s budget is rising (with over half of it going to digital channels), that same study reports that 61% lack the in-house capabilities to deliver their strategy. Part of that is because of the tech budget, or rather its constraints. A lack of resources — human, financial and time — poses challenges.

But managing all the cross-channel, interconnected moving parts can be overwhelming, particularly when working on many channels and trying to analyze all those disparate technologies. 

How do you orchestrate ecommerce, campaign management, digital asset management (DAM), customer relationship management (CRM), customer data platforms (CDP) and personalization tools?

This is where a unified system — a  digital experience platform (DXP) — can help make your marketing ops more efficient and effective. It does so much for you, not only saving you time and money but optimizing your marketing operations in the process.

What is a DXP?

Today’s customers expect seamless experiences as the baseline — so a DXP might sound very appealing. In a nutshell, a DXP promises an integrated way to manage all your tools and technologies in one place, from rich content to customer relationships to marketing automation and even internal workflows. 

With so many tools, metrics and systems to keep track of to successfully deliver great customer experiences, a system that brings everything together might sound too good to be true. 

But if you are ready and set up to use a DXP properly, it can be an incredibly powerful tool for:

  • Updating content across all your channels and platforms.
  • Carrying and inputting CRM data across multiple touchpoints.
  • Helping you deliver consistent, personalized experiences to customers and internal stakeholders.

DXPs promise holistic, cross-platform seamlessness — but you must be prepared

While the promise of an integrated way to manage all your tools and technologies in one place is appealing, you need to be prepared. Ask yourself, is your company ready for this dynamic shift and prepared to invest long-term?

Many companies work very hard to prioritize customers getting that seamless experience. Yet, internally, they’re in a state of chaos because they don’t prioritize seamlessness holistically. It is critical to craft integrated and consistent solutions that are modular but connect the dots (and fill the gaps) of the digital experience. 

This requires a shift in mindset. The organization must embrace a holistic, integrated approach and strong scenario planning to better predict what your business and stakeholders may need. 

Dig deeper: Reinventing the digital experience platform

The 4 key building blocks to success

Being prepared can mean many things, but in my experience, it comes down to four things.

DXPs- 4 key building blocks to success

1. Internal and external alignment

A DXP functions best when there are clear priorities, tasks and functions across the company. You need all stakeholders to align on:

  • What you’re doing.
  • Who it’s for.
  • Why you’re doing it.
  • How you’ll do it (internal audit).
    • Before building out your DXP apps and toolset, evaluate exactly what you have now. Then map out which ones you are already using, the functionality within them and what you are currently using them for. 
  • When you’ll do it.
  • What success will look like.
  • Roles and responsibilities.

Remember that buy-in and alignment require a data-backed strategy.

2. User-centered thinking

Always ask, “How do we meet our audience where they are in a way that’s relevant and easy for them to understand?” This comes down to empathy for:

  • Your audience, employees, partners, stakeholders, etc.
  • Their needs, pains and concerns.

Meet them where they’re at in their journey and deliver the right content to the right person at the right time, in the right place.

DXPs are massive, complex systems. It’s easy to get lost in the mechanics of integration and automation. With every new piece of functionality, you must remember the people you’re trying to serve and what their needs are.

Don’t let the system bog you down or make you lose sight of that. It’s about every stage of the interaction. The best user experience is one you don’t even know you’re having.

3. A consistent brand experience

If you’ve achieved alignment and created the map for the DXP, unifying your brand experience across all touchpoints will be a logical next step. Brand consistency is crucial as it can increase revenue considerably.

Why bother? 

  • Build loyalty and recognition.
  • Branding will increase client trust in you.

Your brand is your business’s most valuable asset, but it’s an asset you never wholly own. Your customers also play a part in the opinions they form of you. A consistent experience is more than look, feel, voice and tone. 

Externally, it’s about making sure that across touchpoints and platforms, every piece feels like it’s part of the same whole. Internally, it’s enabling your employees with the tools to do their jobs more effectively.

Let’s say a customer buys something in-store, signs up for an email list, gets an email, clicks through it, lands on a blog article and ends up on a product page where they’re pushed to your Instagram account. All throughout, the visuals and language need to be consistent. You need clear rules to make it easy for your team to uphold these standards. 

Still, the key to a consistent brand experience for all your stakeholders stems from that alignment and user-centered thinking. It’s about being true to those goals through everything you do, how it gets expressed and how it’s implemented.  

4. Creating a culture of feedback

DXP integration can make it easy to build opportunities for feedback into your processes across the board. However, designing a feedback culture isn’t something that just happens — it’s intentional. Build clear feedback processes to improve operations and performance.

No doubt, over time and probably right away, too. You’ll learn how to make significant improvements. Encourage your internal stakeholders to provide feedback on how these initiatives and tools are helping them in their day-to-day, but also what could be improved. Remember, it’s not enough to simply collect feedback. Action needs to be taken based on employee input. 

Is it time to invest in a DXP?

Suppose you’re only investing in creating a seamless experience for your customers, while internally, you’re running around like chickens without heads. In that case, you’re doing yourself, your partners and employees and even your customers a disservice.

Eventually, something will fall through the cracks. You and your people are also today’s customers (for other companies), and you likely value seamlessness.

Are you experiencing any of the following?

  • Siloed data across multiple platforms prevents you from really understanding what your customers are doing.
  • The customer experience across your digital and physical channels is not personalized and disjointed.
  • Decisions made are not data-driven and are based on guesswork.
  • The cost of the tech stack needed to be efficient and effective is hard to justify.
  • The cost of new customer acquisition is too high and you want to focus on retention and growing share of wallet.

If you’re hearing these points and nodding your head, your company is probably ready to invest in a DXP. Good luck!

Dig deeper: Does your marketing team need a digital experience platform (DXP)?

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Theresa FormanTheresa Forman

Theresa is a Partner and the Chief Strategy Officer at Acart, an independent creative agency that understands the evolving intersection between strategy, media, creative and tech in ways that help transform brands.
Theresa has been a B2C and B2B marketing professional for more than 25 years, honing her craft in the consumer-packaged goods, tech, e-Commerce, and advocacy sectors. She has spent a career crafting strategies and go-to-market initiatives that have driven brand and business growth internationally for start-ups, SMBs and global enterprises. She brings a unique blend of business savvy and strategic thinking to her work. She spent the first 15 years of her career on client side, understanding first-hand the challenges and opportunities that executive-level marketers are up against, and has now spent the last 15 years in the ad industry counseling C-level clients on driving business and brand growth.

As an executive who has sat both on the client-side and agency-side, she has an unfair advantage in that she has catered to many distinct target audiences across many different sectors and industries, and as a result, brings an unparalleled breadth and depth of experience and insight to her engagements.

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(Re)Introducing your favorite Optimizely products!



(Re)Introducing your favorite Optimizely products!

It’s important to us that you, our valued customers and partners, can identify with the tools you use daily.  

In that pursuit, Optimizely set out to simplify the way we talk about our product suite. That starts, first and foremost, with the words we use to refer to the technology.  

So, we’ve taken a hard look at everything in our portfolio, and are thrilled to introduce new names we believe are more practical, more consistent, and better representative of the technology we all know and love.  

You may have seen some of these names initially at Opticon 2022 as well as on our website. In the spirit of transparency, the team here at Optimizely wanted to make sure you had full visibility into the complete list of new names, as well as understand the context (and rationale) behind the changes. 

So, without further ado… 

Which names changed?  

Some, but not all. For your ongoing reference, below is a complete list of Optimizely products, with previous terminology you may be familiar with in the first column, and (if applicable) the new name in the second column.  

Used to be… 

Is now (or is still)… 



Optimizely Digital Experience Platform 

A fully-composable solution designed to support the orchestration, monetization, and experimentation of any type of digital experience — all from a single, open and extensible platform. 

Content Cloud 

Optimizely Content Management System 

A best-in-class system for building dynamic websites and helping digital teams deliver rich, secure and personalized experiences. 


Optimizely Content Marketing Platform 

An industry-leading and user-friendly platform helping marketing teams plan campaigns, collaborate on tasks, and author content. 


Optimizely Digital Asset Management 

A modern storage tool helping teams of any size manage, track, and repurpose marketing and brand assets (with support for all file types). 

Content Recs 

Optimizely Content Recommendations 

AI-powered and real-time recommendations to serve the unique interests of each visitor and personalize every experience. 

B2B Commerce 

Optimizely Configured Commerce 

A templatized and easy-to-deploy platform designed to help manufacturers and distributors drive efficiency, increase revenue and create easy buying experiences that retain customers. 

Commerce Cloud 

Optimizely Customized Commerce 

A complete platform for digital commerce and content management to build dynamic experiences that accelerate revenue and keep customers coming back for more. 


Optimizely Product Information Management 

A dedicated tool to help you set up your product inventory and manage catalogs of any size or scale. 

Product Recs 

Optimizely Product Recommendations 

Machine-learning algorithms optimized for commerce to deliver personalized product recommendations in real-time. 


Optimizely Web Experimentation 

An industry-leading experimentation tool allowing you to run A/B and multi-variant tests on any channel or device with an internet connection. 

Full Stack 

Optimizely Feature Experimentation 

A comprehensive experimentation platform allowing you to manage features, deploy safer tests, and roll out new releases – all in one place. 


Optimizely Personalization 

An add-on to core experimentation products, allowing teams to create/segment audiences based on past behavior and deliver more relevant experiences. 

Program Management 

Optimizely Program Management 

An add-on to core experimentation products, allowing teams to manage the end-to-end lifecycle of an experiment. 


Optimizely Data Platform 

A centralized hub to harmonize data across your digital experience tools, providing one-click integrations, AI-assisted guidance for campaigns, and unified customer profiles. 


So, why the change?  

 It boils down to three guiding principles:  

  1. Uniformity: Create a naming convention that can be applied across the board, for all products, to drive consistency 
  2. Simplicity: Use terms that are both practical and concise, ensuring the names are something that everyone can understand and identify with  
  3. Completeness: Develop a framework that showcases the full and complimentary nature of all the products and solutions within the Optimizely suite 

 As the Optimizely portfolio comes together as a complete, unified platform, it’s important that our names reflect this, as well as support our 3 key solutions (i.e. orchestrate amazing content experiences, monetize every digital experience, and experiment across all touchpoints).  

Other questions? We’ve got you covered. 

Q: Why have you made these product name changes? 

    • We wanted to simplify how we talk about our portfolio. The renaming applies a naming convention that is both practical and concise.  


Q: Do the new product name changes affect the products I own? 

    • No, there is no impact to product functionality or capabilities.  


Q: Do the new product name changes affect who is my Customer Success Manager or Account Manager?  

    • No, there are no changes to your Customer Success Manager or Account Manager. 


Q: Do the new product name changes affect the ownership of the company?  

    • No, ownership of the company has not changed. We have only made changes to the Product Names. 


Q: Have any contact details changed that I need to be aware of?  

    • Only contact details for former Welcome customers has changed. These are the new contact details you should be aware of: Optimizely, Inc.| 119 5th Ave | 7th Floor | New York, NY 10003 USA. Phone: +1 603 594 0249 | 


Q: Where can I send any follow up questions I might have?  

    • If you have any questions about the Product Names, please contact your Customer Success Manager or Account Manager.  

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Email Marketing Trends 2023: Predictions by the Industry Stalwarts



Email Marketing Trends 2023: Predictions by the Industry Stalwarts

Every year, we see new trends entering the world of email marketing.

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5 Simple Things You Can Do To Improve the Content Experience for Readers



5 Simple Things You Can Do To Improve the Content Experience for Readers

Who doesn’t like to have a good experience consuming content?

I know I do. And isn’t that what we – as both a consumer of content and a marketer of content – all want?

What if you create such a good experience that your audience doesn’t even realize it’s an “experience?” Here’s a helpful mish-mash of easy-to-do things to make that possible.

1. Write with an inclusive heart

There’s nothing worse than being in a conversation with someone who constantly talks about themselves. Check your text to see how often you write the words – I, me, we, and us. Now, count how often the word “you” is used. If the first-person uses are disproportionate to the second-person uses, edit to delete many first-person references and add more “you” to the text.

You want to let your audience know they are included in the conversation. I like this tip shared in Take Binary Bias Out of Your Content Conversations by Content Marketing World speaker Ruth Carter: Go through your text and replace exclusionary terms such as he/him and she/her with they/them pronouns.

Go through your text and replace exclusionary terms such as he/him and she/her with they/them pronouns, says @rbcarter via @Brandlovellc @CMIContent. #WritingTips Click To Tweet

2. Make your content shine brighter with an AI assist

Content published online should look different than the research papers and essays you wrote in school. While you should adhere to grammar rules and follow a style guide as best as possible, you also should prioritize readability. That requires scannable and easily digestible text – headings, bulleted text, short sentences, brief paragraphs, etc.

Use a text-polishing aid such as Hemingway Editor (free and paid versions) to cut the dead weight from your writing. Here’s how its color-coded review system works and the improvements to make:

  • Yellow – lengthy, complex sentences, and common errors
    • Fix: Shorten or split sentences.
  • Red – dense and complicated text
    • Fix: Remove hurdles and keep your readers on a simpler path.
  • Pink – lengthy words that could be shortened
    • Fix: Scroll the mouse over the problematic word to identify potential substitutes.
  • Blue – adverbs and weakening phrases
    • Fix: Delete them or find a better way to convey the thought.
  • Green – passive voice
    • Fix: Rewrite for active voice.

Grammarly’s paid version works well, too. The premium version includes an AI-powered writing assistant, readability reports, a plagiarism checker, citation suggestions, and more than 400 additional grammar checks.

In the image below, Grammarly suggests a way to rephrase the sentence from:

“It is not good enough any longer to simply produce content “like a media company would”.


“It is no longer good enough to produce content “as a media company would”.

Much cleaner, right?

3. Ask questions

See what I did with the intro (and here)? I posed questions to try to engage with you. When someone asks a question – even in writing – the person hearing (or reading) it is likely to pause for a split second to consider their answer. The reader’s role changes from a passive participant to an active one. Using this technique also can encourage your readers to interact with the author, maybe in the form of an answer in the comments.

4. Include links

Many content marketers include internal and external links in their text for their SEO value. But you also should add links to help your readers. Consider including links to help a reader who wants to learn more about the topic. You can do this in a couple of ways:

  • You can link the descriptive text in the article to content relevant to those words (as I did in this bullet point)
  • You can list the headlines of related articles as a standalone feature (see the gray box labeled Handpicked Related Content at the end of this article).

Add links to guide readers to more information on a topic – not just for SEO purposes says @Brandlovellc via @CMIContent. #WritingTips Click To Tweet

You also can include on-page links or bookmarks in the beginning (a table of contents, of sorts) in longer pieces to help the reader more quickly access the content they seek to help you learn more about a topic. This helps the reader and keeps visitors on your website longer.

5. Don’t forget the ‘invisible’ text

Alt text is often an afterthought – if you think about it all. Yet, it’s essential to have a great content experience for people who use text-to-speech readers. Though it doesn’t take too much time, I find that customizing the image description content instead of relying on the default technology works better for audience understanding.

First, ask if a listener would miss something if they didn’t have the image explained. If they wouldn’t, the image is decorative and probably doesn’t need alt text. You publish it for aesthetic reasons, such as to break up a text-heavy page. Or it may repeat information already appearing in the text (like I did in the Hemingway and Grammarly examples above).

If the listener would miss out if the image weren’t explained well, it is informative and requires alt text. General guidelines indicate up to 125 characters (including spaces) work best for alt text. That’s a short sentence or two to convey the image’s message. Don’t forget to include punctuation.

General guidelines indicate up to 125 characters (including spaces) work best for alt text, says @Brandlovellc via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

For both decorative and informative images, include the photo credits, permissions, and copyright information, in the caption section.

For example, if I were writing an article about Best Dogs for Families, I would include an image of a mini Bernedoodle as an example because they make great family pets. Let’s use this image of my adorable puppy, Henri, and I’ll show you both a good and bad example of alt text.

An almost useless alt-text version: “An image showing a dog.”

Author’s tri-colored (brown, white, black, grey wavy hair), merle mini Bernedoodle, Henri, lying on green grass.

It wastes valuable characters with the phrase “an image showing.”

Use the available characters for a more descriptive alt text: “Author’s tri-colored (brown, white, black, grey wavy hair), merle mini Bernedoodle, Henri, lying on green grass.”

It’s more descriptive, and I only used 112 characters, including spaces.

Want to learn more? Alexa Heinrich, an award-winning social media strategist, has a helpful article on writing effective image descriptions called The Art of Alt Text. @A11yAwareness on Twitter is also a great resource for accessibility tips.

Improve your content and better the experience

Do any of these suggestions feel too hard to execute? I hope not. They don’t need a bigger budget to execute. They don’t need a lengthy approval process to implement. And they don’t demand much more time in production.

They just need you to remember to execute them the next time you write (and the time after that, and the time after that, and the … well, you get the idea.)

If you have an easy-to-implement tip to improve the content experience, please leave it in the comments. I may include it in a future update.

All tools mentioned in the article are identified by the author. If you have a tool to suggest, please feel free to add it in the comments.

If you have an idea for an original article you’d like to share with the CMI audience, you could get it published on the site. First, read our blogging guidelines and write or adjust your draft accordingly. Then submit the post for consideration following the process outlined in the guidelines.

In appreciation for guest contributors’ work, we’re offering free registration to one paid event or free enrollment in Content Marketing University to anyone who gets two new posts accepted and published on the CMI site in 2023.


Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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