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The Digital Pulse of the digital disruption

digital pulseThe forces of digital disruption are radically altering how we access and consume information, communicate and socialize, shop and purchase. Ubiquitous connected devices, social networks, cloud services – these and other innovations have already virtually inverted the relationship between sellers and buyers, between brands and customers. This constantly and rapidly shifting terrain maps the digital pulse of business operations in 2013.

Whatever three letters you use to name it — WCM, WEM, WXM, CXM, CEM, or WTF — the time has come for a fundamental paradigm shift in how we envision and talk about relating to customers and prospects via digital assets. And most importantly, how we organize to make it happen.

Think about the word site. It connotes a specific position or location, such as a plot of land. To site something is to fix it in a particular place. Of course, that’s why we call them websites. They have fixed addresses. They are destinations that you have to search for and find. (Or, the owner invests in an SEO-bus and drives people to the site.) Eventually (usually quickly), these visitors leave again, and go to another place.

From the beginning, web content management (as a software category) was about making it easier to populate sites with stuff visitors should see. Or, after the outside-in revolution, what you imagined — or fervently hoped — they might want to see. The paradigm of the fixed place remained, and in most cases it extended to the people and processes aspects of WCM: software was installed on premises, and used by a local team of editors and designers.

Now think about experience. The concept is derived from the notion of learning by doing and by testing — knowledge gained by trial. Experience takes place across time and in various places (or at least in differing circumstances and contexts).

Finally, think about yourself — but as a consumer. How do you want to, and expect to, relate to companies, products, and brands? Are you looking for consistent and cohesive interactions over time and regardless of touchpoint or device? Do you seek context and task appropriate assistance? Do you want real time social support? (Answer: Yes, or you’re not thinking like a consumer.)

In the last few years, we — analysts, vendors, and business users — have all done an amazing job stretching and deforming the WCM acronym to cover initiatives beyond the web channel. But processes and practitioners are burdened by the fixed and isolated concept of Web. Content. Management. We constantly hear from both users and vendors that corporate teams just don’t know how to get started with holistic multi-channel customer experience management.

Simply switching acronyms from WCM to CEM doesn’t solve the problem, but the notion of experiences that are extended over time and need to be nurtured in a dialogue does provide a framework that fits consumer expectations.

The Digital Pulse conference in Boston on October 16-18, will bring together more than 1000 customer experience managers, marketers, web professionals, and service providers to discuss and analyze how to deal with the transition from web content to customer experience. This shift includes:

  • Different kinds of software applications. WCM remains at the heart of an expanding CEM ecosystem, but new functionality and innovative applications appear every day.
  • Different kinds of decisions: Guts and guesses give way to data-driven insights and real-time decisions.
  • Different kinds of procurement and pricing. Cloud and hybrid services, and true metered pricing, will increasingly replace on-premise installations and capital expenditures.
  • Different kinds of skills. Exceptional customer experience is impossible without engaged and empowered employees. Internal cultures and process are the foundation for external success. Also, we frequently hear from vendors, service providers, and enterprises that CEM calls for a “marketing technologist” skill set that combines customer relations savvy with the ability to understand and act on (big) data insights.
  • Different kinds of partners. All of these factors mean that organizations will increasingly turn to outside service providers (digital agencies, system integrators, consultants) in order to keep up with consumers’ expectations. The right mix of partners could determine success or failure.

Join us at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston’s historic Back Bay neighborhood on October 16-18, 2013 for the inaugural Digital Pulse conference.

Contact us for more information about sponsorship opportunities and event registration.

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