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Who Owns Digital Experience?

Sara Richter
April 18, 2019

2 minute read

Through new digital technologies, marketers and brands are building an understanding of their customers and prospects that simply wouldn’t have been possible 10 or 15 years ago.

At the heart of this change is a renewed focus on experience. Writing in Forbes, marketing blogger Shep Hyken recently described customer experience as the “branding” of the digital age. Where once, marketers obsessed over building a brand, now they must obsess over building a positive and memorable digital experience.

Who Owns Digital Experience?

Despite the importance of this new focus, many businesses are still struggling to provide a coherent experience across their digital channels. Clicktale’s “Defining Digital Experience” research found that 73% of marketing and CX professionals are unable to create truly seamless experiences across their digital touchpoints. 39% also feel that they are unable to effectively unite data from their websites and mobile apps.

Faced with these challenges, a growing number of businesses are starting to formalize their digital experience approach. While still in its infancy, digital experience (DX) is becoming a capability, and even a department, in its own right.

In defining this new capability, business must consider the tools, technologies, and wider strategy that will drive their DX approach. But before they can do that, they must first answer the question of who should own the discipline within the organization itself?

Who Owns Digital Experience?

Today marketing and digital departments have taken the reins. According to the research, 31% of businesses place ownership in the hands of marketing and 27% entrust DX to the digital team. By contrast, only 13% of businesses place ownership with a specific “customer experience” department. For 14% of businesses, DX remains scattered throughout the organization, with no one clear owner.

So, what’s the right answer? I believe that in order for a truly seamless digital experience to thrive, businesses need to centralize decision making through a single cross-departmental team — something which 48% of brands have already introduced. This team doesn’t necessarily have to control every digital asset that impacts the experience, but should instead work to define the business’s overall DX strategy, helping to make sure that every touchpoint and interaction is optimized with digital experience in mind.

Through this designated DX team, the experience presented to customers can be carefully crafted, reviewed, and managed to ensure it’s both consistent and meets customer expectations. To do this, however, brands need more than just a “customer-centric” or “digital-first” mindset — they need evidence of what works. In order to develop a truly effective digital experience, those owning DX must have the deepest possible understanding of both the existing experience and the wants, needs, and behaviors of their prospects and end customers.

Whether it’s marketing, the CX team, or a specific DX department, it is those with the deepest understanding of customers who will ultimately be best placed to shape the digital experience.

Sara Richter
Sara leads marketing for Clicktale, connecting fellow digital leaders to a better understanding of customer behavior through experience analytics. Sara has over 15 years’ experience in senior global marketing roles at high-growth martech organizations including IBM Tealeaf, Acquia, SmartFocus & Unica. Her passion is for building marketing teams that act as a trusted partner to the sales organization and as such, excels in strategy and communications which deliver measurable pipeline, and revenue. Sara holds a BA from the University of California in Los Angeles.
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