When it comes to your digital ecosystem, there are two schools of thought marked by heated arguments. Don’t believe me? Try asking a developer about microservices architecture, or worse, suggest that he is creating a monolithic architecture.
One school is focused on integration—using the right tool for each of the various jobs for the marketing team’s needs. That is why you see many CMS, CRM, and email marketing players touting integration capabilities. This works best for organizations who can capitalize on the bells and whistles that differentiate these big players and have the technical teams and budgets to build the integrations.
The other school is focused on ease—finding a fully integrated solution that serves most of the marketing team’s needs, avoiding the costs of licensing multiple platforms and custom integration. This is a great option, but it can mean that individual capabilities may not always meet 100% of your needs.
So, on which side of this heated debate do I fall? My answer is the same as many other pragmatists: It depends. If your organization has the resources to support the integration and licensing costs, and if the enhanced capabilities provide a real marketing payoff, the integration approach might be best. However, for many companies, the fully integrated content and online marketing capabilities of Kentico Xperience Enterprise are the best fit. Here are some examples of why some customers went all in.
Example 1: Online Publisher
One of our best examples is an online publisher managed by a small team. They have 60,000+ pieces of content and are producing dozens more every week. The quantity alone is a lot to manage. However, it is even more complicated because they need to deliver that content to users across multiple channels—email newsletters and their website. Here is why using Kentico Xperience Enterprise was the best fit for them.
With over a hundred thousand subscribers, this online publisher sends 300k to 400k emails a day. They were spending close to $100,000 a year on a volume-based pricing model with their prior email service. Since they already owned Xperience to manage their website, using it to manage their email marketing meant huge savings. They could manage the same newsletter operation with a platform they already owned.
This customer’s business is publishing news, technical articles, and white papers. Before using Xperience, delivering dozens of papers a week was a full-time job. Each piece of content had to be manually published on the website. Delivering the same content through email required copying, pasting, and reformatting it in an email solution. Additionally, this publisher had to track the results in separate platforms to provide accurate reporting to their advertisers. This was a tedious and labor-intensive job.
Xperience made the life of the content marketer much better by providing content reuse. We designed a website with a solid content model that made creating and reusing content easy. When publishing content on the website, the marketer no longer needed to worry about formatting, layout, SEO, or ADA compliance. He could focus on what he does best, producing content. When delivering the same content through email, he could reuse it by simply adding a widget and selecting the content from the Xperience content tree. Content reuse reduced his publishing effort from a full-time job to part-time and allowed him to focus on producing more valuable content for their subscribers.
The content reuse available in Kentico Xperience made the fully integrated solution right for them. Their only other option was to continue the labor-intensive, copy-and-paste process or pay for expensive integration of separate platforms.
Example 2: Fortune 500 B2B Supplier
One of our biggest customers is a Fortune 500 supplier. Their B2B e-commerce sites drive millions of dollars in sales per day, and their ecosystem is built on a sophisticated microservices architecture. You’d assume they would be in the integration school of thought, right? Not so. This company chose Kentico Xperience to power a content repository for their e-commerce sites to leverage the same content in all their marketing efforts. They saw the same benefits as the online publisher, significant savings and content reuse. However, these additional benefits helped clinch their decision.
Before using Xperience, marketers were not only responsible for the email content; they handled design consistency, ADA compliance, and email client testing. They could easily get bogged down with updating their templates or ensuring the emails looked great for all customers. On their prior platform, the typical email required adding and nesting 22 widgets, configuring column widths, fonts, spacing, color, and more. Each image, text element, link, or button was a separate component that had to be configured.
With Kentico Xperience, the paradigm changed. We could provide the marketing team widgets that encapsulated the layout and design elements. Marketers were focused on content without worrying about configuring everything else. For the same email that required 22 separately configured elements on the previous platform, marketers could create by adding 5 widgets in Xperience.
Using the structured-content approach for email authoring provided these benefits:
- Productivity: The time spent authoring emails was dramatically reduced.
- Client compatibility: The email marketing templates and widgets were tested across many email clients, so authors no longer had to worry about how their emails would look for their customers.
- Accessibility compliance: ADA compliance was baked into the widget and template designs to ensure accessibility.
- Brand governance: Branding and design decisions were baked into the templates, too, so that marketers could focus on content without worrying about brand governance.
In short, using Xperience Enterprise email marketing enabled a structured-content approach that reduced effort and increased the quality of marketing emails.
One of the significant benefits of choosing a fully integrated platform is unifying the online marketing ecosystem. Before using Xperience, the email marketing solution was separate from their web platform. This meant that marketers only had the information provided in online forms, and some two-year-old imported CRM data when segmenting users. No one likes to fill out online forms, so if your solution relies on getting people to answer questions, your insights are going to be limited and stale.
In contrast, using Xperience causes user insights to be managed in a unified platform. Xperience provides built-in integration between the website, email marketing, contact management, and marketing automation. This allows customer insights to be gained by tracking user activities on the website. So, instead of asking a site visitor if they’re interested in purchasing major equipment, it can be inferred how often the user visits equipment-related pages. The insights developed through activity tracking enable personalizing the website, segmenting email contacts, and personalizing marketing emails. This allows our customers to bring a personalized touch to their website and email experience.
Kentico Xperience’s ability to provide user insights across the entire ecosystem provides a significant strategic advantage, enabling organizations to strengthen their relationships with end-users.
For these organizations, the closely-knit integrations brought the efficiency they needed. It allowed content reuse, reduced effort, and increased quality. This translated into a strong focus on high-quality content and the ability to invest their technology savings into additional features. Even though Kentico Xperience may not have provided all the bells and whistles they saw on other platforms, they discovered they were not using most of those bells and whistles. Xperience’s ease-of-use, integrated insights, and content reuse were more than worth it.