What Is A Digital Experience Platform? CMS Vs DXP Explained

What Is A Digital Experience Platform? CMS Vs DXP Explained

The web content management space is no stranger to acronyms. In fact, whenever a new acronym emerges, there’s a temptation to label it as just another fading buzzword and ignore it completely.  

But the acronym ‘DXP’, which stands for digital experience platform, has survived that buzzword phase and is now considered a permanent part of the web content management landscape. 

In this article, we take a look at the roots of this acronym, how it compares with traditional CMSs, and how DXPs are now transforming customer experiences.

DXP vs CMS infographic

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What is a CMS?

Content management systems, also known as a CMS, help organizations and individuals manage, create, and track content — typically just for their website(s) and application(s). This content can take the form of several different media types including, images, video, and written content. Typically, your CMS makes up the backend of your site, which will then push your content to the front-end that your visitor sees.

A CMS also provides version control and management, multiple user access, and make it easier to keep your global voice and image consistent across multiple online outposts. Classic content management systems are still able to serve the needs of brands that primarily publish content across desktop and mobile devices.

But, as the needs of content personalization and omnichannel marketing have risen, so have the demands from your CMS. Some CMS are able to offer content personalization rules and management across multiple devices. But typically this need will be filled with other forms of software, which only increases the amount of time to push out new content and adds more moving pieces to your marketing technology stack.


What is a DXP (and how is it different from a CMS?)

Digital Experience Platforms (DXP) have grown out of the limitations posed by CMS in regards to crafting and managing in-depth customer experiences. Since DXP has come into being off the back of the classic CMS there is going to be some overlap between the two, in terms of content creation and asset management.

When asked about the differences between a CMS and a DXP, Forrester’s Mark Grannan gave a comprehensive answer:


“Web CMS is critical for developing, managing and optimizing web, mobile, and other content-based experiences...Whereas some critics considered web CMS solutions ‘bloated’ a few years ago, we think times have changed. API-first architecture and cloud deployments are reshaping the packaging of digital capabilities into more granular tools that can be assembled on demand.”


A DXP is equipped to handle content and asset management on a large scale. For example, with a DXP you’re able to sync, manage, and push content across verticals likes web, kiosks, billboards, customer portals, IoT devices, and more.

Plus, a robust DXP will be able to help brands launch eCommerce projects, establish intranets and manage multiple microsites with multitenancy — with ease. A traditional CMS, on the other hand, would struggle to do all of that without significant investment and development time.


Tweet This: A DXP goes a step further than a CMS by helping a brand produce digital experiences through websites, apps, portals, IoT devices and more.


A user’s digital experience needs to be consistent across both pre and post sale environments. The lifecycle isn’t complete once your customer walks through your doors, or orders something online. Your customer experience has now evolved into a full-fledged relationship, which a DXP can help you manage every step of the way.


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How a DXP benefits your business

Okay, so a DXP goes a step further than a CMS — but what does that mean for the growth of your business? Well, beyond making it easier to build out an omnichannel customer experience, a DXP helps by:

  • Building relationships: It’s engineered with the chief goal of helping you build a meaningful relationship with your audience throughout the entire customer lifecycle.
  • Organizing omnichannel experiences: Ability to reach and deliver content to multiple devices including mobile, desktop, IoT devices, social media, email inboxes, and more.
  • Enhanced integrations: Can integrate with existing and new data to optimize content and layouts on the fly to suit your unique customer needs.
  • Multi-touchpoint management: Address customer needs across varying points of the customer journey, from awareness to conversion, to long-term customer.

With a CMS you’ll have limited access for customer experience personalization on the fly, as it’s more connected towards a public facing website, instead of a myriad of different platforms and devices.

Overall, whether or not your brand is ready to make the transition to a DXP depends upon the goals of your marketing. If you’re in a niche that relies on high levels of customer personalization in order to compete or stand out, then upgrading to a DXP will probably be a good idea.


It’s all in the experience

Your customer experience not only needs to feel effortless on behalf of your customer, but you also need to be able to easily tailor and scale the customer experience across channels and continents. That’s where a DXP outdoes a CMS.

Having a DXP underpinning your web presence allows you to create and monitor all of the different streams of information you’re pushing out, all while ensuring you’re delivering timely messages based on real-time user feedback and data.

Sure, personalization with a traditional CMS is doable, but the work required to not only create, push, and manage content, but adding segmenting and tagging will be incredibly time-consuming. Overall, a CMS can allow you to segment and create content based upon user groups, but it’s going to be more difficult to narrow in on one-to-one customer personalized you can get by using a DXP.

Today we live in a world that’s more connected than ever. From IoT devices to smartphones and desktops, wearables, VR devices, and more, your marketing and content need to reach your customers where they’re at — no matter their device.

As a brand looking to meet the ever-changing needs of your audience using a DXP will soon become a necessity. A digital experience platform will help you create a customer experience that’s united across multiple devices and platforms, without a complex and confusing management process on your end.

Oh, and if you’re now wondering what SaaS means, we’ve got you covered there, too.

Interested in a complete Digital Experience Platform? Click here to find out whether it's the right fit for your business or not.
Sam Saltis

Sam Saltis

An entrepreneur at heart with over 20+ years of experience in building internet software, growing online companies and managing product development.

Loves all things SaaS, technology, and startups.

You can find him feeding his beloved fish when he's back in Australia.

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