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Paul Taylor Headshot Posted by Paul Taylor December 18, 2019

Moving beyond headless 1.0: Fulfilling the promise of DXP

Digital marketers aren’t really being given a choice these days, are they? Customer expectations keep increasing dramatically, and marketers are doing their best to keep up. As the saying goes, “you need to fish where the fish are,” and marketers are casting their lines into every new type of digital touchpoint they can.

They no longer have the luxury of restricting content delivery to just one or a few channels. Those same consumers demand consistent and coherent customer experiences across every touchpoint where they engage a brand. So they can segue from web to mobile to smart TV while enjoying a seamlessly consistent experience.

The marketer must always consider how people will access and use their content, and how to ensure consistency and cohesiveness of their experience. It’s why marketers began turning to the Digital Experience Platform (DXP) years ago as a means of delivering enterprise-grade digital experiences with extremely fast time-to-market.

The search for better experiences

While DXPs were a boon to marketers, giving them incredible power to deliver experiences consistently across channels, it added tremendous complexity and cost to maintain those experiences. Marketers and their developers then turned to the first generation of headless CMS to return to faster, simpler implementations.

The first iterations of headless CMS – let’s call that generation “headless 1.0” – were focused on exactly that goal. Marketing teams felt stymied by bloated DXP and CMS technology. They wanted to be able to create and publish content swiftly, integrate it smoothly with the rest of their marketing stack, deliver modern experiences like single-page applications (SPA) and ensure the quality of digital experiences across every channel. As a step toward fulfilling the promise of DXP without the complexity, headless 1.0 was a mighty stride forward on the evolutionary path.

Flexibility for developers but compromise for marketers

One of the biggest drivers towards headless 1.0 was that old-school platforms didn’t provide developers with the flexibility they needed. The decoupled, headless approach gave them choices and control in regard to content presentation and delivery they’d never enjoyed before.

The burden of the tradeoff fell on marketers, though. In headless 1.0, content authors can only revise published text, images, and links, but any type of adjusting the presentation of content becomes a development lifecycle task.

Marketers are thus forced to sit idly by, waiting until their new banner or layout redesign gets to the front of the development queue, even though the market isn’t waiting on them. Multiple adjustments may be needed in a very short span to stay competitive – daily or even hourly, in many cases. This is a large step backward for marketers, and why many vendors are working aggressively to overcome this limitation.

The risk here, of course, is that development backlogs get increasingly longer, and put marketers in a similar situation to what they were in during the DXP era. The marketers’ need for agility was driven by trying to keep up with customer expectations in the first place.

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Crownpeak’s Headless 2.0 approach

The power of presentation

Marketers know the efficacy of digital engagement depends on the quality of a digital experience. In content delivery, Headless 2.0 rectifies the compromises, at least from the marketer’s perspective, of headless 1.0.

Developers can still build using the frameworks they prefer, but marketers regain the ability to structure certain UI components. They’re able to preview and make layout changes in the context of how content is ultimately going to be delivered on every channel and device their customers want to use.

This results in a solution that can serve your entire organization, even one of global scope, providing quality content experiences to hundreds or thousands of digital channels using any technology, in any framework.

Another upside? Digital experiences now travel across borders, so they must be optimized accordingly, involving not just translation but localization to address the regional or cultural idiosyncrasies of specific markets. Headless 2.0 allows a global enterprise to harness data models and workflows to natively support translation and localization .

A win-win for everyone

By harnessing the potential of a DXP built to support Headless 2.0, you deliver a win-win for everyone: Marketers regain control over content presentation, while your development team, rather than wrangling with presentation changes for the marketing team, is freed to focus on larger tasks where there’s greater potential business value.

Leadership enjoys greater governance over its far-flung digital touchpoints. Even the CFO gets to grin, as marketers’ greater control over the content experience will help improve engagement, loyalty, and sales revenue.

Last but far from least, prospects and customers get to enjoy a branded, more responsive, and engaging set of digital experiences. Their satisfaction is the KPI that matters most, and it’s where Headless 2.0 will truly deliver.