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Key tech terms that digital marketers should know

  • By 3chillies

Delivering great websites and digital customer experience is always an ensemble effort, usually requiring close cooperation and ongoing collaboration between digital marketing and technology teams. Sometimes this has challenges due to the different professional backgrounds and training of marketing and IT teams, and it’s not unknown for there to be misunderstandings. And that can start with the language used; IT people won’t always be familiar with the terminology used by marketers, and marketing professionals won’t always know what is meant be more technical terms.

Technology is such as key enabler of digital customer experience that many technology-orientated terms are now used every day in digital marketing, particularly in relation to the platforms and products are used, and the kind of projects that help deliver digital customer experience.  But in our experience, not every marketing professional is always aware of what every term means.

In this post we’re going to explore some tech-orientated terms that are often used in relation to digital customer experience products and projects. In reading this, please bear with us. There are going to be some terms here that you’ll definitely know that you can skip, and some perhaps you don’t.  So here is our view of some key tech terms that digital marketers should know.

Digital Experience Platform (DXP)

A digital experience platform (DXP) is a common name applied to platforms like Sitecore or Optimizely, that go beyond just offering a Content Management System, but instead offer a wider set of digital content capabilities to create an immersive and powerful digital experience for customers. This also includes digital marketing features. Typically, a DXP might also include personalization, marketing automation, analytics, a digital asset management (DAM), e-commerce capabilities, and more. DXP is often used as a marketing term by the platforms themselves as well as industry analysts like Gartner and Forrester.

API (Application Programming Interface)

Most marketers have heard of an API but they don’t necessarily know that it stands for Application Programming Interface. API’s play a critical role in integrations between your content management system and other software, such as an e-commerce platform. Basically, an API is a documented set of rules, definitions and other information that allows developers to ensure two independent software applications can communicate with each other, meaning they can work together and swap data. Having a well-documented API is now an essential product capability for any content management or digital marketing platform.

Headless CMS

The headless CMS and headless publishing are concepts that are rapidly growing in popularity but not everyone is comfortable with the term.  Here’s how we defined a headless CMS last year in a post about Umbraco Heartcore:

“In most CMSs and Digital Experience Platforms (DXPs) like Sitecore, you store your content in the backend of the CMS and then configure it to create the front-end experience. It’s all integrated into one system for convenience.   With a headless CMS, the back-end CMS and the front-end experience are “decoupled” and established in two different systems. Instead of being integrated into one solution, the front-end experience is defined separately, with the content stored in the headless CMS. The two systems then communicate with each other through APIs.”

The theory is then that headless publishing can drive more agility, reduce costs in the long run, and allow you to use the same base content across multiple experiences and channels.

Composable DXP

As well as headless publishing you may also have seen us writing about the “composable DXP” or “composable architecture”. This takes the idea of headless publishing even further and consists of a whole ecosystem of different content and digital marketing solutions that are generally independent and SaaS-based, but then working together as one “ecosystem” to replicate the features of a more traditional integrated digital experience platform.  Again, applications within a composable DXP work together by communicating via APIs. This is “composable” architecture because marketers are able to choose the systems they want to work with, picking preferred or best-of-breed solutions.

The advantages of this are more flexibility and agility, lower cost in the long-run, and the ability to use the very best applications. However, the theory sometimes trumps reality, as it can be complex and expensive to set up a composable DXP.

Content Data Platform (CDP)

Both marketing and IT professionals do have an unfortunate habit of using too many three letter acronyms, especially for different types of digital marketing and content management software. One of the more common along with DXP is CDP – or a Customer Data Platform. This is essentially software that aggregates different information about customers from variety of different sources and then organises them into something more meaningful and structured, including individual customer profiles.


DevOps is a set of approaches and practices that ensures software development and any subsequent deployment is carried out in a robust and efficient way that supports best practices. Arguably DevOps is also a culture and philosophy, and it is something we believe in strongly at 3Chillies. DevOps is effectively the marrying of development and operations and every web project should be underpinned by it.

With proper DevOps in place, it means there is a reliable set of tools in place, deployments run with fewer errors, risks are minimized and the right environments are in place.


Yes, containers are things such as boxes and crates, but it’s also an IT term to describe it when different code, software and apps are placed together into a package or container together, to help drive efficiency. Because each container has reduced dependencies it means everything can be run more smoothly and efficiently, meaning better and more reliance performance.


IT professionals love talking about endpoints which can leave marketing teams scratching their heads. Actually, an endpoint is a generic name for any device within a network that communicates across it – so for example a laptop, smartphone, server, a sensor and an Alexa are all examples of endpoints.


Interoperability refers to the ability of a technology or a software application to play nicely with others. This means it can successfully exchange data with other applications or technologies, for example through an API. Interoperability is an increasingly important characteristic especially as marketers use to involve different applications all working together to support headless publishing or in a wider composable DXP.

Still confused? 

We’re IT specialists   and developers used to working closely in partnership with marketing teams and we know strong communication is at the heart of successful digital projects.

If you’re a marketer and still are getting your composable architecture mixed up with your containers, then get in touch, and we’ll be more than happy to explain!

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