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Profiling the Pros: Karl Johnson, MD, EXLRT

Engaging with consumers across the retail, travel sectors isn’t easy. Increasingly savvy customers, particularly in these areas, now expect digital experiences that offer an emotional connection. Almost like they’re stepping on the beach on a dream holiday, or touching the fine detail on a product. And yet, this is something Karl Johnson and his team at EXLRT accomplish daily for their clients across the top Fortune brands.

Karl runs one of the globe’s largest certified SDL Tridion DX development teams, and shares our vision that the convergence of content and language are redefining digital experiences. He took time out of his busy schedule to tell us more about EXRLT, the customers he’s working with and what excites him about the return of the much-loved Tridion brand.

Tell us about EXLRT and its specialization?

We’re a global agency that focuses specifically on content and language marketing technology. And even within that speciality, we focus especially on Fortune 1000 enterprises in retail, travel, and hospitality. We partner with multi-national enterprises to enhance their digital marketing and customer experience capabilities through a combination of strategy consulting, technology, and operations services.

We help our clients unlock the value in their content and transform it into personalized local experiences their customers love – and this often involves implementing and building on top of leading enterprise content management systems like SDL Tridion.

Our global HQ is outside Amsterdam, our Americas HQ is in Washington, DC, and we also have technology delivery centers in central Europe.

Can you highlight a customer you’re working with, and how they’re benefiting from SDL’s technology?

We gave a presentation at SDL Connect recently on what we call “Glocalization" of customer experiences, and we highlighted our client Turkish Airlines (TA). The company,  which flies to more countries than any other airline on earth, needed to transform from their previous web experience to one that could be delivered to 120 countries in up to 30 languages simultaneously. On top of that, extensive personalization of every aspect of the experience was desired (and rightfully so)!

Today, TA’s vision has become reality and their collection of sites and digital experiences represent a great case study for how SDL Tridion Sites, Experience Optimization, and WorldServer can all come together in a tightly-integrated manner to deliver true “glocal personalization" at scale. It’s not easy to deliver this much content, to this many people, in this many languages, and still pull off a great customer experience. But Turkish Airlines is able to do it successfully today!

How are you working with SDL and what excites you about the release of SDL Tridion DX?

We are a long-term SDL partner and reseller of SDL’s technology. We were also the most-recent gold sponsor of SDL’s annual conference in San Jose, SDL Connect. With one of the largest teams of certified SDL consultants globally and a decade of experience working together, we really value our partnership because it is mutually-beneficial. We help each other ensure our combined customers are as successful as possible at accomplishing their marketing goals.

The developers at EXLRT were excited to see the beloved Tridion name return! But, even more importantly for our customers, we were really happy to see the convergence of two crucial content platforms (formerly SDL Knowledge Center and SDL Web) to enable a better, more seamless experience for the end-customer.

Companies can no longer think of product information and web content as two separate things, regardless of which internal team owns which. Every single touchpoint with a brand is just as important as any other to the overall customer experience, from pre-sale to post-sale. Combining the core platforms for both in

SDL Tridion DX goes a long way to making a cohesive pre and post-sale experience a reality, and EXLRT is excited to grow our capabilities across the full DX suite.

Where do you see the future headed for web content management and EXLRT?

The importance of all pieces of content should be elevated. It’s not just content anymore, it’s an element of the customer experience. And all touchpoints and types of experiences are just as important as each other. Whether it is via the web, mobile, email, AR, Alexa, kiosks, in-store, or on the phone – all content being delivered should be managed, translated, localized, and contextually personalized. Accomplishing this requires significant use of data, technology, and automation.

Machine learning and AI-driven translation, content generation, and personalization are becoming crucial for scalability and effectiveness, and voice-enabled and augmented reality experiences are becoming important additional touchpoints for an enriched and seamless experience. Expecting a company to master all of these concepts and technologies is totally unrealistic.

Having a partner that can intimately understand the extensive breadth of CX technologies, but just as importantly also develop the core strategy that drives which technologies are really necessary to accomplish the over-arching marketing goals, is more important now than ever before. We’ve reinvented ourselves to be just that partner.

That’s why we are so excited for 2018 and beyond in the customer experience and content management world!