Chris Purcell
Chris Purcell 18 September 2020

There’s No Such Thing As The Perfect CMS

In the current pandemic-induced era of accelerated digital transformation, a “digital business card” is no longer enough to survive. Having a strong online presence is in fact essential for businesses to thrive in today’s competitive environment.

Regardless of whether your company is in the B2C or B2B landscape, in order to remain competitive digital content must be used effectively—this is the only way to create sustainable customer experiences that ensure set goals are achieved.

Content management systems (CMS) can play a useful role here. But rather than searching for the ‘perfect’ CMS that will magically meet every marketer’s need, it is better to ask yourself which CMS has the best chances of working for your project, or what CMS you can see your team being successful with.

To make such an important long-term decision in an informed way, the first thing you need to know is that the more precisely you can define your CMS requirements, the better you can evaluate the various systems available to you.

Let’s look at some key considerations for marketers on the lookout for their next CMS.

A Collaborative Endeavour

The effective use of digital content is underpinned by a number of technical features that, ideally, not only meet the needs of today but also have the capacity to change as demands evolve.

When defining CMS requirements, start with a fairly basic framework that specifies the goals of your website, the number of country and language versions, target audiences and your team set-up.

At this stage it is important to bring in all relevant departments and team members, as different stakeholders will have different points that are particularly relevant to them. For example, the IT department will want to ensure the new solution can be integrated into the existing system landscape.

Ask yourself (and your stakeholders) about any features that are currently missing as well as any potential pain points.

A Foundation for Comprehensive Evaluation

A well-structured catalogue of requirements, laid out as a checklist of features, will help guide your evaluation process. If necessary, weight the requirements, for example using the MoSCoW method: “Must have”, “Should have”, “Could have” and “Won’t have”.

A catalogue of requirements can contain well over 100 features that typically span 13 different areas, but in my experience there are three that are particularly critical.

First, automation. To ensure that your digital experiences adapt quickly to any market changes, consider the possibility of generating automated landing pages and flexible templates that allow editors to create content experiences efficiently and creatively.

Cross-browser and cross-device previews, or content options such as ratings, surveys or A/B testing are useful ways to check whether the content is well received by your visitors.

Second, personalisation. It’s likely you will want to deliver personalised experiences to each website visitor based on their unique interests. Segmentation characteristics can be used to form customer groups that receive different content. You may even go one step further and use artificial intelligence (AI) to deliver individual content for each visitor. Personalisation options are vast and go way beyond the use of personal salutation as a greeting.

Third is the people factor. Finding and implementing a new CMS is as much about the human element as it is about technology.

Introducing a new system is always associated with securing internal buy-in and aligning internal processes and workflows. Make sure to take note of the type of support every CMS provider offers as this is important not only on the journey to the ‘go live’ date but beyond. Support should also include training opportunities for different user groups, such as end users, developers and administrators.

Beyond the Foundation Criteria

Once you have mapped out your catalogue of requirements, and have your project budget and timeline in place, it is time to evaluate shortlisted solutions.

Arranging a demo is key. It’s your opportunity to gain an impression of how the CMS provider works and what the day-to-day work with the solution looks like.

Critically, it’s also your opportunity to go beyond the technicalities of the solution. Does the CMS provider understand your business? Do they share your ambition?

Involve all your stakeholders in the evaluation process too, so you can ensure that all needs are taken into account and your new CMS system is the best match for your business in the long-term that will enable the delivery of relevant and engaging experiences.

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