There's a new acronym on the block: WEM! It's Web, it's Engagement and it's Management. It's new, it's sexy and everybody loves it. But before you join the enthusiastic crowd, I think some warnings are essential.

Warning 1: Nobody Really Knows What WEM Is

It's so new, nobody knows what it really is. For some, WEM is Web Engagement Marketing; others say it's Web Experience Marketing. I've also heard Customer Experience Marketing and other variants, which only proves the market is still discovering it. Many CMS vendors have recently launched a WEM module and have only a handful of clients who are quite novice in their WEM experience. Not many lessons learned there, so be skeptical about “success stories.”

Warning 2: You Still Need a Content Strategy

Without a proper content strategy, your WEM will never be successful. It's too ambitious or even naive to think you can create an optimal web experience for every visitor. Instead, you should focus on your main target groups and define which content and web experience are the best in which phase of their customer lifecycle. A content strategy will help.

Warning 3: WEM Has Its Place(s)

WEM has its place in the content management lifecycle. You plan the WEM strategy in the “Plan” phase, you tag content in the “Develop” phase, and you analyze the experience in the “Evaluate” phase. Make sure you didn't miss a specific content process or stakeholder in the strategy. With only a piece missing, the WEM chain is broken.

Warning 4: WEM is Hard Work

You think adding metadata to content is a pain? Well, I have some bad news for you: with WEM there's even more tagging involved. You have to classify your content according to your personas, scenarios and other metadata that your WEM modules need in order to provide your visitors with relevant and personalized content. Make sure your editors know what they are doing and why they should do it. Visualizing the benefit of all this tagging is quite tough.

Warning 5: Don't Forget the Content Management

I have noticed that CMS vendors stopped improving their editing experience and turned to focusing mainly on their cool WEM modules. They even refuse to demonstrate the editor in demos. Yeah, of course WEM is much cooler in the demo. But most complaints about content management systems come from editors who hate to work with the CMS because it's such a bad end-user experience. You totally depend on their efforts in your WEM strategy (see warning 4). So you better spend some time checking the user friendliness of your CMS.

Don’t Avoid WEM

Should you avoid WEM? No, of course not. As a communications consultant I'm very enthusiastic about the concept behind WEM: online sharing of relevant information with the right person at the right time. That's what everybody wants, right? But WEM is more than just a tool: it's a philosophy and a discipline.

When selecting a CMS with WEM functionality, ask yourself: Can the tool help me talk to people? Can it help me focus on valuable content? Does it help me get insight into my customers’ needs? Can it support my content workflow? Can it deliver my content where it’s most wanted? In other words: can it deliver my business case? If the answer is a “Yes” on all questions, buy it!

I wish y'all a good web experience!

Editor's Note: You may also be interested in reading: