Web Content Management is, and will continue to be an important component of your web strategy. Who uses it and how it's used is evolving, but that doesn't change the fact that this technology is key to building and maintaining your online customer experience.
WCM is the Hub for Web Engagement
What we've always considered a communication tool has changed dramatically over the last couple of years. Web content management is no longer simply about building brochure-ware style websites. We have gone from static websites with a lot of marketing material to personalized engaging web experiences, and the website is only one element of that experience.
This means that web content management technology has had to change with the times. And while web content management 101 is still important to any web strategy, it's just the beginning. Here at CMSWire, we see web content management as the hub for the entire online experience and we know that many agree with that view.
Forrester recently conducted a survey with 260 content and collaboration professionals about their WCM plans for 2011. 78% indicated that they will be investing in web content management this year (a slight increase from last year's 75%). Here's a quick look at what they intend to spend their money on:
It's About More Than the Website
Multichannel marketing is a key driver for web content management this year. That includes mobile, social network sites and communities, email and more. This means the WCM technology you use must be able to extend and leverage these additional channels. Many WCM vendors are adapting their solutions to include capabilities like these, but many others aren't there yet. Which means you are left with three alternatives: scrap it and start over, wait for the functionality to come in an update or customize the WCM yourself (not always possible).
In addition to supporting multiple channels, WCM systems must also be able to integrate with Web Analytics, CRM systems and DAM systems, among other enterprise applications. In the Forrester report, 17% of respondents said that their WCM didn't offer the needed enterprise integration capabilities that were necessary.
With the focus for WCM now clearly on multi-channel marketing, the players in the technology decisions for WCM have changed. Forrester mentions Corporate marketing, Line of Business and Dedicated Online Marketing and eBusiness/eCommerce teams. IT is still a primary stakeholder, but they aren't the only ones.
Content is the Heart of WCM
As long as you continue to use content, you will need a system to help you create and manage it. And this is the heart of Web Content Management.
Where the content you create is used, is now different. How content is written and displayed may be different based on channel. How it changes based on targeting techniques is also different. Your WCM system needs to be able to support these differences.
In the Forrester report, content targeting, content authoring tools and enterprise search were listed along with enterprise integration as needing improvement in current WCM installations. The report also said that 33% of the organizations who were investing in WCM this year are looking at completely new systems.
Looking at Your WCMS
If you are looking at your Web Content Management system and wondering if it has what's needed to support your Web Engagement Strategy, there are several key things to look for:
- How does it support mobile? The management of a mobile version of your content, the delivery of that content to mobile devices.
- How does it support social? Does it offer social capabilities, like communities, social networks, profiles. Does it integrate with external social networks like Twitter, Facebook?
- How does it support targeted content: Personalization almost became a bad word at one point, but it's back and has emerged as an important element. Does your WCM provide content targeting, personalization? Does it support understanding context?
Everyone agrees these are the key areas to focus your engagement strategies this year. But there others important to a well rounded WEM strategy including integration with backoffice applications like CRM, eCommerce (for organizations that sell online), eMarketing such as email, social software (if you maintain your communities outside of WCM social capabilities) and more (read The 5 Pillars of Web Engagement Management).
There is a lot more to Web Engagement Management than your web content management system. But by ensuring you have that solid base to create and manage your content, and a way to deliver it to your customers whatever the channel, you are well on your way. A WEM strategy is a continual work in progress, so making sure the foundation is stable is key.