Yesterday we asked the question: Is the corporate website obsolete? With a growing emphasis on the customer-focused web presence for companies, marketing strategies should include orchestration of web presence via other sites, and initiatives to integrate with conversations and content from those external sites.  (You can read Part 1 here)

A Web Presence Management Framework may be the best approach for managing web content and web presence anywhere. Today we consider what such a Management Framework could look like and the future role of WCM/WEM platforms, where WCM/WEM may be the hub or one of the components. 

Managing Distributed Web Presence

Some vendors of “traditional” web content management solutions have been transitioning their offerings to WEM platforms where managing and enhancing the web experience or engagement of the customer is the central purpose. The current WEM platforms focus mainly on customer and social capabilities existing in the corporate website, and are in very early stages of supporting integrations with external social sites.

Should WCM / WEM Software be The Hub -- or one of the components?

Those supporting the notion that WCM/WEM Platforms should manage web presence and continuation of corporate websites include:

Brice Dunwoodie of CMSWire on What is Web Engagement Management:

It's how you create and manage content, including primary web content, multi-device content, blogs, forums and wikis. Your WCM platform is also the hub of your social media integrations and increasingly the dashboard by which you view your brand's conversational world.

Further expansion on the WEM platform from Barb Mosher, CMSWire: The 5 Pillars of Web Engagement Management:

  1. Content Optimization: analytics, content and experience personalization, multi-variate testing, optimization and SEO.
  2. Multi-channel Management: delivering same message/experience to customers across devices and channels both online and offline – new mobile web
  3. Conversational Engagement: corporate website-based communities, UGC, commenting, trackbacks, micro-blogging, social media integration, analytics, social media monitoring and sentiment analysis.
  4. Demand Generation: customer engagement/experience through targeted marketing - increasing the number and quality of relationships, through need recognition, relevancy enhancements and engagement triggers.
  5. Sales Automation: two-way CRM integration, social CRM; e-mail or other campaign integration with the content platform.

As described by CMSWire, WEM platforms would provide capabilities and monitoring of brand and customer conversations on corporate websites, as well as bi-directional communication extensions to external social sites.

On The Other Hand

If the customer experience of a particular brand is taking place on external social sites, then there is now a distributed model for managing a brand’s web presence; the web experience/engagement for the customer is now remote from the corporate website. So there is even more need for tools/solutions to monitor, listen, act, engage…for customer-focused purposes, as well as for corporate business goals (which should lean heavily towards the customer).

A WCM/WEM platform may not be the hub for the overall solution, but instead one of the components of a new management framework for all web presence (management of web content is still important but may not be tied to a specific website anymore). But content is also integral to a lot of web marketing plans and strategies, and content is the meat of most social sites, whether it is a conversation thread, a video, a blog post, and so on. So look for WCM/WEM solutions themselves to continue to evolve as the means of managing and delivering any kind of content for sites anywhere on the web, through any channel.

Future Web Presence Management Solutions – What Could They Look Like?

A Web Presence Management Framework may be the best approach for monitoring and supporting a distributed web presence. With an emphasis on Management: the orchestration of all pertinent activities on social sites external to a corporate site. And the management of: marketing to / connecting with customers, monitoring and listening, responding, acting, analyzing, more acting. The Management Framework would be agile, timely, dynamic, flexible, open.

A starter list (high level) of potential capabilities and attributes for a Distributed Web Presence Management Framework:

  • Sophisticated, agile management / orchestration capabilities
  • Web presence “mashups”: dynamically creating personalized sites for each customer
  • An evolved WCM/WEM component: delivery to external sites, advanced support of corporate site if still in play, handling of relevant content/conversations published on external sites
  • Support / interoperability for content curation as well as content management
  • Management of all types of “conversations”: Auditing - Listening - Capturing - Integrating
  • Multiple kinds of analytics, including convergence with “traditional” data analytics
  • Dashboards for different internal roles
  • Agile, context-sensitive Search / recommendations-like technology to contextually filter content/search
  • Integration is big (lots of API support)
  • Orchestration and Integration with multiple kinds of “external solutions” that are in play for distributed web presence
  • Usability for business as well as tech teams
  • Workflow and automated processes for WCM, CRM, SCRM practices, other corporate systems
  • Company roles will also evolve: we’ll see new marketing technology roles, product marketing and product management roles for “caretakers” of company web presence on external social sites, among the possibilities
  • Segmented customer advisory groups will also play much more interactive roles with management of distributed web presence
  • Eventual alignment with semantic web, link management – for reach throughout the web. Here is a current view of opening up content to anywhere on the web:

Forget the fancy names of "semantic web" or "linked data." Associating structured data with your content assets lets you take advantage of Open Graph, Google RichSnippets, Yahoo Search Monkey, and a new generation of agents such as Siri. Disseminating your content with metadata through APIs enables developers to spread the seeds of your brand in a variety of mash-ups and apps. Sharing your data sets in collaborative venues such as Factual and Infochimps helps build relationships with the world of analytic power users, improve your data quality, and turn those dusty data silos into tools for advocating ideas and brands. (from Chief Marketing Technologist blog)

OK, WCM / WEM vendors of all sizes: should your current plans for your solution for corporate websites go forward unchanged, or should you start now to create a Management Framework for distributed web presence?