Web content management has always been about the technology and the IT department. But times are changing and there is a new element to consider -- the business user.
During the first episode of the critically acclaimed sitcom “30 Rock”, Jack Donaghy, the new VP of television and microwave programming, claims that he was sent to NBC to fix “The Girlie Show” (TGS), the sketch comedy series the show is based on. Jack compares TGS to the trivection oven, an oven that combines three types of heat -- thermal, convection and microwave. He goes on to say that TGS has a strong demographic of women and adolescent teens, but notes that it lacks the demographic of men, the third heat in this case. To remedy this problem, Jack brings Tracy Jordan on board and countless awards and six seasons later, the rest is history.
Web content management (WCM) draws a strangely similar comparison to this scene from “30 Rock” because up until now, WCM has only had two kinds of heats: the technology platform and the IT user. Various content management vendors have created compelling technologies that allow companies and organizations to build their online web presence. However, because these platforms are often complex, specialized IT staff has been required to manage content orchestration.
The Rise of the Business User
The biggest problem with this two-heat system is that today’s consumers have grown to expect unique, personalized experiences with every online interaction, and this requires a personal touch. The creation of meaningful content is no longer sufficient, because context, not content, is now king.
WCM is not about positioning content on a Web or a mobile site, it has evolved into adapting that content to each individual’s context -- taking into account location, device access, ratings and comments, buying history, age, etc. So it is time to introduce the third heat to WCM to bring content and context together in a way that maximizes online interaction between businesses and consumers. WCM’s Tracy Jordan is the business user.
Business users understand the business and engagement drivers, and can add tremendous value to the WCM process because they are able to judge whether an experience is engaging and whether it matches a particular audience’s context and needs. Once they become part of the WCM process, the benefits are substantial.
Marketing and branding teams no longer have to rely on IT to leverage WCM technology to orchestrate the creation and distribution of meaningful content, which breaks down the business/IT silo to facilitate better communication and faster Web updates. As a result, personalized experiences increase since business users are able to introduce business and marketing strategy before creating a contextualized experience, ultimately driving brand loyalty.
In order to empower the business user, WCM solutions need to allow them to:
1. Access All Valuable Content Assets and Information
Content no longer comes from a single source, but is rather an aggregation of multiple data sources internally and externally. Business users need to have easy access to all content assets and information at their fingertips in order to produce highly contextual and relevant experiences.
2. Manage the Intelligence Behind Contextualization
Business users provide the third heat because they can implement business logic and strategy to provide a contextualized experience. WCM solutions have to allow business users to easily access and adjust the business rules and segmentation criteria for each piece of content to ensure that it is presented in the context of the targeted audience.
3. Test the Impact on the Experience
Business users need to be able to preview content in the context of test audiences to validate that the experience is highly relevant at each touchpoint.
4. Unleash Business Users’ Creative Powers
The WCM user interface must be user friendly, and not require a programming degree to use. An environment tailored to the business user’s needs will not only increase productivity and lower training costs, but it will also allow them to bring their creativity to the WCM table, enhancing their ability to engage with your audience.
The business user is the next frontier for WCM. While this won’t enable businesses to “cook a turkey in twenty-two minutes” so to speak, providing business users with the right tools will give your customers a more powerful online experience and facilitate engagement, which is what WCM is all about. Jack Donaghy would be proud.