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Global enterprises often have many websites — many Web Content Management Systems (Web CMS) to manage those sites.

But they can produce better experiences for their customers if they have a centrally-managed Web CMS because it allows for better integration, better workflow infrastructure and less-painful scaling, some experts maintain.

Brian Payne, VP of Technology at Connective DX (formerly ISITE Design), and Jason Hobart, Vice President of Digital Channels and Integrations at Lionbridge drove home those points on the recent CMSWire webinar, “Improve Global Customer Experiences Through a Centrally Managed CMS”. 

“Organizations are increasingly rethinking their global content strategy and are aligning their CMS platforms to better streamline delivery,” said Payne. “But they’re dealing with a hodgepodge of disparate CMSs.”

Connective DX is a digital agency with offices in Boston and Portland, Ore. Waltham, Mass.-based Lionbridge offers translation and localization services.

CMS Overload

Multiple CMSs create competing goals, lax governance and translation issues.

“With a mix of different systems, you’re undoubtedly going to struggle,” Payne said. “It’s not sustainable. Moving to a single, centrally-managed platform is essential in orchestrating a connective experience.”

CMS vendors promise to deliver experience management but don't necessarily deliver on those promises.

“And marketers say they want to reinvent themselves,” Payne added, “but a much smaller percentage know how to go about it. Managing content on a global scale is a struggle.”

Payne said he’s seen too many organizations simply create websites. Lots of them.

Enterprises do this before they actually think about a about a global content strategy. Some of these websites were put into motion “before content strategy was a thing,” he said. Organizations thought about geographies and providing the right languages, but that was it.

“Just the basics,” Payne said. “Most organizations are better at making websites than managing them. They translate it and let it sit. But managing that is a different story. They don’t think of sustaining them for the long term.”

And they lack a strategy for omnichannel experiences. If a French customer searches on Google in French and finds a website that’s useful, the next step in their digital experience journey needs to be just as successful. If the mobile app is not in French, you’ve lost that customer.

“Customers get frustrated at best and at worst, take their business elsewhere,” Payne said.

Finding a centralized CMS that connects disparate systems, content and integrates nicely with multiple channels has gone from being “nice to have to a business imperative.”

Resource, Language Challenges

Hobart agrees that the single system of content allows marketers to bring a unified customer experience for their brand.

“But the challenge has become exponentially more difficult to manage given some of the challenges that arise when you go global,” he said.

What are the challenges? Resource constraints. Fragmented customer experiences. How to extract and re-import content for translation. Finding a balance between centralizing your processes without taking away local control.

Enterprises should consider that most of the world’s population does not speak English as its first language, according to Hobart.

“Consumers are six times more likely to buy when the product information itself content is in their language,” Hobart said. “This is something to consider when you consider what your global presence and global content strategy should be.”

Who Wins?

screenshot of a CMSWire webinar on managing a centralized CMS

Enterprises that get a global content strategy have strong executive support for starters. They ensure the experience for visitors is consistent through the digital ecosystem.

They have a clear set of global guidelines, or a governance program. They think about how to engage marketing and sales in the field to help them strategize and leverage the technologies they need. They use analytics — and not just for measuring campaign and content performance, but also at the same time to measure production and operational performance.

The right suite of marketing technology, combined with a centralized CMS with language processes allows “small, centralized teams to have a massive impact for organizations. It allows for more collaboration at scale."

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Title image by Forrest Cavale.