Context first. This is what Bob Egner, VP of Product Management and Global Marketing for Web CMS vendor EPiServer is excited about.

In an exclusive CMSWire interview Egner and CMSWire staff dug into the fundamentals of Customer Experience Management, how Web CMS vendors differentiate -- or don't, the cloud and PaaS vs. SaaS, how to go mobile more simply and the big challenges facing vendors in 2012.

Let's have a look:

According to Egner, the way the web is spreading and becoming almost boundary-less is simply a redrawing of the website as we know it today. And to support that new way of thinking EPiServer has focused its product development around four key areas, known as the 4C's:

  • Content -- EPiServer CMS
  • Community -- EPiServer Relate
  • Commerce -- EPiServer Commerce
  • Communication -- EPiServer Marketing Arena

All these are glued together with a single presentation layer on the front-end. On the back-end we get the EPiServer Online Center -- a single administration UI to manage everything for your web properties.

Thoughts on Customer Experience

It's clear, says Egner, that you don't get conversions on a single visit. With customer experience management (CXM) you are often looking at multi-touch, multi-visit and now multi-channel experiences. EPiServer works to bring all the information obtained from these visitor experiences and behaviors together across the four EPiServer modules to provide a 360 degree view of the customer.

If you are looking for a CXM/WCM vendor right now, Egner suggests that you don't look for differentiation within the web content management capabilities. He says that many of the players are equal in terms of basic functionality. What you should look at, he says, is what they offer in terms of integration with other systems, analytics and reporting, and how they can help you engage your website visitors through personalized, contextual content.

And let's not forget multi-channel content delivery, whether that's across different devices or across social channels. Make sure there's a strategy to managing and monitoring across all your customer's channels.

The Most Interesting Aspect of Customer Experience Management

Your information isn't only on your website, it's across the web. Some of it you own, some of it you pay for and some of it is offered through your customers' satisfaction with your services. The marketer's goal should be to have a consistent message and value proposition across this boundary-less website. Egner says that you need to give people the information they need to learn about you and your product(s) and as a result, a reason to come back to your website and buy from you.

How Should Clients Go Mobile?

Many organizations feel the mobile imperative, but don't realize the complexity involved in developing and maintaining mobile apps that work across a number of devices. Egner advises those entering the mobile space to go with mobile web apps, built using HTML5. The benefit is cross platform portability, and an often over-looked, yet important value-add -- Google Analytics support.

EPiServer in the Cloud

EPiServer offers its modules as standalone or combined as required in a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) model.

Egner says that the PaaS model fits the needs of the enterprises they deal with, particularly when it comes to e-commerce, better than a SaaS model. And he states that the architecture follows Microsoft's .NET methodologies and standards which makes it easier for developers to extend and enhance the platform.

The Challenge for WCM Vendors in 2012

Egner says the biggest challenge for web content management vendors is to provide the right balance between ease of use for the marketing department and still turn the information into something that is more meaningful to help improve interaction on the website.

Recommendations and suggestions are a key focus for 2012. Egner says all the data is there, so we should expect this to be on every organization's mind next year. Smart CXM -- something to look forward to.