Hybrid CMS: Turn Your Customers into Lifelong Fans

Marketing Headless and Hybrid CMS Innovation
by Michael Gerard

Less than 20 years ago, websites were nothing more than fancy logos and online collateral. But over time, new technology and design expertise has transformed many websites into engaging digital experiences. In fact, a study by Walker indicates that experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. Customers want a personalized digital experience, rich in content, that exceeds their expectations. And price and product will be less of a differentiator, with experience becoming more important. Companies need to create an emotional connection to their customers. This connection... this experience is the new competitive differentiator. And if done right, you will create lifelong fans out of your customers. But how can brands leverage technology to create inspiring content-driven experiences that will achieve this goal?

The traditional, monolithic content management system (CMS) was perfect when there was one channel, websites; and in some cases enabling support of mobile channels with much effort and cost. Then came along the headless CMS which enables content to be delivered to many channels, yet lacks the scalability or deep integration (when needed) of a traditional CMS. The perfect combination of these two is the hybrid CMS, providing business users and technology teams with the ability to easily create and deliver the experiences demanded by today’s customers. This blog post will provide deeper insight into what it takes to create lifelong fans out of your customers, and how the hybrid CMS is uniquely positioned to deliver their promise.

The Lifelong Fan

A lifelong fan could be a prospect, an existing customer, an influencer, or simply someone who admires your brand. They are advocates and defenders of your brand who have developed a connection and bond to your company, its product(s) and/or its people. We’ve all heard about the complex challenges associated with creating and delivering experiences to these individuals to create this bond with customers.

At e-Spirit, we see this as THE opportunity for today’s marketers, business managers, e-commerce managers and technology folks to differentiate their company and build a sustainable competitive differentiator. It’s an opportunity to tap into the power of today’s new digital technologies to advance beyond who has the best product or price, and into the realm of delivering inspiring online and offline experiences that will make lifelong fans out of your customers. And the hybrid CMS as part of a digital experience platform is a key success factor in achieving this goal.

Hybrid CMS: The Next Generation of Content Management

Todays’ marketing, e-commerce and business teams need to deliver inspiring content-driven experiences to their customers, regardless of which channel or device they may be on. These compelling digital experiences are the decisive success factors of the "Experience Economy" we live in. Headless content management systems (CMS) have partially met this need, enabling content orchestration to occur independent of which channel requires that content. However, the areas where a pure-play headless CMS comes up short are more than addressed in today’s hybrid CMS. The hybrid CMS offers the complete solution, enabling companies to have the best of both worlds - a headless CMS and a “head on” (coupled or decoupled) CMS - to operate in any type of DX ecosystem and architecture, and without sacrificing the power of easy to use, enterprise-class capabilities that are expected from a traditional CMS yet difficult to find in pure-play headless CMS solutions.

This is the e-Spirit vision: To be the #1 hybrid CMS for companies’ customer experience strategies in B2B and B2C. And it is this level of hybrid CMS that will dominate digital experience creation in the coming years as part of a digital experience platform and DX ecosystem. The recent launch of our newest hybrid CMS will enable marketing, e-commerce and IT teams to deliver inspiring digital experiences to customers that drive engagement, build trust and increase revenue, including:

  1. Creating an emotional connection to your customers;
  2. Inspiring customers at critical touchpoints; and
  3. Connecting experiences across touchpoints for a unified customer journey.

Core Capabilities of e-Spirit’s Hybrid CMS

Our hybrid CMS, FirstSpirit, is the next generation of content management. It combines the best of two worlds: The benefits of modern headless architecture (high agility, short time-to-market and easy expansion to new touchpoints) and the power and ease of use of enterprise-class content management including collaboration, workflow and scalability for large and high growth organizations, deep integration into any application as needed versus relying solely on simply API connections, and powerful WYSIWYG capabilities. Key differentiators of e-Spirit’s hybrid CMS include:

  • The power of a headless CMS for true omnichannel marketing...
    • Headless is the state-of-the-art approach to create digital experiences at scale. It decouples the presentation (layout, UX etc.) of digital experiences from the orchestration and creation of content. That enables much higher agility and a shorter time to market for all DX projects for editing, updating and creating new touchpoints. (e.g., new mobile applications, digital signs, wearables, augmented and virtual reality devices and digital and voice assistants)
    • It provides IT with freedom of choice of front-end technology for any touchpoint or device and is easy to integrate with any tool of a DX ecosystem.
  • Coupled with enterprise-class content management to complete a scalable solution that can be leveraged by business users and technical teams. e-Spirit’s hybrid CMS offers both headless and coupled/decoupled capabilities within the same architecture to serve all digital touchpoints and guarantee maximum agility and future-readiness with an enterprise-class CMS.
    • While pure play headless CMSs are exclusively designed for developers, e-Spirit’s hybrid CMS is made for marketers and other business users. It helps these teams achieve their goals fast, intuitively and without involving IT. (e.g., no code environments, easy provisioning of new channels)
    • e-Spirit built its technology based on 20+ years of experience in content management, providing a powerful heritage of business user experience, functional scope and enterprise-class power. (e.g., e-Spirit’s customers represent over $500B in revenue, across many sectors such as retail/e-commerce, manufacturing, banking, finance, insurance and healthcare - such as Bosch, Grohe, L.L.Bean, Carter’s, Daimler, BASF, Commerzbank, and many more)
  • Touchpoint editing to view AND edit content on any device within or outside of your company’s channels.
    • Marketers have full control over the touchpoint experience on any device or channel as well as access to powerful CMS tools including content reuse, analytics, third-party system integration and more. e-Spirit’s unique Touchpoint Editing allows content not only to be previewed but to be edited intuitively and directly in the context of any output channel - without the need for complex CMS integration by IT. Our tools integrate seamlessly and with minimal effort into every channel. That way every touchpoint is turned into a enterprise-class DX cockpit for marketers.
  • Smart dashboards for data-driven experience orchestration.
    • e-Spirit’s Smart Dashboards provide marketers with easy access to all content-relevant KPIs in one place. This enables orchestration of complex scenarios (sites, languages, channels) in a non-technical view. As an example, it has never been easier to understand and control which content at what touchpoint is unique, duplicated, referenced, localized, translated, approved, published, expired or de-published. Marketers can also review A/B test results, content usage, views and other performance-related KPIs.
    • More than an information desk, our Smart Dashboards make insights actionable: Content can be edited and orchestrated directly from within the dashboard - a game changer for all scenarios where a preview-centric approach to content management is not enough.
  • Fragment creator for creating a more cohesive experience across many channels and devices, simultaneously.
    • Critical to omnichannel personalization, e-Spirit’s FragmentCreator helps marketers create content fragments that can be pulled to any channel or web page and reassembled for the perfect digital experience—with ease and without IT involvement.
  • Starter kit for faster time to market.
    • Speed is everything when you need to outmaneuver your competition and meet/exceed your customers’ expectations. Our new starter kit is included for all customers, shortening implementation time significantly compared to the conventional deployment of a pure-play headless CMS or a conventional CMS. It includes a ready-to-go progressive web application (PWA) in a quick-start package that can be used as a blueprint for rolling out custom applications. More than a reference implementation, our starter kit is a fully maintained product.
  • FirstSpirit's industry-unique MicroApp framework that is the secret sauce of our hybrid CMS. [An architecture that will thrill your technical team, while enabling your business users to exceed their own expectations of success]
    • Many of the unique capabilities of the FirstSpirit hybrid CMS are made possible by our industry-unique MicroApp framework. It provides ready-to-use UI components that add editorial elements to any context, in any desired granularity. Thus, the marketer experience perfectly reflects the requirements of fragmented omnichannel journeys. Its API also allows any extensions of the DX tools to help marketers create unique experiences.

You no longer need to settle for a conventional, monolithic CMS or invest in a tech-heavy pure play headless CMS solution that lacks scalability or deep integration capabilities. Hybrid CMS is the next generation of content management, enabling you to deliver inspiring, connected digital experiences that your audience craves, giving you the ability to turn your customers into lifelong fans. Contact e-Spirit to see the power of hybrid CMS in action, or download our ebook, Hybrid CMS: The Next Generation of the Headless CMS.

To learn more about e-Spirit’s DXP and hybrid CMS:

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About the author

Michael is responsible for e-Spirit's global marketing strategy. He has 15+ years of marketing and sales experience in SaaS companies, and has written about many topics across technology, marketing strategy and other marketing-related areas.

Michael Gerard