By Robert Bredlau and Oliver Jaeger
Editor’s Note: This piece ran as a guest post on the CMS-Connected blog and is posted here in case you missed it. For those who aren’t familiar with CMS-Connected, it is monthly webcast featuring news, trends and commentary related to the content management industry. The next webcast is on Sept 27 at 12:30 p.m. Eastern and will explore content marketing. In addition, the FirstSpirit CMS will be reviewed by Bryan Ruby, editor at CMS Report. We highly encourage you to register and tune in to what is sure to be an entertaining and informative segment.
Consumers use several forms of media each day and they expect brands to do the same. In its annual Consumer Insights Survey mBuys found that 72 percent of consumers want an integrated marketing approach. What this indicates is that simply optimizing the customer experience on your website is not enough – you need to manage your message consistently across a variety of online and offline media channels including Web, social, radio, television, print, and mobile.
Given that customer expectations are evolving quickly, many organizations face an uphill battle when they attempt to deliver an exception multi-channel customer experience. According to recent Forrester research, the challenges include IT-centric tools vs. marketing centric; mountains of poorly managed data and content; and siloed rather than integrated technology.
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For most companies, ripping out their entire infrastructure and starting over with tools designed for today’s multi-channel world is not a realistic approach. They have too much investment in tools, technology and training to start over. A far better and more cost effective approach according to Forrester is to bring a best-of-breed Web Content Management System designed that can integrate with existing systems on the back end while offering the flexibility to drive content out through multiple channels. Having a tightly integrated WCMS platform can have a dramatic impact on improving the customer experience. Here are seven tips to help you get started.
- Use advanced authoring tools: In the past it was common for the marketing department to create content and then wait for the IT department to post the information. However, easy-to-use authoring tools now allow editors to post content directly – and even from mobile devices -- rather than rely on expensive IT resources.
- Establish workflow guidelines: Regulatory issues, global operations, and even disclosure of corporate financial information are issues that most companies have to address. Simply having content approved via e-mail is not enough in regulated environments where legal, medical, and compliance officers must be involved. Having multiple layers of approvals, while time-consuming, can help ensure the quality of content. Examine your workflow needs and make sure that all stakeholders are involved in the discussion. Consider the use of graphical workflow modeling tools to empower business users to make these changes. Advanced workflow tools ensure that established processes are followed consistently.
- Target Content in Context: Over the last few years websites have shifted from being product-centric to consumer-centric. With that in mind, companies need to implement WCMS systems that factor in visitor information such as past purchases, demographics, language, and even the device being used. Over time, as WCMS technologies mature, companies should consider adopting algorithmic-based technologies to get a better understanding of their unauthenticated visitors to do a better job of tailoring the Web experience to the customer’s likely interests.
- Raising the content bar: One way to keep website visitors engaged is by incorporating images and video into the website. This is especially true when there is timely video to showcase, such as from an industry trade show. To successfully integrate images and video into the overall web experience it is critical that your organization integrate its WCMS with other solutions like Digital Asset Management (for rendition management), video platforms (for basic management and high-bandwidth delivery), and desktop tools that support creative workflows.
- Tackling multiple channels: The beauty of having multiple marketing channels is that your company can reach customers in many different ways. The challenge is that you must now manage each of these channels. In addition to managing your company website, marketers must now manage social, e-mail, and mobile. To properly manage each of the channels, your company should consider implementing a central WCMS solution that separates content from presentation layers. The approach enables editors to adapt content for various audience or markets, and then publish it automatically to different channels and across a variety of devices with varying form factors.
- Going Local, Going Global: Maintaining a consistent look and feel, as well as adhering to approved corporate language and branding standards, is vital as the world continues to shrink. Global consistency is important, but WCMS systems must allow marketers to localize content to fit regional needs. Newer companies, or companies that only focus on a small region, usually tailor information for their specific market. However, as companies expand on a global level, it’s important to create policy and governance guidelines to promote a consistent look and feel on a global basis while embracing local sensibilities.
- The Social Network: Even though many younger companies have not established their social media strategies, it’s important to understand the shift a company goes through as it grows over time. At first companies focus on presenting a clean, easy-to-read informational website. As the company expands, social media opportunities such as blogs and industry polls give marketers the opportunity to incorporate new information within the website. In addition syndicating content to third-party social networks, and tapping into the social profiles, helps to personalize on-site Web experiences.