In late 2014, we produced a white paper, Top Trends for Web CMS in 2015. It was fun to be able to pontificate on what lies ahead for Web CMS. We had so much fun, in fact, that we wanted to do a webinar on the same topic in early 2015.
And here we are in early 2015.
Before we got here, I had to find someone to present the webinar. Laurence Hart was recommended as someone with deep industry experience, who could speak in depth about Web CMS trends. So I promptly set out to contact Laurence and was delighted when he said he was interested.
VIEW the on-demand replay: Top Trends for Web CMS in 2015 [WEBINAR]
Top Trends in Web CMS for 2015
I had the pleasure of moderating Laurence’s webinar. I then put together the following summary, based on my viewing of the webinar’s on-demand replay. Laurence covered six trends for Web CMS in 2015.
1) FROM MOBILE FIRST TO ALWAYS RESPONSIVE
“When you go to Philadelphia, you have to see the Liberty Bell. When you design a website, you have to be responsive.”
In other words, building web experiences for mobile visitors is a must.
According to Laurence, however, the notion of mobile sites and desktop sites is a thing of the past. Today, and in 2015, it’s just one site that flows across all mobile experiences.
Think of water, said Laurence. Whether you pour water into a cup or a bottle, it fills the space: water poured into a cup becomes the cup. Content on your website is like water, and the cups and bottles are the devices visitors use to experience your content.
Web CMS systems must enable and support this process of being responsive. Marketers must use their Web CMS to build experiences where content fills the device, whether it be a desktop, tablet or smartphone. If you don’t follow through on this in 2015, your website will be left far behind.
2) WEB IS JUST PART OF THE EXPERIENCE
Yes, your Web CMS manages your website. But in 2015 and beyond, it needs to do much, much more. A Web CMS should be supplemented with data (that resides outside of the Web CMS) to give you a 360 degree view of the customer.
What are some examples? Data on:
- Offline purchases
- Customer inquiries
- Interactions with customers in an online customer community
- Technical support cases opened by the customer
Let’s say a customer recently logged five trouble tickets with your customer support team. One was resolved, but four are “open” and marked as high priority. If that customer were to visit your website, would you treat her the same as an anonymous visitor? Or, would you keep showing that “renew your subscription now” offer, knowing about the four open trouble tickets?
DOWNLOAD the white paper: Top Trends in Web CMS for 2015
Web CMS systems need to facilitate Customer Experience Management by integrating data from outside sources. Then, with this data, Web CMS systems need to help facilitate content that’s tailored to each customer.
3) SOCIAL MEDIA WITH A PURPOSE
Social media used to be considered a destination. You created a Facebook Page and invited all of your customers to engage with you there. In 2015, social media is longer the “end.” Think of it more as a means to an end. Social media is an important distribution vehicle to drive interest and traffic to your owned and managed properties (e.g. website, branded online community).
Nate Elliott, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, shared similar thoughts in a blog post titled “As Social Media Matures, Branded Communities Will Make A Comeback In 2015.” According to Elliott, “It’s time for marketers to focus their efforts on the social tactics that actually work.” And what’s working is the use of social media to drive traffic to your website and other owned media destinations.
4) ANALYTICS CREATING ACTIONS
Are you a baseball fan who likes to crunch batting averages, on-base percentages and related statistics, to determine which players are most valuable to a team?
If so, you may be just the right person to work with your organization’s web analytics.
More and more in 2015, organizations will analyze and interpret web analytics data to drive meaningful and tangible business results.
They might discover a web page that drives the majority of their sales leads, or find a “dead end” from which many visitors are navigating no further.
In line with this trend, Web CMS systems must provide easy access to this data and deliver it in a way that enables marketers to drive action from them.
5) CLOUD IS A VIABLE OPTION
Laurence was formerly CIO at AIIM, the Association for Information and Image Management, so it was telling to hear him say, “I don’t want to manage my hardware or software, I want to manage my website.” According to Laurence, Web CMS systems delivered via the cloud are a viable option in 2015.
VIEW the on-demand replay: Top Trends for Web CMS in 2015 [WEBINAR]
In other words, rather than managing your own infrastructure (facilities, servers, operating systems, applications software, networking hardware and bandwidth), customers can run their Web CMS in the cloud, either with a cloud provider, or, directly with the Web CMS vendor’s cloud offering.
Before deciding on a cloud solution, Laurence highly recommends asking the provider for references, as well as investigating the security of their service. In addition, ensure that you have an “exit plan,” or a way to access and download all of your website data, should you need to move to another provider.
6) IMPROVED USER INTERFACES AND USER EXPERIENCES
If you were presenting a “top trends on Web CMS” five or ten years ago, you could talk about new features that vendors were shipping. But given where we are, every vendor has an equivalent set of product features. In other words, we all have what everyone else has.
So how to differentiate yourself in 2015? The user interface and user experience, says Laurence. Web CMS systems need to deliver the necessary features in way that’s intuitive and easy. As customers evaluate Web CMS vendors in 2015, they’ll start to choose solutions that provide the best user experience. Usability will become more important than price and features.
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