Why Customer Experience Marketers Hate Boxed CMS Systems

“CMS in a box” systems first came on the scene in 2000. Today, there are hundreds of proprietary CMS systems based in SaaS models, PHP, Open Source, .NET and others. With so many similar features, they’re best understood as either a “web publisher” or “enterprise workflow” tool.

Web publisher – Tools that help multiple non-technical content owners publish to the web. Drupal, TYPO3, Joomla, and WordPress are all great examples. Their strengths are fast page creation, text and image publishing, and SEO.

Enterprise workflow – Tools that help enterprises share and organize data and secure it for non-technical content owners. While web publishing is a feature, it’s not the focus of these tools and these systems limit creative development. SharePoint is a great example of this type of CMS. It provides organizations secure, organized data and integration with enterprise data sources and networks.

Both of these tools offer some of similar functionality (templates, version control, multilingual management, workflow management, etc.) but they tend to fall apart with the need for a unique, controllable user experience.

Which is exactly why Customer Experience marketers hate them. Why?

Telling a marketer to work with a standard template is like telling an artist to color between the lines.

For online marketers, shrink-wrapped CMS systems are too limiting.

Target marketing and eCommerce are more than just credit card-enabled shopping carts. This work requires integration of advanced analytics to drive SEO, custom interactions that cut through the clutter, targeted campaign management and A/B testing to hone messages and workflow management to reduce marketing efforts.

We have to sigh when clients ask us to just “fix” their lackluster implementation. As one of our enterprise architects once said, “It is like asking me to fix the crack in your drywall when it's happening because the foundation of the house is sinking.”

If you are considering a CMS for your organization, don’t worry about version control, templates and SEO – they all do that. When we help our customers decide whether they need a traditional CMS option or develop a custom system for their enterprise we ask them “The Big 8.”

Ask yourself this:

  1. Does your company need a differentiated online customer experience?
  2. Do you plan to integrate your customer experience with secure account information?
  3. Is your campaign management tied to enterprise customer relations management system?
  4. Will you be A/B testing on campaigns?
  5. Will your company benefit from a ‘high touch’ mobile/tablet experience?
  6. Are you expecting web analytics (from Google or Omniture) to guide your marketing initiatives?
  7. Will you be collaborating with multiple creative agencies to create content?
  8. Will your content need to be globalized (for language, culture, currency or legal compliance)?

If you answer “yes” to any of these, there is a good chance you need to add a custom option to your list of potential CMS systems.

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