As a product marketer, I spend a lot of time surveying what our competition is doing. One easy and effective way of doing that is monitoring their websites for changes. Strikingly, what I see is the rule, rather than the exception. Most sites sit stagnant and unchanging day after day, week after week, month after month, despite the fact that I know excited product owners are behind those sites, anxious to deliver new products, better messaging and fresh promotions to the world.
In a fast-moving market, delays of hours can be detrimental, but delays of weeks or months can be deadly. To be successful in a product-related role, it’s imperative to have access to your CMS and be able to make necessary changes and additions quickly and easily. This is the only way to create a culture of constant iteration and innovation that can drive results.
As a product marketer at Perfect Sense, I have access to our product Brightspot, a best-in-class CMS. With Brightspot, I can publish updates whenever I want, enabling our brand to evolve constantly and in real time.
A Product Marketer’s Perspective
As a product marketer, I’ve spent most of my career one-step removed from prospects. I create enablement material that marketing then uses to create campaigns and assist in the creation of the call scripts BDRs use to have meaningful discussions. I also write product requirements that are informed by what I’m hearing from the field.
But, despite being the keeper of messaging and maintaining responsibility over new product launches, I’ve always had to rely on other teams to deliver that message to the market for me.
At previous jobs, this was a frustrating process. At one company, we built our entire website ourselves—despite the fact that we were not a web development company. Once it was built, making even the smallest changes to the site required IT involvement. When I needed to have the icon for my new service added to the site, for example, I had to create a JIRA ticket and wait weeks for the change to be made.
I imagine other product people can commiserate with how I felt: excited for an upcoming launch, with a press release drafted and approved, but with no destination to drive prospects. So, I waited. And waited. Compounding the issue was the fact that the design of the site was not meant to support new services, so each one of these simple changes required a complete rewrite of the entire product page. Overall, such delays resulted in weeks of lost productivity.
Another company I worked for had (what I thought was) a much better process in place. We used WordPress and had a consultant on retainer to assist in making changes to the look and feel of our website. While I personally didn’t have any more control of the site, at least we were using a known platform and a had a dedicated expert.
Still, problems arose, and cost and timing often delayed my efforts. When we developed new positioning for the company to help differentiate ourselves in the market, we still had to wait for a quote on cost from our partner, get on their schedule and then have them make the changes. Once the changes were drafted, we’d have to approve screenshots, since the partner couldn’t share preview links. Compared to other experiences I’d had, the process was faster, but it still took weeks. Eventually I gave up on the idea of running short promotional campaigns on the website simply because it took too long to move from idea to inception.
I suspected I would never be able to solve this issue. After all, how could I if I didn’t have direct access to the website? I started to wonder why a product person should even care about the CMS. “I’ll let the marketing team handle that” was my oft-repeated refrain. But the marketing team was often busy with other responsibilities, and they relied heavily on IT to make changes to the site. The situation seemed hopeless.
The Brightspot Difference
Things changed, though, when I joined Perfect Sense early in 2018. Here I was tasked with launching Brightspot Readymade, the out-of-the-box version of our enterprise CMS. I assumed that, despite working at a CMS company, I would again be beguiled in my efforts to personally deliver my product to the world.
However, the launch of Brightspot Readymade was a huge success, thanks in no small part to, well, Brightspot Readymade, which is the platform our website is built on. In my role, I have been given broad access and controls within the CMS, a freedom that allowed me to take all the approved messaging, screenshots and packaging information and bring it to the world within hours of it being finalized.
First, I created a new product page. Because the platform is intuitive and easy to use, I was able to replicate an existing product page, customize the look and feel and add the relevant messaging. In less than an hour, my entire product page was complete, looked exactly how I wanted (and confirmed via our live preview engine) and published to the web. The freedom was empowering.
Then I needed to add Readymade messaging to our products page. First, I created a page variant. I then added a module that contained the product messaging, changed the background color (yes, grey was the right choice), easily uploaded the image I wanted and dragged and dropped the module exactly where I wanted it (why, yes, I’ll put my product first, thank you very much). This was all made possible because our interface relies on a modular paradigm that makes updating a page, adding new content and changing various elements extremely easy. No help from a development team was required. Now, within an hour, Readymade existed in multiple places on the website.
But the pièce de résistance was the homepage. My first task was to add Readymade promotion to our lede carousel. Again, I was able to quickly search for a striking image contained within our built-in digital asset manager (DAM). I then added some interesting text and a button with a custom CTA that I was able to craft to my liking. In minutes, the lede was complete.
I also added iconography onto the page—which, as I mentioned earlier, had thwarted my efforts in the past. With Brightspot, all I had to do was adjust our two-column list to a three-column list, add Readymade icons and text, and the page was complete. (I even decided to go for extra credit and added Readymade to our footer.)
Within two hours of my messaging and packaging being approved, the product was on our website and ready for prospects to discover. We’ve been able to immediately initiate our advertising and social campaigns without delay. Instead of waiting days or weeks to launch my product, I was able to do it in hours.
With Brightspot, I truly became a product owner, in complete control of my product’s destiny. I’m not sure I could ever go back to an environment that doesn’t have a CMS that empowers product and marketing people.
Now I know what you may be wondering: Won’t anarchy reign supreme if every product owner at a large company has rights to access the homepage? Well, possibly. But that’s one reason that Brightspot includes fine granular controls over users and roles. In my role, I could be given access to create new pages and edit certain pages but be prevented from editing others, such as the homepage. Because our workflows are so adaptable, I could share variants of a homepage with a senior executive via the CMS, and she could decide to publish my update to the homepage if she deemed it worthy.
Product managers could be given free rein to control their sections of a larger site, and because Brightspot offers administrative controls over templates and themes, companies need not worry that the look and feel will be off-brand. Product managers win because they can update information on the fly.
Case in point: Pricing has changed? That messaging can be updated in seconds. Maybe there’s an end-of-quarter promotion you want to test? In just minutes, you can schedule that promotion to go live two weeks prior to the end of the quarter. With Brightspot, the possibilities are virtually limitless.
While product people may think they don’t need to worry about the CMS their company uses, the experiences I gained launching Brightspot Readymade make me a believer that product people should in fact care deeply about their CMS.
Want to learn how Brightspot can empower you to take control over your products? Request a demo.