Digital content demands are increasing at an unparalleled clip, while the resources to deliver on these demands face significant constraints. Businesses need content solutions to keep pace, but the right content management system (CMS) is not a panacea—it’s one part of the solution. You need the right content strategy aligned with the right people, processes and technology to deliver truly great experiences for your customers.
Influenced by new approaches to creating content, ever-evolving platforms for sharing that content and rising consumer expectations, digital content complexity is expanding at a pace that has many companies scrambling to keep up.
To get a clearer sense of the state of CMS implementations at U.S. brands and better understand how these implementations impact company success, Brightspot commissioned Forrester Consulting. In surveying more than 420 professionals across digital marketing, IT and product practice areas, the resulting study found that, for almost half (43%) of respondents, the primary challenge was in scaling digital content across their digital properties or product lines. A further 41% of those surveyed said that their content needs were expanding faster than their capabilities could support.
While content management systems are built to help mitigate these very challenges, it’s important to remember that the technology itself is not a silver bullet. No doubt, successful content delivery is hard. But as we’ve learned in partnering with top global brands over the past 15 years, your strategy will succeed when you combine the right people, the most effective content technology and modular, channel-specific content programming.
Every business use case is unique—whether it’s media publishing, technical documentation or an e-commerce marketplace—but solutions exist to solve the most pressing content challenges in a flexible, cost-effective and scalable way.
Let's find out how.
- Content challenge #1: Content technology platforms don't support evolving business needs
- Content challenge #2: Personalization is being done to the end user—not for them
- Content challenge #3: Market uncertainty spells fewer resources to fuel still-rising content demand
Content challenge #1: Content technology platforms don't support evolving business needs
Survey respondents facing complexities with managing multiple technology infrastructures
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We see that three out of four (72%) of our Forrester survey respondents plan on changing their company’s CMS implementation at some point in the future. This suggests that their current technology is not meeting the needs of the business. In other words, it may be time to retire that legacy platform.
Here’s what it comes down to: As content needs are shifting, so too are the technology design principles behind the delivery of this content. It no longer makes sense to build your own solution or heavily customize a platform to cater to the business at a singular point in time. After all, the technology can’t easily keep up as the business evolves, and it certainly can’t drive the business forward.
Those who have taken this approach in the past are realizing it’s no longer working. More than four out of 10 respondents in our Forrester study were dissatisfied with many aspects of their CMS’s performance, including their ability to solve content bottlenecks (41% dissatisfaction) and with their tools’ speed, flexibility and scalability across expanding channels and touchpoints (45%).
Every respondent struggled with at least one content management challenge, led by technology complexity and the need to scale programs across digital channels and product lines.
The solution ahead
To address these pain points, going forward we expect to see brands retire old systems that no longer serve their business and shift to modern systems that can pivot and scale as needed. In many cases, this might mean moving away from a “one-size-fits-all technology approach” toward a best-in-breed patchwork of solutions that’s more nimble and allows for rapid integrations as new approaches, data models and business needs emerge.
We get it. Moving away from an entrenched legacy CMS is daunting. But the benefits of a modern, optimized content platform are unmistakable—from scalability and security to better content efficiency, measurement and output. By making a move to embrace new technology and putting your content strategy, goals and capabilities first, you’ll ensure the foundation stays flexible now and in the future.
Content challenge #2: Personalization is being done to the end user—not for them
More than half (53%) of those surveyed in our Forrester study were dissatisfied with how their CMS tackles personalization.
Delivering truly personalized content is a multi-layered challenge that has been stumping content creators and marketers for years. Even those who think they’re personalizing content are likely segmenting content. That’s because the content workflows and orchestration required to get personalization right are tricky to understand and navigate; there’s first-party data and security to figure out, and there are different channels and platforms to sort through.
It's a challenge we've observed increasing in recent years, especially as we lost more regular in-person contact with our customers, coworkers and partners through the pandemic. Digital modes of communication needed to improve and, in many cases, fundamentally transform. But how do we know we’re getting the right message across at the right time to the right audience? The technologies exist to deliver the content in its best context, but it's tough to get right and also apply at scale.
Customer expectations for more relevant, valuable, and personalize experiences will continue to grow for the foreseeable future. To be ready to deliver one-to-one dialogue at scale, organizations require content solutions that feature multiple capabilities, e.g., seamless content insights, creation, editing, and management and dissemination
The solution ahead
To effectively tackle personalization, brands need to start with a better understanding of who their customers are; they need to talk to them about what they want to see and hear and develop the strategy from there. Starting with data to inform who your audience is and how best to reach them lets you then apply modular-content thinking to deliver messaging that will resonate most and convert best by channel.
Personalized content is undoubtedly difficult to achieve, but we anticipate brands will dedicate many of their efforts and resources to this area going forward. Why? Because consumers express that personalized experiences are critical to their buy-in—not to mention the pressing need for marketers to move away from third-party data and create better, more contextual digital experiences through owned (and earned) first-party data insights.
Applying a three-pronged focus on the audiences you want to reach, the content you need to deliver to engage those audiences, and a flexible, modular approach to determining what content goes where will help solve these personalization puzzles and ultimately drive greater customer loyalty and success.
Content challenge #3: Market uncertainty spells fewer resources to fuel still-rising content demand
Survey respondents feeling content needs are expanding faster than their capabilities can support.
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When our Forrester study respondents were asked to rank the content problems they hoped to address, 46% revealed that they’re under pressure to manage more content with fewer resources. Doing more with less is a direct result of the macroeconomic uncertainty that’s been sweeping across industries for a while now. It’s forcing leaders to take a closer look and decide what’s most critical to their businesses and where greater efficiencies can be implemented.
But in the world of content management and delivery, the reality is this: There’s always going to be a bottleneck; there’s always going to be a new challenge to address; and there’s always going to be something completely unanticipated you need to solve.
The solution ahead
To get through this next period of uncertainty, we expect that brands will start to tackle “smaller” challenges that can ensure content delivery remains fluid even as bigger resourcing challenges mount.
Specifically, we anticipate an increased reliance on two tools: flexible, dynamic workflows and modular content approaches that promote effective repurposing of content. When strategically coupled, these two strategies can help alleviate bottlenecks for publishers, while delivering against the ever-shifting demand for content among consumers.
Above all, maintain focus on what matters most
Brands too often rush into CMS implementations without carefully considering which family of tools will best support their people, workflows and goals.
The data we see with our Forrester study shows that a majority of marketers, IT professionals and product teams who influence their organization's CMS purchases are interested in making a switch in their CMS. They recognize that a one-size-fits-all solution no longer meets the needs of the business across all use cases.
Instead, these digital leaders are looking to move toward best-in-breed tools that solve for their respective content production, workflow and delivery needs. At the heart of this shift lies the need for their content-management technology to integrate seamlessly across the entire tech stack.
Let’s be clear: CMS solutions are not the cure-all remedy to every challenge outlined above. It takes a powerful and strategic combination of the right people, processes and technology to truly evolve content programs.