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Navigating the complexities of content management: A guide to finding the right CMS 

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Content experts face challenges in delivering personalized experiences to customers, with evolving challenges in keeping up with new channels and technology. A 2023 Forrester study commissioned by Brightspot found that scaling digital content and expanding content needs faster than capabilities were the primary issues for managing content, leading many organizations to plan a change in their content management systems (CMS). When selecting a CMS, it's important to focus on your unique needs and digital strategy, asking the right questions and considering factors such as vendor credibility, product capabilities, security and cost.

Most content experts today, especially those accommodating multiple, complex buyer behaviors, are facing challenges when it comes to delivering the type of experience they’d like to see for each and every customer.

What’s more, the challenges themselves are evolving. Keeping up with new channels, understanding new expectations, ensuring you have the right technology to support ongoing change—it’s making content creation, delivery and measurement increasingly difficult to execute (or at least, execute with ease).

In a Forrester-commissioned study that Brightspot released earlier this year, professionals in marketing, IT and product/development were asked what their primary issues are for managing content—nearly half (43%) said scaling digital content across digital properties or product lines and another 41% said their content needs were expanding faster than their capabilities.

Forrester study snapshot

Forrester Study: Ensure your content technology is solving, not creating, content problems

"What challenges does your organization encounter managing its digital content today?"

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Complexities tied to managing multiple technology infrastructures
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Challenges scaling our digital content across digital properties or product lines
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Incomplete integration of our content stack/tools
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Content needs expanding faster than our capabilities can keep up with

It’s not surprising, then, that 72% of respondents said they plan to change their CMS to better support their needs moving forward. But how can they be confident they’re making the right choice? Are there certain criteria they should be looking for? What questions should they be asking their technology partner?

Let’s dive into the tips and tricks for finding the right CMS for your business.

An overwhelming marketplace

First, let’s acknowledge that the martech marketplace is expansive. Even if you narrow in to look at vendors specific to content and experience, it can be daunting to navigate and ensure that you’re making the right selection for your business.

Oftentimes, people will turn to look at companies similar to them—or companies that they idolize—to see what technology solutions they are using. “If it worked for them, it would work for me, right?”

Don’t fall into this trap. Although looking at what others are using can be helpful input for the decision-making process, you don't want to rely exclusively on this. No two companies are exactly the same. Each business has its own strategy, objectives, challenges, and unique use cases where a CMS is needed. Your technology should be specifically for you. 

A CMS that meets your needs

People naturally want to diagnose their problem first, then prescribe the solution—after all, most CMS searches begin after realizing that you have a challenge or cannot meet an existing need. For example, you might notice that:

  • Your current tech stack cannot meet the expectations of audiences
  • Individual contributors have issues with workflows and content creation
  • Your team is unable to produce content fast
  • There’s an over-use of developers' time and skills
  • Your team has difficulty in managing large volumes of content
  • Content updates are time consuming 
  • You have a lack of insights into content performance 

But focusing on just solving for one of these challenges would be too narrow of a focus. That’s why we recommend starting with refining your digital strategy first, focusing on the experiences you want to deliver for your customer and why. Use that vision to define and map your digital strategy, asking and answering the following:

  • What are your business objectives? 
  • Who is your target audience? 
  • What are your unique value propositions? 
  • What are your current digital assets? 
  • What digital marketing channels should you focus on? 
  • What content should you create?
  • How will you measure success? 

Remember that your digital strategy should reach beyond your website. Consider the entire journey and how the web experience connects with all the internal and external stakeholders you will reach.

A 3-step playbook to CMS vendor conversations

Once you have your digital strategy documented and agreed upon by all necessary stakeholders (more on this process here), you’re ready to start connecting with vendors. Here’s our recommended three-step approach to ensuring you’re asking the right questions:

1. Consider and inquire about the following: 

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Vendor credibility and reputation
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Product capabilities
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Platform architecture
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Administration and user management
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Content workflows
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Content delivery across devices
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Media management
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User experience capabilities
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Services and delivery

2. Get specific about different use cases if/as applicable:

Use cases
Reach audiences across your digital and print portfolio with a CMS platform that’s been built by publishers, for publishers.
CMS use cases
Manage your online library of information in a system that's built to support varied and unique content types and specific permissions.
CMS use cases
Connect with fans and audiences across the globe with functionalities that make it easy to share engaging, real-time scores, music, movies and more.
CMS business uses
Distribute important news and messages to the most important stakeholders of your business efficiently.

3. Apply pressure when connecting with sales about: 

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24/7 monitoring and support
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Uptime guarantees
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CDN (load times)
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Disaster recovery
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Full stack software and security patches
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Response time
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Choice of cloud provider
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Region for CMS deployment
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Dedicated customer success support

Throughout this process, don’t lose sight of what your needs are. Don’t get distracted by what might be working for another company or another team, rather use those insights to inform your unique requirements.

That said, we understand that the vendor selection process can feel overwhelming, so we’re here to answer any and all questions you might have about how Brightspot could work for your business. Contact us today to schedule a demo.


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