The digital marketing “ecosystem” much like a natural ecosystem is constantly in flux. Solutions in this space arise like species in a natural ecosystem and then either find their niche and flourish or decline and become extinct. The market forces of supply and demand act as the mechanism of natural selection for the species of solutions that survive. The difference between these man-made ecosystems and natural ecosystems is that we can, presumably by intelligent design, identify gaps in consumption and provision and fill them accordingly. An example of this process within the digital marketing ecosystem is the appearance and evolution of the web Content Management System (CMS).
Grown out of a need to deal with web marketing content in simpler terms and more efficiently than afforded by web servers and databases, the modern CMS system is a combination of features that provides significant business value to those who adopt them. Some of these features are:
- Brand consistency ensured by managing sites from a single platform
- Easy, in place editing of content on a page
- Ability to change the page layout of a web site without coding
- Publishing and management of sites in multiple languages
- Publishing of sites to multiple formats (e.g. web, phone, tablet)
- Management and integration of digital assets for use on site pages
- Workflow integrated into the content management cycle
- User interfaces that support administrators, content creators and editors, and not just engineers
The key is that these systems provide a simpler, more marketing centric and user friendly way to manage web content and digital assets, and remove the need for IT development staff in the content production cycle. This is a tremendous change from the silos of web content and assets that companies with multiple brands have had to deal with in the past.
A CMS based approach allows for a more holistic way of managing multiple brands while ensuring adherence to overarching divisional or enterprise branding and guidelines. This appeals to corporate and brand marketing managers. The CMS approach also allows for a consolidation of hardware and software because websites that were formerly scattered across multiple web servers can now be consolidated onto a single secure CMS instance. This is very appealing IT Infrastructure groups.
The workflow capabilities of these systems can assure that content edits and submissions go through appropriate legal and regulatory review, thereby reducing rework from legal and medical regulatory errors. Additionally, these systems free up IT development resources to work on developing extensions and new functionality instead of being involved in the content update process. Finally, because these systems have consolidated content, assets, workflow, security and site management onto a single platform, CMS vendors and developers now have a solid platform on which to start building and integrating more advanced features such as social or translation capabilities.
With all of these features and benefits, it is no wonder that Content Management Systems have become a necessary and powerful part of any company’s digital marketing ecosystem. Therefore, when choosing a Digital Agency partnership, it is essential to choose an agency that is knowledgeable in the selection and implementation of content management systems. This includes understanding best of breed CMS’s such as EpiServer, SiteCore, Oracle Web Center Sites (formerly Fatwire), Autonomy TeamSite, Adobe CQ5 (formerly Day), SDL Tridion, and SharePoint as well as open source systems such as Drupal, WordPress, and Joomla just to name a few. Finally, it is important to work with a partner that is expert at content migration and the consolidation of curated content that occurs when combining disparate sites into a cohesive taxonomy and hierarchy. This process is often a large portion of the cost of any CMS content consolidation project.
In all, the Web Content Management System is a “species” of solution that is just reaching its stride in evolutionary terms. These systems have a long life ahead. For companies that are just now making the move to web Content Management, feature sets and prices are becoming very competitive making this an excellent time to implement a CMS as part of your digital marketing ecosystem.