May 18, 2017
Q&A with Robert Rose: The Need for Today’s Content Management Systems to Support Intelligent Content

In part two of our Q&A with Robert Rose, we talk about the state of content management and whether it’s ready to support an intelligent content approach.

Note: If you missed part one, you can read it here.

BMZ: When we last left off, we were discussing intelligent content strategy and how organizations are beginning to realize how important it is as the numbers of channels for distribution continues to grow. So, what about the technology? Traditional content management systems are starting to change, but you don't hear many talk about intelligent content or intelligent content models.

Rose: You don't hear a lot of people talking about intelligent content anyway, it's not just the CMS systems. It's an inside term. But the industry of content management is in not a very great place.

There has been a consolidation in the market over the past few years that has moved ‘content management’ to 'customer experience' or 'digital experience' or 'web experience management' or some part of the marketing cloud more broadly. The classic or traditional content management system that makes it easier for people to manage digital content is just table stakes these days.

In addition to the basic CMS features you now must apply these additional marketing optimization capabilities. Capabilities that help drive multi-channel publishing or social or mobile or conversion metrics or personalization – all of the sexy ‘how do we optimize what we are doing’ types of features that people think of when they think of content management these days. They aren’t thinking of the deep dive plumbing into things like managing metadata, managing the structure of content, etc.

I find today, in varying degrees, there are two levels of CMS. There’s the free solutions out there, like Wordpress, and then there’s the enterprise-class systems that can scale across a global organization. And there's not a lot in between.

It's a real challenge because content marketing type experiences like blogs, resource centers or digital magazines are becoming more important (owned media experiences, if you want to call them that). These are agile and fast; you need to launch, stand them up, and decommission them quickly because they are ephemeral. Then there are the more traditional governance-based huge digital asset management, corporate websites that enterprise CMS systems are really good at.

There are not many CMS solutions in between, and that's where you find a lot of frustration. Marketing teams are going to the CMO saying ‘it will take up to 8 months to stand up a blog using our [fill in the blank] CMS because making the templates and everything required is hard; can't we just get WordPress to do this?’

Now, all of a sudden you're in this situation where you can't connect the two experiences because one is WordPress and one is in some other CMS system. It’s a huge challenge. For the most part, what I am going in and talking with clients about these days is ‘how do we start to think about connecting these things in a way that lets us maintain our agility but keep that data, keep that structure and the ability to normalize content?’

I think the CMS industry has not done itself any favors by not having adopted some of these agile approaches like an editorial calendar for example, or collaborative workflows or the ability to stand up very quick sites in an agile way. Nobody is making any headway with that in the marketplace, and it has allowed for some of the very small solutions that are doing an editorial calendar or workflow management and those kinds of things to come in and take a big chunk of the market. Now you have marketers wondering what they need – do I need WordPress + Contently + a CMS system? How do I connect all these various technologies together? 

BMZ: It's getting messy.

Rose: It's really messy. And I've long hoped a CMS vendor would come in and say they have solved it. They have acquired one of these small workflow systems that makes it easy for freelancers and editorial networks to collaborate together on things like blogs and digital magazines, or they’ve built them in. Then when you are ready to migrate, they also have the bigger solution on the backend.

Stay Tuned for Part Three!

We'll be back with more from Robert Rose on intelligent content strategy and modern digital marketing in part three of this blog series. Stay tuned!

Posted by Barb Mosher Zinck
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