5 Signs It’s Time To Select A New CMS

by Brian Warrick, General Manager at Magnolia Americas
May 8, 2019 | 6 MIN

When investing in a content management system, the hope is that you choose a solution that effectively and efficiently powers your organizations’ digital presence for years to come. Sometimes it works out that way. Unfortunately, there’s often a need to make a switch sooner or later.

Why?

There are a variety of reasons. Sometimes mistakes made during the selection process lead to the implementation of a CMS with shortcomings that reveal themselves right away. Other times, the growth of your business or a shift in business model necessitate a move to a more powerful or flexible CMS that better fits your changing reality.

The important part is knowing when to cut bait. This is harder than it seems. After a while, users can get used to convoluted workflows and endless workarounds. They can get used to being boxed in and having their ideas limited by their content management system’s capabilities.

This is obviously not ideal. Inefficiencies and suboptimal customer experiences should never become the norm. With that in mind, here are five signs that it is time to look for a new content management system:

1. IT is constantly involved in author/editor tasks

Marketers frequently need to create, add, modify, search for, replicate and archive a wide range of content living on and in web pages, mobile apps and third-party platforms.

These tasks cover a wide spectrum. There are simple jobs like updating copy, tweaking the number of text columns and making adjustments to site navigation. There are more complex shifts like personalization that lead to completely new customer experiences.

Whether simple or complex, these tasks should all be readily executed by authors and editors. When they routinely trigger IT involvement, marketers lose their independence while developers take on the burden of unnecessary work.

Marketers should be able to modify metadata easily, whether related to customer behavior, properties of a digital asset, workflow process data or product information. Either because of an aging CMS itself or poor implementation of an adequate one, business users often find themselves unable to make these changes. Your CMS should give marketers the ability to take control of these day-to-day tasks.

2. Campaigns require custom development projects

Marketing departments often need to quickly spin up specialized campaigns, whether it’s a seasonal sale or a new product launch.

However, when platform features and business processes are not independent from one another – as they often are not in rigid CMS platforms/implementations – marketers are forced, again and again, to have IT create various combinations of technical functionality, application integration and business process for each annual, seasonal or new campaign.

If this year’s Christmas campaign is more work for IT than for marketing, if last year’s Black Friday campaign can’t be heavily reused in this year’s Black Friday launch, or if this year’s conference app can’t easily access last year’s attendee data, it’s probably time for a new CMS.

3. It’s difficult to collect, analyze and leverage customer data

Effective online marketers must be able to deliver unique digital experiences to customers based on customer data. This could be explicit data like demographic information submitted through a sign-up form or implicit data such as information about which pages they’ve recently visited.

Leveraging this data requires an efficient means of:

  • collecting and unifying customer data across channels and devices
  • using analytics tools to extract patterns and meaning from the data
  • empowering marketers to immediately incorporate what is learned about customers into their next interaction

If your CMS cannot do these things (or integrate easily with tools that can), your company is leaving money on the table. According to Harvard Business Review, personalization can deliver five to eight times the ROI on marketing spend and can lift sales by 10% or more.

4. Your digital marketing is disjointed across channels

Omnichannel is currently all the rage. Companies are realizing that customers want their brand interactions to be seamless, no matter which channels they use to engage. In fact, research from the Aberdeen Group (via Forbes) shows that companies with the strongest omnichannel strategies retained 89% of their customers, compared to 33% for those with weaker strategies.

This doesn’t just mean serving consistent copy from your website to your mobile app. You should be able to get creative. Say you are a banking institution. Your CMS should allow you to personalize a customer’s ATM experience based on their usage of your mobile app.

Circling back to the third point, the ability to gather and leverage customer data is key to providing these types of omnichannel experiences. But what makes it all possible is a CMS that can separate content from the presentation of that content. That is where headless and hybrid headless systems come into play, as they save from the hassle of having to recreate the same content for different channels.

5. Lack of flexibility

If your content management system is more than a couple of years old, odds are that the context in which it exists have changed. You may have changed business models or implemented other important technologies like a CRM.

A CMS that isn’t flexible enough to incorporate and thrive with these changes is only going to have a negative impact on time and productivity.

To be a reliable foundation for your digital marketing, your CMS must easily integrate with your other enterprise technologies – e-commerce systems, customer data platforms, social media apps, and so on.

Magnolia is actually a great example of this sort of flexibility at work. With a rich set of integration points, Magnolia integrates in a way that unifies your martech stack and increases efficiency. For instance, you could easily connect with Google Analytics to see insights into the pages you are editing all from within the CMS.

Finding and implementing a new content management system can be a daunting undertaking, but there comes a point where it has to be done. If your organization is facing some combination of the five signs covered above, it’s probably time to start your search.

Headshot of Brian Warrick

About the Author

Brian is the General Manager for Magnolia Americas. In over 10 years with Magnolia, Brian has helped some of the largest brands in North America achieve their digital experience goals. He sees today’s technology issues from both the tech and business sides, having held positions from systems administration to sales for companies with up to 50,000 employees.