Content Management Systems Buyer's Guide 2012Despite volatile economic conditions and frugal marketing budgets, web content management (WCM) has experienced significant growth in the last few months. Vendors profiled in the recent Content Management Systems Buyer’s Guide are optimistic about the global WCM market which is estimated to be worth more than $1 billion.

Our Marketing Budgets Report 2012, sponsored by Experian Marketing Services, suggests this optimism is justified. The report found that more than a third (37%) of companies are planning to increase investment in CMS in 2012.

The supply-side perspective is even more optimistic, with 40% of agencies reporting that their clients intend to invest more in CMS this year, up from 35% in 2011.

However, the talk is increasingly shifting from pushing content to ‘harnessing customer engagement’ and the WCM market has reached an inflection point. As organisations strive to manage the full customer experience and capitalise on the proliferation of touch points, technology requirements are growing beyond basic management of content.

WCM systems should no longer be operated as silos, independent of other business applications such as analytics and CRM that support customer engagement processes.

Traditional content management has been gradually morphing into a richer technology that facilitates more engaging experiences, often referred to as ‘web experience management’, as Stephen Morgan, Director at Squiz, describes:

WCMS used to be about improving the productivity of organisations when it came to publishing content online. However, in recent years, the scope of WCMS has widened considerably due to an increased emphasis on business outcomes. This means that solutions must now deliver engaging online experiences to users via multiple channels. This practice is why some WCMS vendors have started to use the term ‘Web Experience Management’ or ‘Web Engagement Management’.

Marketers are not only becoming more involved in the content creation process, but they have also started to realise that repurposing content that has been created for a specific demographic or channel is not sustainable in the long run.

As customer expectations are continuously growing, dynamic, highly relevant content that is personalised in real-time is gradually becoming the norm for forward-thinking brands.

Chris Short, Managing Director at Fusionworkshop, emphasises the importance of bringing content and context together to maximise customer engagement:

With the trends towards web experience management, we’ve seen a real appetite for the CMS to be configured to recognise visitors and present them with content in context. Real-time personalisation is a differentiator, offered out-of-the-box by the stronger CMS providers. A well-implemented CMS can deliver real-time, contextual content presented consistently across web, mobile and tablet.

As mobile usage continues to grow, it has become essential for companies to adapt content to a wide range of devices. Despite the growing popularity of mobile with consumers (research shows they are spending roughly 7% of their time using mobile devices), many organisations have been relatively slow to react. According to recent Econsultany research, mobile is low down their priority list, with only 29% of client-side respondents reporting this to be a top a priority in 2012.

While adaptive device delivery has become a key differentiator for WCM vendors, many organisations believe that rendering web pages properly on various mobile devices is enough. What they are failing to take into consideration is the context of use. For example, smartphone users typically expect a smooth transactional experience, while tablet users are more likely to engage with long-form content and expect more immersive experiences.

Nicole Carrier, Program Director – Web Experience Software at IBM, explains how the proliferation of mobile devices impacts the way customers access and interact with content:

The explosion of smartphones and smart devices like tablets are changing how consumers interact with organisations, while also raising customers’ expectations for being able to access an organisation’s services anywhere and anytime. This opens up a big opportunity for organisations to deliver contextually aware experiences and offers to their customers.

We explore in more detail these trends and other market developments in our Content Management Systems Buyer’s Guide. The guide also contains profiles of 21 leading vendors and tips (and pitfalls to avoid) to help you find the right WCM system.