The Content Management System (CMS), a web application originally developed to make it easy for non-techies (like traditional marketers) to manage a website by adding and editing content, had a huge impact on digital marketing when first introduced in the mid 1990’s.
Before the Content Management System
Before the advent of the content management system, building websites was a manual process handled by web developers using simple text editors. The resulting files, consisting of content and HTML code, would then be uploaded to the web server as static web pages. If any of the content needed updating, the files would have to be manually edited and re-uploaded to the web server.
As the Word Wide Web grew and digital marketing (and marketers’ requirements) became more complex, dynamic content – content that’s generated for the the user at the time it’s requested – and scripting languages to create it were born. Using open source tools like PHP and Perl, which were specifically designed and well-suited for web development, web developers could service Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) and their teams more effectively, efficiently, and much faster than using the manual approach.
Empowering Digital Marketers
As the early years of the new millennium rolled on, open source content management system platforms like Drupal and Joomla! and frameworks like Ruby on Rails were born. While these systems often required a bit of customization to meet the design, content, and usability needs of marketing organizations, once the content management system was deployed, websites could be created in short order – in a matter of hours instead of weeks or months.
Marketers were now empowered to communicate with their target audiences in a timely, relevant, and highly personal way. As content management systems matured, more features and functionality to meet the needs of strategic content editors and marketers were introduced by way of WordPress, CQ5 (which later became Adobe Experience Manager), Sitecore, and others.
The Content Management System Grows Up
Fast-forward to 2016 and it’s hard to believe we ever had to build our websites by hand. Today, digital marketers can create highly personalized omni-channel user experiences that delight users while building deeper, more meaningful relationships – in real time – based on visitor behavior, business rules, device usage, first/second/third party data, and so much more.
Welcome to the age of “Narrowcasting” where getting the right message to the right people at the right time is no longer science fiction, it’s today’s marketing reality.
Advanced content management system platforms featuring data analytics, email services, predictive algorithms, social media, ecommerce, and even personalized print experience help marketers connect with their target audiences like never before, in context – of how a customer has interacted with not only their website but with all of the touch points (channels) where the digital marketer seeks to engage with prospects and customers.
What’s Your Experience with Content Management Systems?
As a digital marketer, what experiences have you had deploying and using content management systems? Are you using (or have you used) advanced content management system features, like marketing automation or predictive analytics, to create remarkable customer experiences? Have you found that fully featured content management systems can help reduce the size, scope, and cost of your marketing technology stack? Please leave a comment.