During our four-part series on the content crisis, we delved deep into the content-related issues facing large swaths of enterprises going into 2020.

Now, it’s time to face the possibility that the leading cause for your own brand’s content crisis may be — somewhat ironically — your content management system.

Your content vs. your CMS

Marketers spend more time creating content than any other activity in digital campaigns because 70% of internet users want to learn about products through content versus traditional advertisements. Further, marketers who prioritize blogging are 13x more likely to see positive ROI.

In other words, Content works.

And yet, your CMS — the platform you depend on to manage and publish those golden nuggets of content you work so tirelessly on — is the same platform that’s getting in your content’s way.

It’s a trend we’ve seen across the mid-market and enterprise spectrum. Here are the five signs we consistently see that suggest a CMS is starting to do more harm than good.

1. Your content is tied to your website or app

Content is arguably your greatest weapon in your fight for the most enticing digital experience in your industry. The last thing you want is for your content to get “stuck” in a channel, which is what happens when you create content for a website or application in most legacy CMSs.

For instance, the content you created for a series of website landing pages might be ideal for digital signage at your next event — but you’ll need to duplicate your content in another system to display that content in a new environment. This forces your content authors to recreate content for each channel, losing time and duplicating tasks in the process, simply because your CMS isn’t equipped to deliver the content outside the confines of your website or app.

When you consider that 89% of customers are retained by companies with mature omnichannel strategies (compared to 33% with companies that have a weak omnichannel strategy), it’s hard to put going headless on the back burner for much longer.

2. You’ve become a personalization laggard

80% of consumers are more likely to buy when they’re given a personalized experience. To deliver personalized digital experiences in line with what consumers know and love, you need large amounts of content, detailed customer data, and the ability to leverage both of those across channels.

If your CMS is unable to create, manage, and deliver content to a segmented audience across channels, you’re a personalization laggard by today’s standard. That’s a problem when you consider that a lack of content relevancy generates 83% lower response rates in the average marketing campaign.

3. You can’t get a hold on your content’s end-to-end lifecycle


Multiple tools, disjointed systems, convoluted processes, and inability to collaborate

Producing content isn’t as simple as writing, designing, or recording. Each piece of content has a lifecycle, starting with the very audience segment you’re targeting, down to the measurement of the content performance weeks and months after publication. On one end of a content’s lifecycle, we have marketing strategists planning the campaign and its milestones, strategic brainstorming, content development, review and approval stages, testing, optimizing, publishing. Then, there is an ongoing need for agile project management throughout the entire process, which requires all data, content, and assets to be visible and accessible to all stakeholders.

If your marketing team is unable to implement and strategically manage the entire content lifecycle, the quality of your content, personalization, and progress will take a severe and very obvious hit in the eyes of consumers.

4. Your commerce offering is below industry standards

In an Amazon-dominated industry, digital commerce experiences need to be snappy, personalized, and enjoyable. With shoppers switching between devices (and even pulling out their devices in-store), your experiences must also be omnichannel, seamlessly enabling the consumer to experience your brand anywhere (email, web, mobile, social). 62% of customers who engage with brands on ten or more channels make weekly purchases. It is no wonder that 41% of retail executives spend over half their marketing budget on their omnichannel strategy.

Such an experience requires excellent use of customer data in tandem with large amounts of product-focused content. This way, brands are in a position to automate personalization, leverage AI, and offer a genuinely cutting-edge experience.

5. Your KPIs are slipping — if you can even track them

Today’s customers are empowered with more information than ever before thanks to social media, reviews and complaints online. They understand where to go to find relevant content about your product or services. If your KPIs, including customer or audience retainment, churn, etc., are slumping, that’s a telltale sign your CMS is struggling to keep pace.

In some cases, brands find themselves in a position where simply tracking their KPIs, specifically around content performance, is either impossible or incredibly difficult — which is a major red flag in and of itself.

A CMS is not enough

Perhaps the worst of all the signs of an ageing CMS is its tendency to work alone. In many cases, despite the company cobbling together an ecosystem of technologies, their CMS is unable to integrate itself into that ecosystem. As a result, it fails to leverage the content and data generated. That’s a significant problem, as a CMS in and of itself is not enough to meet the needs of the modern marketer. And worse yet, a CMS that’s not interoperable with the rest of a technology stack will only serve to hinder any digital progress and innovation.

Even if your CMS is headless, thus solving part of your content crisis (the distribution part), can it leverage customer data from other platforms to improve personalization? Can it identify website visitors, segment them, and serve relevant content accordingly? Can it work in tandem with external commerce platforms to marry content and commerce experiences? Can it work with you, not against you, in every stage of the end-to-end content lifecycle?

A CMS, headless or not, is no longer enough. The world is moving toward digital experience platforms (DXPs), and even these only deal with the downstream aspect of content delivery. Sitecore extends the traditional CMS with full DXP functionality — including omnichannel personalization and native commerce.

And we’re the only CMS/DXP that goes beyond downstream content delivery needs to offer the full breadth of content lifecycle management. Sitecore Content Hub (including digital asset management, content marketing platform, marketing resource management, and more) handles all of the upstream content production, planning, management, collaboration, and more, making it the only end-to-end content solution.

Discover how moving beyond an outdated CMS can revolutionize your content operations and marketing in our latest guide, “The case for a marketing Content Hub."

Jose Santa Ana is Product Marketing Director at Sitecore. Find him on LinkedIn.