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Content Management System Matchmaking

by: Derek Barka Chief Technology Officer

Content Targeting, Page Builder, Calls to Action, Oh My!

Selecting the software to run your largest marketing asset can be a daunting and overwhelming exercise. There are dozens of Content Management Systems out there; all on all different platforms with myriad features. Here is some guidance on how to begin your search for the perfect CMS from a guy who’s worked with them for the past nine years.

Where to Start

First and foremost, you likely want to narrow it down by technology. There may be some companies that truly don’t care about the technology, but most companies have an IT force and a few web developers and they’ll probably want to keep the technology platform consistent.

Do I Need All This Stuff?

Features may be the first thing you look at and for good reason: You want a system that’s going to support your business goals and allow your digital marketing strategy to grow over the next few years.

There will be at least a few questions on your list to help you determine what those requirements might be:

  • Do you need an eCommerce solution?
  • Does your marketing team need the ability to create new pages quickly and easily?
  • Do you need or CRM integration?
  • How do you plan to use landing pages, calls-to-action, and analytics?
  • How will you be targeting content?
  • How does it fit into your mobile marketing strategy?

CMS Harbor is a great site that will let you compare and contrast features across systems and technologies. If you don’t want to do it yourself, just ask us to help. That’s what we’re here for. Once you’ve validated that a few systems meet your needs, you can begin to look at the extra features – the “oooh, it would be nice if we could do that” features.

It’s All About the Benjamins, Baby (Or Who Controls Them Anyway)

Today, larger portions of the IT budget are being given to the marketing team to manage the digital strategy and lead generation portion of the business. Often times, marketing owns the website and the CMS selection is driven by them. Because of this, marketing will likely have a large influence over the digital marketing and CMS tools selected – if they don’t own the whole selection process. This is rightly so. A company’s website is usually its largest and most expensive marketing asset and the marketing department will be responsible for the web content, marketing campaigns, lead generation and calculating the ROI of all these efforts. The CMS selected must support these efforts and help the marketer be successful in the most intuitive and cost-effective way possible.

Developers Make the Magic Happen

Despite all that marketing love, don’t forget us geeks implementing your website! You can dream up all the digital goodness, content targeting and lead generation ideas you want – but someone has to implement it and that’s the  guys and gals upstairs in the Superman shirts.

It’s essential to vet any Content Management System from a technical standpoint to ensure that they can make all the magic happen. Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for software (and CMSs in particular) to have a fantastic feature list, a good demo, and a slick UI – but a horrific developer experience. A bad development platform will put your project in jeopardy, increase costs, or possibly derail it altogether.

CMS Harmony

A quality Content Management System should have the basic features you need, a clean, polished user experience and a development platform that doesn’t give your developers nightmares. When seriously selecting a CMS, make sure your developers have time to get their questions answered and to take it for a test drive. Also inquire about the company’s developer community. In any website project, there will be issues or questions and a vibrant developer community can be a huge asset for any developer implementing a new system.