Marketing TechnologyContentAdobe on how to select and future-proof your CMS

Adobe on how to select and future-proof your CMS

The CMS market is expected to be worth $14 billion by 2024. How can marketers navigate between traditional, headless, and hybrid platforms? Adobe's guide can help inform buying decisions.

The global content management market accounted for just under $5 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach over $14 billion by 2024. The market is comprised of three flavors of CMS which include traditional, “headless” and hybrid CMS.

While it can be difficult for companies to pinpoint the exact solution that works best for them, there’s no doubt that implementing a CMS is no longer optional for businesses who want to stay competitive.

The most digitally innovative brands are investing in technology to improve customer experience—and that equates to delivering personalized, relevant content at the right place and time. Marketing leaders in the UK and North America understand this and are expected to spend 29% of their budget on marketing technology to help achieve this goal.

Adobe’s newly released white paper, the “Adobe Experience Manager Sites Competitive Buyer’s Guide” addresses the complexities that companies face when implementing a CMS and outlines how a hybrid solution can help meet the needs of both marketing and IT stakeholders.

Content produced in collaboration with Adobe.

Multiple customer touch points

content touchpoints in the customer journey
Source: Adobe Experience Manager Sites Competitive Buyer’s Guide

The CMS journey has grown incredibly complex due to the rise of a wide variety of customer touchpoints. Customers expect their experience with a business to be seamless, regardless of how they’re reaching out, and this makes navigating the entire customer journey tricky. Businesses now need to embrace an omnichannel approach, but what’s the best way to do that?

Adobe writes, “This evolution from a few basic customer interactions to several dynamic touchpoints has spawned a move from traditional CMS solutions with user interfaces to API-driven, headless CMS solutions that aren’t tied to a specific front-end interface.”

Dubbed “headless solutions”, the API model enables organizations to leverage and reuse digital content from one central repository and push it to any touchpoint they want. But this approach is IT-heavy and can restrict the maneuverability of the marketing team.

Headless vs. traditional CMS

traditional versus headless CMS
Source: Adobe Experience Manager Sites Competitive Buyer’s Guide


The headless approach to CMS is scalable because it can adapt to new and changing technology, but it has a few drawbacks including the potential for content duplication, personalization challenges, and dependence on IT.

A traditional CMS approach puts more of the control in the hands of the marketing department since these tools offer a front-end user interface. This facilitates content creation and publishing but introduces multiple systems into the process of content organization and deployment. A traditional CMS may not support all touchpoints, requiring businesses to invest in additional tools.

Since both approaches have benefits and limitations, Adobe recommends that companies consider a hybrid CMS solution. This offers the most flexibility while empowering both IT and marketing teams to fully optimize the customer journey.

In its guide, Adobe lays out some key questions to ask when creating a hybrid solution. These include:

  • Does the CMS solution offer headless flexibility and the efficiency of channel-centric content authoring?
  • Can you easily reuse content from all channels, apps, and touchpoints?
  • Can you create and manage “optimized experience” content and scale this across all touchpoints without waiting for developers?
  • Does the CMS have AI capabilities to help you review and optimize experiences?
  • Does it provide an editorial environment enabling marketers to easily create and publish content to any channel?

Per Adobe, “Being able to deliver personalized, relevant content at scale is a big determining factor of whether a CMS solution can grow with you.”

Help your marketing and IT teams work together

Marketers want self-service functionality without needing to wait for IT to move forward with a given initiative. IT wants an API-driven solution that offers the flexibility of a headless solution to manage multiple touchpoints, e.g., omnichannel delivery.

A hybrid solution can meet the needs of both teams, but only if the needs and concerns of each stakeholder are addressed. Companies can ensure they do this by asking a few questions up front before diving into a specific solution.

First, can IT benefit from an API solution without crippling workflow management?

Does the CMS approach give the marketing team the power to fine-tune CX and leverage established governance parameters?

How quickly and dynamically can changes be made?

questions to ask to help your marketing and IT teams work together
Source: Adobe Experience Manager Sites Competitive Buyer’s Guide

The challenge of cost

When considering the development of a hybrid CMS, cost will inevitably be a factor. Adobe’s guide stresses the importance of evaluating cost at all levels of development and deployment, or total cost of ownership (TCO).

Per Adobe, “The cost of a solution plays a major role in any purchasing decision. But it’s important to not only look at the upfront cost. The cost of implementing, maintaining, and updating a solution over time needs to be examined as well.”

Adobe stresses asking the right questions early in the process to avoid unexpected costs. Here are a few of questions to consider, as listed in the Adobe guide:

  • What is the CMS solution’s time to value, and how soon will you see measurable results?
  • In addition to the raw licensing and hosting costs, what ancillary costs will there be?
  • Will you have to invest in additional databases or servers?
  • If yes, what additional licensing, storage, and hosting costs will you incur?
  • What will it cost to implement the system?
  • What portion of your business requirements can be addressed with out-of-the-box capabilities and configuration versus custom development?

The fully future-proofed CMS

The goal of a hybrid CMS solution is to ensure your process is “future-proofed” – it can grow with you. Adobe’s guide addresses the challenges and needs that IT and marketing departments have when considering a scalable, flexible solution and can help companies plan a solution that best fits their needs.

For more information about creating a hybrid CMS solution, download Adobe’s guide, “How to select the right content management system.”

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