Marketing TechnologyContentDon’t let your CMS hold back your business growth

Don’t let your CMS hold back your business growth

Businesses are being held back by outdated CMS systems, HubSpot's Inken Kuhlmann-Rhinow, highlights what might be your CMS system’s biggest problem and areas your CMS should score well in.

30-second summary:

  • A CMS should make your life easier, but for growing companies, the majority of CMS’s only cause frustrations. CMS’s designed for marketers often lack the advanced technologies needed for scale-ups.
  • Problems with many CMSs are about the loss of control. When marketers lose control over their CMS, they lose control over their customer experience. And today, that’s deadly for business growth.
  • To meet those expectations, marketers are increasingly implementing chatbots and dynamic content systems. But it is precisely these types of technologies that make technical management more demanding.
  • Now is the time to take a critical look at your CMS. Does it support both your ambitions and consumer expectations? Can you quickly iterate to improve performance, can you quickly integrate new tools without compromising the security of your website? If not, it’s time for something else

Websites are a constant source of frustration for many marketers. Over 70% of marketers surveyed by HubSpot are actively investing in CMS software. Many of the problems marketers have with their website can be traced back to the CMS they use.

For small startups, managing websites is not that complicated, and there are plenty of CMS’s designed for very small businesses. But as an organization grows, the needs of marketers change.

As the organization launches new products and enters new markets, more is demanded of the website and CMS – with all the associated challenges.

The management of the website becomes more and more complicated. From security and reliability to rich end-to-end online experiences, to integrations and plugins, to permissions and partitioning, the list of technological needs only gets longer as companies grow larger.

At a certain point, website management becomes so complicated that many organizations choose to split responsibilities.

The technical management comes into the hands of IT and developers are called in to build new functionalities, while the marketing team remains responsible for the content and the user experience.

That sounds like a logical step, but it is precisely this choice that causes many problems. The marketing manager, who is ultimately responsible for the performance of the website, usually ends up in a split between different teams with different priorities.

Because there are so many different priorities, teams and work processes involved in a growing a website that it becomes more and more challenging to take your website to the next level proactively. And then, as a marketing manager, you’re up the creek.

Marketing managers face impossible choices

A CMS should make your life easier, but for growing companies, the majority of CMS’s only cause frustrations. CMS’s designed for marketers often lack the advanced technologies needed for scale-ups.

CMS’s that do have these technologies often make it too difficult for marketers to make simple adjustments and are also not easy for developers to work with. And let’s not forget the IT teams.

They’re responsible for maintenance and are often called in to clean up debris when other teams break something, keeping them from their actual work.

As your website grows, you will be faced with impossible choices:

  • As a marketer, do you opt for speed and flexibility, or for the more rigid advanced technologies needed to scale?
  • Should the IT team then make more of an effort to carry out technical maintenance, or would it be better if they devoted their time to building new apps and integrations?
  • Do you want to test new content quickly – at the risk of causing problems that developers then have to solve – or do you choose to shoot in developer tickets to request changes?
  • Will you slow down that go-to-market strategy because it takes weeks or months to perform the necessary updates in your CMS, or will you go ahead, knowing that your processes are not final?

All these considerations and compromises are at the expense of business growth. In fact, every choice you make is at the expense of a part of your customer experience!

And let’s be honest, we all know that big bets are a part of life. Sometimes they work out, sometimes they don’t, and that’s okay. But some things should never be big bets, so don’t let your website become a big bet.

It comes down to the customer experience

Problems with many CMSs are about the loss of control. When marketers lose control over their CMS, they lose control over their customer experience. And today, that’s deadly for business growth.

Ten years ago, you could still stay at the top by simply selling products that were ten times better than those of the competition. That’s not enough now.

Today, companies win by delivering an experience that’s ten times better than their competitors. And your website is the cornerstone of that experience.

The customer experience is anchored in your website. Marketing campaigns, sales outreach, customer service requests – your website is essential at every stage of your customer journey.

Marketers need to be able to perform content updates quickly and continuously if they don’t want to end up hopelessly lagging behind (websites have an average lifespan of only two and a half years).

They also need to optimize the customer experience. We all know that buyers are demanding. In fact, HubSpot research shows that 90% expect an immediate response (10 minutes or less!) to sales inquiries through a website.

What does that mean? Your website needs to be there when your sales team can’t. Besides, they want to see highly personalized and relevant content.

To meet those expectations, marketers are increasingly implementing chatbots and dynamic content systems. But it is precisely these types of technologies that make technical management more demanding.

So the choice is impossible. But organizations have allowed their customer experience to be driven too much by rigid technical requirements instead of looking at how technology can best meet changing consumer expectations.

Now is the time to take a critical look at your CMS. Does it support both your ambitions and consumer expectations? Can you quickly iterate to improve performance, can you quickly integrate new tools without compromising the security of your website? If not, it’s time for something else.

Nowadays, your CMS has to score well in three focus areas:

  • Flexibility: Tools such as drag & drop editors, dynamic content tools and A/B testing features help teams test and optimize quickly.
  • Scalability: As your needs grow, you need to be able to quickly add functionality and improve performance. Think multilingual content support, API links, data analytics and CDN support.
  • Security: Websites need strong security no matter what. This includes features such as security monitoring, SSL certificates and advanced domain security.

Companies that want to grow have to take chances and experiment a lot. Often things go well, sometimes they go wrong – that’s how it works. But a faulty CMS turns website management itself into a game of chance. And that’s a massive problem that marketing teams have to solve as quickly as possible.

Inken Kuhlmann-Rhinow heads an international team of marketers at HubSpot. Her team manages a total of three markets and creates content in French, German and Spanish.

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