The Core of CMS

Your definitive guide to CMS in 2019

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How to use this guide

This interactive eBook is designed to help you understand the key features of a great content management system that results in greater success from your content operations, whilst improving the efficiency of your content teams.

You’ll also learn how to select the right content management system for you and your business. Even when you know which features you require, it’s critical to the future success of your business that the content management system you select is the right one. The process shouldn’t be underestimated.

“It’s naive to think that your main content management system will be the only place your customer is going to encounter your content.

If you can track them across channels, you’re in a much better position. Content delivery is becoming so distributed, and you need to find a way to follow them around.”

Deane Barker
Chief Strategy Officer, Blend Interactive

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Own the experience

Any organisation using content to engage with its audience online stands at the beginning of the multi-channel age. There have never been so many direct, simultaneous digital pathways to and from customers; never so many opportunities to use content to deliver rich, personalised experiences and build meaningful, lifelong relationships.

Delivering great customer experiences throughout your website and digital content to the right person, at the right time is not something a basic web publishing system can do.

To make the most of those opportunities, it’s imperative that businesses choose the right content management system to act as the focal point for their digital activities.

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Why is your CMS such an important aspect of your business strategy?

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A great content management system is a pathway to great content execution and your business case should be anchored to the tangible business impact that it can deliver.

All of the digital platforms your business may offer such as a website, landing pages, mobile apps and more are outward-facing windows to your business. These are the focal points for prospects and customers looking to discover, explore, use, buy, ask and engage with your organisation, its values and services you offer.

The success of any digital platform is underpinned by excellent, relevant content and an effective user experience. Delivering the right content and calls to action, to the right customer, in the right way and at the right time, moves prospects along the customer journey. By understanding how customer journeys lead to a purchase, you’ll be able to guide customers down the right path to maximise conversions and minimise cart or lead-nurture abandonment. It’s a virtuous, revenue-boosting cycle.

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5 Key

CMS features

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5 Key

CMS features

As digital experiences get more sophisticated, new channels emerge, new devices mature, and customer expectations rise, content management is increasingly central to engaging audiences online.

There’s a lot more to think about when you’re considering a new content management system implementation. More now, than ever.

1. Great editorial flexibility
2. Security and management
3. Global capabilities and future proofing
4. Personalisation and analytics
5. Integrations

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Great editorial flexibility

The role of even the most basic content management system is to allow content uploads and to publish onto websites or landing pages. Ideally, this needs to be as simple, pain-free and efficient as possible. The best content management systems have a range of editorial features to allow you to remain productive while managing the content on your site, leaving teams more time to focus on creating the content itself, rather than on administration.

Key editorial features include:

Scheduling and reminders
First-class word processing
Search and indexing functions
Well-designed content storage
Version control
In-context help and documentation
A simple user interface
Content previews

Think about how your content management system will be used long term. Some are far more flexible than others when it comes to integrations with your “Martech stack”, allowing more agility when new content trends arise, or new platforms emerge. This is vital for ensuring long-term ROI.

Security and management

Good versioning functionality, the right approvals process and granular user administration all help prevent mistakes and reduce errors. But you’re also going to need tight security controls around access to specific documents and information – so content is only seen by appropriate people and at the right time while data remains protected.

Don’t gloss over security

Look for a content management system with strong authentication mechanisms to prevent illegitimate access to your content and data. The content management system should also integrate well with your chosen enterprise security systems.

Tailor your user permissions

A content management system with tailored user permissions allows gated content editing based on criteria such as content type, job type and even geography. This is ideal for larger content teams with individual specialisations.

Automate publications with workflows

Don’t underestimate the functionality of content publication workflows. Adaptable and automated workflow systems improve user productivity and ensure content is published at the right time.

Global capabilitiesand deployment

The right content management system can make multi-site, multi-national, multi-lingual challenges far less complex and time consuming. A global presence also means more traffic, so it’s key that your sites are resilient and prepared for growth over time, seasonal spikes and easy entry into new regions.

For multi-lingual sites, look for a CMS that can natively support content and websites in multiple languages. This could include functionality such as integration with translation services, multi-lingual editorial functionality, and most importantly, an object-based site architecture that allows you to create language variants of a piece of content, rather than duplicating the entire site.

Cloud, on-premise or hybrid?

Consider how your content management system is deployed. Do you require the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of cloud or the control of on-premise? Perhaps a hybrid deployment is right for your business model. Ensuring your CMS aligns with your organisation’s policies on cloud hosting and how this relates to security could impact or even make this decision.

Personalisation and analytics

Some of the world’s leading companies have grown at incredible rates because they deliver personalised, relevant digital experiences. Offering tailored content based on who their visitors are and how they’ve interacted in the past improves the customer experience and ensures only relevant content is delivered.

Being able to collate interaction data in real time is critical if personalisation is to be successful. Your content management system should be able to collect interaction data from every channel – even from external sources and applications – to measure and report on every customer interaction and journey.

The returns on personalisation

of marketers are seeing a measurable lift in conversion from personalisation.

experience a lift of more than 10%

report a lift of over 30%

2018 Trends in Personalisation survey, Researchscape International and Evergage, Inc.


Your content management system shouldn’t be a standalone platform. Choosing an open and extensible content management system means developers and integration partners can help you adapt to new channels. Integrating your content management system with your Martech stack allows for more agility when new content trends arise or new platforms emerge. This is vital for ensuring long-term return on investment.

Integrating your CMS with a digital experience management platform can unify your content analytics with your channels and campaigns, creating an integrated ecosystem that makes personalisation even more straightforward.

As content increasingly influences purchase decisions, you can save on time and cost by integrating your content and e-commerce systems. Without these integrations, the user experience can feel disjointed, and time spent managing and administering both platforms individually can increase dramatically.

“Most customers include cloud and DevOps as a core component of the CMS’s future at their organisation. This is not just about the hosting and getting away from managing infrastructure, but everything that is implied by cloud: Continuous deployment, automated updates and rapid delivery of new features to the customer specific solution.”

Glen McInnis
Vice President, Solution Delivery and Technology, Valtech

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How to choose the right content management system for your business

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3 steps to success

Your customers have higher expectations and stronger preferences about how and when they want to engage with a brand. If you want to deliver a consistently excellent customer experience, you need the right content management system to create, edit, organise and publish digital content on the web, mobile and any new digital devices and interfaces that emerge.

You can’t choose your content management system in a vacuum.

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Create your CMS decision team

Selecting the right content management system for your business shouldn’t be left to one individual or department. Your marketers, sales and IT/developer teams have to collaborate to choose a web content management system that interoperates seamlessly with your IT estate and the other components of your customer experience management strategy.

Select key stakeholders from across your organisation to ensure business-wide considerations are undertaken to prevent friction or even derailing of projects further down the line. Marketers will need a content management system to gain key data insights and tracking to deliver better personalised experiences to prospects and customers. Your developers and IT decision makers also need a content management system to fit into the larger infrastructure in a way that ensures optimal performance, flexibility, scalability and ease of deployment.

Allow teams to deliver better personalised experiences
IT staff require a CMS/td>
Entice your prospects
Gain new customers

Measure your ROI

Investing in a content management system can generate a multitude of benefits. By grouping ROI into the 3 pillars of business impact, operational efficiency and technology savings, you can visualise exactly how you’ll generate a return and improve your reporting capabilities.

Increased business impact

Optimise business impact by using a content management system’s ability to personalise experiences, integrate powerful testing and optimisation capabilities, and automatically distribute content across channels.

Increased operational effciency

When your content management system integrates many functions, you’ll get to market faster. Production becomes more agile and faster from concept through testing.

Increased technology savings

Using a content management system that’s built from the start to integrate and connect many different capabilities means you’ll simplify your “Martech stack” and have lower integration and technology costs.

5 steps to choose your CMS

When implementing a new content management system, follow these 5 steps to make the best purchase decision:

Step 01

Identify the problem

Disparate systems? Workflow dysfunction? Content delivery? Personalisation restrictions?

Step 02

Involve key stakeholders

Marketing, developers, IT, sales, content editors, designers.

Step 03

Build out use cases / requirements checklist

Split this out by; must haves, should haves and could haves

Step 04

Understand your company’s existing technology platform and communication channels such as;

Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Digital Asset Management (DAM), eMail, Social Media, Intranet

Step 05

Review what others have to say

Analyst reports and customer case studies

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Why Sitecore

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Sitecore is the global leader in experience management software that combines content management, commerce and customer insights. The Sitecore Experience Cloud empowers marketers to deliver personalised content in real time and at scale across every channel – before, during, and after a sale.

More than 5,200 brands

including American Express, Carnival Cruise Lines, Dow Chemical, and L’Oréal have trusted Sitecore to deliver the personalised interactions that delight audiences, build loyalty, and drive revenue.

Dow Chemical case study

Sitecore® Experience Platform™

The Sitecore Experience Platform (XP) combines the content management power of our market-leading content management system with contextual insights from the Sitecore Experience Database (xDB).

Here’s why thousands of companies around the world are empowered by Sitecore to own the experience through a powerful content management system.

Gartner reports

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Sitecore is a Leader in Forrester Wave: Web Content Management Systems

As digital marketers face the omnichannel world of today and tomorrow, features and capabilities that have defined an excellent content management system are becoming less relevant. Sitecore is a Leader in the Forrester Wave: Web CMS report because of its focus on continuous innovation, ease of integration and robust support for omnichannel marketing and IoT.

In the report, Forrester notes:

“improved content analytics, APIs, and cross-channel delivery dictate which providers lead the pack. Vendors that can provide flexible content architecture, smarter content management and flexible cross-channel delivery position themselves to successfully support their organisation’s experience-led transformation.”

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Sitecore is a Leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for web content management 2018

For the ninth year in a row, Sitecore is a Leader in Gartner’s assessment of the strengths and cautions of 18 web content management vendors.

And the report’s whole story reveals more:

We believe our market understanding and strategy is why Sitecore has been positioned either highest on execution or furthest on vision a total of seven times
We’ve held the highest position on the Ability to Execute axis for four years in a row, and we believe this is because of our ability to ensure customer success
We believe our pace of innovation is why Sitecore continues to be trusted by many of the world’s leading companies who make customer engagement a priority

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Omnichannel marketing platform that drives engagement through an innovative digital user experience.

Standing out in the cinema industry is very hard. Every exhibitor is given the same products at the same time and the same marketing material to work with. To stand out against all its European competitors, Vue has created a digital experience that’s as much about the experience of going to the movies as the movies themselves, developing an enhanced user journey that feels personal, relevant and entertaining.

The Solution

Sitecore delivered an omnichannel marketing platform that provides relevant, entertaining and useful content to the right customer at the right time, while also leveraging social media as a key sales tool.

The results

Volvo revamps their digital approach for end-to-end service and unique online experiences with Sitecore

Volvo is currently going through a digital-first transformation: The Digital Experience Initiative. The goal is to deliver 20% of sales from online channels to support the company’s wider mission—to simplify and improve the consumer’s life. To achieve this, Volvo wanted to simplify their digital experience, provide a unified customer journey across channels and position Volvo as a global luxury brand.

The Solution

Sitecore provided a platform that produced a globally consistent buyer’s journey, able to deliver content across 93 countries at launch. The new site was content rich, built for mobile, and included new innovative experiences such as car configuration and digital showrooms.

The results

Streamlined workflows and improved content migration with Sitecore

The Theraputic Research Center provides medical institutions with subscriptions and offers online education programs around medicine. It also provides the largest catalogue of education services in the pharmacy industry; it’s a product made better through electronic publishing. With an outdated, home-grown content management system it was vital that TRC simplified the management of their platform and improved their user experience to remain the go-to organisation for 500,000 healthcare professionals.

The Solution

Sitecore delivered a content management solution that allowed for single-source publishing that means engineers no longer need to be involved in the publishing process. By integrating Google Analytics, TRC now has more visibility into traffic and engagement, while personalisation capabilities allow users to mark favourite resources.

The results

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possible with

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Sitecore enables a world of infinite possibilities for delivering exceptional, individualised digital experiences across the entire customer journey.

We’ve been designing and building content management solutions since 2001, and we’re widely recognised as the global leader in providing:

The best digital experiences on the web
and beyond
Contextual content and commerce for
immersive shopping experiences
Connected insights that drive realtime

We’ve seen just about every kind of content program possible over the last few decades. That’s why we’re perfectly positioned to help businesses fulfil their potential by going beyond the web, beyond the cart and beyond segmentation, creating amazing experiences tailored for individual customers.

Is Sitecore the right Content Management System for you and your business?

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