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4 CMS Trends to Watch in 2015

Bill Casey CEO & Partner
#Industry Insights, #Episerver, #Ektron
Published on January 12, 2015

Learn about the future of Content Management Systems and how we expect the industry to evolve in the coming year.

Happy New Year! As we start 2015, the world of Content Management Systems (CMSs) is heading full-steam into an environment that has been rapidly evolving over the past couple of years. We’ve moved beyond basic site creation and content publishing into a marketing-centric, digital strategy focused field. Here are a few of the major trends we’ve seen emerge in the past year that we think will continue to gain traction and become fully realized in 2015:

Marketing Ascendance

It's all about Marketing when you’re talking CMS these days. In fact, CMS may as well stand for “Content Marketing System”. Where IT once reigned supreme, marketers are now the focus of CMS positioning and functionality. Traditional content publishing and organization are considered de facto features where no platform really stands out. Most of the major CMS platforms provide similar WYSIWYG editing, content categorization, version control, robust data repositories, replication features, etc. The industry is now less about how to create and organize content, and is now primarily focused on what kind of content to create, who to create it for, and how to get the most value from your online efforts.

Marketers are demanding the tools to understand who their site visitors are and how to target content specifically to them. Features such as robust analytics, social media integration, and content personalization are the differentiators that will get the most attention. In the highly competitive struggle to win eyes and attract the most visitors, marketers are increasingly focused on content as the key to getting found and creating targeted, personalized digital experiences. CMS companies will continue to focus their efforts on providing a rich platform to help execute winning digital marketing strategies in an ever growing and maturing digital world.

More Integration, Less One-Size-Fits-All

A complete digital marketing strategy involves a wide array of functional needs: marketing automation, analytics, content creation, A/B testing, personalization, etc. Where CMS companies previously tried a building block approach of stacking more and more functionality into the platform as needs emerged, we’ve seen a move away from this towards an approach of easy integration with multiple platforms and the creation of a suite of tools used in conjunction with one another for maximum digital marketing power. CMS continues to be the go-to solution for content creation and site management, but other technologies have surpassed CMS in their ability to provide more in-depth analytics and intelligence.

Marketing automation platforms such as HubSpot are industry leaders for providing real-time intelligence and tools to engage prospects and convert them into customers. Unable to compete with this, CMS platforms have embraced the value of marketing automation and provided advanced integration options such as the Ektron Digital Experience Hub and EPiServer’s Add-On Store offerings. Both provide real-time integration options to create a robust digital marketing engine.

Analytics about who site visitors are, where they came from, and how they use the site is another essential ingredient in digital marketing. Google Analytics and more feature-rich analytics tools such as Moz and SEMRush provide valuable insights into user behavior and trends that help drive marketing decisions.

By accepting a best-of-breed approach and not trying to be everything to everyone, CMS will continue to be a relevant piece of the digital marketing world, just not the only part.

Flexible Licensing

With the rise of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offerings, the traditional perpetual license plus yearly maintenance fee model has become less attractive. CMS clients are looking for lower cost of entry, quick deployments, worry-free maintenance and hosting, and minimal capital expenditures. CMS companies have seen the writing on the wall and have begun to offer their products as a SaaS deployments with lower monthly usage-based charges and cloud hosting. EPiServer has offered this for some time now, but Ektron is a more recent addition to the SaaS world and is poised to make a major push in this area in 2015.

Mobile is No Longer Optional

This past holiday season, mobile traffic accounted for 45% of all online traffic. In other words, nearly half of everything served on the Internet was viewed from a mobile device. If you’re still under the belief that people using smartphones and tablets aren’t a large concern, you are sadly mistaken. Consumers now expect content delivered to them whenever, wherever, and however they need it. CMS companies have heeded the call and will continue to put mobile content creation high on the list of features.

With support for Responsive Web Design, mobile previews, and automatic image resizing, the basics of mobile publishing are already covered in most major CMS platforms. However, mobile authoring is not something widely adopted as of yet by the enterprise and mid-market players. The prevailing concept of the typical CMS author is a marketing team member in the office on a desktop or laptop. Most CMS interfaces are designed around this persona and seek to put as much power and functionality at these fingertips as possible, something that doesn’t translate well to a mobile interface. However, mobile usage shouldn’t only be thought of as a consumer-only practice. Content authors are also consumers and are growing up in the same mobile age. They will expect the same flexibility and ease-of-use from any digital interface whether they’re consuming or creating content. Today, most major CMSs are not equipped for mobile content editing, but expect that to change in the near future. 2015 might be the year we begin to hear about the emergence of the truly mobile CMS.

The growth and maturation of the CMS market will continue in 2015. As the Web continues to evolve, the tools needed to build the Web must evolve as well. How we define content and what we expect that content to be is a continually changing reality, but the successful CMS companies will be those who keep up with the trends and provide the tools and flexibility that give the content authoring market what it needs. Here’s to a happy and prosperous 2015!