Contentpepper® Blog

5 requirements for successful CMS personalization

2018 July 24 at 16:34PM

„Customers who bought this item also bought... "- Behind this sentence is not only one of the main reasons that sales of sales platforms like Amazon are going through the roof. It is the tip of the iceberg, a far-reaching trend in marketing: the personalization of content and entire websites based on collected user data.

Limitless customization options

A personalized welcome by name instead of an impersonal hello, targeted regional offers tailored to your user's access point, personalized texts and cross-links based on the previous search behavior, tailor-made calls to action: The possibilities of individualisation are - both in width and depth - almost limitless.
But that's exactly where companies face the biggest challenge. When they want to provide their users with personalized content, where do they start? Where do they stop? It is important to evaluate large amounts of data and to apply the insights gained as directly as possible to the production and distribution of the own content - all according to the pre-defined personalization strategies. Many entrepreneurs shrink from this project because of its apparent extent.

In reality, measurable results can be achieved without drastic additional effort. All that is needed is the right Content Management System. At the interface between data mining, content creation, publishing and maintenance, your CMS is the heart of every personalization process.

Why personalize? One-Size-Fits-all vs. Smart Content

Before we go into more detail about the requirements of the Content Management System, let’s ask one question: How effective is personalized content, really?
The truth? Anyone wanting to squeeze the maximum capacity from their marketing possibilities these days no longer relies on one-size-fits-all solutions, but on smart content - content that can be adapted to the respective user. By personalizing their offers, companies provide the customer with a much more satisfying buying experience. The Annuitas Group found that Lead Nurturing through this targeted content results in a 20% increase in sales opportunities compared to traditional solutions. In addition, leads are enticed far more swiftly down the sales funnel.

The saying goes: Why bark, if you have a dog? Today's user no longer wants to have to waste time searching laboriously for relevant content. On the contrary, s/he has come to expect a selection of the content, as a basic service by the provider. S/he is also willing to provide personal data, such as those collected by cookies. In an online survey by Janrain, 74% of users expressed frustration when websites displayed content that was did not coincide with their interests.
This also explains why HubSpot, after analysing 93,000 created calls-to-action (CTAs), found that explicitly user-tailored CTAs performed at a 42% higher success rate than traditional ones. In e-mail marketing, Jupiter Research observes that "relevant e-mails", triggered by harvested user behavior, led to 18 times more revenue than Broadcast E-mails.

The CMS as a motor of personalization

Despite the apparent effectiveness of personalized content, many companies shy away from making the transition to smart content. Why? About two-thirds of the retailers interviewed in a McKinsey study cited the same main reason: The work involved in collection and integration of data, and the lack of appropriate tools to convert it to smart content.
Many marketers are therefore unsure about taking that next step in marketing. The challenge seems too big – a sheer cliff to climb. But this cliff - this is exactly where the right content management system swings into play. Those marketers who pay attention to the key functions when choosing their CMS, can expect a high return for their manageable investment.

What distinguishes a suitable CMS?

At this point it is important to understand what makes a content management system a good one. What is necessary to render the personalization process an easy one? What enables its most effective use as a content manager? What features are these?

  1. Think in components instead of pages
    The best way to deliver personalized content is to divide the content into small modular units. These can be used, reassembled and reused as needed. This means never again having to create completely new content from scratch for every customer. Instead, individual components are specifically adapted to provide a personalized user experience. Your CMS of choice should therefore simplify and enable the easy, seamless distribution of content into components and their reuse in different contexts.
  1. Tagging of contents

But how does the CMS know which content components are displayed to which user? These specific user groups can be assigned by keywording, the tagging of the content. The more comprehensively and conveniently a CMS allows for tagging of your content, the better it reduces your personalization costs.

The taxonomy that determines the tagging of the contents, should be based on the already established segmentation of your users. In practice, for example, a user who can be assigned to a specific branch of industry by means of previously collected data, will automatically only see whitepapers from his area.

  1. Headless CMS
    Another step towards minimising your own effort, is to choose a headless CMS that does not deliver content in a classic, push-based way. Instead, content is made available in neutral formatted form, and then dragged from an unlimited number of apps or pages through an interface, which means multiple uses without immense effort. 
  1. Open interfaces: APIs
    For your CMS to be the engine of personalization, it must be at the heart of the entire work process. APIs make this possible. Open interfaces make it possible to connect the right CMS with all other systems relevant to the personalization process, and thus integrate all existing data and information perfectly into this marketing process. It is clear then, that the more integrative the surface of the CMS, the easier the personalization process. When choosing your CMS, care must be taken to ensure the integration of the most common CRM or marketing automation systems from the outset. In addition, subsequent integration of more specialised systems, such as ERP or PIM systems via APIs, must also be possible.
  1. Analysing your achievements
    A further distinguishing feature of a good CMS is the ability to measure and verify the effectiveness of your implemented personalization strategies. Both built-in analytics and third-party systems should make it possible to, for example, use the bounce rate to measure the success of individual components of the website, to detect and - vitally - correct weaknesses.

Conclusion: Your CMS makes the difference

Choosing a suitable CMS is obviously not easy, because there is much to consider. But a considered decision will pay off. Because, although all companies have different requirements for their CMS, they share one thing in common: By choosing the right Content Management System, they lay the foundation for successful personalization and, ultimately, the satisfaction of their customers.

Are you interested in current developments in Content Management and the subject of Headless CMS? In our free whitepaper „Headless CMS – the architecture of the future for digital experiences“ we explain why Headless CMS is gaining importance, how Headless CMS works, and where it can really benefit your organisation.