Guest Blogger: Darren Guarnaccia, VP Product Marketing, Sitecore
In every technology marketplace, whether it’s enterprise software, or medical devices, there is an consistent process that happens as that market matures. We’ve all witnessed new markets emerge to solve a need. Most often these solutions address acute issues, solve granular problems. But, over time, as that marketplace matures, the solutions evolve to move upward in the value chain, and take on more strategic parts of the process. In fact, many times, these solutions move from doing a single step in the process, to governing and automating the entire process. The reason for this is simple. Buyers of solutions we sell are overburdened, time short, and resource poor. They are constantly looking for ways to achieve more with less, and even take advantage of some expertise that can help them improve their strategic processes along the way, instead of just executing on simple tactics. It’s no wonder then that these types of evolutionary leaps tend to happen most often in down economies like the one we find ourselves in.
This is very much the case for the Web Content Management marketplace. For over 10 years, Web Content Management (WCM) technologies have steadily improved to become functionally richer, easier to use and able to support ever larger websites to the point that I dare say that modern WCM technologies can support some of the largest sites on the planet. But, at the end of the day, what WCM technologies do is very tactical. It manages content. To make that evolutionary leap up to strategic value, these solutions must help businesses with the process of conducting business on the web not just managing content. Let’s take the online marketing scenario as an example.
The process of online marketing is far more than just standing up a couple of landing pages, and buying some adwords from Google or Bing. There is an entire process that marketers need to deal with, and today it’s pretty darn fragmented. Today, a marketer has to touch between 5-8 systems to setup an online campaign. That is just too much chaos, and creates a huge amount of drag on the marketing team. Ideally, there would be a single solution that a marketer can operate in to execute their campaigns, understand their performance, optimize the lead conversion process, and take what they’ve learned and do it again. Even where customers have bought analytics and marketing automation products, they still have to operate through multiple systems, and ultimately execute their findings from their analytics and marketing automation products into their website via custom code or a WCM. Again, too much complexity and chaos. It needs to be simpler. The process needs to be coordinated, and managed in the place where you can take action and execute your campaigns and engage your visitors.
This is precisely why I believe that WCM vendors need to evolve to help orchestrate the online marketing process. WCM vendors are in a unique position to coordinate the entire process, and offer analytics that is tightly coupled with the authoring process. It just makes sense that WCM vendors enable site managers to run message testing (A/B or Multivariate) from within the site management process, and that analytics be automatically blended with traditional site profiling and personalization. Segmentation should naturally be a part of the content delivery process. It’s also natural that we should be using all of the information we collect about our customers and site visitors proactively to engage those very same visitors. Instead of being tucked away in an analytics database somewhere in the cloud, we should be harnessing that data in real-time. Taking it one step further, as we indentify these visitors, correlate their location and even indentifying organization names, we should be providing this data to the people in our organization who can use it the very most, our sales teams.
As with every marketplace, there is that moment where solutions start to emerge where standalone technologies once owned the field. I believe we are at that moment today. This is why Sitecore brought the Online Marketing Suite (OMS) to the marketplace earlier this year. In our case, the OMS brings together Web Content Management, Web Analytics and Marketing automation into a single, unified application that begins to automate the process of online marketing. This is the first step to be sure, but much like other marketplaces that have come before, integrated solutions that offer more strategic business process value will always overcome stand alone applications. That’s where Sitecore is headed with the Online Marketing Suite, and it’s the next evolutionary leap for the entire Web Content Management Market.