Tag: personalization

5 Reasons Why Your CMS Should Move to the Cloud

Posted by on November 23, 2015

The Modern CMS and Crafter

Your website isn’t just brochure-ware or a place where people go for product updates, but instead it’s the lifeblood of your company and acts as an important sales tool for that first initial interaction with your users. It’s also an engagement tool, with the ability to segment and build personas, to deliver personalized experiences that’ll keep your users engaged. From an integration standpoint, a web CMS isn’t just a standalone effort, but needs to integrate with various other tools such as CRM, marketing automation, and analytics.

Crafter Cloud is a full featured, enterprise SaaS-based content management system with user-friendly authoring tools, easy integration, high-performance content delivery, ability for personalization and targeting, using a suite of industry-leading development tools to enable delivery of omni-channel experiences. Crafter was designed with flexibility and scale and can be integrated with a variety of digital efforts.

Why the Cloud? 5 Reasons to Move Your CMS to Crafter Cloud

From our experience implementing CMS solutions, we’ve across 5 consistent themes for why customers choose Crafter Cloud when deciding to move their CMS to the cloud.

  1. Custom development experience in the cloud – One of the biggest benefits from both an IT and marketing perspective is the availability of a custom development experience, which provides the front-end team a personalized development environment with the ability to use any front end framework of their choice. This leads to shorter release cycles, which benefits business teams and keeps them excited about the CMS as new features and functionality requests are met in a timely manner.
  2. Full Featured CMS – As a full-featured CMS, Crafter Cloud has the design, integration and security features of an enterprise CMS that’s traditionally deployed on-premise with your own resources. The cloud CMS is a great option for customers with a lot of security and integration requirements to deploy the system without a lot of IT overhead. In addition, one of the challenges businesses face during a rebranding effort or site redesign is the ability of the CMS to respond appropriately. Not only are there desktop views, we now need to accommodate multiple screens and mobile devices, and each experience needs to be unique. Design responsiveness and the ability to create custom design and not be limited by the CMS and its features is imperative.
  3. Augment IT – Deploying your CMS in the cloud allows you to augment your IT and accelerate time-to-market. This means freeing up time and resources and limiting your IT overhead so they can focus on new features and the overall user experience.
  4. Cost – Deploying your CMS in the cloud is also cost effective, with savings from resources, time and energy it would take to build and deploy the solution. Crafter Cloud employs a flexible pricing model that allows you to scale and buy as you grow, limiting any over buy.
  5. Running your business at the speed of the market – Often times your public facing website becomes an afterthought if the CMS can’t keep up (e.g. the need for IT resources to make updates, design updates limited by features, marketing needs more data / analytics, etc.). Teams often end up walking away from relying on the CMS and addressing these tasks independently. Crafter keeps in pace with not just consumers but also the technology side of the house by allowing development teams to work with tools they’re familiar with.

Design & Deployment Considerations

When it comes to Web Experience Management (WEM), it can be broken into 5 categories, each with its own subcategories to dissect and think about your business and users (IT, marketing, sales, customers, partners, etc.).

  1. Ease of use – Is it user friendly?
  2. Multi-channel – What are your multi-channel requirements? It’s no longer enough to say it needs to work on a mobile device. Mobile is a whole different experience to think through, and you need to make sure your CMS can be responsive and flexible in that sense. For example, a mobile experience for retail is very different from a services company.
  3. Personalization – Your site needs to be personalized to build engagement. A repeat consumer / site visitor doesn’t want to feel like they’re reintroducing themselves each time they visit your site, which can be very frustrating. You need a CMS that enables you to build the journey with the customer and not force a reintroduction at each touch point.
  4. Engagement – A CMS becomes a viable piece of your business when it can spark engagement, which comes in many forms. Engagement isn’t only about results in product buying, but also in comments, reviews, and feedback loops.
  5. Integration – Can it easily integrate with other third party systems – CRM, Marketing Automation, Analytics, etc.?

Who Are My Users and What Do They Need?

Users are typically divided between internal an external users. Internal users include Marketing, IT, and Sales, and all of these user categories have their own different expectations and opinions on how the site should be designed.

While IT wants security, Marketing prefers flexibility, ease of use and the ability to design and add new features, and Sales wants a site that’s captivating to bring them leads. It’s important to go through the process of defining and prioritizing expectations.

As you narrow down the list, you need to determine if the CMS is able to respond to these expectations, as keeping the internal team happy is the first step to launching a successful CMS. When it comes to features, determine what the current CMS supports, features you wish you had but previously had limitations, whether it’s lack of IT resources for customization or lack of familiarity with the CMS’s integration points. You need an extendable platform that can successfully address these feature requests.

In addition, your CMS manages a variety of content, from blog posts to news articles, to products and press. Your CMS needs to be flexible from a content editing standpoint, where non-technical business users have the ability to edit, preview and publish without any additional IT support. Depending on the organization, IT may or may not be involved in the CMS, so it needs to be self-sufficient, with Marketing owning the solution.

Your external users include customers, partners, and other stakeholders, and you need to start thinking about perception and how users view your brand during their site visit.

To manage user expectation, you need consistency across each digital touch point. The experience from desktop to mobile to kiosk should be consistent so that users don’t need to learn a new UI at each touch point. In addition, if you publish a lot of content, users are going to have certain expectations around the frequency of your updates, and the context in which they’re consuming the content from. All of these points warrant discussions when it comes to your CMS process – it needs to be flexible enough to address most of these challenges.

Customer Win Patterns & Success Stories

Customers select their CMS based on a few consistent win patterns – full-featured with the ability to respond, ability to integrate, provides developers with development tools, limited IT overhead so IT resources can be reallocated to other strategic initiatives, fast time-to-market, and ability to consolidate various sites into one platform.

Our customers are leveraging Crafter Cloud to address a variety of business needs, including:

  • Rebranding a 30 Year Old Company – This health & fitness customer had many inconsistent brands, designs and technologies across their sites that needed to be consolidated into one platform. With a strict timeline and lack of IT resources, they started by deploying their core public facing website onto Crafter Cloud, with other web properties to follow, all accomplished within a two month timeframe.
  • Creating an identity in Ad Tech – This advertising technology company went through a rebranding to create a new identity. Design was extremely important and they needed a CMS to support pixel perfect design. With Crafter Cloud, their solution was up and running in under 1.5 months.
  • Enhancing a Global Platform – This customer already had an existing technology platform in place with high user adoption. They wanted to enhance their site with social capability without disruption. Crafter Cloud provided the necessary social features that were implemented with limited platform disruption.

These are just three examples that all come back to the consistent theme of full featured CMS in the cloud, low IT overhead, cost effectiveness, and speed of market.

Creating a Memorable Web Experience

The larger goal is to have your web presence create a memorable experience so that it reinforces your brand. Best practices to accomplish this include the three C’s:

  1. Consistent – Both internally (equipping marketing with necessary tools in one area to create these experiences and providing IT with the right development tools) and externally (across multiple devices)
  2. Contextual – Providing the right content in the right context
  3. Conversational – The ability to create conversations and enable engagement, and ultimately build a community around your web experience

To learn more about Crafter Cloud, visit crafter cloud.io.

Vitalize Your Content in 2015

Posted by on January 13, 2015

revitalize-conceptAt the beginning of every year, the web is flooded with blog posts, articles, and infographics with predictions and trends of what’s in store for the year ahead.

This year, there are a few key trends that seem to consistently appear in every prediction, and they all seem to revolve around mobile, social, personalization/targeting, and analytics.

Not surprisingly, with mobile on an unrelenting rise, organizations large and small are shifting towards a mobile first strategy. And as we’re surrounded by more and more digital content, organizations need to find creative ways to grab users’ attentions, through delivery of targeted and personalized content, and with social features that encourage audience participation.

In a recently published white paper, Vitalizing Content to Drive Social Customer Engagement, we introduce the concept of Vital Content, a new content class born from connecting content, which ultimately enables a deeper level of user engagement.

Traditional Social Enablement Limitations

In this age of the customer, consumers expect their online experiences to be seamless and omni-channel, filled with consistent and contextual data, all the while engaging them through bi-directional conversations.

Traditionally social content and social enablement has been handled with a collection of individual platforms, perhaps one for reviews, another for discussion forums, yet another for ratings and so on. Having content stuck in such silos limits the value we can expect to derive and deliver from our social platforms. While traditional platforms have helped facilitate conversations and drive greater engagement with customers, these individual channels can often seem unrelated and disjoint.

 “Vital Content” and Its Production Challenges

Motivating engagement and participation in the content lifecycle establishes a lasting and valuable relationship with your customers. To build this kind of deep relationship with your customers you must give them a voice and provide them with content and functionality that is vital to their needs. The answer can be found in a combination of process and technology designed to personalize the experience, gather insight, and surface connected content.

This process produces a new content class — Vital Content — resulting from content creators and consumers building a deeper relationship as each learns more about the other. The outcome of this process keeps users actively engaged, connected longer, and produces a more meaningful experience.

However, traditional solutions fail to build an ongoing relationship with the audience because they fail to keep the right content in front of the right people and encourage engagement that breathes new life into the content. Users today want, and expect, a personalized experience that is consistent and contextually relevant and that spans across their entire customer journey. They shouldn’t have to re-educate at each engagement event on their likes, dislikes or previous history. Instead, they should be presented with relevant content that addresses their needs and triggers new engagement. The process of building a relationship with your user or customer is ongoing, and technology should enable that relationship to prosper.

Building Relationships Through Metadata

So how is this accomplished? Since content, comments, ratings and other social content are essentially the same, by connecting them with metadata, it’s possible to build relationships between them, pulling them out of their traditional silos. Through the application of metadata such as tagging, content curators and end users are able to create relationships between any piece of content or commentary, regardless of the source. These cross-referenced pieces can then be dynamically embedded, restructured and linked together in endless configurations.

With these ends in mind, Crafter Software has created Crafter Social, an innovative platform leveraging MongoDB, for creating Vital Content to help organizations maximize their customer engagement and the strength of their customer relationships. Crafter Social enables an increased level of engagement with the user while enhancing the overall experience. Furthermore, requirements will evolve as the user’s engagement increases over time. Crafter Social provides a flexible approach built on a system of relationships, and as these relationships grow, it provides the tools to take action on new data types and sources.

Click here to read more and download the full white paper.

Personalization and Targeting Web Content for Customer Experience Management

Posted by on March 12, 2013

Content targeting is all about getting the right content to the right user at the right time. While targeting used to be something large companies with big budgets utilized to make incremental improvements on transactions, it’s becoming increasingly important that organizations of all sizes start looking at content targeting.

This is largely attributed to the explosion of mobile device usage, which goes beyond just another form factor to how your sites are being used. People are online more often than ever before because they have their devices with them at all times. However, they are online in shorter bursts for specific, immediate needs in the context of their daily activity. In order to hold the attention of this new type of Web consumer, we must speak directly to them with content that is relevant to who they are, where they are, and what they need or are doing.

The tricky part is understanding your users, which can range in complexity. Usually, the more specific your overall goals and interactions with your user, the easier it is. However, in most real-world cases, we find that understanding a user can be quite complex. When a visitor visits a site, we need to determine the reason behind each specific visit. To do this, we must leverage both explicit information provided by the user (or about the user provided from sources like preferences or a profile page), and implicit information based on the user’s behavior on the site and other interactions with your organization.

When it comes to user behavior, certain behaviors are more accurate in helping us understand what a user wants. Behavioral targeting projects often discuss the use of click stream analysis, but this turns out to be a pretty inaccurate indicator of what the user actually wants. On the other side are purchases, which are great in that they tell us exactly what the user wanted. However, by that time, we’ve already missed out on the opportunity to engage with the user with up sells, cross sells, and other useful information. They already have what they need and are on their way. A purchase can certainly help us during the next visit, but it’s not usually that valuable during a visit.

However, when a user’s behavior is of the engagement type, they are telling us exactly what they want. Comments, ratings, and the ability to download content are quite important. Users love these types of features because it gives them a channel to communicate with your company and community. At the same time, these types of features are also the most accurate indicators of what the user wants during a given visit to your site, often prior to a major conversion like contacting your sales department, or even making a direct purchase.

Traditional approaches in handling audience-specific content on websites include creating mixed audience pages with content that speaks to more than one audience on a given page, or creating stove-pipe websites where sections are dedicated to each audience, or a mixture of the two. These approaches make it difficult for users to get to the content they want, especially in a mobile context.

With Crafter Rivet, we can handle content targeting in a much more effective way than these older approaches. Crater Rivet supports dynamic content through the use of templates, which along with the help of other components in the system, can make decisions about how, when, and what content to serve to any given user.

Content targeting in Crafter Rivet relies on a rules engine. The rules engine has access to information about the user which can be acquired from the user profile – populated by the user through a profile Web form, a CRM system integration, or other data source – location provided by the browser, social graph through Facebook integration, user activity tracked and recovered from analytics integration, and so on. Using these data points, the rules engine will work in conjunction with the template engine to create a unique, personal experience for each user or type of user.

To learn more about how Crafter Rivet can address content targeting, visit crafterrivet.org.

Personalizing and Targeting Web Content for Customer Experience Management

Posted by on August 28, 2012

Content targeting is all about getting the right content to the right user at the right time. While targeting used to be something large companies with big budgets did to make incremental improvements on transactions, it’s becoming increasingly important that organizations of all sizes start looking at content targeting.

Mobile devices have drastically changed the internet landscape, and the change they’re bringing is moving very fast as mobile use of the internet is expected to take over desktop use by 2014. And it’s not just about people visiting your sites on a different form factor, but also how they use your sites. People are online more often than ever before, but in shorter bursts for specific, immediate needs in the context of their daily activity. In order to hold the attention of this new type of Web consumer, we must speak directly to them with content that is relevant to who they are, where they are, and what they need or are doing.

So how do you tailor your website to deliver targeted content to specific audiences? Traditional approaches to handle audience specific content on websites include creating mixed audience pages with content that speaks to more than one audience on a given page, or creating stove-pipe websites where sections are dedicated to each audience, or a mixture of the two. These approaches make it difficult for users to get to the content they want and need efficiently, especially in a mobile context.

In our most recent webinar, we discussed in detail what content targeting is and how our Crafter Rivet WEM solution enables delivery of real-time, dynamic and personalized content based on visitor profiles, behavioral patterns, social graphs, and more.

To learn more, a recording of the webinar is available on our website, and the slides are available here.