For many marketers, and especially those in fast-growing businesses, website management has become a source of constant frustration. As an organisation scales, launches new products and enters new markets, marketers must juggle the competing needs of security and user experience, while managing all the integration, plugin, permissions and partitioning needs in between.
Eventually, to tackle these conflicting demands, many organisations choose to split responsibilities for website management. IT takes over the technical management, and often call in developers to build new functionalities, while the marketing team retains responsibility for the content and the user experience. But this leaves the marketing manager, who is ultimately responsible for the performance of the website, split between different teams with different priorities. This division is precisely what turns the website from a dream customer conversion opportunity into a marketing headache.
A good CMS should help. A Hubspot survey has found that over 70 percent of marketers are actively investing in CMS software.
But CMSs often tend to be overspecialised, weighted towards either the marketing and CX needs, or the technical infrastructure requirements – making the marketing manager’s balancing act even more difficult. As a result, a faulty or overspecialised CMS can exacerbate the difficulties of website management, rather than solving them.
No easy choices
A CMS should make your life easier, but many growing companies find they do the opposite. Some CMSs are built to help easily scale business services, supporting rapid growth in demand and traffic – but these require advanced, often very rigid technologies which by their nature are difficult for marketers to adapt, and aren’t easy for developers to work with. Others are designed for marketers and CX leaders and are more agile – but these can lack the advanced technologies that scale-ups need.
In both cases, the end result is that one team often ends up breaking something, risking downtime or disruption, and the IT team are called in to clean up the mess, distracting them from their main work.
As your website grows, you will be faced with challenging choices:
- Do you opt for speed and flexibility, or the more rigid advanced technologies needed to scale?
- Should the IT team spend more time on technical maintenance, or focus on building new apps and integrations?
- Do you want a system that can test new content quickly, at the risk of causing problems that developers have to spend time-solving – or a rigid system where markets shoot in developer tickets to request changes?
- Will you take an agile, iterative go-to-market strategy, knowing that your processes aren’t final and could lead to errors, or sacrifice speed for a more advanced system that could take weeks or months to perform updates?
Every choice you make will sacrifice either a part of your customer experience, or the stability of your business growth. Of course, big bets are an essential part of business. But that doesn’t mean your website should be one.
It’s all about the customer
The problems with many CMSs are related to a loss of control: either you can’t easily make changes to your system, or if you do, you lose control of how well your website can function as it scales. Maintaining tight control over the website is vital to creating a responsive, adaptable and up-to-date customer experience – and that is in turn vital for business growth.
It used to be that product was everything: you could stay at the top by simply selling products that were better than the competition. But now, companies win by delivering an experience that’s better than the competition – and what’s more crucial to your customer experience than your website?
Websites are a cornerstone of the brand/consumer relationship; essential at every stage of the customer journey. To keep in step with the business’ changing products and services, and stay ahead of what competitors are doing, marketers need to be able to deliver content updates quickly and continuously – after all, websites have an average lifespan of only two and a half years.
In particular, new demands such as chatbots and dynamic content systems make these technical challenges yet more demanding. HubSpot research shows 90 percent of customers expect any response to their inquiries through a website to be immediate (10 minutes or less). Your website needs to be there when your sales team can’t be, and it needs to deliver a highly personalised, relevant and responsive experience. Delays caused by an unwieldy CMS, or sudden breakage caused by an unstable one, are likely to have a serious detrimental impact to your bottom line.
Reassessing your CMS
Now is the time to take a critical look at your CMS. Does it support your business’ ambitions as well as consumer expectations? Can you quickly integrate new tools and improve performance, without compromising the security of your website? If not, it’s time to reevaluate what you’re working with.
When assessing a CMS, ensure it scores well in these three focus areas:
- Flexibility: It enables teams to test and optimise quickly with tools such as with drag & drop editors, dynamic content capabilities and A/B testing features
- Scalability: As your business grows, you need to be able to quickly add new functionality and improve performance, for example multilingual content support, API links, data analytics and CDN support.
- Security: Above all, websites need incredibly strong security. A secure CMS will require features such as security monitoring, SSL certificates and advanced domain security.
A key part of business growth involves taking chances. But the quality and availability of your website shouldn’t be an area for risk. A faulty CMS can turn website management itself into a game of chance, as well as being a source of stress for IT and marketing. The responsibility lies with marketing teams to solve this problem as quickly as possible.