Inside the CMS with Tjeerd Brenninkmeijer

Content management systems are integral parts of the modern enterprise for millions of companies today. Knowing as much as you can about these solutions can make all the difference in the pursuit of success. Website Magazine spoke with with Tjeerd Brenninkmeijer, CMO and Co-Founder of popular content management system Hippo, on how content management software has changed, the common mistakes he sees in selecting a CMS, as well as the evolution of these systems and where he sees them in the future. His answers, in this Website Magazine Q&A, provide several useful insights.

How has content management software changed over the past decade?

Content management software has significantly evolved over the past decade, shifting from a productivity tool publishing and "pushing out" content, to a technology that serves an opportunity to engage with audiences--serving their underlying needs, and enabling the organization to measure the ROI of content strategy.

Today's content management software must be much more than the productivity tool it was in the past. In order to meet evolving customer demands and create an innovative customer experience, content management software must be smart, driving a return-on-investment across the business. That includes its role in expanding the sales funnel, helping turn any visitor-- whether anonymous or on any point across the customer journey-- into a lead. By delivering personalized content to each individual Web visitor across devices and channels, content management software now plays a more significant role than ever in reaching business goals.

In an attempt to be all marketing technologies within one suite, many content management vendors have spread themselves too thin, neglecting to innovate within content management in favor of continuously adding functionalities from other disciplines. Such an approach leaves customers with many expensive (and often unnecessary) "bells and whistles," but does not offer better solutions to existing business challenges these customers face.

To better serve its current and prospective customers, Hippo has chosen to innovate within the content management software space, providing a solution that meets the needs of end-users today and beyond. With its Content Performance Platform, Hippo offers a new understanding of content management within the marketing technology landscape. With Content Performance, Hippo offers a data-driven, intelligent marketing technology software used to optimize and personalize the customer journey from beginning to end.

What are some common mistakes enterprises make when it comes to selecting a CMS?

One major mistake is assuming that a one-size-fits all suite will address your particular challenges.

Each organization requires a solution customized to their current and future marketing needs, IT infrastructure and business goals.

Another, related, mistake is giving up control over the solutions you work with. Don't buy a prepacked suite of solutions-- choose each vendor and solution you want to work with, whether it's Marketing Automation, CRM, Social, Analytics or ecommerce. So as not to narrow future options, make sure you select vendors that are built to for flexibility and integrations. After all, they're all responsible for key portions of your digital experience.

Another key mistake is marketing selecting the CMS exclusively. As I've written before, no one department owns the customer experience - it is business critical and spans the organization. The WCM as the central solution for creating digital experiences, should serve the diverse needs of various departments. Unlike other solutions like Marketing Automation, a WCM system is not simply a question of "plug and play." It requires integrations with the rest of the enterprise' technical ecosystem. Marketing and IT must select a WCM system jointly. Furthermore, it's crucial that IT have the opportunity to test-drive the solution, and get a true feel for what it's like to work with it. It's this belief that leads Hippo to make its code available for download to anyone interested in exploring our solution.

A third mistake is assuming your needs won't change. Don't assume your digital experience arsenal is static--expect to be adding channels and martech solutions as your needs evolve. Again, here extensibility and integrations are paramount.

Another key mistake is trusting the sales demo. It's important for customers to have the opportunity to experience first-hand the technology's value proposition. That's why Hippo makes its code publically available for anyone to experiment with and determine whether it's the right solution for their business needs, today and in the future. Furthermore, we believe community is central to our product's innovation-- we know that making our code available means "more eyes on the code"--helping to drive innovation, quality of the product and furthers our ability to deliver the best experience for our customers and their key audiences.

What is the next evolution of the CMS? What can Web professionals expect in the next five or ten years?

A Web Content Management System should enable the enterprise to better understand their customers throughout their journey-- even from the very first anonymous visit. The modern CMS should be able to serve a diverse set of audiences with personalized and relevant content, triggering visitors to move across the buyer's journey .Delivering a personalized online experience can ultimately lead to better conversion and increased engagement - a study conducted by Hippo found that personalized onsite content can lead to 8 percent increase in revenue, and over 14 percent increase in conversions.

To be effective, personalization must be data-driven-- it should prove a continuous feedback loop, delivering metrics that can then be used to inform strategy and truly make content perform. With these real-time insights on content's performance in serving business goals, organizations don't need to wait to conclude traditional A/B tests before adjusting strategy-- testing is continuous. Content Performance takes the guesswork out of content marketing, providing insights on content gaps, editorial effectiveness and content's overall ROI. With a finger on the pulse of content's performance at all times, organizations can respond to these metrics immediately, adjusting their strategy without wasting any time.

What differentiates Hippo from its hundreds of competitors?

Hippo delivers on the promise of a next-generation WCM system. Hippo has engineered the first Content Performance platform, which ultimately helps marketers make their content strategy data-driven and integral to generating results that map back to business goals. The company has never lost focus on innovating within Web Content Management space. This laser-focus has enabled Hippo to continuously redefine the modern WCM system. We recently launched our Content Performance Platform, which provides a feedback loop enabling content strategy to support overarching business goals. Content Performance provides marketers with the tools to implement a truly data-driven content strategy, and articulate content's ROI to stakeholders.