Siva Gane­shanan­dan, Direc­tor, Adobe Mar­ket­ing Cloud, APAC – LinkedIn, @sivagatwork

Siva's BioI had recently held a webi­nar ses­sion where I shared the 5 biggest mis­takes com­pa­nies make when they revamp their con­tent man­age­ment plat­forms. For those of you who have missed out on the webi­nar (or even for those who attended), here is a brief sum­mary of what was discussed:


1)      For­get­ting about Interdependencies

The first one is actu­ally a com­bi­na­tion of 3 sim­i­lar mis­takes peo­ple make, that I have grouped together. The first one is spend­ing too much on tech­nol­ogy and not enough on peo­ple, skill or allow­ing enough time.  The Ying to that mistake’s Yang, is com­pa­nies that don’t spend any­where near what they should on tech­nol­ogy, and expect devel­op­ers and ser­vices to make up for it.  The third of these is when design­ers have no sense of how the Con­tent Man­age­ment plat­form works, or devel­op­ers of things like tem­plate on the sys­tem have no idea what the design is/will be.

What does it look like when it’s hap­pen­ing? Well, the first symp­tom based on the lack of invest­ment in time & skills, is that what you saw in the demo and what you get are wildly dif­fer­ent. If the bal­ance has gone too far the other way, and you haven’t bought a robust enough plat­form,  every time you want some­thing change, it requires new devel­op­ment. When this hap­pens – you know you’ve made this mis­take. If you hear any­one in the team say ‘that design is not sup­ported’, or if small design changes cause a lot of devel­op­ment effort, you know you have made mis­take num­ber 1.

What can go wrong?  You have a great tool but it’s not going any­where and you’re not get­ting a return on our invest­ment.  You might have ini­tially gone for lower cost solu­tion, but years down the line you end up spend­ing more than if you bought the pre­mium prod­uct at the begin­ning due to devel­op­ment cost. In addi­tion, you get an unman­aged part of cus­tomer expe­ri­ence where your design is com­pro­mised as well as usabil­ity.  Busi­nesses units start rolling out lots of lit­tle sites, hosted else­where, because your plat­form slows them down.  What’s wrong with that ?  The biggest chal­lenges are around cus­tomer expe­ri­ence con­sis­tency, gaps in mar­ket­ing data and unnec­es­sary cost.

How do you avoid it? Scope out the mar­ket and under­stand which solu­tions are best suited to you. The plat­form that you have is impor­tant to your busi­ness like it never has been before.  Look again about the busi­ness case.  Invest more tech­nol­ogy, in the peo­ple and  skills and don’t for­get to include the agency and design right from the start.


2)      Mobile

A lot of com­pa­nies recog­nise that Mobile is impor­tant but have built mobile and ‘web’ sites inde­pen­dently from each other.

What does it look like when it’s hap­pen­ing? You end up hav­ing dif­fer­ent projects for the mobile site and ven­dors for mobile apps which end up work­ing in silos. When we think about mobile, most peo­ple think of respon­sive design how­ever this is not enough as there needs to be more thought on mobile user’s sit­u­a­tion – what are the major­ity of peo­ple doing on their mobile vs lap­top vs tablet etc.

What can go wrong? Cus­tomers end up hav­ing a bad mobile expe­ri­ence which leads to missed oppor­tu­ni­ties and low con­ver­sion rates. Mobile traf­fic in the dig­i­tal space is grow­ing tremen­dously and com­pa­nies need to get it right in order to cap­i­talise on it. In addi­tion, if you hap­pen to have built your mobile and web­site sep­a­rately, it can mean dou­ble the cost of main­te­nance as well as black spots in your mar­ket­ing intel­li­gence as you will have two sets of data that are not unified.

How do you avoid it? Have a work­flow that auto­mates mobile friendly con­tent. Go beyond just respon­sive design and think about cus­tomer usage and situation.


3)      Data

Lots of revamps tend to hap­pen with­out enough data to back up deci­sions. This mean there is a poor under­stand­ing of cus­tomer atti­tudes and a lack of knowl­edge of the cus­tomer behav­iour. Com­pa­nies are then in dark, not know­ing what con­tent is impor­tant to their cus­tomers and what isn’t.

What does it look like when it’s hap­pen­ing? Many deci­sions are based overly on design or gut feel­ing. This on its own is not good enough; bas­ing a revamp purely on design will not allow you to know what con­tent to migrate to your sites. Do not just let the HiPPO (High­est Paid Per­son Opin­ion) make a lot of deci­sions, gather and under­stand your  data and facts to base your deci­sion on.

What can go wrong? You end up with a pretty site that looks nice but is not what your cus­tomer want or need. This might ini­tially lead to pos­i­tive reviews but fol­lowed by flat or lower engage­ment and con­ver­sion. In the end you have wasted effort and use­less con­tent that don’t res­onate with your customers.

How do you avoid it? The main key is to under­stand the cus­tomer through mul­ti­ple sources of data – behav­iour, atti­tudes, how they inter­act with your con­tent and ser­vices.  This includes run­ning A/B and MVT tests on rel­e­vant expe­ri­ence that you cur­rently have or are con­sid­er­ing as part of the revamp.  It is straight­for­ward, very pow­er­ful to under­stand your con­tent effec­tive­ness – which con­tent is mak­ing your cus­tomers con­vert (see webinar).

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4)      Usabil­ity for Your Users

Com­pa­nies expect users to bend their busi­ness to the require­ment of the sys­tem – this is frankly, not going to hap­pen. Fur­ther­more users might find it painful to manoeu­vre through your web prop­er­ties which in turn mean they end up hav­ing a bad user expe­ri­ence. Another thing is not con­sid­er­ing the agency’s role in the expe­ri­ence pro­duc­tion cycle.

What does it look like when it’s hap­pen­ing? When describ­ing how to use the sys­tem, it requires you and the team to do things dif­fer­ently – log into mul­ti­ple screens, change processes.  If you only see only IT peo­ple gather all the require­ments, it’s time to stop and think about who else can be involved in the project and deci­sion making.

What can go wrong? One of the most com­mon things that we see is that con­tent doesn’t get man­aged which leads to stale con­tent and spi­ralling agency cost for sim­ple tasks. Another chal­lenge you might get is that non con­tent own­ers are writ­ing the con­tent which again leads to bland content.

How do you avoid it? Spend time to under­stand and doc­u­ment the work­flow includ­ing: con­tent pro­duc­tion, approvals, agency, devel­oper, dig­i­tal assets and apps. Make the expe­ri­ence as seam­less as pos­si­ble, remove every inter­me­di­ate step that is not nec­es­sary. In addi­tion, invest in SSO (Sin­gle Sign On), in Cus­tom e-mails for approvals, in Auto­mated Trans­la­tion Work­flows and in Wiz­ards and Forms that help the user. The rule of thumb is keep going until build­ing it in the plat­form is eas­ier than writ­ing a work doc­u­ment to get some­one else to buy it.


5)      Per­son­al­i­sa­tion

This is really about com­pa­nies that think one size fits all. You end up hav­ing an expe­ri­ence that is not per­son­alised to the cus­tomer or per­son­alised in one dimension.

What does it look like when it’s hap­pen­ing? When there is no data dis­cussed dur­ing any of the design deci­sions, there will be no per­son­al­i­sa­tion as there are no facts on cus­tomer behav­iour etc.  Then, when you require per­son­al­i­sa­tion, there is a require­ment to do devel­op­ment for any targeting.

If you are told there is a release cycle for seg­ments takes a long time, there is no talk of offline data and there is no link to adver­tis­ing – this is a prob­lem. Most tech­nolo­gies today should be able to pro­vide you with such requests.

What can go wrong? You might lose mar­ket­ing share/high sup­port vol­umes or by a slow decline, where it will take you longer to release it has gone wrong.  Your com­peti­tors are already doing per­son­al­i­sa­tion and you are miss­ing out on con­vert­ing customers.

How can you avoid it? First thing is to get the data, this includes offline data and adver­tis­ing per­for­mance data.  Then con­sol­i­date the audi­ence per­sona.  You need to under­stand your cus­tomer in order to bet­ter inform your mar­ket­ing efforts and enable bet­ter ser­vic­ing of your cus­tomer. Sec­ond is to think about cus­tomer seg­ments and design­ing con­tent for each segment/persona. Lastly, don’t for­get about adver­tis­ing – audi­ence man­age­ment is a well-established to drive bet­ter tar­get­ing of ads – it’s a sim­ple step to bring that capa­bil­ity to your owned media.  How­ever, it’s some­thing that is only just being started to be done.


This is just a brief sum­mary of what was cov­ered; to find out more on what was dis­cussed (includ­ing a bonus mis­take) lis­ten to the webi­nar and down­load the pre­sen­ta­tion via the links below:

Click here to lis­ten to the recorded webinar.

Click here to down­load the pre­sen­ta­tion slides.

Click here to down­load the For­rester Wave Report & other Whitepapers.


Join us at our next webi­nar, ‘Mea­sur­ing the Suc­cess of Your Mobile Sites and Apps’ tak­ing place on 10th Oct. Click here to reg­is­ter now!