Web CMS, Web Content Management

WEM to WCM is What Golden Gate Bridge to San Fran


Nowadays, the relationship between Web CMS and Web Engagement Management is akin to the one between the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco: It has to be there, the city would look odd without it, and it’s just plain necessary.

When I look at the relationship between WCM and WEM, there are several key concepts that deserve attention. While both strategies/technologies are inherently different, they both first and foremost focus on content. Let’s take a look at those concepts, starting with the ‘C’.

The C in WCM — Content is Still King

What has been proclaimed by Bill Gates years ago is still true. No WCM or WEM strategy will help your business if you lack good content. And by good I mean relevant, timely, engaging.

Even though analysts and consultants in the content and information management industry constantly debate over the definition of content, by content I mean not just your corporate website or product descriptions pages. The content now also means comments, Twitter feeds, Facebook likes, item ratings, micro-blogs, activity streams, tag clouds, etc. 

The web that we now call “Web 1.0” was more of an informational resource — mainly uni-directional way of communicating. The web known as “Web 2.0” and beyond is different. It’s more human, more talkative, more impatient and more demanding. To address these demands you need a more sophisticated content strategy as the foundation for your online engagement strategy.

Just like with the evolution of Web 2.0, these days, web engagement management in WCM is sometimes misunderstood – often, due to the lack of clear definition and direction around web engagement management (or is it web experience management?). To clarify, let’s agree that we’re talking about engagement here – not to confuse the E with any other e-things that are used in some vendors’ product names. And let’s move onto the E in more detail.

The E in WEM

Engaging content converts web visitors into participants, into relationships. But for most of you content alone is not going to ink the deal. Nurturing a relationship is what makes it work. You have to engage, pay attention and be responsive. Web engagement means conversations with your audience, replying to their @s, likes and comments, and picking up sentiments and addressing them.

While engagement is not all about technology, or which Web CMS to use, WEM does call for WCM systems that are capable of “talking” to other tools inside and outside the organization, and for a thoughtful customer engagement strategy that gives both form and policies.

Which tools and capabilities do you need to *not* suck at web engagement? Here are a few:

  • A Web CMS
  • Web and social analytics
  • Segmentation and personalization
  • Content and campaign testing
  • CRM and social CRM
  • Multi-channel marketing and content delivery
  • Social media monitoring and analysis


WEM tools allow you to test and measure results — enhancing the effectiveness of your communications via web and social analytics, CRM-driven intelligence, segmentation and personalization.

Lather, rinse, repeat until you’re experiments are working and you’ve got happy, repeating customers who participating in the recruitment of your growing fan base. The cycle never stops.

The M in WCM and WEM

That brings us to the M of both acronyms. The M stands for manage, monitor, measure, maximize — to name a few notions. Chances are your Web CMS cannot (and by design, is not necessarily supposed to) do much more than “manage” content. Other tools can do the others Ms: mine data, leverage social network interactions, quantify customer feedback, monitor and analyze, and deliver personalized content to specific segments.


True customer engagement doesn’t stop at the web URL level (think mobile, too). Our audiences are getting increasingly diverse in how they access content: from their iPads, mobile phones and other portable devices. Mobile content management has never been more crucial.

Your customers now have more ways to say things about you. WEM tools should help you manage those conversations that happen outside your corporate site. Accurately measuring customer feedback and appropriately reacting to it should be part of your web engagement management activities.

Knowing your engagement goals and objectives, having done content planning and having developed your WEM strategy will help you help the vendors on your short list.

WEM is not a subset of WCM, nor is it a new wave of CMSs. The two notions may be converging, but WCM and WEM are not replacing one another. They need to exist together and complement each other — just like San Fran and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Part 2 WEM Marketplace: WCM Players and Ricotta – coming next.

Thanks to @IanTruscott for letting me bounce some ideas off him.