The WEM Marketplace: Blueberries and Ricotta
As Web CMS products reached maturity, a standard set of features became core for most vendors (i.e. templating, workflows, in-context content preview, integration APIs, scalable architectures, delivery and caching, etc.) Things are different with Web Engagement Management. The industry is still trying to figure out what this WEM thing is all about.
In the WEM sector, we’re in a market that sells oranges, apples and blueberries from the same bin as ricotta cheese. Spaghetti is positioned on the same shelf as the Russian Caravan loose leaf tea, right next to heavy-duty laundry detergents. But this is slowly changing, as the WEM evolution is happening right before our eyes.
Who Plays in the WEM/WCM Space
WEM capabilities of varying degrees are offered by most mature Web CMS vendors (but not by as many Enterprise CMS vendors). However, comparing those capabilities one to one would be rather difficult in this stage of WEM evolution.
Just take a look at how some WCM vendors position themselves and draw your own picture based on the messaging we hear from them:
Alterian has email marketing, web behavior analytics, social media marketing, social media engagement, social media monitoring and sentiment analysis capabilities to offer with its Alterian SM2 product.
Autonomy Interwoven is focusing on Meaning Based Marketing. Using Autonomy’s IDOL server, their products are able to extract meaning from various content types to help marketers improve customer experience. Web CMS comes with integrated multi-variate testing (MVT), email management, analytics and a multichanel optimization module.
CoreMedia proclaims itself as a “Complete Communications Suite” that allows for a combination of Web CMS, social software and CoreMedia Adaptive Products offering adaptive personalization and delivery, mobile optimization, cross-channel interactions.
Day Software’s CQ 5.3 Web CMS comes armed with personalized content delivery, campaign targeting, customer targeting and segmentation, campaign measurement, content optimization capabilities, and support for A/B and MVT testing.
Ektron provides social media management, integrated web analytics with Google Analytics, MVT in the PageBuilder, content optimization, etc. — as part of the latest release of CMS400.NET v8 Web CMS.
EPiServer’s Marketing Arena came out in 2009, focusing on the “new era of the engaged web,” with WEM features like landing page management, digital visibility management, campaign monitoring and optimization, SEO support, personalization and prospecting.
FatWire’s WEM proposition — Web Experience Management Framework — is based on modules for UGC and interaction (Community Server), content targeting (Engage) and content optimization (Analytics) connected to FatWire Content Server (the CMS part).
Open Text Web Solutions is a combination of Vignette and RedDot and has a number of WEM-related products and features. The Vignette Community Applications is now part of Open Text’s Social Media offering (note that OTEX also has its own Social Media product) with community management, social interaction and collaborative communication features. There’s also Vignette Experience Optimization that includes a recommendation engine, analytics, and delivery of personalized and multi-channel content.
SDL Tridion’s WEM proposition comes under the umbrella of the Unified Online Marketing Suite that includes audience management, email and multi-channel, multi-lingual campaign management, personalization and profiling, and E-commerce with the recent acquisition of Fredhopper.
Sitecore has a product called Sitecore Online Marketing Suite that claims to provide WEM functionalities like visitor experience analytics, real-time personalization, landing page optimization, campaign management, etc..
WEM Needs WCM (And Vice Versa)
If your Web CMS doesn’t have WEM capabilities, it’s stuck in the Netscape era. With that said, you don’t necessarily have to buy WCM and WEM functionalities from the same place. Some vendors offer both, some — only Web CMS. But there are third-party tools that can be (or should be able to be) integrated with your Web Content Management System.
It may be difficult to find a Web CMS that offers a complete set of WEM functionalities that you need to achieve your goals, but a sound engagement strategy comes first. What are your goals? What are the objectives? What are you trying to achieve? Most number of likes? Selling more products? Increased customer loyalty? Word-of-mouth marketing opps?
Mere mention of such WEM buzzwords as online marketing, social analytics, web engagement and eCommerce in a marketing brochure authored by a CMS vendor you’re considering may not guarantee it’s a fit for your goals.
When looking at particular features of a WEM-friendly Web CMS, ask vendors to show you how their features will help you get where you want to be. Knowing your goals and being familiar with your WEM strategy will help you help the vendors on your short list – in the end though, benefiting you with the closest match of technologies for your strategy.