Web CMS, Web Content Management

WEM Market: WCM + Ricotta

No ricotta pictured, but there’s La Tur and manchego

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.

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.

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.