[Webinar Recap] How To Build a Microsite in 30 Minutes – No Coding Required

Missed our webinar? Don’t sweat it. View the recording of our presentation and find out how you can build a microsite that will be easy to set up and engage your site visitors.

Marketers recognize the value of focusing on specific campaign goals. A microsite is one way to do this effectively. For many companies, finding the right platform to set up easily, engage, and update without the help of the IT department can present a challenge.

This webinar gives you precise step-by-step instructions on how to create a microsite and where to start. You can watch the full recording below — we also included a link to a non-audio version of the presentation on SlideShare. And, as a result of this popular webinar, we had questions come in, and we have answered them below. Enjoy!

Watch The Full Webinar:

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Video: How to Build a Microsite in 30 Minutes – No Coding Required

Check Out On SlideShare Here:

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How to Build a Microsite in 30 Minutes – No Coding Required from Craftersoftware.com

Questions that came in after the webinar:

1.  Can a microsite help to boost SEO?

Yes, employing a microsite will boost your brand’s overall SEO ranking and will allow new site visitors to find your business online. Visitors, who are unfamiliar with your enterprise, may discover the microsite through organic search, referral links, and social media. Including a logo and linking back to the parent website invites visitors to learn more.

2.  What types of content are supported (video, .pdf, audio files, XML and binary downloads)

Crafter CMS supports all types of content and can be integrated with any media player.

3.  Does Crafter CMS offer language translation for a microsite? What languages are supported?

Yes, the Crafter CMS platform supports language translation and workflow. Crafter CMS integrates seamlessly with most translation platforms and supports all languages worldwide.

4.  As a marketer, what are the biggest benefits of implementing a Crafter CMS microsite?

Since microsites can be deployed swiftly and cost-effectively, they represent a way to test multiple campaigns. The marketer can use targeted, personalized content and then use analytics to measure market engagement. Also, microsites can offer marketing teams the freedom to experiment without the restrictions that may exist on the primary website. By giving the marketing team this freedom to quickly run multiple campaigns, the enterprise may uncover new best practices and generate more sales opportunities, allowing your company to compete with other brands for the attention of site visitors.

More questions, comments or concerns? Let us know in the comments section.

Like more information about the webinar or Crafter CMS? Email us at info@craftersoftware.com.

 

34 Reasons Why You Should be Using Video Marketing

The latest trend in digital marketing is favoring video. Perhaps you’ve noticed – it’s nearly impossible to be online these days without experiencing some form of video marketing. The following are just a few statistics that may just be enough to convince your marketing team to start more video projects.

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Volume Statistics for Video Marketing

  • Almost one-third of total internet users are on YouTube (that’s over a billion!).
  • 45% of internet users watch at least an hour of videos a week on YouTube and Facebook.
  • YouTube viewers watch over 500 million hours of videos daily.
  • Approximately 82% of Twitter users watch video content on that platform.
  • More videos have been uploaded in the last 30 days than in the last 30 years on all major U.S. television networks.
  • A whopping 87% of online marketers use video content as their preferred platform.
  • Every 60 seconds approximately 72 Hours of video are uploaded to YouTube.
  • A third of all online activity is spent viewing videos.
  • Nearly 85% of users in the US watch videos online.
  • Millennials watch the most videos online.
  • Men spend 40% more time watching videos on the internet than women.

Mobile Video Marketing Statistics

  • Mobile video is so popular that over half of the video content is viewed on smartphones or tablets.
  • Mobile video viewers love to share with 92% sharing their videos after watching.
  • Twitter users watch 90% of Twitter video views on a mobile device.
  • More than 200 million broadcasts have been created by Periscope users.
  • Each day over 10 million videos are watched on Snapchat.

Video Marketing Engagement Statistics

  • Proof of its extreme popularity, 51% of global marketing professionals say video is their preference and offers the best ROI.
  • Marketers using video grow revenue over 49% faster than those who don’t utilize video.
  • It’s all about speed! If video and text are on the same topic, 59% of executives agree they are more likely to choose video.
  • Forget text and images; social video generates 1200% more shares than those combined!
  • There’s a 157% increase from video in organic traffic from SERPs.
  • To get the most engagement go for videos up to 2 minutes long.
  • Say what? Over 85% of Facebook videos are viewed muted.
  • If you want to increase conversions by 80% or more, throw a video on your landing page.
  • Facebook videos have a higher reach by tenfold compared to YouTube links.
  • On average, the CVR for websites with video is 4.8%, in contrast to 2.9% for those that don’t.
  • A landing page video makes it 53% more likely to show up on page 1 of the SERP.
  • After viewing an ad, 46% of viewers act.
  • An email with a video gets an increase of 96% click-through rate
  • Video attracts as much as three times more monthly visitors.
  • To attract three times more inbound links to blog posts, start incorporating video.
  • To boost engagement by 22%, combine video with full-page ads.

Fun Video Marketing Facts

  • If you want your viewers to retain a message, give it to them in a video! Statistics show 95% more retention versus 10% when read in text.
  • By 2019, traffic from internet video will account for 80% of all consumer Internet traffic.
  • Websites with video get 88% more of a viewer’s time.

Want to increase your marketing with video coverage? Thinking about a new strategy for 2018? Let Crafter Software get you the views you want – Shot us an email today!

3 Examples of Engaging Digital Experiences (and What They Can Teach Us)

What if I told you that your company could meaningfully engage more customers and grow your brand by offering more compelling digital experiences? Countless companies go through the motions of creating a digital user experience that never connects with individuals. Even big-budget, mainstream brands often stumble — no matter how many experts they use or how many different strategies they implement.

Consider this:

Building a seamless user experience can be simple!

Just let that sink in for a minute.

As you’re about to discover, technology and the ability to solve customers’ problems are far greater than any ineffective expert or strategy. Your company can connect with site visitors today by creating a helpful user experience. The best part is, once you learn how these companies understand their customer needs by examining real-world examples, you’ll be motivated to start.

Here are inspiring examples of brands that have created thriving interactive environments in the digital world.

1) Papa John’s Online Ordering App

The cutthroat U.S. restaurant industry is aggressive about technology because restaurants need to be competitive. Papa John’s understands that people rely more on their devices to buy food and they need to make it simple for customers to order and pay for their food.

So, how is a Papa John’s competing against well-known brands like Dominos?

One prime example of this is Papa John’s implementing an app on Apple TV. A pizza industry first!

The company noticed new ordering opportunities were happening all the time, especially with people streaming movies and binge-watching TV shows. Taking advantage of this opening, Papa John’s created an easy-to-use app. Now you don’t even need to reach for your phone; you can navigate to the app on your TV and create your next pizza order.

Why is the app so convenient?

It all comes down to the right location and features. Not only does the app allow consumers to customize all orders as well as storing past orders, payment, and delivery information, but it meets the customers where they are and the devices they are using, limiting the possibility of another choice coming into play by picking up another device.

papa-johns-apple-tvSource: brandchannel

60% of Papa John’s orders are made through digital channels, from desktops, mobile, to native apps. Digital ordering is one of the biggest battlegrounds in the pizza industry, and Papa John’s is staying ahead of the competition by finding new ways to connect with customers on preferred devices and creating an easy user experience.

What can you learn?

The most significant takeaway is looking at where your customers are located. Are they in an office setting? Do they love the outdoors or maybe prefer their homes? Think of original ways to create a digital experience related to that environment. Then, take it a step further – examine hobbies, professions and other interests related to your company. Have the goal of creating personas to help you better target your message to that audience, and you will see more engagement with your offerings.

2) PGA Tour Mobile App

The effort to use technology to bring fans closer to live events is vital to engage fans – and stakeholders are taking notice. The PGA Tour is looking at the new ways fans are consuming sports, mainly with live golf events – they aim to present an immersive fan experience across all platforms.

So how is this possible?

There are several strategies the PGA Tour uses to engage fans across multiple platforms – including live coverage, 3D radar tracking, on-course content, social media streaming, and 360-degree videos. The efficient way fans receive golf highlights is through this popular mobile app.

Why people love it?

Foremost, individuals like the functionality of the digital experience app. You can navigate to get news and live updates during a tournament, and receive up-to-date stats in real time. Plus, the app has a clean interface, which helps with the overall experience.

pga-courseSource: App store


Here’s what this app teaches you.

It’s important to be accessible to your customers by delivering real-time content through different devices. If you don’t, they will find another digital destination that can meet their needs, and mobile usage is only expected to increase. Once customers receive the content, it needs to be useful and appealing. Achieve this by having the right technology in place with the ability to create useful information and an engaging user experience.

3) AppNexus Website Experience

AppNexus is a powerhouse of a company you might not know about; it is a big ad technology company slated to be a potential challenger to Google and Facebook in online advertising. That said, it has to compel site visitors to connect and learn more about them and its technology solutions.

Here’s how it works.

Have you ever visited a website and thought, “What do they do?” or “This content doesn’t relate to me.” If you’re nodding your head yes, then you are not alone. AppNexus solves this issue right away, on the homepage and in the main header.

Let’s look together. Notice Image 1 at the top provides a company description and includes a call to action.

Image 1

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Source: AppNexus

Next, it talks about video technology and has two call-to-action buttons. It’s brilliant in its simplicity because it has a clear message and targets primary consumers. The same can be said for the example demonstrated in Image 2, but with a different product promotion.

Image 2

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The fourth rotating image (seen in Image 3) describes how to add value to an offered solution and a place to navigate to learn more. This carries over to the next image, before sliding back to the first image.

Image 3

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The AppNexus website creates an interactive and engaging digital experience in less than 30 seconds flat! With a well-thought-out plan on content, AppNexus was able to carry out a responsive and clear theme. The straightforward calls to action help to guide site visitors. Even if you’re not a prospective client, you understand the company, its offerings, and how to access relevant information.

The end result is a company that can sustain and gain new clients like Wayfair, Fox News, ESPN, and Bloomberg, by providing competitive solutions and designing a digital user experience that addresses the needs of each company’s clients.

How can you improve from this example?

When it comes to your website, are you telling customers what you’re offering and who you are (in 30 seconds or less)? If the answer is no, here is how you can fix it. Examine your message and let others that are not in the industry do the same and give feedback. It can help by taking a step back, getting advice, and taking action. I once had a painting instructor say, “Stop painting and walk across the room and look at the piece, then come back to it.” It’s perfect advice because just like in art, in business, we can be so involved it’s hard to see from a fresh perspective – such as that of a site visitor.

Outside of the companies and digital experiences shared, what other ideas you might have that produce appealing user experiences? Leave a comment below to let us know and help someone else develop a more meaningful user experience.

Curious about the how the right technology could help you create innovative user experiences? Contact info@craftersoftware.com and learn more about Crafter CMS.

Death to Legacy CMS platforms: How XMS Solutions are Transforming the Future

Have you ever seen the movie Office Space where the fax machine doesn’t work? Every day, the office workers struggle to use it, especially one certain employee, until he decides that enough is enough and ultimately kills it (with the help of his equally frustrated colleagues).

crafter-cms-xms-blog-postsource: PopKey

I think we can all relate to wanting to drop-kick outdated technology.

One such technology is a traditional content management system, invented in the late ’90s to manage pages and components on a website. However, that existing technology is no longer relevant to the digital experiences that exist today. Because digital experiences are more than just websites—now we have mobile apps, e-commerce front-ends, virtual and augmented reality, customer portals, kiosks, and hotel room touch screens to name a few. The list of use cases is extensive, and we’ve only touched on a few examples here.

If legacy content management systems are no longer working, should we get rid of them? In short, Yes!

The Solution

The best replacement for a legacy CMS platform is an experience management system: A solution built around an entirely new architecture, enabling the agile development of digital experiences that are not only driven by content, but also optimized with data, maintained by DevOps, and uniquely tailored to business users’ needs. There are many reasons why we recommend an experience management system (XMS) platform.

Let’s break down why enterprises need an XMS solution.

Easy to use for everyone – Business users, content creators, software developers, and system operations can all work easily to create, manage, optimize, and deliver experiences. Great experiences are designed, built, and delivered by a multidisciplinary team that needs to be able to work together seamlessly while leveraging specialized skills and tools.

Experiences not just pages and components – New data and channels are a welcome addition to XMS platforms at any time. An XMS platform doesn’t bake in assumptions about how and where experiences will be delivered or what data will be required or produced.

Journeys vs. interactions – An experience is a journey rather than an interaction. Customers and users expect each interaction to leverage previous communications. An example of this is you visit your favorite shoe retailer’s website looking for a pair of shoes. Next time you visit them from your mobile, you notice that the site shows you the shoes you were looking at and also what other products other people who previously bought the product were interested in, with the goal of matching your style and attracting your interest.

Personal over generic information – Legacy CMS platforms create lackluster experiences that will be increasingly ignored by users. Great experiences are relevant, and relevance drives value, which translates into increasing brand loyalty and revenue for enterprises.

Simplicity in architecture NOT complexity – Let’s face it: we want simple technology, but not too simple, where the solution doesn’t meet the functionality that we need. Simplicity comes from the separation of concerns and great architecture rather than from the presence of specific technologies and vendors.

Distribution out performs centralization – Experiences today exist anywhere and everywhere. Long gone are the days of the clean, segregated worlds of the physical and digital. Experiences are delivered anywhere, at any time, and across the digital-physical divide. Experiences need to build off each other through different channels and platforms. The benefit of distribution is having a very stable solution, and once the necessary infrastructure is in place, evolution is tremendous.

Loose coupling over tight coupling – Technical architecture matters and ultimately defines the limits of what is possible. Loose coupling is achieved by a design that promotes single responsibility and the separation of concerns, unlike tight coupling, which can have too many responsibilities. Today’s challenges demand architectural solutions capable of addressing concerns including performance at scale, complex security, heavy data warehousing, processing and transfer, audibility, and ease of creation.

Ability to easily integrate is important – The technology that you use needs to be able to integrate with existing technology. An advantage of software integration is processes across your company become streamlined, allowing for tasks to be automated which increases your ROI. Plus, user-driven innovation flourishes with integration because process changes can be implemented quickly and different users need to be able to apply their expertise to tailor processes and applications in a way that improves performance.

Lightweight software as opposed to heavy – One size fits all is a fallacy, and each organization has its own unique needs, existing skill sets, and back ends. A software solution with a focus on ease of integration and maintainable customization trumps all-in-one solutions.

Open source software is the most modern solution – Openness is key to innovation on any scale. While proprietary solutions may be able to deliver in the short-term, it is openness, open standards, and interoperability that do more in the long run. Open source fosters innovation by allowing the source code to be transparent to developers who can improve and make fixes to the software while building an active community of people who are powering the most up-to-date and greatest software.

Think of open source as a way of life:

“It also means committing to playing an active role in improving the world, which is possible only when everyone has access to the way that world is designed.

The world is full of “source code”—blueprints, recipes, rules—that guide and shape the way we think and act in it. We believe this underlying code (whatever its form) should be open, accessible, and shared—so many people can have a hand in altering it for the better.”

source: opensource.com

Content management systems built decades ago can no longer keep up with the explosion of technology and the way we communicate. Companies need to be able to connect on every channel and digital device with targeted information.

So, the next time you’re frustrated with your legacy CMS platform and are ready to kick it to the curb. Consider upgrading your solution to an XMS. This will save your company valuable resources and maybe, just maybe, even your sanity when out-dated technology stops working.

In need of an experience management system platform? Contact Crafter Software at info@craftersoftware.com for more details.

Create Your Company’s Best Digital Future with a CMS

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In most cases, when companies set up their websites, they really don’t think beyond simply having an online presence. However, there is so much more to consider such as the mobile capacity of their site. Can a customer easily access the site from their phone or is it only meant for desktops? What about the hundreds of Google algorithms that power their search engine? These factors absolutely must be considered along with the best CMS (content management system) for the business. When setting up your business, asking yourself the following questions is a good place to start:

Will my company’s site give a premium customer experience on desktop as well as mobile?
We live in a mobile-first world. So much so, in fact, that according to Gartner, ecommerce-driven mobile revenue will increase by 50% next year alone. For that reason, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) and mobile first indexing is becoming the main strategy for Google. In order for your business to keep up and offer a seamless experience from desktop to mobile, a quality CMS is key. Remember you only need one URL for all versions in order to keep in line with Google’s recommended best practice, URL architecture, and of course, keeping the site customer-friendly.

How do I get users to click my link first?
The better the meta description and title, the more likely a user will click on the link for your company instead of a competitors.  Unfortunately, it’s duplicated or missing titles and meta descriptions showing up in Google’s search for your company that often stand in the way of whether or not users choose your link. Luckily, this is easily resolved with a good content management system that allows you to change them quickly as well as check for missing ones.

Is my content reusable?
This is where it gets tricky. Many websites have content in multiple places simply because it is necessary. From blog posts to product descriptions, it’s not unusual for content to arise in more than one place on any given website. Yet when it comes to Google, these pages of duplicated content make it difficult for the search engines to know which option to show users. The good news is this will not affect your Google ranking, it simply just makes it harder for Google to crawl your website for highest value content. Again, a good CMS can easily take care of this for your company and make it much easier to manage and tag your content.

Is it possible to optimize my URLs for multiple languages?
In general, a website is done in one language. However, if you’re looking for multiple language options for your site, consider the use of subdirectories with generic top-level domains (gTLDs). A good content management system can easily set this up without requiring much maintenance.

Can I style my page for both Google and the human user?
Yes, this is possible with a good CMS. A good CMS will give you multiple options while allowing you to style your text with tags, even without knowledge of HTML or CSS. Remember, use your most important keyword in your URL, H1 tag, first line of text and, if you can, the alt tag.

Can my content be optimized for social media?
Again, this is tricky. Often, companies find that social media platforms won’t recognize a website’s headline or image, and then posts something completely different. It’s not what you want, and it’s certainly not enticing enough for users to click on. To avoid this, you’ll have to mark p your content using Open Graph for Facebook and Twitter cards. If this sounds daunting, it is, well, if you’re doing it manually. Yet, a good content management system can easily take the stress off your hands and do it automatically. The content is marked up so it looks great and can be easily shared.

As you can see, choosing a content management system is practically a no-brainer. Having a user-friendly and search engine friendly website is one of the best ways to ensure that your content will get noticed. A good CMS gives you the ability to produce superior content while also being readily available to the millions of people searching on the World Wide Web.

How Your Web CMS Should Enable a Digital Experience

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Web content management is no longer about managing pages on a website; instead, it’s now at the center of where marketing activities and customer engagement is carried out. Once holding a focus on publishing and management of web content, marketers can now expect CMSs to improve the development and management of entire digital customer experiences. Digital experiences that are driven by content, optimized with data, and delivered across all online channels. Additionally, a modern web CMS will utilize and manage data from CRM, ERP and other applications to deliver unique, personalized experiences.

Consumers expect a seamless digital experience. The following are just a few of the ways your web CMS should be helping to make this a possibility:

Personalized Digital Experiences

Modern CMSs are making it easier than ever for small businesses to go beyond personalized emails to engage customers. They are able to design and content elements across websites, portals, mobile apps and more, create various user personas or user segments, display targeted and contextual content to these different user segments, and personalize the design on the basis of various criteria that has proven to work via analytics. Although it delivers profoundly better results, it is still by no means “easy.” Marketing managers still have their work cut out for them as they test and iterate working with CTOs to outline the depth of personalization while creating a map content to specific user groups and scenarios.

Multi-Channel

Instead of multiple marketing teams taking on efforts to globally promote an array of products and services on a single website, this should be done across various digital properties – microsites, mobile apps, social media, augmented and virtual reality, and more. A modern CMS natively supports an API-first approach to content management that enables multi-channel content authoring, publishing and delivery. Additionally, complete separation of presentation from content and data, and support for any type of UI development framework, combined simplify the task of delivering a wide variety of digital experiences across multiple platforms.

Data-driven

Everything a customer does on your web properties yields insights. This data can then be used to optimize the customer experience.  Because of this, you’ll want to look for CMSs equipped with full support for A/B testing, customer journey tracking, customer engagement analysis, predictions and recommendations, goal tracking, campaign tracking and other actions related to analyzing customer data. It’s in your best interest to go above and beyond and use CMS that offers intuitive backend interfaces with integrated BI insights along with the administrative capability to take swift actions on these insights by just a few clicks.

Ease of Integration

Your customers view your digital experiences as one entity. Because of this, if you do not integrate with siloed platforms like CRM, Portals, BI, analytics and other key systems and applications, then you’re just spinning your wheels. Your goal of reaching a 360-degree customer view will be in vain.

Modern CMSs enable easy integration by offering out-of-the-box connectors for major CRMs, search platforms, e-commerce, language translation, databases, publishing platforms, analytics, etc. Additionally, you need to be able to easily integrate with existing systems and web applications through APIs.

Next Steps

It is necessary for every company or organization to identify their own unique challenges, marketing objectives as well as their desired business outcomes, goals and expectations. This should be done prior to beginning the journey of selecting and implementing a web CMS. The key is knowing how to use your choice of tools. If you have any questions about how a modern web CMS can support your enterprise’s digital experience, drop us a line at Crafter. One of our professionals will be happy to discuss a solution with you.

7 Web Content Management Predictions for 2017

2016 is squarely in the rearview mirror and we’re off to the races with 2017.  Digital experiences for customers and employees continue to be a top priority for most organizations.  Let’s look at some of our predictions for the coming year.

#1. WCM Migration to the cloud will continue en masse

There’s not much we need to say here, today, 93% of organizations with one thousand (1000) or more employees have at least one IT solution in private and public clouds.  WCM in the cloud has been growing steadily and will continue at an accelerated rate for the next several years.  Today’s WCM vendors need to provide the full range of deployment options from on premise, public and private hosting to Software as a Service. Security and integration continue to be a concern for customers and a limiting factors for some vendors.

#2. Augmented and virtual reality will become mainstream digital channels

Every year we see new channels emerge. The last two years of technical advances and product marketing have brought augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) channels and use cases out of niche territory and into a the public consciousness.  Organizations of all sizes are waking up to the value of these technologies for a wide range of use cases including marketing, training, education, sales aids, gaming, along with many other inclusive, immersive experiences.  In 2017 we’ll see innovative CMS technologies offer the ability to manage and deliver VR and AR content and applications.

#3. The geo-political climate will drive data hosting and security requirements around Personally Identifiable Information (PII) & other personal data

Data security has been a hot topic for a long time but today’s political climate will drive the issue even harder. From on-soil data rules to network security requirements, you can expect much more regulation over the next several years.  The ability to store and retrieve your customer data in/from a distributed, global infrastructure with the proper application and network security capabilities is going to be more important than ever that leverage customer data as a strategic asset.

#4. Beacon / IoT technology is a key component part of delivering digital/physical experiences

The Internet of Things IoT is here to stay. From thermostats, light switches and refrigerators to automobiles, everything is going on-line. The public is becoming more and more comfortable using their mobile device as a way to interact with and control their physical space. Furthermore, beacon, technology is taking hold.  While the previous examples above illustrate your mobile devices and laptops initiating a conversation with an online resource, beacon technology allows the resource to initiate the conversations enabling a much more interactive and reactive experience.  We can expect to see more and more digital / physical convergence built out using beacon technology this year.

#5. Developers and tech ninjas will be key in crafting experiences and will demand agility and process at parity with other kinds of software development.

WCM is often intended as technology to assist non-technical users in the creation of digital experiences.  On the other side of the coin are the developers who extend the CMS to enable the authors and experiences.  Developers have been underserved by the CMS market with often difficult technology and a host of proprietary frameworks.  Given that the experiences we are creating today are more sophisticated than ever, many WCM vendors can expect a backlash from developers.  A WCM in 2017 and going forward needs to be as good for developers and systems/operation teams as it is for authors.  Developers will demand integration with their tools and process if they are going to be able to keep up with the demands they face.

#6. Multi-channel expansion will drive architectures like micro services, CaaS and component based experience.

Like predication #5, we can see that growth and innovation is not only placing demands on WCM vendors for features but it’s driving architecture.  How your CMS is built defines what it can do.  Not all CMS architectures are created equal or have the same amount of flexibility and runway for innovation.  Scale, performance and topology challenges will drive the need for more decoupled, highly scalable architectures that can support both push and pull publishing along with global/remote deployments.  Support for Micro Service architectures, Content as a Service (CaaS) and experience as a service are a must going forward.

#7. Best of breed and integration approach will gain traction all-in-one suites

The pendulum swings one way and then it swings back.  Many large organizations have invested heavily in suite based WCM solutions that are inclusive of a wide array of marketing automation and marketing insight.  Those investments have not panned out for a variety of cost, capability, human resourcing, agility and architectural reasons. Throughout 2016 we saw analysts and organizations waking up to the fact that putting all of your eggs in one vendor basket is dangerous and limiting.  2017 will show much more leverage of best of breed approaches that integrate technologies rather betting on a single vendor.

 

What’s Coming in Crafter CMS 2.5.2

If have been watching our open source Crafter CMS project on GitHub you know we’re just about to release Crafter CMS 2.5.2.  This release of Crafter delivers a number of exciting features as well as small enhancements and bug fixes that are sure to help your team create and deliver more engaging digital experiences! Here is a quick summary of what’s new:

version-diffVersion Display and Version “Diff”

Authors can now easily see the content of previous versions and visually compare or “Diff” two different versions without reverting the content!

crafter-marketplaceCrafter App Store

Implementing Crafter sites just got A WHOLE LOT EASIER!  We’ve added a Crafter App store where you can now download and install plug-ins for Crafter Studio, Crafter Engine and other Crafter components.

deps-in-dialogsSee Calculated Dependancies in Workflow and Publishing Dialogs

Crafter Studio has always calculated dependencies for authors to help make copies, moves, deletes and publishing simple.  Now authors can easily see what dependencies have been calculated.

Additional Updates of Note:

  • Crafter Studio notice on network/connectivity rather than sign out
  • Usability in content type editor
    - Warn user if they save content type with no template
    - Make it easier to get to general content type properties
    - Look and feel/usability improvements
  • Improved Browse for content in Crafter Studio
  • Timezone selection
  • May other small enhancements and bug fixes
  • All documentation moved to Github and Sphinx
  • Project issue tracking moved to Github issues

Crafter is the award-winning Web content and experience management solution that allows leading enterprises to build personalized digital experiences across all online channels. To learn more about the open source Crafter CMS project, connect with our community and download Crafter CMS here.

The Enterprise Edition of Crafter CMS, which includes commercial licenses, production support, cloud offerings and integration services, is available through Crafter Software and its certified partner network.

Why It’s Time to Select a Headless and Content-as-a-Service CMS

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Believe it or not, your enterprise will soon need to move beyond the web. In fact, some companies have already made the move. So, what is stopping your enterprise from moving forward? Richard Jones, perhaps most known for his work as the technical director of Inviga, a London-based tech company specializing in content management systems, e-commerce and digital innovation recently spoke at a tech conference and offered his thoughts on the emergence of Content-as-a-Service (CaaS) and just how much it affects the creation of content. At the conference, Jones detailed how CaaS can be positioned as the digital hub of any given enterprise. Yes, even yours. But to add perspective to how to adopt CaaS and Headless CMS, it’s important to have a clearer understanding of what they are exactly. The following explanations should do just that.

Understanding CaaS and Headless CMS
CaaS refers to a use case in which the content on the web is created and written separately from the place it will be used. Its objective is that it will be consumed by a wide range of digital channels such as mobile apps, websites, social networks, virtual reality experiences, among others.

CaaS is only supported by certain, modern content management systems that provides robust APIs on the back-end. It is a component of a headless CMS. Unlike the original concept of a CMS, there is less concern about how the content will be delivered through a website’s pages, it has the single goal of providing content creators the tools to enhance their workflow to a point where content is ready to be consumed in any of a number of CaaS use cases.

Focused Content Creation
Irrespective of the technology they use, enterprises of all industries need to properly address and have a good understanding of their audience.  Not knowing the consumer is one of the biggest challenges, if not the biggest challenge for content creators. Additionally, the problem will only worsen as the Internet of Things (IoT) only gets even more embedded into the enterprise.

CaaS can enable the process of content creation for countless applications and devices. This means the content can be shaped accordingly to those likely to consume it. However, customer behavior is constantly changing – much faster than the ability of content developers have to keep up. Because of this, content creators are struggling to meet the needs of customers. There is a huge need to be innovative with the ways content is being brought to the consumer. But the questions remain, how do we present this data out to any given device? What are the possibilities and how might they change?

The Need for a Modern CMS
Organizations need CMS platforms that help them go beyond traditional static page thinking, the truth is, content creators need to think beyond pages, too.

Fueled by Mobile Apps, IoT, Virtual Reality, and other future digital channels, enterprises no longer have a choice — they must move forward despite their struggles with managing effective web presences and their natural reluctance to go beyond the web.  The sooner they make a change to a modern CMS, the better. The change is too dynamic to stop, and enterprises must jump on the bandwagon now to stay relevant and competitive.

To learn how Crafter CMS supports Content-as-a-Service and can prepare your organization for the digital future, contact us today.

Three Customer Experience Stats You Should Know

Young businesswoman using phone in coffee shop
As an enterprise, you’re very familiar with the calls to deliver the right content to the right people at the right time to best optimize the customer experience. You can credit the focus and investment in digital customer experience to crowd-sourced company and product reviews, numerous forms of social media, and savvy customers connected to companies and their competitors through a variety of digital platforms.

Read on for three important statistics that highlight the opportunities for successful customer experience, along with best practices and tips on how to address them.

1) Loyal customers are seven times as likely to test an offering, five times as likely to buy again, and four times as likely to refer. (Source)

Knowing your audience’s personal preferences and needs goes beyond understanding what products or services they are interested in and the money they’re willing to spend. This understanding of individual preferences is about analyzing behaviors and tendencies—even as they shift over time—to present the most relevant and compelling messages, content, and offerings. Also, leading enterprises are listening to consumers, and they understand what they will get in return for satisfying consumers’ demands.

A modern CMS platform, which serves as the centerpiece of any digital customer experience strategy, can help by converting that insight into action and by offering the right digital experiences in a way that resonates with site visitors each and every time, and collects relevant feedback that reinforces customer loyalty.

2) 94% of companies see “higher engagement and conversion rates” as benefits of a commitment to customer experience (Source)

Consumers have shown their willingness to invest more in the enterprises who deliver a customer experience that matches their expectations. Why do site visitors reward these companies so generously? It’s because they recognize the value of doing business with an enterprise that has taken the time to learn who they are and what they want and created a digital experience that delivers without fail across all devices and channels.

3) By 2017, 89% of marketers expect customer experience to be their primary differentiator. (Source)

Marketers are on the front lines when it comes to engaging customers, and they see how important it is to create appealing digital experiences. Everywhere you look, enterprises are vying for your attention; and once they have it, they strive to keep you coming back for more. As different digital platforms emerge, it will get even tougher to stand out from the pack and keep brand loyalty steady. That is why some of the most successful enterprises use personalization to engage site visitors.

So how do they provide this level of attention? Only with a modern CMS platform, built from the ground up to deliver high-performance personalized experiences, that enables marketers to target specific audiences and deliver compelling experiences that authentically connects with customers and ensures brand satisfaction.

Clearly, enterprises that can answer the call to not only meet but exceed the customer experience stand to win big. Simply put, both short- and long-term profits and brand loyalty are at stake. But providing great customer experience requires work. In fact, to get customer experience right, you must have the right technology in place. Explore our white paper: Building and Optimizing Multi-Channel Web-Experiences to learn about the most modern technology available to you to better engage your customers. Download it today and discover how to deliver modern digital experiences that today’s site visitors expect.