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The Headless CMS: A Marketer's Secret Weapon

With new devices sprouting up all the time, marketers are losing touch with their customers. With a headless CMS, marketers can embrace any emerging touchpoint.

Legacy content management systems still have the lion’s share of the global CMS market—which is one reason why so many marketers struggle to meet modern customer expectations.

A seamless omnichannel experience is one such expectation. Customers want to shop, surf, and ask questions from their laptops, mobile devices, smart speakers, and smartwatches without interruption.

A 2018 study of the US online retail market shows that 64 percent of consumers are fine with retailers keeping purchase history and personal preferences if more personalization is offered, while 73 percent want order tracking across all their devices. Yet, just 7 percent of retailers currently offer “Start Anywhere, Finish Anywhere” experiences.

To meet these growing expectations, brands are looking to headless content management systems to serve content and experiences to the latest and most popular consumer touchpoints.

Headless CMS vs. traditional CMS: is your CMS fit for modern marketing warfare?

New devices may be emerging, but what does that have to do with leaving your existing CMS, and embracing a new one?

Traditional CMS platforms are built with desktop web browsers in mind. They help you construct web pages and e-commerce experiences that can be served through templates built for popular internet browsers like Google Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer.

But as you’ve seen, the modern digital landscape has broadened. Restricting your customer experience to web browsers and perhaps mobile applications simply isn’t enough in 2019, let alone 2020 and beyond.

A headless CMS, on the other hand, is sufficiently equipped to help you meet consumer expectations for personalized and omnichannel experiences on desktops, smartphones, smartwatches, kiosks, large screens at live events, and every touchpoint imaginable in between.

Unlike a traditional CMS, a headless CMS doesn’t dictate the presentation of your content. The front-end templates—also known as the “head”—are no longer present. This allows for your content to be created once, stored centrally, and distributed to any device or touchpoint, without restrictions.   

The secret of headless marketing: 6 ways a headless CMS makes marketers battle-ready

Now that we’ve clarified the difference between a traditional and a headless CMS, let’s look at how a headless CMS can help marketing teams reach new and existing customers beyond the web page.

Here are six things a marketer can do when armed with a headless CMS:

1. Conquer new channels (before your competitors)

As discussed, the IoT device explosion has already drastically changed consumer behavior, and it’s highly likely that the disruption will continue in 2019 and beyond, with more devices and evolving consumer demands.

A headless content management system enables marketers to push their content beyond web and mobile applications, to reach consumers on today’s exciting touchpoints, not yesterday’s.

2. Future-proof your arsenal of content

Adapting to today’s digital landscape is a current necessity, but preparing for tomorrow’s digital landscape will ensure your brand’s longevity.

While it’s difficult to predict what new device or channel the masses will embrace in the years to come, with a headless CMS technology, there’s no need to predict anything. A headless CMS uses the same technology to connect with any device or touchpoint on the market—as well as any future touchpoint that has yet to arrive.

3. Avoid duplication, achieve consistency

A headless CMS acts as a centralized content repository where marketers can collaborate on their omnichannel content strategy. That means all content, for all touchpoints, is created in the same place.

The content stored in a headless environment can be repurposed and reused for any channel or device, enabling marketers to create content once, and reuse it in a multitude of environments. Not only does this save countless work hours by eliminating duplication, it also helps to keep branding and messaging consistent across channels by breaking down the silos that disconnect marketing teams.

4. Reduce time to market

Managing multiple channels can get difficult, especially if you’re using different platforms to distribute content to each channel. With a headless CMS, your content is created, edited, stored, previewed, and published in the same place.

Further, your content can be re-published across channels, in varying presentation styles, without the need to re-create any content. As you can imagine, this unified architecture helps you launch omnichannel marketing campaigns at speed.

5. Be an innovator

With the influx of various IoT devices and sensors, a headless content management system enables marketers to experiment and explore different campaigns and initiatives.

For example, energy firm Innogy used Sitecore’s headless CMS to connect IoT sensors to internal analytics systems and to customer-facing mobile apps to give their customers real-time gas meter readings and personalized messaging.

6. Embrace martech freedom

A headless CMS doesn’t just seamlessly connect with any device, it can also easily connect with any third-party tool or software on the market.

Thus, marketers can connect and leverage their favorite tools, from marketing automation tools to CRMs to conversion optimization technologies. In other words, you can bid a belated farewell to vendor lock-in, and leverage the best-of-breed technologies for each dimension of your marketing campaign.

The secret’s out: it’s time to go headless

Consumers have already become accustomed to IoT devices and the benefits they bring to the table. As a result, the everyday consumer now spends their time across a broadening range of devices, dividing up their attention in the process.

Thus, brands with traditional content management systems, who focus solely on desktop and mobile app experiences, now find themselves in a vulnerable position. The answer—of course—is to expand into these new channels to keep in contact with the wandering consumer.  

Investing in multiple technologies is one option, but now that the headless CMS secret is out, it’s fair to say that creating, storing, and publishing content headlessly is the best solution.

Learn more about headless and join the headless marketing revolution.

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