Industry Insights

Hybrid Headless CMS for the Most Flexible Customer Experience

Michael Gerard

By Michael Gerard

May 5, 2020

The Content Management industry is evolving at a rapid pace with innovative new technologies being developed to help companies deliver engaging experiences that lead their customers to take action. This blog post is part of a series of discussions with industry influencers that highlights the value that hybrid and headless CMS technology offers, and examines trends that are shaping the industry.

Our guest today is Gary Eisenstein, President and Principal Analyst at CMSC Media. He has been working in the IT industry for over 27 years and, prior to founding CMS Connected, he was the founder and CEO of Falcon-Software Company. He can be reached on LinkedIn or via email at

The CMS-Connected blog states that hybrid CMS offers customers the best of both worlds – a headless CMS and a “head-on” CMS. Why do you feel that hybrid CMS technology delivers the best customer experience?

"The driving force in the IT industry over the last two decades has always been to evolve with business’s ever-growing technological needs, and in some instances, evolve ahead of them. Case in point, hybrid CMS architecture, which is considered by some as the emerging replacement for headless.

In the simplest of terms, a headless CMS manages content without a connected front-end or presentation layer. Instead, a content API is used to deliver content anywhere it’s needed. A hybrid CMS takes the headless concept to the next level by using a headless architecture with REST-ful Content API while offering deep integration with applications such as eCommerce, CRM, marketing, analytic systems, and IoT devices. There are always pros and cons with any new technology; still, it stands to reason that a hybrid CMS offers the most flexible customer experience — the best of both worlds. Additionally, hybrid CMSs are essential for companies looking for ways to reduce time-to-market and can work alongside an existing CMS without having to deal with a costly re-platforming project."

"The driving force in the IT industry over the last two decades has always been to evolve with business’s ever-growing technological needs, and in some instances, evolve ahead of them."

Gary Eisenstein, President and Principal Analyst at CMSC Media

How can companies manage so much customer data and still deliver personalized, content-driven experiences?

"Strategies for delivering personalized content-driven experiences may vary based on a CMS platform and other related tools, so it’s important to understand the different techniques one can utilize when deploying personalized customer experiences. There are two approaches to personalization — implicit and explicit:

  • Implicit personalization uses an algorithmic assumption of what content is most applicable through predictive techniques. The factors are not set directly by users. Instead, they’re gleaned using techniques like geolocation, mobile devices, and browsing history, thus, relying on data, cookies, and marketing technology.

  • Explicit personalization is a more pragmatic approach, relying on data that users have provided by completing a form or signing up for an account to create a set of specific personalization attributes to enhance the customer experience.

Organizations that are having the most success are those that are combining both implicit behavior and explicit preference techniques. The combination creates a superior customer experience that delivers the best content for each user over the correct device."

Salesforce states that “73% of customers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations. Therefore, AI-driven personalization needs to be at the heart of digital experiences to meet and exceed these expectations.” How does hybrid CMS connect with AI-driven personalization?

"We are already at the point where many B2C interactions are now capable of taking place without human interaction. Look no further than voice-enabled speakers or personal fitness trackers to appreciate that the applications for AI are extensive. One of the best examples of AI being used in a personalized experience application is Amazon’s Recommendation Engine, which refines vast sets of data to offer real-time, pin-pointed product recommendations based on a user’s purchase activity. As digital-savvy consumers’ expectations continue to grow, an individualized digital experience delivered in real-time is paramount. The next-generation hybrid CMSs will make the customer journey manageable. Using hybrid CMS technology allows marketers to efficiently deliver AI-driven personalized content to customers and design campaigns that lead customers to take action."

"We are already at the point where many B2C interactions are now capable of taking place without human interaction."

Gary Eisenstein, President and Principal Analyst at CMSC Media

Retail is a big industry for CMS technology, making it easier for business users to deliver experience-driven commerce. What can other vertical industries, such as manufacturing and financial services, learn from the B2C world about how to deliver better online customer experiences?

"Although it’s true that the B2C sector, in general, has always been at the forefront of innovation, the needle is changing rapidly as more and more B2B organizations undergo their digital transformation journey. B2B sales are a vital part of every industry’s supply chain, but B2B needs to take a page from the B2C playbook and create customer-centric experiences. B2C empowers consumers to get what they want when they want it through personalized customer experiences. As with the B2C sector, productive and mutually beneficial interaction with customers depends on B2B entities fully understanding their industry, their target market, and their end-user. Businesses prefer dealing with businesses that provide convenience, value-added services, and superior online customer experiences — consumer focus is transferable to all sectors and industry verticals. Personalized B2B interactions stand out in intensely competitive markets and strengthen customer relations."

Read this ebook to learn more about how hybrid headless CMS technology enables rapid and easy delivery of customer experiences and can help turn your customers into lifelong fans: Hybrid CMS: The Next Generation of the Headless CMS.

View original blog post: e-Spirit Blog

Michael Gerard

Michael Gerard

Based in Boston, Michael has over 20 years of marketing and sales experience in the technology industry, with 10 of those years having been at IDC managing their CMO and Sales Advisory Practices. Michael is responsible for leading the global marketing strategy for e-Spirit.

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