In today's world of integrated communication through different channels and the universal demand of a frictionless customer experience (CX) IT architectures are shifting from monoliths to loosely coupled services. The demand of distributing an organizations content through different touchpoints rises, as marketers need more personalized content for more touchpoints in higher frequencies to fulfill the promise of a flawless CX.
Software architects need to adapt to those challenges by delivering not only a higher business value but also to manage costs and build future proof systems which are able to cope with new touchpoints and highly accelerated content production pipelines.
Traditionally, an Enterprise CMS forms the backbone of most marketing infrastructures. Webward facing, it deals with publishing content to HTML pages and does a decent job when content needs to be translated and rolled out on a web site. However, new touchpoints besides the web presence emerge rapidly but the content is mostly locked to the Web. But nowadays content demand comes from landing pages, AMP versions of web pages, apps, newsletter cycles and flights, ads and a fragmented landscape of devices ranging from POS infrastructure to watches. Even traditional corporate publishing is introduced to today’s marketing toolset with the same demand for fresh content.
All of these touchpoints are now hard to integrate with a traditional CMS due to its very nature as a system designed for building web pages. So, thinking of content as a service might be a solution to overcome this dilemma. To face these challenges and better integrate with the new marketing toolset and IT architecture a new breed of CMS emerged: The headless CMS.
A headless CMS, is a backend only CMS designed from ground up as an agnostic content repository that exposes content via an API for display on any device and touchpoint. From here, the leap to a full fledged enterprise content infrastructure is just a short one, but probably mission critical.
The introduction of content infrastructure is taking the idea of decoupling even one step further. This is achieved by introducing a truly presentation agnostic content model. This approach solves the problem that in traditional CMS systems content is organized around page-like structures which is not helpful when thinking in multi-device touchpoint delivery.
With content infrastructure, content can be distributed in very granular structures just right for the consuming touchpoint.The most prominent and powerful commercial headless CMS which supports content infrastructure out of the box is Contentful, which is used as a reference in this article.
But it’s not done with just fixing the pipelines. To deliver a compelling CX through all touchpoints several factors need to be considered.First, performance is a key factor to drive conversion and to improve CX over all touchpoints. Secondly, not being forced to reinvent the wheel every time a new requirement to deliver content is coming up, is mission critical.
Last but not least, leveraging a similar technology for all touchpoints for delivering content will help to speed up development and significantly lower time to market.
This is where AMP shines. AMP (originally an acronym for Accelerated Mobile Pages) is an open source web component framework and a website publishing technology emphasized by Google. AMP offers support for building websites, ads, interactive stories and for the creation of interactive emails in the near future. Also, it’s supported by Microsoft Bing and Twitter as cached content.
AMP is basically a collection of pre-build components which can be used as individually styled building blocks, will render blazingly fast and as a bonus will be pre-cached by Google’s CDN and other services like Twitter which support AMP. You can learn more about AMP at amp.dev.
The system landscape
Let’s take a closer look at the overall system landscape and all the systems which might be involved with a focus on our proposed marketing content pipeline.
In this sketch Contentful serves as the central provider and single source of truth for content distribution. Once content is published, the API can either notify other systems via a webhook (push) or serve the content on request (pull).
All 3rd party systems might access content via a common API, all business logic (e.g. filtering for content they might specifically need) is implemented on the consumer side.
With having an API driven system as the central part of the content pipeline, touchpoints can be integrated via a common API with keeping their own business logic. Adding and dropping touchpoints is easy, as all systems are loosely coupled and have zero dependencies on each other. Maintaining or upgrading of parts of the landscape is much easier compared to a monolith approach.
But the biggest plus here is that all touchpoints depend on a single source of truth. All content is managed and published in one system.
There is also no need to anticipate future requirements as new touchpoints can be added without integration efforts.
Overall, a quick time to market to connect a new touchpoint can be achieved with a modest effort. By implementing this stack, marketers and IT managers have a powerful toolset at hand to overcome the rapidly increasing challenge of coping with integration and maintaining a constantly growing device and touchpoint landscape.
Jung von Matt/TECH is a data-driven and technology focused boutique within the Jung von Matt group. Jung von Matt is — in terms of awards for both creativity and efficiency — the most successful advertising agency group in German-speaking countries.
The agency helps their clients and partners to be digital pioneers by using technology plus data to develop digital platforms, products and services that create momentum. Jung von Matt was founded in Hamburg in 1991 and today, 27 years later, acts as a non-listed corporation with agencies in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Poland, the Czech Republic and China. There are many big names amongst their list of customers such as adidas, BMW, Deutsche Post, DFB, Edeka, FAZ, innogy, MINI, Nikon, Nivea, Otto, Sixt, Sparkasse, tipico and Vodafone.
This post was originally published here.