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The Experience Age: How Companies Must Adapt

Brent HeslopJul 10, 2020

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The internet began a new reality where, in a few keystrokes, you could learn about any historical event, instantly communicate with people around the world, and complete a monetary transaction to make you the proud owner of a pop-culture-themed Chia Pet in a matter of days.

Since the start of the information age, we’ve managed to digitize nearly every aspect of human experience, translating it into pictures, data, status updates, bios, and more. With the advent of the experience age, the focus on these individual parts may be coming to a close. In this new age, the sum of these parts is being used to build holistic digital experiences.

Here is what’s next and what it means for your businesses.

What Is The Experience Age?

MySpace (remember that?) was a touchstone of the information age where desktop devices ruled the day, and your status update was about all a brand knew about you. The first social media platforms served as a sort of landing page for our “digital selves.” We could post our favorite songs, share images, highlight our top friends, and tell the world what we were doing. The profile was the person

But in the experience age, consumers are no longer bound to or defined by one-dimensional digital profiles. Thanks to advancements in artificial intelligence, communication-based technology, the Internet of Things (IoT), and high-speed mobile connectivity, online interactions are more dynamic. Today the experience that a person has during their interaction with a brand is the product.


Here’s how the new experience age will impact the way companies interact with their audiences online.

How to Adapt Your Company to the Experience Age

With such a low barrier to entry, digitally native companies are flooding a variety of industries. Meanwhile, ease of access has given the consumer more control than ever before. These are just a couple of reasons businesses must prioritize experience if they want to compete.

Here’s how brands can create and evolve consumer experiences that survive and thrive in an increasingly advanced digital age.

Don’t Just Talk About Your Offerings — Show Them Off


Yahoo Finance found that some of the biggest tech companies have been growing their artificial intelligence (AI) knowledge and capabilities for years. Why? Because AI is the operating system behind some of the hottest consumer-facing experiences that software brands can get their hands on, such as Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). The AR and VR market is expected to reach over $800 billion by 2025, thanks to a shocking compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 63%.

It’s safe to say the future is all about connecting people with branded experiences rather than just organizing and displaying information on a static website page.

In many cases, this means relying on interactive versions of content in the form of live streams, 360 videos, chatbots, and virtual and augmented reality. AR enables users to place digital elements in whatever part of the real world they choose to point their screen. IKEA uses Apple’s ARKit development platform to enable AR so shoppers can see how certain furniture products will look in their homes before making a purchase.

If you’ve heard of Oculus Rift or Google Cardboard, you’re familiar with virtual reality. VR shuts out the real world altogether to completely immerse a consumer in an experience. Businesses can take advantage of native advertising inside VR experiences, develop VR-based marketing campaigns that give the consumer an all-new experience (like Samsung’s “A Moon for All Mankind” event). Companies like Matterport provide potential buyers personalized 3D tours before making bigger-ticket purchases like a real estate investment, and Lowe’s Hologram Experience helps buyers see what their house will look like after desired home improvements.

“We think AR, combined with AI, can be a killer combination of experiences unlike anything we’ve seen before.” — Abhay Parasnis, EVP and CTO at Adobe

Drive Personalized Experiences with Custom Content

The experience age isn’t just about creating experiences — it’s about better understanding who your audience is and what they want so that those experiences are engaging.

While retargeting and using big data are nothing new, the experience age will include fresh ways of gathering and implementing personal data to create highly-customized content experiences.

In a previous blog, we explored a “4-Step Roadmap to Achieving Hyper-Personalization” that included the following:

  • Gathering and utilizing consumer data with tools like social listening systems, website analytics, and a data management platform that brings it together
  • Creating the hyper-personalized content itself with the help of a CMS, CRM, and more
  • Distributing omnichannel content using an API-friendly CMS like Contentstack
  • Uniting your hyper-personalization strategy under one roof with a DXP


Hyper-personalization leverages consumer data, artificial intelligence (AI), and other modern technologies to help businesses deliver content-driven experiences that are super-relevant to individual consumers. And in 2020, half of all consumers will expect these kinds of experiences.

Deliver Immersive Content Experiences on Every Channel

Most modern marketers would agree that content creation isn’t as simple as throwing a bunch of trendy buzzwords into your CMS, hitting “publish,” and calling it a day. Modern marketing requires the creation of personalized content to the consumer, customized to the channel, and fresh to keep up with rising consumption rates (between 2001 and 2016, the average amount of time Americans spend in front of a computer grew 21%).

Considering that the average consumer is likely to interact with brands on as many as 15 different connected devices by 2030, the amount of branded content needed is frankly mind-boggling. The business rewards are often worth the effort.

Brands that invest in omnichannel engagement strategies have an average customer retention rate of 89% and see an average of 9.5% YoY revenue growth. How can you get in on this kind of omnichannel engagement? With a content management system (CMS) that was purpose-built for omnichannel distribution.

Enter headless CMS, the modern answer to the traditional, monolithic CMSs of the 1990s.

A monolithic CMS couples the content database (the backend or “body”) and the content presentation (the frontend or “head”). This coupling means the content is defined by its design, making it almost impossible to reuse on another platform or another audience. While this infrastructure made sense when only publishing content to static websites at the beginning of the information age, it’s outdated in today’s experience age.

A headless CMS, on the other hand, is software for the experience age. It’s called “headless” because it decouples the backend where content is created and stored from the frontend where content is formatted for delivery. It separates the “body” and the “head.”

With a headless CMS, marketing and content teams create and store experience-enabling content collateral in flexible, reusable modules that live in a back-end repository. At the same time, front-end designers and developers create the best display for that content, whether delivered to a mobile application, a chatbot, an AR experience, or anywhere else.

An application programming interface (API) connects the frontend and the backend so that they can still work together seamlessly. So when a specific content module is called upon, it can quickly be formatted, optimized, and delivered in the way that is best suited for the audience and their current experience.


The tools you use have a significant impact on what you can do with your content. Cut the tie that binds your content to its presentation and create cutting-edge experiences that are always ready to go omnichannel with a headless CMS.

Learn How to Generate Returns in the Experience Age

People and brands alike are no longer defined by a few pages of information they curate online. The digital world is crossing over into the physical in the form of experiences. This shift means companies must rethink the type of content-driven experiences they create, the steps they take to customize them, and how their CMS and other content technology enables them to keep up with omnichannel demand.

It also means that businesses will be looking for ways to measure the return on the experiences they’re working so hard to create. If you want to learn why it’s time to look beyond return on investment (ROI) to see how to leverage your return on experience (ROX), as it helped one of the most successful franchises in sports generate the highest ticket sales and revenue in the entire NBA, download the free ebook: Going Beyond ROI with Return on Experience (ROX).

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Headless CMS uncovered: Drive digital experiences across all channels

Discover the power of a headless CMSWith its unique architecture and flexible approach, a headless CMS offers numerous benefits for businesses seeking to stay ahead in the digital landscape.Here are some key points you'll learn from the article below:Flexibility and Agility: A headless CMS separates content storage from its presentation, allowing you to organize and deploy your content to any digital channel. Enhanced Security: With a headless CMS, security is prioritized.Scalability: Reusing content across channels becomes seamless with a headless CMS. Better User Experience: The independent nature of the front end in a headless CMS reduces server load and increases website speed, resulting in a better user experience. SEO Capabilities: Some headless CMS platforms offer built-in SEO capabilities, empowering businesses to optimize content and increase online visibility. Brand Consistency: With a headless CMS, content can be reused and shared across multiple platforms without the need to recreate it from scratch. Keep reading to learn about the benefits of a headless CMS and unlock its potential for your business. Understanding headless CMSA headless content management system is a CMS that separates the content storage location from its presentation location. It allows you to organize content in one place and deploy it to any digital channel. A headless CMS accesses content via APIs for display on any device. That makes it easier for businesses to increase flexibility and agility. Due to its advanced and flexible options, it is a departure from the traditional CMS architecture. The dynamic nature of the digital space is forcing businesses to seek CMS options that offer:FlexibilityScalabilityAgility in content management.With a headless CMS, organizations can respond to the changing digital landscape and new customer demands. 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It also offers seamless content delivery across many platforms. Here are the main benefits of choosing a headless CMS for content management.SecurityWith a headless CMS, DDoS and other malicious cyberattacks are less likely because the front end is independent from the back end. You also get an extra layer of security because the content from an API is frequently "read-only."ScalabilityA headless CMS allows you to reuse content across channels because it is not restricted to any particular front-end framework. You can also integrate a new tech stack without experiencing downtime, ensuring you can leverage growth opportunities.Better user experienceThe front end works independently from its back end. That reduces the server load and increases website speed. With that, you can deliver content at pace. 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Nov 02, 2023

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Popular CMS platforms like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla offer user-friendly interfaces that make it easy to create and manage content. With drag-and-drop features, even users without advanced technical skills can design professional-looking websites. Additionally, CMS platforms are often optimized for search engines, boosting website visibility and ranking.A CMS not only simplifies the process of building and managing a website, but it also enhances the design of web pages. Using a CMS, users can create interactive and responsive webpages that adapt to different devices like mobile apps. The modern CMS user interface enables effortless integration of multimedia elements into webpages, enriching the user experience and making sites more engaging.E-commerce and online storesIn e-commerce, CMS plays a significant role in establishing and managing online stores. CMS platforms provide the tools for listing products, managing inventory, processing payments, and handling customer service inquiries. Some CMSes are specifically designed for e-commerce, such as Shopify and Magento, while others can be integrated with e-commerce platforms to facilitate seamless transactions.Integrating CMSes with e-commerce platforms enables businesses to manage their online stores more efficiently, from automatically updating inventory and prices to order processing and customer data management. It also ensures the content delivery application (CDA) is synchronized with the content management application (CMA), resulting in a smooth and seamless shopping experience for customers.Content creation and digital asset managementDigital asset management is another crucial aspect where CMS proves its worth. A digital asset manager integrated with a CMS can help businesses manage various types of digital content, such as images, videos, blog posts, and other multimedia files. These assets can be easily organized, accessed, and reused, improving efficiency and promoting consistent branding across all platforms.Content creation is also made simpler with tools and features offered by CMSes. The drag-and-drop interface, for example, makes it easy to design web pages and create engaging content. Other features like the user-friendly content management application (CMA) allow for the easy editing and publishing of content. Moreover, some CMSes, such as headless and open-source CMSes, offer greater flexibility and customization options, catering to different content creation needs.Three popular content management systemsLet’s look at three popular content management systems widely used today.WordPressWordPress is a popular CMS known for its simplicity and ease of use. It offers an extensive plugin library, which enhances website functionality and boasts a large community for support. However, it has limited scalability for complex websites and can present security vulnerabilities. WordPress best suits small to medium-sized businesses, bloggers, and individuals.ProsEasy to useExtensive plugin libraryLarge community supportConsLimited scalability for complex websitesSecurity vulnerabilitiesJoomlaJoomla is a flexible and customizable CMS platform that excels in managing e-commerce websites. It supports multiple languages but has a steeper learning curve and fewer plugins than WordPress. Joomla is ideal for small to medium-sized businesses and e-commerce websites.ProsFlexible and customizableSuitable for e-commerce websitesMultilingual supportConsSteeper learning curveFewer plugins compared to WordPressDrupalDrupal is a robust open-source CMS ideal for some complex websites. It is highly scalable and provides robust security features. However, it requires technical expertise and has a steeper learning curve. Drupal is best for large enterprises, government organizations, and educational institutions.ProsHighly scalableRobust security featuresSuitable for complex websitesConsSteeper learning curveRequires technical expertiseWordPress, Joomla, and Drupal each serve distinct needs within content management systems. WordPress offers simplicity and a wealth of plugins, making it an excellent choice for small to medium-sized businesses, bloggers, and individuals. Joomla's flexibility and e-commerce capabilities make it a strong contender for small to medium-sized businesses and e-commerce platforms. Meanwhile, Drupal's robustness, scalability, and security features position it as the ideal option for government organizations and educational institutions. It is crucial to consider these aspects when deciding on the most suitable CMS for your specific requirements. Remember, each system has its strengths and weaknesses; the key lies in aligning these with your individual or business needs.Web 1.0 managing static web contentWeb 1.0 is the term used to refer to the first stage of development on the World Wide Web, characterized by simple static websites. The history of content management systems began in 1989 when Tim Berners-Lee proposed an internet-based hypertext system HTML and wrote the browser and server software in late 1990. HTML came from SGML, the Standard Generalized Markup Language, and was created at IBM by Charles F. Goldfarb, Ed Mosher, and Ray Lorie in the 1970s. The first websites were simple HTML text files. You used an FTP program to copy the files to a directory under a running web server. In 1993, Mosaic browsers began supporting images that could appear along with text, and static brochure-like sites shared company and product information.In the early 1990s, the first step to managing content on a web page came with Server Side Includes (SSI). Server Side Includes lets you keep portions of your site separate from the main content, such as the site menu or a footer. Around the same time, the Common Gateway Interface came on the scene, letting you create interactive forms.As early as 1990, Tim Berners-Lee said the separation of document structure from the document's layout had been a goal of HTML. In 1994, Håkon Wium Lie worked at CERN, and the use of the Web for publishing was growing. However, it wasn't possible to style documents, such as displaying a newspaper-style multi-column layout on a Web page. Lie saw the need for a style sheet language for the Web. Later, Lie was joined by Bert Bos, who was building a customizable browser with style sheets. By 1995, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) was up and running, and Lie and Bos worked together at the W3C on the first style sheet recommendations.In August 1996, the first commercial browser to support CSS was Microsoft's Internet Explorer 3. The following browser to support CSS was Netscape Communicator, version 4.0. Netscape's initial implementation to support CSS was more of an attempt to stop Microsoft from claiming to be more standards-compliant than Netscape. Unfortunately, the Netscape browser frequently crashed when the page included Cascading Style Sheets. The battle for controlling standards between Netscape and Microsoft became known as the browser wars.In 1996, ColdFusion added a full-scripting language called CFML. Processing forms with ColdFusion or using the Common Gateway Interface and programming languages like Perl and Python became the norm. From 1995 to 1997, server-side scripting was the rage. During this same time, Personal Home Page (PHP) and Active Server Pages (ASP) came into play with server-side scripting for generating content sent from the server to the Web browser. Like ASP and PHP, JavaServer Pages (JSP) arrived on the scene later in 1999 and was built around the Java programming language and was also fairly popular.In 1997, Microsoft introduced iframes that let you split the HTML browser window into segments, with each frame showing a different document that could be used to display content from other sites and was popular for presenting ads and banners. The iframe tag brought security, navigation, and search engine optimization issues that eventually were addressed.The DOM and dynamic HTML revolutionThe turning point came in 1997 as dynamic content emerged with the Document Object Model (DOM) introduction. The DOM defines the logical structure of documents that lets you identify and programmatically control parts of a document. The DOM is an application programming interface (API) for HTML and XML documents. For example, the DOM lets you access and manipulate the styles of HTML elements, like the entire body (body) or a division (div) on a page.Dynamic HTML using Asynchronous JavaScript and XML, commonly called Ajax, was a revolutionary breakthrough, letting developers request and receive data to update a Web page without reloading the page.Figure 1. A Timeline of Milestones for Web Content ManagementWeb 2.0 and the role of a CMSDynamic content delivery brought new ways to present and interact with Web content, emphasizing sites being more social. The term Web 2.0 helped define what is also called the participative or participatory social web. Web 2.0 also refers to the surge in user-generated content and the ease of use to make websites work with other products and systems.As the web moved from static brochure sites to interactive sites with dynamic content, the desire for collaboration and fresh, relevant content grew, and the need to manage content came to the forefront. Websites must be updated daily, with different people wanting to add and edit content. For example, the Marketing Department wants to update promotional material. Human Resources needs to post new jobs, the Public Relations Department needs to post press releases, the Docs Department needs to publish product documentation, the Support Department wants to interact with customers online, and so on. The role of a content management system was to provide the capability for multiple users with different permission levels to manage content for a website or a section of the content.The core components of a CMSThere are two core elements of any content management system (CMS): The Content Management Application (CMA) and the Content Delivery Application (CDA). A CMA for website content allows for the administration of users and groups so that they can create, edit, and remove site content. The CMA also includes the front-end user interface that allows a person to add, modify, and remove content from a Web site without requiring knowledge of HTML, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), or programming languages, thus eliminating the involvement of a developer. The Content Delivery Application (CDA) compiles that information and updates the website.The rise of the monolithic CMSIt was apparent that a system was needed that would allow individuals and groups to manage and deliver content to the web. A monolithic CMS is a system that incorporates everything required for managing and publishing content to the Web. This type of CMS is a coupled system, meaning it is an all-in-one content-management solution. We will look more in-depth into the difference between coupled and decoupled systems later in this article.Founded in 1985, FileNet is considered the first system that was a natural content management system. In 1995, FileNet introduced a complete integrated document management suite of programs with document imaging, document management, and workflow. Vignette came on the scene in late 1995 to make web publishing more accessible and personalized and is commonly credited for originating the term “content management system.” A year later, Vignette introduced StoryBuilder. Many enterprise CMSs began to appear around this time, including Interwoven (1995), Documentum (1996), FatWire (1996), FutureTense (1996), Inso (1996), EPiServer (1997).Open-source CMS and frameworksBy the early 2000s, content management systems dominated the web. Open-source content management systems and frameworks began to appear. A framework is a programming library of pre-written code, such as the then-popular Zend framework written in PHP. OpenCMS, PHP-Nuke, Mambo, WordPress, Drupal, Plone, and Joomla offered free content management alternatives. WordPress gained popularity as an open-source solution focusing on blog content delivery and letting third-party developers add customizations and extensions. In 2006, Alfresco offered an open-source alternative to enterprise content management.The website-building platform surgeStarting in 2003, easy-to-use website-building CMS sites offered premade templates for people who had no coding experience, such as WordPress (2003) and Squarespace (2003), followed later by Weebly (2006), and Wix (2006). While not pure content management systems, these building platforms provided a path to building a small, low-cost website that required no knowledge of HTML, CSS, and coding.Web APIs, XML, and JSONMost of Web 2.0 was making websites work with other products and systems. A Web API is a Programming Interface that allows access to a system, such as a website, through standard HTTP request methods. The data is typically wrapped in a standard format, such as XML or JSON, to make it easy to read and work with.XML stands for eXtensible Markup Language, which is a data format. Like HTML, XML is a descendant of SGML, the Standard Generalized Markup Language. XML allows for transporting data through feeds and API calls because it's a platform-independent format.JSON stands for JavaScript Object Notation, a format for storing serialized data with key-value pairs and transmitting that data between a server and a web application. JSON feeds can be loaded asynchronously faster than XML and RSS feeds. Some sites, such as Twitter, provide RSS feeds, which are easy to use on the server side but frustrating on the client side since you cannot load an RSS feed with AJAX unless you are requesting it from the same domain on which it is hosted. JSON also gained preference over XML since it has a smaller footprint, is easier to use, and works excellently with JavaScript-enabled browsers since JavaScript automatically recognizes JSON.SOAP and RESTDevelopers often use machine-based interactions, such as REST and SOAP, to communicate object information back and forth for social and e-commerce sites. SOAP stands for Simple Object Access Protocol. REST stands for REpresentational State Transfer. REST is an architectural style, whereas SOAP is a protocol. An architectural style specifies guidelines that a developer must follow to be considered a RESTful API, including that it supports a client-server model, is stateless, cacheable, has a uniform interface, and is a layered system. A layered approach is one where you can keep data on different systems, so your APIs can be on one server, data on a second server, and use a third server to authenticate requests.Developed in the early 1990s, SOAP did not come into the mainstream until the early 2000s. SOAP is a standardized, extensible, XML-based messaging protocol that is language-, platform-, and transport-independent with built-in error handling. SOAP uses Web Services Description Language (WSDL), a service description language. SOAP uses Web Services Description Language (WSDL), a service description language used to provide web services over the Internet. The WSDL specifies the available functions so a client program can connect and discover the functions offered by the web services.SOAP is not as famous today and is being replaced with new APIs, such as REST and GraphQL. SOAP works well in distributed enterprise environments and is still used for B2B applications because you can define a "data contract" with it. However, 70% of public APIs are RESTful in the web world. When a RESTful API is called, the server will transfer to the client a representation of the state of the requested resource. REST uses multiple standards like HTTP, JSON, URL, and XML. A REST API uses a Web Application Description Language (WADL), and it doesn’t require the extensive processing SOAP does, so it is faster. It is also easier to use and more efficient and flexible than SOAP. RESTful web APIs are typically loosely based on HTTP methods to access resources via URL-encoded parameters and using JSON or XML to transmit data. JSON ensures reliable, fast, and accessible data exchanges, so it is the most common data exchange format for working with RESTful APIs.Going mobile with Web 3.0In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Nokia Symbian, Palm, and Blackberry mobile devices provided access to the Web. However, it wasn’t until the introduction of the iPhone in 2007 and the Android smartphone in 2008 that mobile phones impacted delivering web content. In 2010, smart tablets came on the scene. REST APIs and JSON data format were vital to delivering content to mobile devices. This megatrend of providing content to mobile devices ushered in the mobile web era, which has also been called Web 3.0, to identify the shift from computers and laptops to mobile content delivery. By the beginning of 2014, mobile internet use exceeded desktop use in the U.S.This rise in content consumption by mobile devices presented a problem for the monolithic CMS that was explicitly created for delivering Web content to desktops and laptops. There was no way to provide content for desktop and mobile devices reliably. To address the rise of mobile web usage, developers began creating desktop and mobile versions of their websites, with mobile designs offering stripped-down versions of select desktop website pages.The mobile sites were on a separate subdomain called mobile or “” sites since the subdomains would end in “.m.” One problem that arose is that Google does not provide indexing of sites. Instead, Google only annotates the URLs to say the main website is mobile-friendly.In 2010, Ethan Marcotte introduced the term “responsive design,” which promoted a shift in thinking from the fixed design for desktop websites to responsive, fluid, adaptable layouts. To deliver on the promise of responsive design, the W3C created media queries as part of the CSS3 specification. A media query allows developers to ascertain the type of device and inspect the device's physical characteristics, such as the screen size. For example, using CSS you can use the @media rule to determine what screen size is being used and include a block of CSS properties for that device.Figure 2: Worldwide Mobile GrowthSource: StatCounter Global Stats ( paradigm shift to omnichannelOmni means “all things” in Latin, so omnichannel refers to all possible channels. Just as the mobile track was disruptive to the delivery of web content, new channels, such as smartwatches, gaming consoles, and voice-activated devices like Amazon’s Echo (Alexa) and Google Home, continually appear, presenting content delivery problems for the traditional CMS. The paradigm shifts—from delivering content for a few channels to actual omnichannel content delivery that is flexible enough to support whatever tomorrow’s channels may come on the scene—demand a better solution, which was the decoupled and headless CMS solution.The decoupled and headless API-First CMS solutionA decoupled system consists of two or more systems that can transact without being connected, similar to the separation of an HTML (content) file from a CSS (formatting) and a JavaScript (programming) file. A decoupled CMS allows developers to change the presentation (formatting) and behavior (programming) layer without affecting the site's content.Decoupled and headless are frequently used interchangeably, but there is a difference. A headless CMS does not have a front-end system or presentation environment. A headless CMS is API-first, which integrates content management tools via API. Separating formatting from content allows you to publish content to any device or channel. A decoupled CMS typically includes a front-end formatting system of templates. A headless CMS separates managing content from presenting formatted content; in other words, it removes the interdependency of presentation and behavior layers from the content. Moving from a coupled system to a decoupled headless CMS opens up a new world of managing content.The content hub architectureKey to the success of working with a headless CMS is the content hub architecture. A content hub centralizes all your content in one place using an API to deliver content anywhere. This content-centric approach accelerates and simplifies content management, letting your developers use the best-of-breed tools to create digital experience platforms (DXP) with omnichannel content delivery to help create more personalized customer journeys and more impactful digital experiences.Figure 3: The Content Hub ArchitectureIntegration and frameworksNot only does the content hub architecture help you with omnichannel content delivery, but using a content hub also gives you more freedom for integration. A headless CMS following the content hub architecture lets you choose the best existing tools or services, such as marketing automation tools, analytics, a personalization engine, translation services, video delivery services, e-commerce platforms, and AI extensions.The world of technology is constantly changing at a rapid rate. There is always a new way of capturing and delivering customer data better, faster, and cheaper. Integrating a headless CMS with a content hub architecture makes it much easier to be agile and switch to new tools and services without disrupting your content or content delivery.Figure 4. Integration and the Content HubSecurity and CMS solutionsMost headless CMS offerings fall in the Content as a Service (CaaS) category, meaning the service is centralized and hosted on the Cloud. As with any CMS, you put your trust in your CMS vendor. This trust applies to any third-party applications that you integrate into your CMS as well. Using a reputable company with supported integrations that you can trust minimizes risk and ensures a safer, more secure site.ScalabilityUsing a traditional CMS to handle traffic increases is a typical solution to add multiple servers running the CMS. This is time-consuming and expensive. A headless CMS can scale and additionally avoid database bottlenecks that you are likely to encounter using a traditional CMS. Scaling is much easier with a headless CMS since most headless CMS offerings are Cloud-hosted, so it is possible to adjust your Cloud infrastructure to match demand automatically.Another important technology for delivering content fast and on a global scale is the Content Delivery Network (CDN). A CDN is a network of servers spread around the globe. Static assets and dynamic content of your website are cached and saved on all the CDN’s servers. When a person requests a page, the website retrieves cached content from the nearest CDN server and delivers it to the client. Having a CDN-enabled headless CMS vastly improves the performance of providing content worldwide.The digital experience platformGartner defines a digital experience platform (DXP) "as an integrated set of technologies, based on a common platform, that provides a broad range of audiences with consistent, secure, and personalized access to information and applications across many digital touchpoints. Organizations use DXPs to build, deploy, and continually improve websites, portals, mobile and other digital experiences." The headless CMS approach is quickly becoming a crucial component of the new generation of Digital Experience Platforms (DXPs). DXPs go significantly beyond web content management to create rich, engaging experiences for audiences addressing a multitude of channels. This ties in nicely with the content-hub architecture to enable any integration needed to deliver content to any channel.The importance of personalizationPersonalization is critical to building an effective Digital Experience Platform. Personalization means understanding your visitors’ interests and tailoring content to fit their needs and preferences, providing them with an experience they find relevant. The more relevant a person sees your message, the more you increase customer loyalty and revenue. Personalization is a mission-critical marketing activity. Using a headless CMS, personal data is made available via APIs, web services, and open data standards, so you are not tied down by data stored in a pre-built system.Personalization tools and services, such as Optimizely, Monetate, One Spot, Evergage, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, and Adobe Target, all help you track and act on a visitor’s behavior, location, profile, and other attributes to create a dynamically personalized, highly relevant experience. By creating a more meaningful experience for your visitors, you’re also generating better business results.Artificial intelligence and machine learningIn July 2018, at a Town Hall meeting in San Francisco, Google CEO Sundar Pichai called artificial intelligence “one of the most important things that humanity is working on,” saying it is “more profound than electricity or fire.” Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are ushering in the next digital transformation era. All major tech companies are following this mega-trend. Google offers TensorFlow; IBM, Watson, and AI OpenScale; Adobe, Sensi; SalesForce, Einstein; Amazon Lex and Amazon Rekognition; Microsoft Azure Cognitive Services; and Facebook announced it is expanding its AI research division to roughly 170 scientists and engineers.AI and machine learning are already having a significant impact on content management. Integrating your content hub with AI and machine-learning tools and services can help you discover hidden opportunities, speed up processes, and, most importantly, offer relevant digital experiences to customers. Personalization engines use AI and machine learning to deliver smarter, customized, and predictive customer experiences. In addition to the personalization services mentioned in the previous section, some examples of using content management with AI and machine language services and tools such as SEO optimization with CanIRank, MarketBrew, and BrightEdge; content creation and text analysis with MonkeyLearn, Acrolinx, Automated Insights, and Narrative Science; and translation services with KantanMT, and SYSTRAN.The headless CMS solutionThere will always be disruptive technologies that will change the CMS playing field. There is no doubt that AI and machine learning are going to play a massive role in the future of content management. The primary goal is to build the best digital experience platform with omnichannel delivery that is secure, scalable, and as future-proof as possible, such as Contentstack. By allowing you to integrate with new technologies and applications as they come on the scene, a headless CMS will likely be the longest-lasting solution in the history of content management systems.Schedule a free demo today.Written initially by Brent Heslop and updated by the Contentstack Team.

Oct 18, 2023 | 3 min. read

Choosing the right CMS: Contentstack for agile businesses vs. Sitecore CMS

Selecting the right content management system (CMS) can make a difference in your organization's online presence. A CMS will directly affect user experience, search engine optimization, and overall digital strategy.  In this blog, we'll delve into headless CMS and explore two popular options: Sitecore CMS and Contentstack. We'll provide a basic understanding of both CMS platforms. Then, we'll cover transitioning from Sitecore to Contentstack. Selecting the right CMS As mentioned, your chosen CMS will significantly affect overall user experience, SEO, and digital strategy. Sitecore CMS may be a good choice for organizations; however, if you prefer an agile, flexible, and scalable content management strategy, Contentstack is an excellent option. A headless CMS like Contentstack ensures consistent content delivery across various devices while maintaining optimal user experience. Additionally, it can improve website search engine rankings and contribute to the overall success of your digital initiatives. Sitecore CMS: Catering to the needs of enterprise organizations Sitecore CMS is a widely used platform designed for enterprise businesses. It offers robust personalization and marketing automation tools. Its strengths include: Personalization Sitecore CMS allows businesses to create personalized user experiences based on individual user preferences and behavior. Marketing automation Sitecore enables organizations to streamline their marketing operations through powerful features like email marketing, lead scoring, and analytics. Support for complex scenarios  Businesses with intricate organizational structures will find Sitecore's multisite and multi-language functionalities extremely beneficial. Despite these advantages, Sitecore CMS may be overwhelming for some businesses. This is especially true for those seeking a more straightforward, headless CMS experience. Contentstack: The modern CMS for agile enterprise businesses Contentstack is a headless CMS designed to cater to organizations desiring a more elegant and flexible content management strategy. Here are some core benefits of using Contentstack. Headless architecture Contentstack has a headless architecture. This allows developers to use their preferred programming languages and frameworks while separating the content from the presentation layer. This results in a smoother integration process with various devices and platforms. Flexibility and scalability  Contentstack's modular design allows businesses to quickly adapt and scale their content strategy according to changing market dynamics. Ease of use With its user-friendly interface and extensive documentation, Contentstack make it easier for marketers and content creators to work without extensive technical knowledge. The significance of Sitecore XP 10.4's end-of-life Sitecore is a popular CMS known for its robust website content management and digital marketing capabilities. However, it's crucial to acknowledge the end of life of Sitecore XP 10.4.  Why is this important? It means the company will no longer provide support or updates for this version. This may have severe consequences for your organization, including:  lack of support leaves your CMS vulnerable to security breaches and technical difficulties, potentially leading to downtime and losing vital data,  your platform will gradually become outdated without updates, impairing your ability to leverage emerging trends and technologies. Implications for existing Sitecore users and businesses For businesses that continue to use Sitecore XP 10.4, the risks and limitations that stem from the end-of-life are something to pay attention to. These implications include: Increased security risks  Without ongoing support and security patches, your Sitecore platform may become a potential target for hackers and vulnerable to security risks. Reduced innovation and performance  As new technologies and practices emerge, an outdated platform hinders business growth, diminishing your competitive edge in the market. Costly upgrades  Eventually, migrating to a newer version of Sitecore or an alternative platform becomes inevitable. The process can be time-consuming and costly. Because of these issues, it's no wonder more businesses are transitioning to a headless CMS like Contentstack. Headless CMS vs. traditional CMS CMSes serve as the backbone of digital asset management for businesses around the globe. They fall into two main categories. They can be headless CMSes like Contentstack or traditional CMSes like Sitecore. A headless CMS is built on an API-first architecture and provides greater flexibility and adaptability than a traditional CMS. It allows content creators to manage content without knowing the technical details of implementation.  The headless CMS decouples content management from the presentation layer. This enables developers to work with a variety of digital channels efficiently. These include websites, mobile apps, and other customer touchpoints. On the other hand, a traditional CMS typically couples content management with the visual presentation layer of a single website. As a result, traditional CMS options like Sitecore provide easy-to-use templates and drag-and-drop features for designing visually appealing web pages. However, this coupling limits the flexibility of content storage, making it harder to deliver content to multiple channels. Advantages and disadvantages Headless CMS advantages Flexibility in content delivery to various platforms Greater control over the presentation layer Better performance as it relies on APIs Quick response to changes in technology Headless CMS disadvantages More challenging to set up than traditional CMS Requires a strong development team Often lacks front-end user interface out of the box Traditional CMS advantages Pre-built templates for designing web pages Drag-and-drop functionality for easy use More appealing to non-technical users Quicker to launch new websites Traditional CMS disadvantages Limited flexibility in content delivery Lower performance compared to headless CMS Slower to respond to technology advances Contentstack's key features and benefits Contentstack has notable features and advantages that make it stand out as a digital experience platform (DXP) of choice. Real-time content management Without extensive front-end development work, businesses can quickly edit and update content across various digital platforms. This feature saves time and resources by empowering content creators to make changes and see the results instantly. Developer-friendliness Developers can leverage their preferred languages and front-end framework. This empowers them to build, iterate, and deploy projects quickly and efficiently. Future-proof Contentstack's headless nature ensures it remains a highly flexible and scalable solution. The platform works seamlessly with various digital assets and is compatible with numerous other digital media. This enables businesses to pivot and grow as needed. Marketing automation Contentstack's marketing automation features integrate with multiple digital marketing systems. This makes it easy for businesses to automate their marketing campaigns and streamline lead generation processes. Gartner Magic Quadrant Contentstack has been recognized in the Gartner Magic Quadrant. This reflects Contentstack's commitment to providing an innovative and reliable digital experience platform. It's also a testament to the platform's ability to effectively serve the needs of businesses of all sizes. Contentstack case studies and testimonials Contentstack is making real-world impacts globally daily by helping organizations achieve their goals. Here are a couple of examples. RetailMeNot Inc. RetailMeNot Inc., an online savings and promotional site, chose Contentstack because it needed a user-friendly CMS that let people access and modify content efficiently and consistently.  Results included: Faster delivery of experience and changes Consistent management method for all content types Reduced need for maintenance and reusable integrations "Contentstack has allowed us to consolidate a lot of things into a single place that is much more user-friendly than previous tools were," said Gary Newcomb, principal engineer. "It's a lot faster to get new experiences and fixes out to our users, and it provides us with a much smaller set of integrations in our stack that our engineers must maintain." Read the complete "RetailMeNot creates omnichannel content at light speed" to learn more. Cartier Cartier, the iconic French luxury brand, chose a headless CMS strategy to exploit the possibilities of reusing content to create a consistent, premium brand experience while remaining flexible to embrace innovative omnichannel technologies.  After switching to Contentstack, Cartier experienced: The development of new websites in days, not weeks Ensured brand integrity throughout different initiatives Greater return on investment in content assets "The websites that are a critical part of our digital portfolio are now more aligned and performant. As a result, the customer digital experience of Cartier improves, reflecting our commitment to becoming a reference for luxury in all aspects," said Anastasia Goglova, international digital lead. To learn why Cartier chose Contentstack, read "Cartier improves brand integrity and operations efficiency." Migrating from Sitecore to Contentstack Migrating from Sitecore to Contentstack might seem daunting, but it can be a smooth process with a clear plan and good practices. Follow these steps to ensure a successful migration: Analyze your current content structure Begin by reviewing your existing Sitecore content structure and taxonomy. This will help you determine the necessary updates and changes to implement in Contentstack. Prepare a migration plan Define a clear roadmap, including timelines, scope, responsibilities, and corresponding tasks. Consider hiring an implementation partner with experience in both Sitecore and Contentstack for a seamless transition. Map content models Correctly map and classify Sitecore content fields to equivalent Contentstack content types. Remember that Contentstack's modular blocks allow a more flexible content modeling approach. Develop custom scripts  Develop scripts to extract, transform, and load data (ETL) from Sitecore to Contentstack. Plan and execute testing rounds to ensure accurate data migration. Optimize your digital assets  Use Contentstack's digital asset management capabilities to organize and optimize your digital assets, such as images, videos, and documents, during migration. Update front-end code Modify or rewrite your front-end code to consume the APIs provided by Contentstack. Adjust content rendering according to your specific design and performance requirements. Our industry-leading care without-compromise program and technical solutions team (TSO) will be available to assist you throughout the process as follows: Dedicated account management Real-time, 24/7 in-app human support Tailored workshops and advisory consultations Regular health checks and performance reviews  And so much more Make the switch With its flexible architecture, ease of use, and extensive feature set, Contentstack is an excellent option for businesses that want to stay ahead of the curve. Additionally, with the end-of-life of Sitecore XP 10.4, there is no better time to switch to a future-proof CMS to ensure your organization remains competitive.  Switch to Contentstack today and experience the benefits of using a composable headless CMS!

Oct 13, 2023 | 4 min. read

Burberry is driving global scale and speed with Contentstack headless CMS

Burberry employs more than 9,000 people worldwide. It is ranked 97th in the current “Interbrand’s Best Global Brands” report. It has stores in 59 countries and a brand value of over $5 billion. It is known for a distinctly British attitude and continual innovation.Burberry leverages technology throughout international markets to deliver premium digital experiences. The brand has pioneered multichannel commerce in the fashion space, selling products through both directly operated and franchised stores, as well as via wholesale partners and online.To inspire and excite existing and prospective customers, the Burberry marketing and communications teams create distinctive, meaningful content and luxury experiences that span websites in 11 languages. For the past three years, the Contentstack headless content management system (CMS) has been at the heart of these experiences.The challengeIn the fast-paced fashion and luxury goods world, Burberry has undergone extensive digital transformation across various platforms. Faced with the demands of multiple collections, extensive translation requirements, and a need to deliver high-performing experiences to discerning customers, the limitations of Burberry’s legacy, monolithic content management, and e-commerce platform became apparent.This was seen most clearly in the slow time to market and a failure to reflect the brand values of creativity and innovation. This led to an inability to deliver the quality of experience befitting the Burberry brand, at pace and scale, throughout web, mobile, and other channels and across multiple locales and languages.As a strategic response to this issue, Burberry chose a MACH (microservices, API, cloud-native, and headless)-based strategy to guide e-commerce and personalization technology investment. A composable approach enables speed and agility in responding to new market opportunities. Following a thorough market review, Contentstack was selected as the CMS component of this digital transformation.Contentstack was picked based on its ease of language management, integrations, and the advantages of a genuinely headless architecture.As a MACH-certified solution, Contentstack integrates seamlessly with Smartling to enable comprehensive translation alongside commerce tools, the e-commerce platform Burberry chose.Contentstack offers intuitive use for editors, reducing the time necessary to train and be effective in their role from days to minutes. Contentstack improves the productivity of these teams by allowing them to curate, update, preview, and publish content rapidly. This is achieved with robust workflow processes augmented by rigorous roles and permissions capabilities.Contentstack was also chosen based on the unique live preview feature. This enables Burberry to preview content across multiple channels before saving or publishing it live. The ability to edit entries and preview these changes in real time not only ensures consistency and qualitybut also frees the Burberry content creation team from developer delays when updating material.Contentstack was implemented by system integrator and partner EPAM and is now used throughout Burberry.The impactContentstack CMS has accelerated content creation for international markets across multiple languages. Burberry can now create global desktop and mobile sites for each country, and bulk publish in up to 50 languages.This speed has gone hand-in-hand with improved service to the content creation staff. Calls to the development team have reduced drastically from more than 40 user tickets weekly to fewer than one.The evolution of the translation capabilities has been a critical element of this reduced burden on the helpdesk and the consequent improvements in agility and speed. Translation work is now 80% quicker compared to the previous CMS.Regarding the impact on productivity and output, the Contentstack system has enabled Burberry to deliver relevant content to story-telling and landing pages faster and more accurately across global websites in 11 languages.“Contentstack helps our engineers to move fast and concentrate on business requirements by reducing proprietary platform inconveniences,” said Sonia Latoracca, digital commerce content manager at Burberry. “Adding new consumers has never been such an easy and pleasant journey for everyone.”The conclusion“Creating content is quicker and easier with Contentstack,” Latoracca said. “It’s a user-friendly tool making training and onboarding simpler. Integrating our translation and media systems means content can be created and published quickly. The flexible, reusable components allow us to complete new design briefs without constant development.”Contentstack has enabled Burberry to create and publish content faster and more accurately through its integration functionality with other tools in Burberry’s ecosystem. With this technology, Burberry has the agility to stay at the forefront of changing trends and seize growth opportunities.The resultsForty developer tickets a week were reduced to oneAn 80% increase in publishing speed and enhanced landing page design and style flexibility.About Contentstack & AWSContentstack deployed on Amazon Web Services (AWS) allows customers to harness the full power of cloud through industry leading AWS security and scalability paired with pre-built AWS integrations and extensions - making it easier than ever to implement and manage composable digital experiences at scale. Our recent addition of Amazon Bedrock enables Contentstack users to supercharge their digital experiences by leveraging advanced AI models from Amazon, Anthropic, and AI21 Labs, along with unlocking a host of new generative AI capabilities within Contentstack.About BurberryBurberry is a world-renowned British luxury fashion house headquartered in London, England. Established in 1856, its first shop opened in 1891. It designs and distributes ready-to-wear clothing and accessories, including leather goods, footwear, eyewear, fragrances, cosmetics, and its iconic trench coats.