Plus, the rise of headless and hybrid CMSs
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Good morning, Marketers, and is spring in the air?
It has indeed been spring, officially, since March 20, although on some grey, cool days like today (looking out of my window, anyway), you could easily forget. But for me, thoughts of spring are not triggered so much by cherry blossom and birdsong as by…well, conference invitations.
I was just invited to Adobe Summit, coming up — virtually of course — in late April. And that took me back to this last year, flight and hotel booked and all set when everything shut down. By this time in 2019, 2018, 2017 — okay, enough history — I had usually made my first cross-country flight of the year to San Francisco and was looking forward to the first in a string of Las Vegas shows; I think Adobe was usually the first.
Will we be back to traveling and meeting each other by this time next year. As someone who (April 17, 2021) got the second shot, I hope so. And I hope you’re all on your way to getting protected too.
The business imperative behind inclusion and diversity
In the second of two articles based on a wide-ranging conversation with Lauren Tucker, we focus on managing and enriching the talent portfolio. Dr. Tucker is the founder of Do What Matters, a consultancy which advises marketing and communications agencies on inclusion, equity and diversity. She puts inclusion first, because she believes that diversity will flow in environments where the tide lifts all boats.
She told us: “I’m still getting people reaching out to me who are at the VP or SVP level, especially women of color — and I will say this very emphatically — women of color at the VP and SVP level have not gotten the kind of sponsorship they deserve, and not gotten the opportunities they deserve. And when I follow up, I get the same answer which is, you know, she’s really great. She’s really a utility player. We just don’t know what to do with her. Wow, okay. I don’t think any of these people have admitted or even understand what they’re admitting at that point.”
There’s a business as well as an ethical imperative to fix problems like this. In order to create memorable, meaningful and remarkable content for increasingly multicultural and global audiences, the talent portfolio must be enriched with diverse perspectives and experience. If you don’t create that kind of content, she says, “your competitors are going to eat your lunch.”
The rise of headless and hybrid content management systems
Most of the CMSs businesses use today were originally built for a single purpose — delivering content to a desktop web browser. Looking closer, WordPress — the open-source platform now used for everything from e-commerce to massive corporate sites and owning 65% of the CMS market — was built in 2003 as a blogging platform, competing with names you rarely hear today outside of a historical discussion.
The progress WordPress has made since its inception is undeniably admirable — it has nearly singlehandedly democratized web publishing and has remained incredibly versatile, in part because of a developer ecosystem responsible for nearly 60,000 plug-ins. This ecosystem enables the platform to be very responsive to trends — features often start as plug-ins and, as they gain popularity and utility, are later written into the core platform.
The flip-side of this strength is a debilitating weakness. Bolting-on functionality inevitably results in code bloat, and this vast ecosystem of plug-ins brings with it a not-insubstantial number of security vulnerabilities. Combine this with the increased importance of site speed spurred by content consumption on mobile devices, along with marketers’ need to deliver content to more platforms than ever before, and you’ll understand why many are looking for an alternative to “traditional” CMSs.
With a value proposition similar to a customer data platform or a digital asset management platform, the headless CMS serves as a repository for all of a company’s content — mostly textual, but also including images and other formats. It’s meant to be the “single source of truth” for content marketers and it incorporates an application programming interface (API) that allows the CMS to deliver content to any channel.
Marketers not surprised by Google’s ‘Project Bernanke’, ‘Jedi Blue’
Ten states joined together in December 2020 to sue Google for allegedly monopolizing the digital advertising industry. The lawsuit claims that when Facebook began to gain traction as a rival advertiser, Google made an agreement with Facebook to reduce competition in exchange for giving the social media company an advantage in Google-run ad auctions. The project was called “Jedi Blue.”
Now, newly released and unredacted documents filed in that case (which have now been redacted) show Google operated a secret program that used data from past bids in the company’s digital advertising exchange to allegedly give its own ad-buying system an advantage over competitors. The advantage was called “Project Bernanke,” and it used bidding data that Google assembled from advertisers using the tech company’s own ad exchange to benefit itself.
Why we care. Well, it seems like some marketers just don’t. Many marketers just assume that Google is doing these things, and they have to work within that framework. “Unfortunately, there is no real replacement for Google when it comes to Google Ads,” said Amalia Fowler, director of marketing at Snaptech Marketing. “Microsoft is technically an alternative, but the sheer volume of searches on Google makes it no contest, so we’ve adopted this mindset of having to put up with Google.”
Others, however, do think the case will affect advertisers. “A central claim by the states is that advertisers were harmed. This is a key allegation in the amended complaint by the 14 states and Puerto Rico filed last month,” Mike Swift told us.
Pega boosts AI offering
Pega, the CRM and BPM platform, today announced a new set of AI capabilities, Process AI, which will be available as an add-on by the end of Q2. Process AI will be able to analyze millions of events and make real-time intelligent decisions to resolve each case. Self-learning models will continually optimize the responses in support, not only of efficient resolution, but also anticipation of issues before they arise.
Pega treats customer experience as an ongoing series of business cases, and has long used AI to identify next-best-actions. Process AI aims at delivering optimal outcomes for customers at scale and at speed. It also offers a low-code machine learning authoring interface that makes development and management of AI models easier.
Why we care. Ironically, the only way to personalize the customer journey for individual customers at scale is to use impersonal AI. But the faster and more efficient the machines are, the more the customer experience will seem to be informed by a personal touch.
Quote of the day
“Some accounts deserve champagne, while others deserve water. You have to decide what type of experience you are going to create for each account. They will not all be the same. Some will be champagne and some will be bottled water.” Sangram Vajre, co-founder, Terminus