How Hybrid Headless CMS Improves Customer Experience

26 Jan 2021
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Posted by Crownpeak

The development of new consumer-facing technologies and channels has expanded the scope of the marketing ecosystem. As marketers create content to deploy on these channels, headless content management systems (CMS) provide the flexibility and interoperability they need to engage across touchpoints.

Why customer experience matters

Marketers are betting big on customer experience. According to recent research from Ascend2 (PDF | 2.2MB), 71% of marketers surveyed reported that the total budget dedicated to improving customer experience will increase. And 15% described this increase as significant. Why the increase in budget allocated for customer experience?

The same survey revealed that 79% of marketers are looking to improve customer retention and satisfaction. Further, 58% are interested in increasing the overall value and reliability of their brand to users.

(Source: Ascend2 PDF | 2.2 MB)

Customer experience survey

A 2018 landmark PwC customer experience survey (PDF | 5.3 MB) spanned 12 countries and involved 15,000 respondents. It revealed the extent to which customer experience impacts subsequent customer behaviors and the bottom line for your business. Here are just a few of the eye-opening statistics from that survey:

  • 63% of U.S. consumers said they would be willing to share more information with a company that offered a great experience
  • 32% of consumers globally would walk away from a brand after just one bad experience (in Latin America, that number actually climbs to 49%)
  • 65% of U.S. consumers said a positive experience was more influential to them than a brand's great advertising
  • 59% of all consumers felt that companies have lost touch with the human element of customer experience
  • Consumers were willing to pay up to a 16% price premium on products and services for excellent customer experiences

It's evident that customer experience is an area that deserves attention for marketers today. How can your choice of content management system architecture impact your ability to deliver on the promise of excellent customer experience?

Headless CMS and the customer experience

Traditional, "all-in-one" CMS restricts marketers and developers in reaching out to consumers across multiple channels. Due to their closed, tightly coupled architectures, any changes or updates to the front-end require customization of the back-end, server-side code. That customization can drastically slow or restrict multi-channel initiatives.

Headless CMS, in contrast, is open and interoperable by design. It frees marketers from being locked into front-end frameworks that restrict their ability to distribute content widely. It also gives developers the ability to use the coding languages and frameworks of their choice.

Hybrid headless CMS raises the bar on customer experience

Headless CMS offers significant advantages to marketers over traditional, monolithic CMS in terms of speed and omnichannel flexibility. But the first generation of headless CMS has fallen short in one key area. It lacks robust content management tools such as multi-site/multi-language tools, translation tools, workflow tools, and most critically, live preview, drag-and-drop editing, and experience creation capabilities.

Without the ability to control and customize the digital experience directly, marketers are forced to rely on IT to make changes and develop new templates and campaigns. This reduces agility and can dramatically slow down the process of content distribution.

No one wants a snail's pace marketing strategy, so this conundrum has resulted in the fairly rapid development of hybrid headless and decoupled CMS solutions. These retain the ability of headless systems to distribute content across many systems without friction but enable incredibly fast changes to content, presentation, and experiences.

Get the Guide: 5 Ways Hybrid Headless CMS Deliver Better CX→

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Delivering compelling omnichannel content

A major impediment to quality content creation historically has been the restrictions associated with monolithic CMS. Because monolithic CMS doesn’t easily accommodate omnichannel marketing, content creation budgets typically must reflect this limitation. Prepping existing proprietary CMS content for distribution across multiple channels takes too much programming work to be practical from the standpoint of time and cost. Each new channel requires development time and effort, not to mention the cost of maintenance, support, and upgrades for non-SaaS CMS products.

Hybrid headless CMS technology enables marketers to take advantage of channels in a way that traditional CMS technology can’t.

These new CMS frameworks enable the creation of content that can be distributed widely via APIs, freeing marketers from the restrictions of proprietary, siloed, systems. This ability to distribute content widely makes it more cost-effective to invest in high-quality content.

The tremendous channel growth in recent years has been driven by a variety of developments. Most organizations have expanded from Web to Web+Mobile Web, then added Social. They are now struggling with adopting new channels like native apps, single-page apps (SPAs), voice, and others. There is more complexity coming and advanced organizations are looking at a diversity of channels. Voice is the next major wave. But even traditional channels that aren't thought of as channels (like POP displays, digital billboards, kiosks, etc.) need support for these advanced organizations.

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Hybrid headless CMS, by separating content creation from content distribution, makes it possible to rapidly get content in front of consumers at multiple touchpoints. Consumers using these innovative channels are often those most open to new experiences and products, making them a highly desirable target audience.

These innovative new channels also offer marketers the ability to try new approaches to boost customer acquisition and loyalty. This includes strategies such as hyper-personalization and real-time interactive experiences.

Cutting-edge, interactive customer experiences

Marketers using traditional CMS systems are typically unable to take advantage of the latest frameworks and programming languages needed to create modern, competitive digital experiences. With hybrid headless CMS, developers can deploy the very latest tools and techniques to deliver beautiful, interactive, and high-converting content.

The content developed by these platforms can include interactive features that enable customers to access experiences that offer real-time adaptivity. They can also deliver the highly personalized experiences that many customers prefer today. These experiences use data provided by customers in order to customize their experience to more closely match their requirements and preferences.

Engaging, visually appealing content is a crucial element of creating an unforgettable customer experience. By enabling your developers to use industry-leading programming tools and languages, you maximize the impact of your content and distribute it to a wide audience.

Digital entertainment

Targeted content that delivers better CX

Freed from restrictive monolithic CMS frameworks, marketers can use hybrid and headless systems to precisely target their content at specific consumer groups. This approach is especially suitable for hybrid CMS, which gives marketers control of front-end presentation adjustments in a way that’s impossible with first-generation headless solutions. This allows for localization efforts such as translation into local languages or the automatic adaptation of content for display in different contexts and delivery channels.

Marketers struggle in an increasingly competitive online environment where many customers expect customized experiences. Accurately targeting the audience likely to be most receptive to your products or services is vital to optimizing your customer acquisition and retention strategies. Accurately targeting the audience also helps marketers address the fragmented nature of modern consumer groupings.

Long gone are the days when a few television networks dominated the airwaves, favoring marketing content aimed at the widest possible audience. Online communities form around a wide variety of interests, hobbies, and other factors. It is now possible for marketers to speak directly to an audience that has a more sophisticated understanding of their product or service.

This creates an opportunity to design marketing campaigns around a highly customized customer experience. It could demonstrate how a product is used, show its benefits in great detail, or simply provide an engaging video presentation of the product.

This approach is appealing because it enables marketers to go where consumers are and use the methods the most popular online personalities and brands use. Services such as Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube demonstrate the power of video content aimed directly at a particular group or community. You can use an omnichannel approach to deliver compelling customer experiences, regardless of the channel you choose to use to deliver the content.

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Maximized content usage and value

Hybrid headless CMS help break down data silos within an organization to increase the value of content. These systems allow for wide distribution of content once it’s developed. So, content that has been isolated in one sector of an organization can now be delivered across the organization and to desired outside channels.

When data silos exist, content is trapped within an organization or division of an organization. By opening up distribution to content from a variety of technologies, this artificial restriction on content distribution can be overcome. This allows companies to take maximum advantage of the hard work they’ve put into creating the content.

Using APIs, both legacy and new content can be widely distributed without incurring substantial costs adapting the content to be displayed on different platforms. This adds value to your long-lasting, or evergreen, content. It can now be distributed widely with ease, and used far into the future as new technologies are developed and new channels are introduced.

Timely and relevant content delivered at the speed of business

Monolithic CMS focuses on website content such as blogs and on-page graphics and, in some cases, mobile apps. But hybrid and headless systems enable much wider content distribution to emerging channels. Because these systems use APIs, content can quickly be delivered to these new channels. Legacy systems typically require programming work or other time-consuming adjustments to enable deployment.

This rapid delivery capability also helps keep your content relevant. With trends, or memes, sweeping through the digital ecosystem, timeliness is a crucial factor in keeping your content relevant to today’s audiences.

Digital picture gallery

If your marketing material can’t be updated quickly to reflect new developments in the market, or changes at the product level, it hinders your company’s ability to deliver the type of up-to-date customer experience today’s consumers expect.

Crownpeak: Delivering incredible customer experiences with Headless 2.0 CMS

In its annual look at customer experience excellence, KPMG's 2020 U.S. Customer Experience Excellence Report notes that a key takeaway from companies leading the way in providing excellent customer experiences in 2020 is digitally-enabled technology architecture. The report states:

"Architecture must be built around the customer so it is responsive to their needs and preferences and supported by an agile implementation mindset. This architecture must support the ability to rapidly implement new technologies, products, and services."

If that's what you're looking for, Crownpeak has you covered. Crownpeak's Headless 2.0 CMS offers the flexibility of headless CMS with the improved customer experience delivery potential of a decoupled and hybrid approach. Give your customers the type of customer experience they deserve, all while saving valuable time and money by using your development and marketing resources wisely.

Request a demo of Crownpeak today to see what we can do to support your customer experience strategies!