8 Things Every CMO Should Know About Content Management

Makayla Adams

The following article was co-authored with dotCMS partner, Eat Big Digital.


Technology has significantly transformed the role of the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) in various ways. These changes have occurred due to the rapid evolution of digital tools, data analytics, and the ever-expanding role of social media, e-commerce, and the web in our daily lives. Data-driven decision-making, Customer Insights, Content Marketing, and Marketing Automation have made the CMO's job more complex and technical. Today, CMOs must be technologically literate, adaptable, and focused on delivering measurable results in an ever-evolving digital landscape.

Content is the heartbeat of modern marketing. It's not just about creating content; it's about delivering the right message to the right audience at the right time. CMOs should understand that an effective Content Management System (CMS) is the key to orchestrating this symphony of communication.

A CMS is essential to a CMO for several reasons, including Brand safety, Personalization, Content Creation and Publishing, Multichannel Marketing, Analytics, and Optimization. In the digital age, effective content management is crucial for the success of any marketing strategy. CMOs play a pivotal role in ensuring that their organizations harness the full potential of content. However, many CMOs aren't equipped with the essential understanding of what to consider when exploring the world of Content Management Systems.

1. Don't ignore web fundamentals. 

A CMS is an essential building block for every organization's digital ecosystem. If you're an E-Commerce company, a CMS typically sits alongside your E-Commerce platform, or if you're a publisher, the CMS is the focal point of your web systems. Whatever your technical stack, consider integrating your CMS with other best-in-class systems that implement web fundamentals such as caching, analytics, reporting, and personalization across the board. Considering a broad web approach with essential web-based systems as part of your Content Management strategy provides a better return on your investment. Additionally, it ensures you cover more ground while leveraging these systems on as many of your digital touchpoints as possible.

2. How will this fit into your existing Marketing Technology (MarTech) stack? 

For digitally savvy CMOs, their MarTech stack is equally as important as their Tech stack because together, they play a crucial role in the success and efficiency of all marketing activities and, by extension, the entire organization. A CMS should add value to your MarTech stack by empowering marketing and communications, increasing efficiency, improving customer engagement, and streamlining workflow. At some point, the systems within your MarTech stack, such as your data intelligence layer, CRM, or audience targeting, will interact with your CMS. Considering how your CMS and your MarTech systems will integrate and creating a strategy for implementation mitigates the risk of incompatibilities and minimizes the cost of custom development.

Read more: Your CMS Should Break Company Silos, Not Build Them

3. Consider the Total Cost of Ownership. 

Implementing a CMS can be costly for an organization at many different levels. There are upfront costs for licensing and technical implementation in addition to ongoing expenses for QA, Governance, Maintenance, and Ongoing Support. Therefore, lowering a CMS's total cost of ownership (TCO) is a common goal for many organizations. To achieve this, consider the following key considerations:

Read more: How to Recession Proof Your Tech Stack With a Hybrid CMS

Open Source vs. Proprietary CMS:

Open-source CMS platforms often have lower initial licensing costs than proprietary systems. Some CMS systems offer a free community version, allowing users to test the implementation before committing to a paid plan.


Choose a CMS that can scale with your organization's needs. This prevents costly migrations or overhauls as your content and user base grow.

Licensing and Subscription Costs

Consider the licensing or subscription fees associated with the CMS, including any add-ons or premium features. Compare pricing models, such as per-user, per-site, or tiered pricing.


Assess the level of customization needed. A highly customized CMS can lead to higher development and maintenance costs. Balance customization with flexible off-the-shelf features to avoid unnecessary expenses.

Development and Maintenance

Estimate development costs, including theme and plugin development. Regular maintenance and updates are crucial to ensure security and performance. Budget for ongoing development and support.

Integration Capabilities

Choose a CMS with robust integration capabilities to reduce the need for custom development. The ability to connect with existing systems, databases, and third-party tools can save time and money.

User Training and Onboarding

Invest in training and onboarding for your team to maximize the efficient use of the CMS. Knowledgeable users are less likely to make mistakes that could lead to additional costs.

Content Migration

Plan for content migration from existing systems. The complexity of migration can significantly impact costs, so having a well-thought-out strategy is essential.

4. Implement Observability.

Observability is the ability to gain insights into a system or process's internal state and behavior by examining its outputs or external signals. 

According to New Relic's 2023's Observability Forecast, the business value of implementing observability is obvious. In fact, of the 1,700 technology professionals New Relic surveyed, most respondents (86%) said they received value from their observability investment, and 41% received $1M+ total annual value. 

Outages may occur within a CMS for many reasons, and the recovery time can significantly impact the underlying business and the brand's reputation. Implementing a robust observability platform will reduce the risk of a severe outage and decrease the response time.

5. Omnichannel Presence is Non-Negotiable.

Today's consumers expect a seamless experience across various channels. A robust content management system should empower CMOs to maintain consistency in messaging and branding, whether on websites, mobile apps, social media, or other platforms.

Single-tenant vs Multi-tenant CMS

While manageable on a small scale, single-tenant CMS solutions are hard to grow with. Each instance has its own files, folders, databases, and content repositories, meaning your brand needs to manage hundreds or thousands of sites individually.

A multi-tenant CMS enables companies to operate multiple sites through a single software instance and interface. Instead of assigning each site its own separate resources, a multi-tenant CMS centralizes all the resources, including content where necessary, making it available to all the individual tenants if and when they need it. This improves security, saves costs, and helps to eliminate inconsistent content.

6. Personalization Drives Engagement.

Personalized content is more engaging and resonates better with audiences. The number of digital devices is constantly increasing. Demand is also growing for enterprises to produce relevant content quickly — and at scale. Content targeting is not just creating massive amounts of content, but it’s about creating relevant content that resonates with the targeted audiences throughout the various lifecycles a customer goes through with your brand.

A content management system should allow CMOs to leverage data-driven insights for effective personalization. dotCMS, with its advanced personalization features, stands out in this regard. Their CMS solution allows marketing teams to have target content and create relevant customer experiences across every channel and touchpoint in the customer journey

A/B testing your website is a critical part of any marketing strategy. Experiments makes it easy to create and test multiple versions of your content and pages, so you can make data-driven decisions that improve conversion rates, increase revenue, and help you stay ahead of changing user preferences.

7. Collaboration is Key.

Successful marketing is a collaborative effort. CMOs should choose a CMS that facilitates seamless collaboration between Content Teams, DevOps Engineers, Developers, and all CMS users across an organization. A unified platform that fosters effective collaboration should assist development and IT teams in architecting the solution they need, while empowering your marketing team to manage content.

Using any CMS can be technically challenging. Adopt a solution that allows marketing to take back control of their content and go-to-market faster. dotCMS allows marketing and content teams to create and manage content their way, without being blocked and relying heavily on technical teams.

With dotCMS Cloud, dotCMS takes care of the infrastructure so DevOps Engineers can focus on innovation. Compared to self-hosting or 3rd-party managed hosting, dotCMS Cloud provides a lower total cost of ownership, resulting in a greater return on your digital investment.

8. Security Matters More Than Ever.

A CMS is an essential tool to manage and deliver content. However, as cyber threats continue to evolve, the need for dependable security measures within CMS platforms has become paramount. As the custodians of valuable customer data, CMOs must prioritize security.

Security in Content Management Systems is not just an option but an imperative. As CMS platforms continue to be targeted by cybercriminals, taking proactive steps to safeguard your content is essential. By implementing robust security measures, protecting sensitive data, preventing unauthorized access, regularly backing up your data, and conducting security audits, you can ensure that your CMS remains secure and your valuable content is protected from potential threats. Remember, investing in CMS security is an investment in the long-term success and sustainability of your online presence.

Read more: Safeguarding Your Content: The Importance of Security in CMS

At dotCMS, security is delivered from the inside out by diligently implementing rigorous controls and procedures to protect the confidentiality, availability, and integrity of our infrastructure and customers’ data. We conform to the highest security standards with policies in place to ensure our people, processe, and technologies are always in compliance.

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