Try this 5-step CMS comparison before choosing a CMS

The content management system (CMS) plays a major part in content marketing, content strategy, sales, user engagement, and other core functions essential to customer experience management (CEM). Performing a comprehensive CMS comparison is essential before choosing a CMS and investing in such a major piece of technology. Fortunately, the process doesn't have to be stressful or difficult.

Today's sophisticated CMS platforms embrace content analytics, user behavior analysis, site personalization, dynamic content optimization, and multiple points of contact beyond the website to manage customer experience across native mobile applications, multiple-sized devices, email, and integration across many channels. Depending on the content management and customer experience goals, there can be many features to evaluate. Let's get started!

The 5-Step CMS Comparison

1. Build a Scorecard

Start by building a scorecard for evaluating the features of each CMS under review. Give each CMS its own column and list important features that need to be considered. The comparison matrix scorecard we use at [A] separates Business Considerations from Technology Considerations, but the selection criteria can be grouped into whichever categories are appropriate for the organization.

2. Eliminate Down to Two Finalists

Select a range by which to evaluate each feature of the CMS. We use a range from 1-5 with 5 being the highest. Score each feature, and tally the results. Make the easy decisions first as to which CMS platforms to eliminate based on the total scores assigned to each.

3. Run a CMS/CEM Showdown

With only two CMS platforms left on the table, it's time to run a showdown. This can be done in a number of ways: running live tests of each system, talking to reference clients, or performing broad-based internal user demos and related surveys. The goal is to tip the numbers in favor of one platform and getting closer to choosing a CMS.

4. Assign Final Grades

Assign ratings for each part of the CMS showdown that was performed. Add this tally to the total from the scorecard and we have a winner. Almost.

5. Be Realistic

A CMS comparison isn't just about numbers, however. Choosing a CMS also requires paring out features that, while exciting and attractive, might not be relevant to the organization. It's important to assess whether every feature evaluated on the scorecard or if some will just remain "in the box." Any scores assigned to features that won't be used should be removed from the scorecard and the scores retallied.

[A]’s CMS Comparison Matrix

Download the [A] Guide to CMS Platform Selection for more detailed steps on choosing a content management system. The guide includes:

  • Best practices for performing a CMS comparison

  • Tips for breaking a tie

  • Using impartial references

  • Running and scoring client references