The Competitive Landscape

As competition within the manufacturing industry continues to increase, organizations are looking for business opportunities that will reduce operational costs, increase ROI, and improve their overall customer experience. Companies need the ability to set themselves apart from the competition while building a digital experience that helps them differentiate and compete. Manufacturers are especially challenged with complex products, multiple sales channels, and unique sales cycles - making content discovery and consumption critical to their revenue.

What is Headless CMS?

Headless CMS graphic

To understand a headless CMS, it is important to first understand its predecessor—the traditional CMS. Since the early days of web development, traditional CMS systems (i.e., WordPress) have been used to store the images, videos, and text that make up a website. These elements were written directly into the code and were only capable of being used in one linear fashion.

Fast-forward to the present day, where companies can now initiate touchpoints and nurture leads in a variety of different ways outside of the traditional website structure of text, video, and images. Now, the inclusion of mobile apps, drip campaigns, digital displays, virtual assistants, and other digital platforms helps create a much larger, all-encompassing user journey. To stay ahead of the competition, you need a CMS that is flexible enough to adapt to these ever-evolving digital platforms. This is where a headless CMS system steps in—and shines.

To put it simply, a headless CMS serves as an asset repository that organizes existing content then uses APIs to map that content to a specific digital platform, device, or display method. With a headless CMS, your hosting and delivery live in the cloud, making it secure, flexible, and configurable anytime, from anywhere.

The Move Towards Headless Technologies

Even prior to the onset of the pandemic, customers globally were spending less time on-site to source products and services. As a result, manufacturers are moving key business functions and experiences online. Creating compelling, unified, and scalable experiences is the new challenge and opportunity for businesses looking to compete in this new reality. Manufacturers need the tools to create effortless multichannel and multitouch online experiences.

Here is where headless CMS architecture comes into play. With a headless CMS, manufacturers now can personalize the entire digital experience by creating a structured digital ecosystem. Through API technology, they can develop highly targeted content regarding products and services, empower sales teams to nurture prospective clients, and improve the user journey overall.

Business and Technology Benefits to Headless CMS

Business and Technology Benefits to Headless CMS infographic

Create Content without Dependencies

The greatest benefit of a headless CMS is the decoupling of the frontend and backend capabilities. This allows content to be created without the burden of frontend presentation and ensures the workflow of developers remains uninterrupted. Essentially, this means content creators can create and developers can develop without one impeding the other.

Cross-Platform Publishing

With the help of APIs, all content or assets held within a headless CMS can be repurposed for delivery to fit any digital platform. With this cross-platform support, the typical time-to-market is significantly reduced. Content delivery to platforms like mobile phones, smartwatches, digital displays and more can be done quickly and with minimal issue.

Developers are Not Locked into a Single Programming Language

Unlike a traditional CMS, the headless CMS solution provides developers the freedom to use their desired framework as opposed to conforming to one programming language. They instead have the flexibility to utilize a multitude of APIs and data formats to accomplish frontend and backend functionality.

Supports a Best-of-Breed Architecture

The structure of a headless CMS prevents vendor lock-in by allowing you to design your platform with a best-of-breed approach. Its architecture enables you to integrate best-in-class APIs easily and quickly from multiple vendors to develop an optimal user experience.  

Never Upgrade Again

Research has found that on average, IT teams spend 40% of their time delivering upgrades. With cloud-native headless CMS technology, upgrades are a thing of the past, which can lead to massive cost and time savings, and radically improved efficiency.

Quiz: Is Your Business Ready for Headless CMS?

Review the factors below. If your business meets one or more of these conditions, headless content may be the most robust, future-friendly solution.

  • Your organization is experiencing rapid growth
  • You are managing multiple brands—each with its own highly targeted audience
  • You operate in multiple regions and require localized content for each
  • Legacy content management (i.e., content and/or product updates) is taking up your resources’ time
  • Your omnichannel distribution strategy still includes too many manual steps
  • Your digital tools, like content management, marketing, inventory, customer service, etc., are operating in silos
  • You want to consolidate and manage your digital costs

Strategic Checklist for Adopting Headless CMS

  • Define the why: What are the business objectives and long-term benefits of moving to a headless CMS? How does this help your business differentiate and compete?
  • Define where your business will begin with headless CMS. For manufacturers, it may be a complete eCommerce replatform, or a pilot project like a product launch, new market launch, or new channel.
  • Define what you need. This is where you’ll need to build a comprehensive list of business requirements that are designed to be shared with all solution partners. A headless CMS supports a best-in-class philosophy and allows you to select top-tier solutions for your business.
  • Define the how: Procure the headless CMS solution that best suits your business needs.
  • Define who is involved today: Determine who from your internal teams will be responsible for implementing this headless CMS to ensure it is satisfying business needs. If these technologies are new to your business, identify additional vendors needed to help your headless CMS achieve success.  
  • Define who is involved tomorrow: Take a look at the resources you currently have and determine if those resources align with the direction your new technology is going. Do you have a team of developers with expertise centered around a legacy CMS? Evaluate your existing resources and ensure you have the proper skills on board to maximize the capability of your headless CMS.

Headless CMS Implementation Checklist

Once you’ve found the right CMS for your business, here are the common implementation steps:

  • Setting up the correct architecture
  • Connecting content databases
  • Creating a content model
  • Integrating with your APIs
  • Building the most appropriate hosting structure

Find your guides

A digital consultancy like Object Edge can help with defining your business requirements, implementation, and management after launch. Contentstack’s headless CMS is an Agile Content Management System that empowers teams to drive dynamic, multichannel digital experiences. Both Object Edge and Contentstack are members of the MACH Alliance.

OE joined the MACH Alliance

About the Author

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Sarah Falcon

VP, Marketing Global

Sarah is a nimble and creative marketing leader with 15 years of experience in a mix of agencies, B2B, and B2C enterprises. She brings a background in building and driving impactful marketing practices and processes for growing businesses. Sarah has expertise in brand, content marketing, lead generation, and marketing operations. She’s a co-author of the 2019 book on B2B eCommerce Digital Branch Secrets: eCommerce Playbook for Distributors.

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