The Rise of Salesforce CMS

Kartsten Reuter, SVP Product Management

Karsten Reuter

The writing has been on the wall for some time now.

With their acquisitions of ExactTarget and Demandware, Salesforce has been steadily building digital experience platform (DXP) content management capabilities into their customer relationship management (CRM) system. But what’s been missing until recently has been real content management system (CMS) functionality.

But just like in the latest Star Wars trilogy, momentum has been building for Salesforce.

About a year ago, Salesforce unveiled some basic CMS capabilities in Community Cloud and then introduced Page Designer for Commerce B2C to manage content. So it’s no real surprise that they have now taken the next step in content management and made CMS a fundamental platform capability and are actively integrating it with Page Designer for customers.

Salesforce has realized what we’ve known for years: content is king and the right CMS capabilities can make or break a CRM platform.


Salesforce Screenshot

Salesforce Screenshot

Since Salesforce is a leader in the DXP space, it’s no surprise that this announcement has generated a lot of attention, including these reviews by analysts:

Looking at the content capabilities of the product and comparing them with the available reviews from analysts and marketing professionals, I share the same viewpoint.

Salesforce is taking a bold marketing position that makes sense in the DXP and content management space – even more so if you are buying into the Salesforce ecosystem with its extensive library of third-party apps. And their positioning as a hybrid CMS is also in line with market trends and what customers demand from marketing and CRM platforms.

On the other hand, most of that positioning is relying on a roadmap where the current product is focusing on simple content use cases. With my 20 years of experience in the CMS space, I can confidently say that as businesses expand their online content offerings, the use cases get substantially more complicated (and users can get more frustrated without the right tools).

We have seen this with other vendors – especially in the commerce space – where the CMS solutions provided by their platforms managed to address simple content use cases but struggled mightily to provide the feature richness, maturity, personalization options, and user experience that mature CMS’s can provide.

In the end, I share the view of Gartner Senior Research Director Irina Guseva: market confusion still exists and the next few years will reveal whether Salesforce CMS can grow beyond its current minimal use cases. Because for the highest impact business use cases a second and more mature CMS is definitely needed.

Don't get me wrong: I love seeing the innovation going on at Salesforce, which continues to be an important partner for us. But I'm also confident that our enterprise-grade CMS, CoreMedia Content Cloud, is the right choice for innovative companies looking for quicker online updates, more flexibility for their developers, headless options, deeper integrations, and better branding opportunities for their content marketing efforts.

It's a fascinating time to be in this business. May the Force be with you.

Stage 1: Fragmented: Multiple Channels

You’re a digital dinosaur!

You have a beautiful website, but with fragmented digital experiences, you run the risk of extinction.

It’s time to evolve.

Your audiences want a seamless experience, no matter what's happening behind the scenes. When your experience is different or difficult, it’s important to start with the basics, such as cultivating a holistic approach to online digital experiences. Realign your teams, platforms, processes, goals, and metrics around a comprehensive view of the online experience. Focus on the end-to-end customer journey cutting across channels, desktop and mobile.

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Stage 2: Integrated: Multiple channels

You’re a fish!

Signs of exciting life are starting to form. Your DX is responsive and adaptive but it’s not quite personalized yet.

Keep swimming!

The integration of your brand content across every touchpoint (website, online store, social media, emails, apps, point of sale) creates immersive experiences. These flagship sites combine content-rich brand experiences with immediate conversion capabilities. Business teams and marketing are closely aligned. However, while the digital experience is responsive and adaptive, it’s not yet personalized.

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Stage 3: Instant: Global expansion

You’re a crocodile!

You’re taking it global. Speed and scalability are key and just like a crocodile, you’re fast…but you’re clumsy.

Oh snap!

In this stage, the online digital experience becomes completely dynamic. You need content that is global, yet relevant, with plenty of local insights: Who is the user? Are they using a mobile phone? Is it raining where they are? Is it snowing? If it is, maybe they need warm, waterproof boots. All of this contextualized information creates a better user experience. With one global orchestration, you’re able to adapt everything, in whatever country or language you choose – while keeping turnaround times low. So keep evolving.

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Stage 4: Dynamic: Real time personalization

You’re a lion!

You’re reaching more customers in more countries and languages than ever before, and now you’re finally hunting and collecting info with precision.

But you can do more to keep your brand roaring!

As you graduate to the Instant level, you’re able to rapidly update everything - not just in one language and for one country, but in 20 languages and for 100 countries. Speed and scalability are key, driven by the need to roll out global campaigns in all languages and all touchpoints and make updates in minutes or hours, not weeks. But there’s still more to do to reach nirvana.

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Stage 5: Immersive: Elevated experiences

You’re Captain Content!

You’ve done it! You have opposable thumbs AND you’re saving the world with your seamless, elevated customer experiences.

You're a superhero in the digital space.

Your digital world and your physical world are blending together in the most complementary way possible. When shoppers visit your store, they’ll be greeted with their pre-selected products. Language changes dynamically depending on country of origin – it's like the whole store was set up just for your one specific customer.

In this final stage, your customer experience is truly immersive and superior, and your flagship store merges your physical and digital world into one, with a truly personalized individual experience.

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