How to Measure the ROI from Web Experience Management

By Loren Weinberg  |  Posted 2010-10-27

How to Measure the ROI from Web Experience Management

The Web has become a key channel for converting prospects into customers, increasing customer loyalty and maintaining operational efficiencies. Building an effective Web presence has become critical to achieving business success.

Web Experience Management (WEM) solutions can enable enterprises to build and deploy an effective Web presence that can help drive revenue and cost savings by enabling business users to efficiently manage Websites, Web content and campaigns. WEM solutions enable users to deliver a relevant and engaging experience to Website visitors.

Demonstrating a positive ROI is an essential part of planning for a WEM implementation, both for securing internal support for these projects and for ensuring they continue to deliver over the years to come. Fortunately, a compelling case can be constructed for WEM using a straightforward method of ROI calculation and measurement.

Measuring ROI begins with outlining a business case for your WEM initiatives and determining the metrics most important to your business that WEM projects can impact. Straightforward ROI projections can then be created based on potential bottom-line as well as topline improvements. These projections can help to get your projects funded and off the ground, and can also demonstrate success to your organization as the project progresses.

WEM: Managing More Than Content

WEM: Managing more than content

Organizations have realized that to be effective in marketing, customer service and internal and external communications, they need to deliver highly relevant content and a rich, interactive online customer experience. This makes the Web an essential component of the overall customer experience.

WEM capabilities are the tools that marketers and customer experience professionals need to easily manage and update Web content to make the Website visitors' experience as rich and effective as possible. The right WEM platform not only supports revenue-generating activities but also drives significant operational cost savings. It does so by enabling organizations to engage a broad audience with targeted content and promotions, grow communities around their products and services, and manage a large Web presence with ease. Thus, a WEM solution is central to driving both topline and bottom-line business results.

WEM capabilities enable business users to collaborate around Web content, author content online and design site layout. WEM capabilities also enable users to publish content to the live Website, create targeted campaigns for online visitors, dynamically deliver the right content to the right site visitor (in the right language), analyze and optimize the effectiveness of Web content, and enable online community interactions with user-generated content.

With WEM, organizations can centrally manage and globally deliver a rich experience with consistent branding, doing so across multiple sites in multiple languages and supporting a diverse set of content contributors.

Driving Revenue with WEM

Driving revenue with WEM

Organizations that deliver an engaging online customer experience can gain tremendous benefits, including increased site traffic, conversion rates, customer advocacy and customer loyalty. Organizations can drive revenue using WEM through three key methods:

1. Greater return visits and loyalty

With relevant content and an engaging Web presence, organizations can influence prospects, customers, partners and other site visitors to return more often and recommend the organization's products and services to others. For companies that sell their online ad space, this leads to greater revenue through more eyeballs on the site. For organizations selling products, this leads to a greater likelihood for prospects to become customers, as well as shortened sales cycles.

2. Higher online conversion rates

By enabling targeted content and campaigns, WEM can help increase conversion rates as well as up-selling and cross-selling. Organizations can use WEM to provide site visitors with the most relevant information based on their preferences, needs or stage in the sales cycle, making them more likely to register and make purchases.

3. Faster time to market (TTM)

By launching new online content and promotions more quickly, organizations can realize the gains from their programs more quickly, as well as respond rapidly to new developments or market changes.

For example, a news site that is able to post frequent updates during a major newsworthy event can increase page views significantly and, thus, ad revenue. Meanwhile, a company that can get information about a new product or service online faster can see the impact of those new capabilities realized earlier.

Achieving Efficiencies and Saving Time

Achieving efficiencies and saving time

WEM solutions can also allow organizations to achieve significant savings by minimizing the amount of time it takes to perform routine site maintenance tasks, and enabling IT and business resources to be used more strategically. Three key efficiency drivers include:

1. Greater output from IT

By enabling marketers, content contributors and other line of business (LOB) staff to author and edit content, WEM solutions can create dramatic savings by allowing IT resources to be redeployed from routine site maintenance to higher-value technical tasks.

For example, WEM solutions have enabled one major financial company to support more than 100 sites and 150 different content contributors globally-with a team of only four developers. This has helped them to drive tremendous efficiencies for their business, enabling their small development team to strategically and successfully support a global business.

2. Greater output from content contributors and marketers

Easy-to-use tools for managing Website content and campaigns can also enable great efficiencies for the marketing department and other LOB staff. With intuitive tools, business people can quickly and effectively manage content and campaigns without having to wait for assistance from technical staff. Reduced time spent creating and editing content, finding and reusing content, and creating and launching online campaigns leads directly to greater business efficiency.

3. Higher customer service efficiency

Using WEM to create and maintain an up-to-date customer support site with content targeted to individual customer needs can result in major savings. By enabling customer self-service online (rather than calls to the customer service phone center), organizations can deliver high-quality customer service with limited resources.

For example, one global technology company was able to cut support center call volume by 50 percent after implementing a new dynamic customer support site, saving millions of dollars per year. Once bottom-line cost savings have been calculated, they can then be added to topline revenue increases to produce the net benefit of implementing a WEM solution.

Calculating Net Benefit and ROI

Calculating net benefit and ROI

Once your organization has determined the projected net benefit of WEM based on the metrics most relevant to your goals and strategies, this number should be compared to the TCO for the WEM solution. The TCO is calculated by adding software license fees, professional services costs for implementation, and ongoing maintenance and support fees for the WEM project. The TCO of any preexisting Web content management system (CMS) should then be subtracted from this amount to calculate the true incremental TCO of the new system.

Using projected net benefit and incremental TCO, you can then determine how quickly you can pay back the investment you make in WEM. Using these data points, you can calculate both payback time in months and the annual ROI payback percentage you expect to achieve. These figures are important for building both a strong business case for investment and showing the success of WEM projects over time.

WEM offers significant business benefits for organizations of all types, including higher customer satisfaction and loyalty, an enhanced brand, and improved employee job satisfaction and performance. No matter what solution or approach you choose for WEM, beginning with a clear understanding of potential ROI and then continuing to measure and analyze your results over time will be the key to achieving your desired goals and demonstrating results to your stakeholders.

Loren Weinberg is Senior Vice President of Marketing and Product Management at FatWire Software. Loren is responsible for FatWire's global corporate strategy, corporate marketing, product marketing and product management. Loren joined FatWire in September 2007. A strategy and marketing expert, Loren has 15 years of IT industry experience in corporate strategy, product marketing, product management and software sales strategy. Loren holds a MBA degree from Harvard Business School and a Bachelor's degree, magna cum laude, from Yale University. She can be reached at

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