At the industry analyst session at Gilbane Boston last December, one of the points of discussion was how well spending on web content management systems had held up during the depths of the recession compared to other parts of IT budgets. Everyone on the panel agreed, and Forrester and IDC both mentioned research showing a healthy market for WCM and expected growth (if someone remembers the numbers please comment). This was a surprise to much of the audience, but obviously not to the vendors (well, at least to those reaping the benefit).

Why has/is web content management growing? The one word answer is ‘marketing’ – not vendor marketing, although they are mostly in tune with, and encouraging, the more aggressive pro-activeness of enterprise marketers. And why are marketing executives now better at demanding, and getting,  budgets for WCM? There are a number of reasons, including the paradoxical “to save money” (system costs have come down, large system service contracts costs have not, and SaaS solutions and open source solutions are growing). Most importantly however, is that most organizations have finally figured out that ‘marketing’ means ‘multi-channel, digital, and interactive/social marketing’. This is fundamental. The companies who took advantage of the recession to invest in learning what this means, experimenting with tools, customer interactions, and system integrations, have gotten a bit of a head start, but nobody can ignore this – this is not a ‘nice to have’.

Why is the focus on ‘web content management’ and not something else? All product categories are fluid, and eventually there will be a category, buzzword/phrase TBD, for multi-channel content management that includes tools for social, mobile, tablet, channels etc. But for the foreseeable future, the corporate website(s) will be the hub, however it is accessed.

Well, all I really meant to do in this post was point to the special guide to marketing-focused sessions at Gilbane San Francisco in May, but now you know why. These sessions will also be useful for those in IT (along with our technology track) who support marketing initiatives.