ESOMAR Democratizes Website with Apostrophe
ESOMAR is a not-for-profit membership organisation that focuses on advocating for fair and ethical use of data in market research. The members form a community convinced of the potential of data analytics, research and insights to help improve societies, organisations and communities. Headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, with sights of office expansion into the United States, ESOMAR is present in over 130 countries through its members. Established in 1948, ESOMAR has been helping individuals and organisations that are part of the analytics and insights ecosystem across the globe.
A primary goal for ESOMAR is to be the voice of market research in a unified and consistent way. Until now, their website was holding back their message by not empowering their teams to present the message in a desired or timely way.
The communications team recognized that one of their strongest communication tools, their website, was dated and ineffective. In order to achieve clarity in their message and support the expansion of the organization’s narrative to a global audience, they needed to reimagine the user experience and completely overhaul the existing website.
In addition to the stranglehold on communications, the ESOMAR team also struggled with a disjointed and siloed digital platform. With a legacy content platform as the masthead, and many external management products living outside of the platform and a number of side projects managed in even more external environments, the objective to be current and successful seemed like an uphill battle. The system administration efforts to secure, maintain, manage and train on multiple platforms was an ineffective use of resources and would need to be addressed within a new solution.
In search of a solution
In partnership with Corllete Ltd, a custom web development company based in Bulgaria, ESOMAR reviewed and researched various platforms to fit their needs. The requirements defined by ESOMAR and Corllete were extensive, and included primary requisites such as the following:
- Open source license to avoid vendor lock-in
- Project sustainability with plans of future feature development, improvements and security
- Modern software design based on today’s technology preferences
- Fast and responsive performance
- Low learning curve for content managers
- Content management workflow
- Flawless 3rd party integration capabilities
- Multilanguage content and localization (i18n)
Apostrophe, the best-in-class solution ideally suited for ESOMAR.
Landing at the top of the recommendation list due to its open source and modern technology stack, Apostrophe was selected as the correct solution for ESOMAR with a balance of flexibility, performance and outstanding editor experience.
As an enterprise ready platform, Apostrophe is equally suited for quickly prototyping microsites as well as heavier projects with both content and custom business needs. With its highly modular design, everything can be extended and overwritten, giving the developers the freedom to achieve their goals, but at the same time deliver a premier editor experience to the communications team. These core elements are what triggered ESOMAR’s move to Apostrophe.
“Apostrophe shines with the fine balance between offering tons of automations in order to speed up the development process and give the developers freedom to choose how to design their custom solutions and opt-out automations when needed.”
ESOMAR’s old website was seen as confusing and site visitors were left with a somewhat vague understanding of who the organisation was and who it was looking to serve. In order to overcome this challenge with a new website, the team was committed to an improved visitor experience.
It began with a defined structure throughout the planning process that has resulted in a more organized delivery of content. From mission statements, to training and events, to membership profiles and opportunities, the communication and opportunities are now more clear than ever before.
Democratizing site management
Before Apostrophe, only certain members of the ESOMAR team were granted access to contribute and publish content on the website, limiting the workflow and creating unnecessary barriers. Now, with only a minimal amount of training and guidance, ESOMAR team members are empowered to engage with content and achieve their communication objectives, helping to democratize the site for more users.
“With Apostrophe, we now have all of our content and events teams, as well as our member relations team, including communications and marketing essentially co-sharing the responsibility of deploying content, which is quite a significant shift in terms of how we were using our websites.”
A requirement that the team sought out in evaluating CMS solutions was that they wanted the site content to be specifically managed by editors without expertise in any kind of front-end coding. They faced challenges before with content types, such as events, taking a month or more, along with the participation of multiple programmers, in order to go live. This delayed the flow of critical information and updates to their members, which was no longer acceptable.
Today, in addition to the ability of more users to gain access to the site on the Apostrophe platform, the speed in which content can be deployed is a revolutionary change to ESOMAR’s previous web management experience. With new workflows in place, and a WYSIWYG editor experience that is beyond compare, teams are deploying new landing pages in hours, instead of weeks.
“I think we've really moved from a logic where it took literally weeks before we could get a new content page to really a situation where we're getting down to hours and creating a new content page. And that's quite revolutionary for the organisation.” - K. Smouter-Umans
This type of ability allows the communications team to be much more responsive to emerging demands in their business, and in turn best serving their community. Previous iterations of the website were incapable of providing a path to communicate important happenings to the many communities that make up the ESOMAR membership base.
The high volume of content was a burden on previous systems, whereas now in Apostrophe, it has the opportunity to flourish and properly communicate to the communities as it was originally intended.
“The Apostrophe system makes us much more able to essentially capture the vibrancy of the community and as a result of that, hopefully lead to more conversions in terms of membership, supporting a key objective of the website.”
Speed and scalability
“The scalability is just awesome. It’s out of this world.”
Where to go from here
Beyond the preliminary scope to reimagine the website and launch a successful deployment, there is much more planned. First up is to address the interplay of many internal systems and platform integrations. The team has already initiated work to seamlessly integrate systems such as Salesforce, which is made easy with Apostrophe documentation.
With the initial success in implementation and onboarding that ESOMAR has experienced with their corporate site, their next intention is to convert additional sites from legacy systems such as WordPress systems and other CMSs to Apostrophe. Well suited for such a migration is Apostrophe Assembly, Apostrophe’s multisite cloud platform. Leveraging elements and any custom implementations from one site to another from a simplex dashboard will empower the ESOMAR team to quickly roll out sites that meet the needs and expectations of their membership base.
“This is not the end of the project, it is just the start.”