By: ADMA staff writers
Chaotic, complex, cataclysmic. Dealing with content can be a near-death experience for the faint-hearted marketing professional.
According to research from Forrester, the average enterprise manages 268 different mobile and web experiences. Maintaining brand consistency and customer experiences as well as ensuring content is timely, bespoke and relevant is a killer task.
So what can marketers do to survive the long-lasting reign of king content and prepare for the future of the medium?
The changing face of content
According to Darren Guarnaccia, Sitecore’s US based EVP of Customer Experience, “Organisations nowadays produce a tremendous amount of content to communicate with their customers, prospects, partners, and other stakeholders. From websites to emails to mobile experiences and applications – all of them need content. In many ways, content is the currency of the modern marketer.
“It’s the coin with which you purchase attention from your audience.”
According to Sunil Menon, the Worldwide Head of HP TeamSite, digital channels are now central to interacting and engaging with customers, partners, and employees. People and organisations produce more content than ever, and the rate of creation continues to grow.
“As well as the content, the channels through which people expect to access it have ballooned. Even a few years ago, people mostly interacted through a browser. Now, they expect a consistent and connected experience across their smartphones, tablets, desktops, laptops, in store, on billboards, on social channels, and even third party sites (e.g. a hotel company posting property information to online travel agencies such as Expedia).”
And he suggests, there is also a debate brewing about whether users are expecting a push as opposed to a pull of digital experiences.
SDL Australian managing director Kevin Ross adds, “Content comes in many shapes and forms, but there is a clear trend towards more rich media and more multilingual content. Moreover, personalisation requires additional content to be produced as well.
“Overall, the content explosion continues, and companies struggle to manage this in a way that is efficient and that produces brand consistency over time.”
Content types and content channels are changing, and this is creating new challenges for marketers.
“Content itself has changed too – text and imagery persist, but there is a larger growth in the use of more visually-compelling content including photos, audio, streaming video, social posts, crowdsourced ratings, reviews and more. More importantly, a lot of this content is being created outside the enterprise and is not under the control of the marketer or line-of-business user within the enterprise,” says Menon.
Video is also playing an ever increasing role in the corporate context mix. “More and more people are consuming video on mobile, which has historically been time consuming and expensive to get to market. Now companies need to be able to produce videos in a more nimble fashion in short and long form.”
Telstra’s director of segment marketing, Andy Bateman sees video as a critical part of the content mix.
“The capability of wireless broadband and wifi technology has meant that video content, management and distribution is much more practical that it was three years ago.”
He says that if companies are not producing and managing video content, particularly on mobile, then they are missing the boat.
“We want to watch the internet not just read it and as humans we are built to give and receive stories – video allows us to do that better than anything else.”
Content management systems (CMS)
Companies have always produced voluminous content but go back two decades and there was little consideration for content management simply because much of the material was not digitised.
That is all changing. Gone are the days of mere text and photos.
Video is increasingly critical. Sales presentations which once could reliably be found in a power point presentation might now be spread across multiple apps and even multiple clouds.
This content, he says, whether it be text, images, documents or other types of content assets – needs to be managed and packaged up for delivery across a multitude of channels.
“This is the core function of Content Management Systems today (or what we believe should be, anyway).”
For companies that are producing content, there’s an imperative to house and order it well.
For anyone looking for a silver bullet solution to the content marketing conundrum, Andy Bateman, director of segment marketing at Telstra, has a piece of cautionary advice. “There is no silver bullet. You might think you can build a central nervous system or a big data lake but it’s nigh on impossible.”
“Can there be a single over-arching platform?” he asks.” My sense is by the time you build it, it will be redundant because the reasons you use it and the way that you use it will have changed.”
Instead, he suggests, content management systems which focus on a specific need might provide a better outcome.” We do a lot of marketing automation for instance and we use external partners and it is a very decent fit-for-purpose solution compared to say other use cases.”
While the dynamic digital landscape brings many challenges, it’s also ripe with new opportunities.
Adobe’s Marta DeBellis, VP of marketing for Adobe, Asia Pacific says, “The changing digital landscape has created new and exciting ways to engage with customers across channels and devices via mobile, web, social, Internet of Things, in-store digital screens and more.”
Yolanda Uys, Head of Marketing at Dan Murphy’s, who recently spoke at ADMA's Global Forum, believes storytelling helps brands bring to life what makes them unique and create connections between what they offer and customers’ needs.
“Content is nothing more than the stories we choose to tell. The stories you tell need to line up with who you are as a brand and what you stand for. Where you tell the story needs to be right for the brand but it also needs to be right for the type of story. You have to make sure you’re pushing the right content, into the right channel - personalisation means to the right customer.”
Particularly in the marketing space personalisation has also become a key consideration.
“Creating a personalised, relevant digital experience has become a priority and a challenge for many organisations. This is why many organisations turn to a content management solution for management, delivery, measurement and ultimately optimisation. As a result, this will help companies build brand loyalty and drive demand.” DeBellis says.
Uys agrees, “Personalisation will eclipse all the marketing we do today. Unless we as brands know our customers well enough and are able to tailor content and information and our product to suit their individual needs, we will be irrelevant.”
The key to withstand the test of content is management. While a silver bullet type solution doesn’t exist (yet), CMS vendors are focusing on improvements for the future of content: mobility, video, velocity and personalisation.