As more brands accelerate their digitalization and the volume of channels and end-user touchpoints ever-increases, the demand for more content, consistently across more platforms is growing. Prospects and customers are also becoming more digitally savvy, with their expectation for a consistent and informative experience following. Facing a plethora of digital channels, content types, and audience expectations, marketers have been ushered into content chaos.
To tackle this, switched-on marketers would plan the lifecycle of each piece of content they created. The idea was to create and mass distribute content in a short amount of time across a wide range of channels, and to work out where it would eventually end – thus predicting its life.
In today’s world, the content lifecycle has changed. There’s no start and end point. Instead, it’s an ongoing effort. Rather than simply distributing the content, marketers are required to create joined-up, memorable digital experiences. In other words, it’s time to stop asking how much life we can get out of our content and start asking what kind of experiences it can create that will better match customer expectations and behaviour.
The era of experience-led marketing
We’ve all heard of the experience economy and the way it’s changing what consumers want and expect from brands. But what exactly does this mean for marketers?
In a nutshell, the expectation for exceptional brand-driven experiences hinges on storytelling. This is done by brand marketers who have the power to orchestrate memorable campaigns across multiple touchpoints and customer-facing channels, and nurture customer loyalty on an ongoing basis by demonstrating their brand’s long-term value.
Content is vital to making these experiences a success. While all content must adhere to each platform’s requirements, rules, sizing etc, it also must adhere to the customer’s language, location, and personal taste – amongst other things. Therefore, by looking at the distribution of content as an experience, marketers can implement a more holistic approach to the lifecycle of their content.
The content experience is something that brands should adopt if they wish to thrive in the digital economy. It includes every marketing interaction that a buyer has with a brand, which are mapped and plugged in by the brand to educate, inform and inspire their customers.
An exceptional content experience is integrated and cohesive. It places consumer expectations at the fore to improve customer engagement, increase revenue, and align marketers with other stakeholders and departments in the business, like sales. With business operations in line with the way customers operate, marketers can sleep well at night, knowing that they’re delivering content that’s relevant.
A good content experience looks to deliver the right content to the right people at the right time. With the guide rails in place and an experience-led mindset, marketers can create contextualised content that will attract customer attention throughout their entire buying journey.
Shifting marketers’ mindset from lifecycle to experience
Consider this real-world example. Your brand may decide to write an eBook. This eBook could be split into a few blog posts that are then promoted on the brands channels over the course of a few weeks. This eBook would then be gated on the brands website. And that is the end of the lifecycle for that piece of content.
Comparatively, if we again consider the creation of an eBook, but see it through the lens of delivering an exceptional content experience, the outcomes are different. By reversioning the eBook to suit a large variety of devices, platforms, and channels, and automating the distribution of this content, the customer’s experience with that content is more profound. Adding automation capabilities and digital asset transformation tools to a marketer’s workflow means that these reversions aren’t a heavy lift, so time is spent on activities where human intervention and creativity is necessary. Not only does this technology help to maintain brand consistency, but it also allows marketers to track where the content goes and who interacts with it. This allows them to track campaign performance and determine their next moves with confidence, whether that be creating new iterations of the content or tweaking the creative. It’s all about sweating the content in front of you to make the most of your content and get the best possible results.
Changing mindsets change team operations
Approaching content as an experience, as opposed to treating each piece of content as a one-trick pony, encourages a transformation in terms of how marketing teams operate and how customers engage with brands. From the way content is managed and stored, to the way it is ideated, produced and distributed, brands must first streamline their content experience internally.
When creating content, it can be frustrating to locate files and assets that have been created by different teams. Using a centralised content platform will not only integrate the systems already used to facilitate collaboration, but also help to streamline content creation, management, and distribution.
In addition to automation, marketers may look to personalisation and analysis to take their content experience to the next level. Creating a personalised stream of content, based on the customer’s interaction with the brand, requires intelligent data analysis to ensure that content is relevant, performing well, and optimised where needed across a complex network of touchpoints. This includes marketing channels, commerce, DXP, packaging, events, and many more.
A new outlook
Ultimately, the content lifecycle has been replaced by the content experience. It’s all about adapting the content lifecycle to the experience-driven world we now live in.
The foundation for exceptional content experiences comes down to connection – from stakeholders and departments to the technology and systems they use. By uniting all of these internally, through collaboration, engagement, and a modernised approach to omni-channel content creation, both the brand and customer wins.
If brands don’t pay attention to the need for content experiences then consumers will venture elsewhere, eventually leading to reduced revenue and low customer engagement levels. Brands that focus on the content experience will improve customer attraction and retention. As a result, they will benefit the company’s bottom line.
Cover image source: Chris Lawton