Content First and Content Fast — Key Benefits of the Right Digital Foundation
With an integrated marketing technology stack, you can manage your digital assets as experience fragments and deliver automated personalized experiences at scale.
The experiences your customers have can make or break their perception of your brand. And that’s why digital marketers are investing valuable dollars to personalize every step of a customer’s journey. It’s what 71 percent of marketers say will be critical to business growth in the coming years.
“For marketers, it’s not only about creating more content. It’s actually about creating the right content,” says Haresh Kumar, director of strategy and product marketing at Adobe. “The whole idea around driving engagement is about understanding the customer and the context and the moment that they are engaging with the brand, and then delivering the right experience for that moment. If you’re not delivering personalized and engaging experiences, you’re likely going to lose that customer.”
A content-first development process can help accomplish this. This approach puts decisions about what content to develop at the beginning of the experience creation process. Rather than starting by determining the channels you’ll use for delivery, begin by thinking about the nuggets of information you need to share — whether they’re in text, images, or video, for example — and if and how each of them can be or will be personalized.
With this content-first approach, each customer experience is an accumulation of a smaller subset of content pieces or “experience fragments,” joined together to create a personalized interaction with your brand. Haresh compares these fragments to Lego blocks.
With a content-first development approach that leverages experience fragments, rather than build anew for each, you can compose an endless variety of personalized experiences tailored to the customer audience, the medium, the device, and the context. Your marketing team and processes will become more agile in their ability to deliver relevant experiences in real time.
When you use data to understand the context of who your customer is, where your customer is in their journey, and what delivery channels they prefer, you can better assemble the right fragments for each customer at every touchpoint along the journey.
Sound intimidating? It’s not — if you have a solid digital foundation.
The right foundation drives success
A content-first development approach relies on a unified digital foundation, anchored by an integrated marketing technology stack. Within that stack ideally should be two core integrated elements:
- A streamlined content management solution that can be optimized for dynamic content creation and that can deliver content across multiple channels. With omnichannel content, brands can deliver consistent, cohesive customer experiences on any device, anytime.
- Analytics and personalization, so you can better understand customers and their preferences and then deliver rich, engaging and personalized experiences accordingly.
Combined content and asset management solutions can eliminate much of the drudgery involved in content creation.
Think about a product your business sells, say a pair of shoes, presented in three different ways — on a desktop computer, in a specialized app, or through a Facebook ad displayed on a tablet. All the content components should be the same, but they will all need to be displayed differently on the different channels and devices.
These assets, or experience fragments, need to be clipped, cropped, and pre-measured, depending on where and how people access the content. With the right CMS, the experience fragments only need to be stored once, and then are automatically called up in whatever format you need for the medium you are using.
“One of the best parts about a content-first approach,” says Shelby Britton, group product marketing manager at Adobe, “is that the process is channel-agnostic.” You can create the same text block and related video or pictures, and use that same unit, or experience fragment, across the board. You don’t have to recreate every bit of content from scratch every time.
“The presentation is decoupled from the actual content, so you don’t have to create something just for Pinterest, Facebook, email, or wearables. You can create one piece of content and reuse it everywhere,” says Shelby. This means faster speeds in content delivery and getting your marketing campaigns to the customer.
Now consider that you may want to share a different pair of shoes at a different price for a certain customer segment, because your analytics tell you this certain customer is more likely to buy a different pair of shoes at a lower price point. The experience fragment with the price can be dynamic, as can the shoe type — both image and description. It may seem complicated but with the right system you can easily automate the process.
“The neat thing about experience fragments,” Haresh says, “is that you can ideally pre-program components, such as color schemes, and even decide which images go with which content so you deliver a personalized, yet consistent, experience every time it’s accessed.”
Driving business impact with experience fragments
A content-first approach is great at improving marketing efficiencies, but your customers don’t care how it all gets done on the back end — they care about the experience. Using foundational technology that helps you deliver consistent and personalized experiences, wherever your customers are, will significantly improve customers’ interactions with your brand.
Take Qantas, for example. The Australian airline found that a big headache for travelers using frequent flyer miles is that they often don’t know where they can go with those miles. To ease this pain point, the company used experience fragments to create a dedicated flight search: “Where Can I Go.” Now customers can discover if they could really fly to far-flung destinations for cheap.
Qantas presents consistent messaging delivered at lightning speed across marketing channels — the destinations a frequent flyer sees are automatically determined based on the number of miles a customer has, and although the display is optimized for each channel and device, it is created from the same master files in their CMS. An interactive map, a destination guide, an app — they all display the same content for a consistent brand experience.
Essentially, Qantas took a customer frustration — headaches over cashing in frequent flyer miles — and used its strong digital foundation and a content-first development process to eliminate it.
“When you start to uncover these pervasive pain points, and have people focused on these issues and solving them in truly meaningful ways, you win and retain customers,” says Dan Fischer, vice president of digital experiences and services at Qantas.
Boosting marketing agility and content velocity
Today’s customers demand personalized messages, but a splintered marketing ecosystem makes delivering these messages more complex every day. For that reason, the ability to create great customer experiences can’t be separated from the need for great processes and foundational technology.
A content-first approach to experience development, supported by a unified digital foundation, can lead to marketing efficiencies that improve personalization and content delivery — both variety and velocity. Automating parts of the content delivery process not only makes it more efficient for your team, it also helps deliver your experiences quickly, which is key to keeping your customers’ attention.
In an experience fragment, Shelby points out, marketing components such as images, video, or text get stitched together so they travel as a team whenever pulled up. “That’s a part of increasing velocity. You create content once, and when the master is updated it automatically updates across all channels and populates wherever that experience fragment is referenced,” she says.
Using the data and targeting components of an integrated marketing technology stack to determine when to present content pieces and how to adjust specific offers will improve content relevance for customers. With this unified digital foundation you can think and execute in a content-first way, allowing your organization to scale its messaging across different channels, devices, customer segments, and preferences.
See how a unified digital foundation can deliver optimal customer experiences every time — and discover how Adobe Experience Cloud can facilitate a secure, scalable foundation that connects those critical dots.