How brands can accelerate content maturity for competitive strength


By Paige O’Neill, CMO, Sitecore

Marketing teams are under increasing pressure to accelerate toward higher levels of omnichannel content maturity. Mimicking the success of industry leaders such as Amazon, Spotify and Netflix isn’t the only reason, either. Instead, having a mature content strategy and delivery process directly impacts a brand’s ability to attract and retain customers.

Companies with mature omnichannel strategies retain 89 percent of customers. In comparison, only 33 percent of customers are retained by companies that have a weak omnichannel strategy. For organizations looking to become the next industry leader, and for those just trying to keep up with their own KPIs and expectations, there are several steps marketing teams can — and should — take, sooner rather than later.

Content maturity: Where teams are versus where they want to be

Businesses must evaluate where they weigh in on the content maturity scale. Knowing this can help them measure current capabilities against others within their industry and plan for sustainable growth. Here are four stages of maturity to help brands identify where they are in the journey:

1. Tactical publishing: At this stage of maturity, brands might be publishing content on an ad hoc basis, on a limited number of channels. The marketing team might only be posting to a blog on its website and maybe using one or two social media accounts to complement it.

2. Experience delivery: At this stage of content maturity, the team will be pairing tactical publishing with analytics and perhaps even personalization to deliver content that is more contextualized to the needs of each customer and also more consistent across the different channels and devices where they engage with the brand. There is probably a centralized repository for content, and the marketing strategy will include serving content based on experience objectives and personas.

3. Multichannel reuse: At this level, the brand will have begun to operate for efficiency and scale, with an understanding of how content assets can be reused across channels and campaigns for a seamless multichannel experience. The marketing team also may be measuring the performance of content throughout the customer journey to see where it’s adding the most value, helping them to focus resources on what’s really moving the needle.

4. Modular enterprise content: At the high end of the content maturity scale are businesses that are realizing the full potential of omnichannel content by modeling and managing it in an entirely modular way. With centralized content planning, creation and management practices, these brands will be able to produce granular assets that can be assembled, mixed and re-used to suit virtually any customer need or channel. For teams at this point, congratulations! But don’t stop now; there’s always room for improvement.

It’s important to point out that building toward content maturity isn’t necessarily a straight line, and there’s always the potential to make improvements at every stage. Improvements in processes, greater investment, new resources and the implementation of technology solutions can all lead to significant benefits.

Aligning teams and maturing with technology

As a business grows, the demand for content grows with it. That means it will eventually become harder to produce at speed and scale. That is unless the marketing team plans ahead. Every stakeholder in the organization should be on the same page to keep content production moving forward. This means aligning content creators, content management system managers, IT professionals and the C-suite. They must all be encouraged and incentivized to meet KPIs that align with overarching business goals. It’s a team effort, after all.

There are also technology solutions that brands can employ to give their content maturity a boost.

For example, a content hub can help a business manage every aspect of content operations — from streamlining content planning and creation workflows to centralizing digital assets and getting teams in sync. With solutions for digital asset management, content marketing and marketing resource management, teams can seamlessly connect content strategy and development with granular content management and publishing capabilities. The result is a force multiplier that reduces silos, inefficiencies and cost while enabling organizations to treat content as a true business asset.

All in all, understanding end-to-end content production processes and optimizing what the marketing team already has in place will put the business on a solid path to growth. For those with the ambition to stand out from the competition, the strategy should include accelerating through the four steps that we’ve just considered — and they can turn to resources and partnerships to get started on assessing their own content maturity as well.

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