The past few years have seen a sea of change in the marketing department. The customer is now in charge, demanding all types of content in a personalized, contextual experience. This newly empowered customer wants information, and they want it when they want in the format they want it. Marketing is struggling to meet this demand.
But it's not as simple as saying "we need to change how we do things." To be successful, marketing must transform, not only in terms of strategy and approach to customer experience but also in the tools and technology required to deliver the right content to customers.
The Content Challenge
The biggest challenge is happening with content creation. Much of the content marketing now needs to deliver to customers isn't created in the marketing department. It's authored across the organization, from the product team to the support team to the customer service team to the business experts and so on.
Not only is content authored by different people, but it's also authored in many different formats: Word or PDF documents, content management systems, DITA, and others.
Marketing needs to adopt a new approach to content creation that works across the organization. They need an authoring tool that supports the structuring of content, so marketing can reuse and repackage it for different audiences and channels.
Simply put, marketing needs:
- A way to create structured content and, if required, import content in different formats into a central location to use it.
- The ability to mix and match content and package it in multiple ways.
- A way to personalize content or make minor, yet critical, adjustments based on specific parameters or variables.
- The ability to deliver content to different channels.
The Content Structure Challenge
Structured content is content that is created in such a way that descriptors and information about that content are attached to the content itself. In short, the content describes itself.
Here’s how this is done. Things like taxonomies and metadata are developed and then applied to a piece of content so you can easily tell what the content is, how to categorize and store it, and how you can use it. Structured content is also stored in a way that categorizes and groups the content so you can repackage all or part of it for different purposes.
Ann Rockley describes it best when she explains that structured content is:
- Structurally rich
- Semantically categorized
She also called it intelligent content:
"Intelligent content is not about the words or the images, intelligent content is about how you create, manage, and deliver your content. You can have the best content in the world, but if you can’t get it out to your customers or prospects at the right time, in the right format, and on the device of their choosing; it doesn’t matter how good your content is. Communicators spend too much time hand-crafting content for a channel, then hand-crafting that content over and over again for each additional channel. This isn’t sustainable. We don’t have the resources or the time and we can’t afford the cost of this error prone process."
Rockley has been talking about structured, or intelligent content for a few years now, but marketing is only starting to wrap its head around why it's so important and how they can implement it in their organization.
Another idea that Rockley often speaks of is the addition of two critical roles in the organization, the Chief Content Officer and the content architect (or engineer).
A Chief Content Officer (CCO) works across the organization to define an intelligent content strategy that works for everyone. The CCO helps marketing put in place a content strategy and model that will enable them to pull content from across the organization and manage it in a way that supports reuse, reconfiguration, and multichannel delivery.
The content architect, a role we understand well, defines the content model, including topics, categories, metadata, as well as any governance, workflow and other business rules around the content. They also work with the CMS to ensure it supports the defined content model and approach to content delivery.
The Content Delivery Challenge
Another major challenge for marketing is the delivery of content to multiple channels. Most marketing teams depend on their content management system to store and deliver content. What many are finding is that their CMS can't handle the demands of either structured content or the ability to deliver that content to multiple channels, online and offline.
What they need is a publishing tool which enables them to decouple content authoring from content delivery. This separation of content creation from how it's packaged and delivered is critical to success. A decoupled approach enables marketers to author content once and then set up multiple delivery channels – web, mobile, email, print and others.
They also need something equally important – the ability to adapt and personalize content on the delivery tier to make it more relevant for the audience consuming it.
A Different Kind of Solution
Traditional content management systems don't support structured content or a decoupled approach to content delivery. You may find a CMS that supports one or the other, but finding one that supports both is difficult. (Hint: Ingeniux can).
Find it you must though. The number of channels to which you need to deliver content is only growing. The expectations for content are continually evolving, and the different ways you need to package and repurpose content is quickly becoming a nightmare situation for many marketers.
Download our new paper: The Evolution of Structured Content Marketing to learn more about the challenges marketers face today and this new solution that can help ease their pain. You can also connect with me directly to discuss your challenges and find out how Ingeniux can help.
Subscribe to the Ingeniux blog for the latest in web experience management.