Marketers love content – the themes and stories that really bring to life the essence of a brand.

However, the best content is literally worthless if not managed properly. And new channels are popping up every day.

As marketers, we know finding the right balance between the creation, distribution and management of content is the key to delivering on a brand promise.

But doing things right with content can be as hard as developing it. 53% of marketing executives feel they spend way too much time on operational details for content – such as securing legal and leadership approval, content tagging and documentation requirements – than on core marketing and branding activities. 

These findings from a survey Accenture Interactive launched earlier this year tell me that many marketing organizations have a content velocity issue and might be stuck in a ‘content congestion’ very soon.

It’s even more worrying that the majority (92%) say they’re now dealing with more content than two years ago and 83% said there’s no end in sight to the surge in content. If you think this won’t impact the customer experience, think again.

Just consider customers’ growing irritation with advertising, with 74% of consumers saying that online ads don’t match their interests, and 42% would pay to eliminate ad interruptions.

If brands don’t start taking creation, distribution, and management of content more seriously, they will start (or continue) to disappoint customers.

Marketers can start to effectively manage the abundance of content with the following:

1. View content as an enterprise issue

It doesn’t all fall on just marketing or IT’s shoulders to fix this problem. There is a larger enterprise issue here and companies need to take a step back and look at content from a broader perspective.

Content is in everything we do, whether it’s a tweet responding to a customer, a new digital catalogue launching new company products, a Facebook post, even an email to employees.

It affects the entire enterprise because it’s the enabler for meaningful customer relationships. 

Therefore, companies should start by developing and managing content under one centralized model – which only about 5% do today.

They should also look to decouple different types of actions, such as content ideation from content production. This will allow them to spend more time on their branding and marketing initiatives than on operational details.

2. Align content marketing and IT teams 

More marketers than ever are now recognizing a need for better alignment with IT and they would be wise to do something about it.

Marketing continues to become more about digital, requiring even more technology to shape the entire customer experience. Take analytics, which can be applied to the way content is tagged and distributed in real-time.

Marketers need to easily collaborate with IT teams to assist with carrying out their messages across multiple platforms in a seamless and efficient way, while IT teams depend on content, which makes up all digital strategies and brand execution.

The goal here is to reach your customers in a quick and easy way, while delivering them the right messages tailored to their wants, needs and intent.

If your marketing and IT departments are not already on the same page – including identifying new, shared success criteria – it’s critical they get there in order to see this goal through.

3. Ensure you have a clear plan to measure impact

The job isn’t over once content has been produced and delivered to what feels like the right customers.

Marketers need to take it a step further and measure the impact from digital content as it pertains to their overall content strategy and brand objectives.

This can be done in a number of ways – whether via operational statistics or customer-focused means – and the majority (88%) rely on detailed processes and workflows, but that sometimes doesn’t offer a clear view of how their customers are receiving their content.

Every marketing leader we surveyed realizes (digital) content is vital for reaching business objectives. For that, they need to bridge the gap that currently exists in the organization between business units, geographies, and brands.

They need to enable an effective governance and re-engineer the content operating model based on customer needs and expectations in order to deliver experiences that help their customers reach their goals.

The demand to leverage content to engage customers is growing exponentially as new distribution points arise. 

The author would like to thank Donna Tuths, managing director and content lead at Accenture Interactive, for her contribution to this article. 

Glen Hartman

Published 4 November, 2016 by Glen Hartman

Glen Hartman serves as Senior Managing Director for Digital Transformation at Accenture Interactive and is a contributor to Econsultancy. You can follow him at @hartmanglen or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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