Marketers around the world are tasked with a goal that may seem impossible rather than ambitious: rapidly deliver compliant print and digital content (ads and assets) to all global customers, while also reducing costs of production and technology.

The good news is that marketers do not need to jump on their desks and start singing at the top of their lungs “to dream the impossible dream” (actually, perhaps we should call that the great news!). Instead, they can embrace a game-changing approach to content creation, variation, and delivery known as creative automation.

At Sitecore DX 2023 Boston, EPAM’s Senior Solution Architect Chandra Venkataraman, and Sitecore Product Specialist Caridad Bojorquez took the stage in a breakout session to share how this low-code solution with global reach enables marketing teams to seamlessly and cost-effectively collaborate on content for global campaigns, with a local feel for each country’s context. EPAM's Tim Marsh, who created this solution and the value it provides marketers around the world, presented it first at Sitecore DX 2023 Europe two weeks earlier in London. Marsh, a long-standing Solution Architect and Sitecore MVP, hosted the session alongside Roger Connolly, VP of Product Management at Sitecore.

What is creative automation?

Creative automation refers to the use of technology and algorithms to automate or assist in the creative process, in order to accelerate and optimize the creative process, save time and cost, and deliver a higher quality output.

honeycomb

Creative automation is used in various industries such as advertising, media and entertainment, e-commerce, and education. Some applications include:

  • Design and layout: Using algorithms to create layouts for websites, advertisements, and other types of digital media.
  • Content creation: Using algorithms to generate text or video content, such as news articles or social media posts.
  • Audio and video: Using algorithms to automate tasks such as color correction, sound mixing, and motion graphics.
  • Generative art and music: Using algorithms to create unique and original works of art or music.

Compliance and regulatory considerations

Depending on the industry, brands can have compliance and regulatory considerations that must be factored into the creative automation process. Marketers in this position should ask a core question: What am I looking for when I want to drive a creative operation?

The kind of industry can inform whether some (or possibly all) processes can be automated, and what reviews must be in place. What’s more, as these regulations evolve, marketers want to ensure that they shift with them by periodically revisiting them.

At the same time, it is essential to have ongoing two-way communication with product vendors and partners, to ensure that they are part of the creative automation journey with respect to changing compliance and regulatory considerations. With revision, reinvention, and refinement, marketers can save a great deal of time and money in the long term.

Tying it all together

So far, we have look at the beneficial “why” of creative automation. But what about the practical “how” aspect? As Chandra and Caridad explained during the session, the technology-based infrastructure that ties everything together — and connects the why, to the how, and ultimately to the wow — has two components: Sitecore Content Hub and CHILI Publish.

Sitecore Content Hub and CHILI Publish — better known as Sitecore Content Publisher — empowers marketers to self-serve and automate content publication, while adhering to regulatory and compliance requirements through the use of approved brand templates.

Fundamental questions

Marketers eager to experience the benefits of creative automation might be asking themselves how they can get started as quickly as possible by connecting Sitecore Content Publisher with content operations solutions in the ecosystem such as:

  • Sitecore DAM to simplify storage, management, distribution, and control of digital assets
  • Sitecore CMP to streamline content strategizing, planning, creation, and publication.
  • Sitecore MRM to manage, budget, and control every phase of a marketing project.
  • Sitecore Experience Edge to publish content headlessly to any channel or downstream apps.

DAM business value

These integrations are certainly part of the overall picture, and enable marketers to own the entire content planning, creation, management and delivery lifecycle across all channels. However, before diving into the API cloud-first universe, marketers should take a step back and ask some fundamental strategic questions:

  • What is it that we want to accomplish?
  • Where are we now?
  • What steps do we need to take to get there?

Commented Caridad: “When it comes to SaaS platforms, the concept of connectivity or integration between products is really the less important question you should be asking. Instead, it's really about the types of situations that you want to create within your organization.”

Reducing the cost of collateral and variations

When it comes to creating collateral, and then subsequently building variations for different countries (or regions within a country), the numbers are in — and they aren’t pretty. Research has found that in the U.S., the average blended rate for most in-house creative teams is $81–$100 per hour. And most creative teams spend 30%-50% of their time working on design adaptation.

As such, a creative team of five professionals with a blended rate of $90 per hour, and who collectively spend 40% of their time manually adapting designs, cost an estimated $374,400 per year!

the cost of adapting assets

Sitecore Content Publisher frees marketers from repetitive tasks, and enables them unleash the enormous time and cost-saving advantages of creative automation by:

  • Scaling content production by harnessing assets and smart templates to deliver unlimited content and graphic variants — only one template is needed to create digital banners, print ads, posters and POP materials.
  • Enable personalization at scale by automating translation, localization, customization, co-branding, co-marketing, product variations, seasonality, and more — and all while reducing the risk of errors.
  • Go to market faster and reduce cost by enabling the team (in-house or agency) to self-service on-brand digital asset production, from anywhere in the world.

The bottom line

Creative, compelling, and country-specific content is a fundamental driver that enables global brands to achieve what matters most: exploit competitive advantage, sell more products and services, and improve customer loyalty.

As Chandra and Caridad highlighted, creative automation powered by Sitecore Content Publisher is the solution that marketers have been waiting for. Finally, the ability to rapidly create and deliver compliant print and digital content to all global customers, while also saving costs on production and technology, is no longer an impossible dream. Instead, it is a practical reality.

Get a demo to see it in action

Learn more about Sitecore Content Publisher, and request a personalized demo for you and your team. Discover how Sitecore can help your brand deliver exceptional experiences through the power of creative automation.

Jason Masini is Sr. Director of Content Marketing at Sitecore. Connect with him on LinkedIn