Customer experience is the new battleground for business. With their unprecedented access to information, today’s more demanding and discerning customers determine market winners not on the basis of brand muscle or product quality, but on a company’s ability to treat every customer like a preferred customer. And these constantly connected customers now exercise almost total control over when and where to engage with a brand. As a result, traditional marketing strategies have lost their effect; the new imperative for every company is to deliver consistent, personalized experiences that give customers the information they need, when they need it, in the way they want it.
But what does it take to turn this imperative from aspiration to reality?
Every personalized digital experience comes down to three 3 things: customer data, content, and channels. Data and analytics allow you to understand who your customers are and what they care about. Relevant content enables you to give customers what they really want from your business — contextual information that helps them make a purchase decision, learn something new, make their life easier, or reward their loyalty. Finally, you need a place to deliver that information to create an experience, whether a website, mobile application, email, or even voice assistants or artificial/augmented reality devices. But make no mistake: it doesn’t matter how many customer segments you have identified or how many channels you can deliver on — you cannot personalize any digital experience without content that speaks to your customers’ wants and needs.
Need convincing that content is that important? Consider that consumers read 10 pieces of content before they buy, and 84% of people expect brands to create content to educate, inform, entertain, inspire, reward, or help. And this isn’t just a B2C phenomenon. Nearly half of B2B buyers report that they consume three to five pieces of content before engaging with a salesperson, and 75% stated that the content provided by potential vendors had a “significant impact” on which one they chose.
Considering that differentiated content is the centerpiece of delivering personalized experiences, it’s not surprising that marketers spend significant resources to create the volume of assets needed to treat customers as individuals. More than 80% of marketers say their organization views content as a business asset and more than half of enterprise marketers say their organization increased spending on content creation more than other areas of content marketing in the last 12 months. However, 42% of marketers report their organization hasn’t acquired the right technology to manage content across the enterprise and, of the 58% who have, only 16% are using it to its potential.
Maximize the impact of Content
With the increasing volume and velocity of content needed to fuel personalized digital experiences, it’s clear that marketing organizations need a plan, process, and technology to help them deliver against heightened expectations. Consider the model below, which acknowledges the omnichannel nature of the content that marketers must create and manage:
For many organizations, this requires a rewiring of the way they plan, create, manage, deliver, and measure content. First and foremost, content production must be streamlined and optimized, or else scaling challenges will persist. That means the multiple tools, disjointed systems, and duplicated efforts commonly found across different parts of the marketing organization need to give way to a unified platform and workflow that enables teams to collaborate on content planning and production, easily locate approved assets, publish them to the right channel at the right time, and measure performance to improve the strategy and planning process for the next round of campaigns.
How does Sitecore help you achieve this?
If we overlay our offerings on the content cycle above, Sitecore Content Hub™ supports content strategy, planning, creation, collaboration, and management. Consisting of Digital Asset Management (DAM), Content Marketing Platform (CMP), and Marketing Resource Management (MRM) capabilities, content marketers can set up content creation and delivery as a connected process with a single, unified solution.
Our core Sitecore® Experience Platform™ (XP) offering solves the middle part of this content cycle by publishing content in personalized experiences across channels, managing automated marketing campaigns, and driving customer analytics and insights.
With Sitecore Experience Commerce™ (XC), brands can blend relevant content with data from product catalog, pricing and promotion, and merchandising management capabilities to deliver content rich, experience-first commerce experiences that go beyond merely managing a transaction to win customers and bring them back time and time again.
Throughout this cycle, the transactional and behavioral data that customers provide as they engage with the brand is captured in Sitecore Experience Database™ (xDB). Combined with Sitecore’s analytics and machine learning-based insights, this data is used to not only shape each customers’ experience in real time, but also looped back to continually inform and optimize the content creation and planning process.
Check out our product details and how our customers have benefited from our solutions.
Mohan Kasibhatla is Vice President of Product Marketing at Sitecore. Find him on LinkedIn.