Today, the demand for high-quality content in large quantities is sky-high. Adding to the complexity, consumer expectations have never been higher and continue to rise as new technologies used by one brand raises their expectations for other brands they interact with across industries.
In a recent Salesforce report, 84% of consumers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services, up 80% since 2018. With 40% of the consumers claiming that they won’t do business with a company if they can’t use their preferred channels, it’s no longer about how many touchpoints, but answering the question: are you delivering the content needed to power the experience that is consistent, personalized, and available anywhere?
Avoiding content bottlenecks that slow down your content creation and distribution is a business imperative. However, bottlenecks remain a common hurdle among marketing organizations as only 8% of B2B marketers were able to claim that a vast majority of their projects move along efficiently. In this article, we’re delving into 3 common content bottlenecks and how to remedy them.
What is a content bottleneck, and how do they arise?
A content bottleneck is any gap between the demand for content from consumers and the ability for the marketing organization to deliver that content.
Content bottlenecks aren’t always obvious. Often, the bottleneck isn’t simply a single problem in the content lifecycle, they arise due to an array of snags woven throughout the process. A common example is content duplication due to content silos, where content is scattered across multiple applications instead of being in a centralized location. When assets are hard to find (or when they’re lost altogether), marketers spend a lot of time re-creating the similar content from scratch, slowing down production time, doubling resources, and delaying go-to-market.
Another example of a content bottleneck can be found in omnichannel publishing, where a brand may have the content to go to market, but delivering that content efficiently in the correct format across channels is a tall order.
If the existence of content bottlenecks are on one end of the spectrum, the other end of that spectrum is an agile content strategy that enables marketers to create content that’s easily reusable across channels, collaborate efficiently on that content, and publish it to any channel quickly, easily, and without relying on the IT team.
Identifying and solving your content bottlenecks
While identifying your bottlenecks may require a deeper look at your overall process, the best way to prioritize efforts is by looking at the three most common causes: channel chaos, lack of team alignment, and personalization requirements. Let’s go through how to solve each of these common issues.
1. Solving channel chaos
We’re all familiar with how it takes a village to drive successful marketing campaigns. In today’s digitally driven world, the average enterprise uses 900 different applications. Many brands have opted for custom solutions for each channel, or touchpoint, complicating the way their content is created, stored, published, and distributed.
Moreover, there are now more content sources than ever before, from agencies to product information management (PIM) systems – and let’s not forget the legacy platforms.
But 78% customers expect consistent interactions across departments while 59% have said it generally feels like they’re communicating with separate departments, not one company.
Implementing a centralized content hub can seamlessly integrate all content sources as well as all channels, creating a single voice and source of truth for your organization and consolidating content creation, management, and distribution.
2. Solving team alignment issues
From a technology standpoint, your content’s lifecycle might be straightforward. But when large or multiple teams are involved, one piece of content is often passed through multiple hands before publication. And we’re never managing just one piece of content.
You may not be able to avoid the requirement that multiple stakeholders (like technical validation, or legal review) need to approve a piece of content before it is ready to be published, but facilitating and optimizing that collaboration or review process is key to removing this bottleneck.
The solution to team misalignment is three-fold:
- Content strategy: Enable your teams to define their content strategy to easily create, curate, manage, share, publish, and reuse engaging content in a shared, centralized location.
- Technology: Improve team collaboration by using a unified platform with visibility into assets and tasks across the entire digital marketing workflow for all stakeholders.
- Data: Leverage data regarding content usage and engagement to guide content ideation, planning, and overall strategy to enhance productivity and optimize the time of content producers.
3. Solving personalization requirements
Personalization can require a large volume of content to keep each persona engaged at each step in their customer journey across the relevant touch points. And as you advance your personalization journey, your content needs to be scalable. Reducing the workload on marketing teams alleviates the time spent on repetitive tasks and empowers your organization to focus on initiatives that drive customer value.
AI-powered personalization can empower you to maximize your resources by automatically performing tasks, such as identifying visitor trends, creating customer segments, and modifying page elements with relevant content to deliver personalized experiences — all automatically!
To power your personalization engine, it’s important to ask the following questions:
- Who are you targeting? (personas)
- What are you saying? (key messages for each persona)
- When are you saying it? (customer journey)
- Why are you saying it? (desired outcome)
How to let your content flow
As your brand’s differentiator, your content needs to be agile throughout your brand’s key marketing channels, so it can be served up precisely where it’s needed, when it is needed.
Plus, when changes in the market occur, you’ll need the agility to pivot content to reflect new messaging or alter the tone. If your content team is not already empowered to react to rapid market changes, you may be leaving your brand vulnerable.
Brands must ask themselves: Is our marketing team empowered to operate and collaborate seamlessly?
Marketers must have direct and granular control over their assets, workflow process, personalization rules, channel-specific publishing tools, as well as enterprise-grade collaboration. This level of control becomes increasingly urgent as your brand grows into new regions, adds new channels to the digital experience, or steps up personalization.
It’s only with a 360-degree view of the content workflow — which is facilitated both by integrated technology and a well-aligned team — that marketers will be able to identify and resolve content bottlenecks today, as well as during future periods of growth and evolution.
To empower their marketing teams to collaborate without bottlenecks, companies like General Mills, Microsoft, and Life’s Abundance are turning to Sitecore Content Hub™, which helps marketers manage every aspect of their content workflow across channels with a single, integrated solution. Learn more about Sitecore Content Hub.
Jose Santa Ana is Product Marketing Director at Sitecore. Find him on LinkedIn.