Customer experience is getting plenty of attention. And rightfully so. According to a 2015 report issued by Watermark Consulting, organizations that focus on customer experience generate a total return that is 35 points higher than the S&P Index. So what’s the catch?
There is a high bar to clear in order to establish the level of trust and experience required for a customer to enter into a brand relationship. Audiences expect highly personalized offers and information; continuity of experience across channels; and ease of use. That’s not easy for most companies. Doing it right requires talented marketing and IT resources, effective communication across the organization, a healthy supply of discipline and of course, the right tools to create and manage high quality content.
As marketers look to reinforce their brand experience across channels, managing content has become a top priority. When Forrester asked over one hundred enterprise digital experience decision-makers to rank their investment priorities in digital experience technologies, Web Content Management (WCM) came out on top. No surprise there!
It’s a matter of differentiation, revenue and, ultimately, survival. It’s not about creating just any content; it’s about creating valuable, impactful content that moves audiences through the customer journey and on to the promised land of “sales, service and sunshine.” Consider this – there isn’t a web content management vendor today that isn’t talking about content and commerce unification. The industry has finally awakened to one simple fact: content that does not drive revenue is a waste of time!
Adding to the complexity is the reality that today’s web experiences are built from distributed applications and an ever-growing number of software tools and technologies that require robust yet lightweight content and data integrations. More often than not, organizations have embraced a “best-of-breed” approach to this technology ecosystem. This requires alignment of the business vision and technology roadmap, enabled by a modern integration architecture strategy. Many of the tools implemented within the last 3-5 years are just too inflexible to drive organizations forward. They hold brands back more than they help.
When Forrester asked that same 100 decision-makers, an even larger segment (77%) said that making their websites mobile-friendly and channel agnostic is a top priority. Of this group, over two-thirds are investing in responsive web design (RWD). Traditional WCM systems were not built to address this opportunity, failing to separate content from presentation. Because of this, many are unprepared to meet ever changing market dynamics like distributed applications, hybrid mobile apps and wearables.
If this weren’t bad enough, according to Forrester’s Mark Grannan, “the top complaint for end-users accessing your site from a mobile browser is that it’s too slow. The industry is racing to personalize messaging, increase relevance, add richer media and hopefully differentiate from the competition.” In this perfect storm of content management and content delivery complexity, only the most nimble, intelligent best-of-breed platforms will survive, giving your business the edge it needs to come out on top.
So what is the marketing and IT professional to do? How do you move forward?
Building the case for customer experience can be a challenging yet very rewarding process. There are four key content and technology principles that can help your organization benefit from content-rich customer experiences:
Focus on Better Content, Not More Content
Even though many brands and organizations have not yet fully documented how their content strategy ladders to the customer journey, many do recognize the importance of content. Remember, less is more. The goal is to identify the best performing content through analytics. This requires tools that many organizations don’t have in place, or have not fully leveraged.
Embrace an experience architecture.
Today’s experience architecture has one underlying principle: granularity. Your content must be granular enough to support multi-channel experiences through effective site search, reuse, localization and personalization. Technology platforms that do not natively support structured and granular content components will limit your ability to succeed. Your tools and overall WCM architecture must maintain a strong separation between content and presentation.
Build to integrate.
Again, think granularly. Derive your customer experience from atomic content elements that can be assembled and reassembled from component parts. The user experience is a collection of content, data and page components that often rely on open, robust APIs. The ideal platform is flexible enough to live well in a “best-of-breed” technology landscape, enabled through a modern integration architecture.
Innovation in experience management requires collaboration across diverse business and technology teams. That model must be extended to your tools and software. To build seamless experiences efficiently, you need intuitive workflows and interfaces, accessible on any device for any level of business user.
Interested in learning more from the world’s leading expert on Content and Experience Management? We’ve arranged for Forrester’s Ted Schadler to spend an hour in an upcoming webinar covering much more detail on this topic. Join us!