A lot has changed this year. First, the pandemic with its rules, travel bans, and restrictions, then BLM and subsequent logo and mascot name changes, and all this against the backdrop of a hotly contested presidential election. The common denominator is that all these changes have affected marketers and public relations professionals one way or another.
What emerged from the first two is the recognition that stewarding the customer experience (CX) has become critically important to the future success of brands. Earlier articles laid out the importance of personalized content as being a cornerstone of CX, but a lot more remains to be done to get there.
In a survey conducted early this year and prior to the pandemic, Content Marketing Institute (CMI) discovered that 78 percent of marketers said they take a strategic approach to manage content. However, nearly all of them—73 percent of the same pool—also said they either didn’t have the technology to manage content or weren’t fully using what they had. CMI also heard from many marketers that being empathetic to customers was secondary to driving their brand’s value proposition.
Despite several earlier studies, CMI still found that many brands still operated in silos. Of those polled, 60 percent identified communication between the silos as their top challenge. Although 72 percent said their company supports content as a business strategy, 63 percent said they lack the resources to get skilled staff to carry out the plans.
Plan to get aboard
Brands that recognize this new battleground and wish to focus on CX need to perform several things. It starts with an audit of the brand’s current content and inventory. A gap analysis should identify areas needing additional content. Gaining a deeper understanding of both potential and existing customers is essential.
Research should be conducted to understand potential audiences as this will help inform content strategy. Similarly, research should also be done to gain a better understanding of current customer experience in interacting with content on the brand’s website. The findings of both studies will help shape content that fits each market.
Draft content governance guidelines. It should include areas of responsibility and roles, workflows, and standards and procedures. Over a third (35 percent) of respondents to CMI’s survey said they have nothing in place. Likewise, draft style and brand guidelines to maintain consistency and focus, while only 11 percent of those surveyed had none.
Go for it
Twenty-three percent of those responding to CMI’s survey said they felt extremely or very successful in managing their content. The top two factors cited as reasons for their success were their ability to understand and connect with their audience’s values and interests (50 percent) and having clear roles and responsibilities for their content creators (25 percent).
Gathering and analyzing data from existing customers as well as website visitors who browse and even abandon carts can be very helpful. So, too, is analyzing online comments and reviewing customer logs from the service department. If there is insufficient data, conduct a survey among current customers. To generate interest and excitement, insert a deadline, and consider incentives like free shipping, discounts, or a prize drawing. A survey’s also valuable because it can also set a benchmark to compare subsequent ones against in measuring progress.
Armed with all available information, content governance guidelines, and style and brand guidelines, implement a plan to personalize content. If a benchmark survey was conducted, perform periodic ones to measure success as well as to check on areas needing improvement or adjustment.