The following post was written by David Aponovich, a senior analyst at Forrester Research, where he serves application development and delivery professionals.
Enterprises are spending lots of energy and dollars as they attempt to shift into a mode of delivering unified customer experiences across multiple platforms and customer touch points. As they make this shift, attention is rightly focused on the platforms and technology necessary to support the strategy.
But here’s a wild card I’ve seen too many organizations overlook: the content (and the ongoing work) it will take to feed all those channels, experiences, and context.
And by context, I’m thinking both about the device/screen they’ll be experiencing it on and the context around who they are and what content is most appropriate to deliver to them at that moment.
This is a challenge. Far too many client organizations can barely keep up with the content necessary for a consistent and effective Web presence. This is understandable. Many organizations, even those with highly effective marketing or content teams, have a difficult time delivering all the content, changes, updates, and additions demanded by a typical Web site. This can occur for multiple reasons: lack of a coherent content strategy, decentralized teams that don’t take content mandates seriously, and systems like Web content management software that are hard to use and which discourage participation.
Things are about to get much more difficult, though not impossible, for enterprise organizations pursuing unified customer experiences. The promise of delivering “contextual content” to visitors—the right content, to the right customer, on that customer’s screen of choice—is possible and desirable, thanks to systems like Web content management, customer relationship management, analytics, and other platforms working in concert to help deliver unified online customer experiences. Many enterprises are working hard to get there—they’re trying to turn the corner.
Think your Web site is a content-hungry beast? Multichannel ecosystems are hungrier. Get ready to add into the mix the need for contextual content that also feeds experiences on smartphones and tablets, not to mention gaming platforms and so-called smart TVs, among other places content will need to show up.
Forrester continues to work with organizations on planning their maturity model for meshing content, context, and technology as they work toward the achievable goal of unified customer experiences.
There are several ways this can be addressed. My colleagues Stephen Powers and Ron Rogowski cite some of them in their recent report, “Drive Business Transformation with Digital Customer Experiences.”
Some of these include:
- Engage content and information architects to help build cross–touch point architecture. Establish this role to help digital teams analyze, model, and set up organizational schemas for the unstructured information that fuels digital experiences.
- Establish processes that focus on leveraging content (and teams) across touch points. For instance, the need to support mobile customer touch points has led organizations to support unified—although not necessarily uniform—experiences across all channels. Without a multichannel strategy, organizations wind up with a Web team, a mobile team, and a print team—resulting in duplicated efforts and disjointed cross–touch point experiences. Instead, organizations must figure out how to leverage content, process, and development efforts to support a more unified cross-channel approach.
- Technology groups (including application development and delivery professionals [AD&D] inside enterprises) must partner with marketing on digital customer experience strategy leadership. AD&D pros must bring the technical expertise that helps marketing leaders drive their digital experience goals and programs. And that expertise must span Web content management, mobile development, e-commerce, search, personalization, marketing automation, analytics, testing, optimization, and customer service interaction management. AD&D pros have the potential advantage of being able to build bridges between their firm’s back-office capabilities and digital experience projects.
These are just a few recommended steps for enterprises to consider. How is your organization dealing with multichannel content and supporting a richer content ecosystem?