July 20, 2016

Automate Content Collection And Taxonomy To Free Up Marketers Time

If you were to run an impromptu survey with marketers working for large brands and ask the question, ‘what are your key challenges’, it’s a nailed on certainty that ‘lack of time’ will make the top three findings. This blog article looks at why marketers are time poor when it comes to content, and how automation can help.

Marketers are time poor

To an extent marketers concern about a ‘lack of time’ is common to many functions. However, marketing teams have been hollowed out in recent economic downturns and due to an unrelenting focus on productivity gains to sustain profits. Throw in a seismic change in consumer behaviour due to digital technology and mushrooming complexity to deliver campaigns across proliferating channels and devices, and it’s little wonder that marketers are stretched like never before.

Marketers are time poor

Content increasingly time consuming

Here are 4 reasons why is content taking up more time for marketers:

1. Content investment growing fast

Content marketing has accelerated up the priority list in recent years, with no sign that this trend will dissipate any time soon. Global content marketing spend is forecast to grow from $145 billion in 2015 to $313 billion in 2019 (source: PQ Media).

A snapshot of activity comes from analytics company TrackMaven, who tracked 50 million pieces of content from nearly 23,000 brands and found that output increased by 35 percent in 2015. TrackMaven also reported that brands increased year over year output on Twitter and Facebook by 60 percent and 31 percent respectively.

According to Accenture (source: ‘Content: The H2O of Marketing), 92 percent of marketers now have more digital content than they did two years ago and that 83 percent believe that this amount will rise over the next two years.

2. More content formats

More content formats

Not only is there rapid growth in the volume of content being created, but the breadth of formats has expanded. Videos, infographics, whitepapers, podcasts, blogs, the list goes on. High speed broadband has been a boon for rich content.

Choosing the right content format should be grounded on providing the best match for the target audience and business objectives. However, there is a sense of a ‘Content War’ between brands, driven by the fear of missing out ie. creating new content pieces in every possible format because that’s what competitors are doing. This is also fuelled by the ever expanding number of channels brands are reaching out through, and specific content requirements that some of these have e.g Pintrest or YouTube.

3. Proliferating sources of content

Many brands are combining both internal content creation resources with external agencies, partly driven by the increase in content formats . Internal teams typically deal with content requiring deep product or industry knowledge whilst external agencies bring creativity and format expertise which brands struggle to master internally (eg. video).

Content is also created in team silos, for example the Social Media, Search and Advertising teams. Each team is generating content for its own purposes, whilst sharing is often limited or a very manual process. Paradoxically, these teams might be focused on the same customers, and therefore the content has significant potential crossover value that the brand is failing to unlock and leverage.

As the number of stakeholders grows, so does the complexity. Bloggers, video production, in-house writers, social media team etc, all creating their own content and quite possibly storing it in different places.

Proliferating sources of content

4. More systems and channels for storing content

Enterprise Content Management Systems, in-house Digital Asset Managers, agency storage solutions, YouTube, MacBook hard drives … just a few examples of the places content is stored. The net result of this fragmentation is increased complexity in finding, managing and measuring content. Some might say is it any wonder that according to some estimates, 60% to 70% of content goes unused.

Where and how can automation help

It’s clear that many brands have systems and processes for content that they have outgrown, as content investment has accelerated and associated complexity increased.

Accenture’s recent study found that more than 50 percent of respondents say they have more digital content than they can effectively manage, with 53 percent saying they spend more time on operational details of managing content. Only one in five feel that their organizations manages content well and 80 percent predict that in 2 years they will spend more time on operational details than they do today, rather than aligning their daily tactics to a bigger picture.

Here are three capabilities brands should focus on delivering to liberate their marketing team:

CREATE A UNIFIED VIEW OF CONTENT

The idea of a unified view on content is one interface through which a brand can see all relevant content and make decisions on how to put that content to work with the objectives of improving audience experiences and marketing performance.

By creating a unified view on content, brands can almost immediately reduce operational complexity that sucks out marketers time. No more manual sharing of content, having to look in many places, creating content that has already been produced elsewhere in the business or simply failing to utilise good content. A recent finding from eConsultancy, estimating $50 billion of content is wasted annually in the B2B industry alone.

Plenty of companies have invested in digital asset management systems (DAMs) to shift towards a unified approach. But too often these either become yet another system alongside the CMS etc. (further fuelling complexity they were intended to resolve) , or they fail to provide a comprehensive solution. A more flexible and future proof approach is to use a solution that accommodates the reality of proliferating systems, providers, formats etc., rather than fighting against it, by curating content automatically from these different sources.

ADDRESS CONTENT MEASUREMENT

Essential to creating a unified view of content is ensuring there is integrated measurement capabilities that help your brand understand clearly and quickly how content performs, and not just in relation to a specific channel or campaign.

Poor content measurement and insights is a primary cause of marketers losing precious time. If marketers have a better grasp of which content is performing, it becomes much easier to focus content investment on formats and types of content that can deliver the best ROI. Can you image the time saving.

ADDRESS CONTENT MEASUREMENT

Curiously, the two key reasons that measurement doesn’t happen effectively today is a lack of effective tools and a lack of time (a decent definition of a ‘vicious circle’). In a survey from the FT & EY, nearly a third (30%) of marketers reported that they aren’t using analytics software to track their content marketing results.

AUTOMATE TAXONOMY

Any brand using a lot of content will understand the importance of auto-tagging and auto-classification of metadata. This is critical both to the customer experience, making content searchable and easy to find, and also to support the internal content creation and distribution process. In future, it also becomes critical to the success of personalization.

The task of creating and maintaining a taxonomy is often resource intensive and time consuming, as well as susceptible to human error. As the volume of content creation grows, the sources proliferate and the need to get to market quicker intensifies, manual taxonomy is extremely hard to scale.

Therefore, incorporating automated taxonomy into any solution for content should be high on the list of requirements.