Why Content Agility Matters More Now Than Ever in 2021

 Content agility has taken on new meaning in 2020, as the ability to surface new products and get to market quickly with relevant offers has never been more of an issue for brands and marketers.

 Content agility has taken on new meaning in 2020, as the ability to surface new products and get to market quickly with relevant offers has never been more of an issue for brands and marketers.

Our recent report, Experiences Customers Want, highlights the increasing reliance on digital this year. Some 35% of consumers agree that they shop online more than they did before. With 34% of consumers stating they now use more online services generally and 30% saying their online experience is now much more important than it was last year.

Consumers are generally positive about the way in which brands and businesses have responded to the crisis. In fact, 44% agree that online experiences have improved since the pandemic started and 58% said they were impressed with how brands handled the crisis.

When we spoke to businesses, many told us that they have taken the opportunity to completely reimagine their websites, with 36% making information easier to find and 40% putting sites through a fundamental redesign. But, with 33% of consumers still frustrated by hard-to-navigate websites, there is still further scope for improvement.

As we continue to live and adapt to the challenges that COVID-19 has brought, brands and businesses need more than ever to be agile, responding to the ever-changing situation and the needs of their customers.

What Is Content Agility?

Content agility is a term that describes the capability to optimize the end-to-end process of delivering customer experiences at scale. Becoming more agile means removing the technical bottlenecks often associated with delivery and focusing on the author experience, so that content authors and agencies can deliver and update online experiences fast.

Get the Author Experience Right

You can’t build a great customer experience without a great author experience. This is the ‘management’ bit of content management, where your teams can make changes to improve the experience.

The authoring workload, already driven by consumer expectations for a personal, seamless and consistent experience across channels and devices, is now increasing again, thanks to the trend for content-led commerce experiences and the demand spike caused by the pandemic. All of this means brands have to push out more content, more swiftly and respond ever faster to data that can help to improve and personalize the experience.

Technology vendors are responding with new tools. For instance, it’s now possible to create a single page application (SPA), for a site that performs really well for the customer, with a back end that authors just like a regular CMS. Don’t underestimate the importance of arming your teams with an authoring experience that they can easily and speedily navigate and, yes, enjoy.

Define and Build the Right Stack

Having the right technology stack in place can turbo-charge your marketing agility. So how do you find your way through the forest of the marketing technology landscape to identify the tools that are just right for your business? With your business strategy and goals clearly articulated, start with auditing existing platforms to determine where the gaps are in your capabilities. Adding new capabilities will help you to establish new best practices and lead to greater agility. Each tool in the stack creates, analyses, or consumes data, and to run these efficiently, they need to be effectively integrated to serve a common purpose.

When adding new tools, context is key. If you just need to get to market quickly and support the core business commercially, a single commerce engine is probably still the right starting point. If you are further down the line with e-commerce, you’ll probably be opting for a headless e-commerce approach enabling you to deliver even more rich content, across all channels and devices, without sacrificing speed and immediacy. For a more relevant experience, you’ll want to add targeting and decisioning tools to dynamically personalize this content. Your data and context should inform your decisions on technology investment.

Plug in the Right Tools

While most big brand marketers will have access to a Content Management System or Digital Experience Platform, agility and speed of execution can be enhanced by the tools and automation that are baked into them. Tools that, for example, allow you to easily integrate product data without the need for backend development; tools that automate the process of ensuring brand, legal and digital compliance; or AI and machine learning tools that help marketers to personalize experiences at scale in real-time. These content agility tools can make the difference between really connecting with your customers or missing the mark.

 Enable Your Teams

With the right technology in place, what could go wrong? With statistics suggesting that up to 70% of digital transformation projects fail, the answer probably has to be; quite a lot. The term enablement is often used synonymously with training. However, this confusion sells it short by a long, long way. Effective digital enablement manages all the change, communication, and upskilling required to deliver business value through a digital platform, amalgamating the operational knowledge, best practices, and governance.

Training, in fact, is just one of six phases of enablement that Wunderman Thompson Technology has identified; the others being technology adoption, onboarding, operational alignment, communications and finally, optimization and ROI. You’ll need to take a holistic approach to empower your teams and achieve greater agility. 

Overall, the benefits for the business of becoming more agile in terms of cost and effort savings are clear. And the resulting revenue growth that the right experiences, delivered to the right customers, at the right time, at scale, could bring is surely a 2021 goal for any business.