You’re Just Six Steps Away from Engaging with Worldwide Audiences

Arjen van den Akker 27 Feb 2019 10 min read
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Did you know the term omnichannel is around 15 years old now? First coined by US retailer Best Buy to describe its customer centricity strategy, back then the company created an approach that centered around the customer both in-store and online, while providing post-sales support. It was all in a bid to compete with Walmart’s electronic department. Although the concept itself hasn’t changed much (except now there are hundreds of online channels), could you honestly say that brands have mastered their ability to engage with customers across every channel?

Of course there are some fantastic examples out there of brands that deliver a sleek, consistent omni-channel experience, but it’s safe to say the vast majority of businesses still struggle. And the reality is that most brands know it. Only a third of brands feel they provide customers with a continuous customer journey, across any touchpoint, according to the November 2018 SDL-commissioned Forrester Consulting Study, ‘Today’s Content Supply Chains Prevent Continuous Customer Journeys.’

So if brands know they need to provide a consistent experience – and across every channel – then what’s holding them back? Providing a great experience involves content – and lots of it. Everything from marketing, to product, to financial information; and in multiple languages. The trouble is that content is created in multiple organizational silos, with little or no orchestration between them, and any internal fragmentation is reflected in the customer’s experience.

The answer? Companies need to embrace a global content operating model, a framework that aligns people, processes and technology in such a way that content production starts to mimic a traditional supply chain. Manufacturing knows how to produce goods; decades of experience have gone into building the most optimized and automated supply chains. Why not adopt a similar approach towards producing content?

There are six key recommendations, based on the Forrester Consulting study, to help companies move towards a model where content is created and delivered around the clock, to anyone and in any language.

1. Take Back Control of Your Content Supply Chain

The volume and velocity at which brands create content is out of control, and it’s only going to become more complex. 93% of brands say they will produce more content in the next two years. Half estimate the volume of content will increase by more than 30% (and a third estimate by more than 40%), according to the Forrester Consulting study. For an efficient content supply chain, companies need to streamline handoffs across the content supply chain, from content creation, translation, through to delivery. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning will help automate and organize content, while also giving the ability to quickly translate that content when needed, giving stakeholders freedom and greater control, at any point across the content supply chain.

2. Rethink How Content is Constructed

The popularity of video, chatbots, virtual assistants, and other emerging channels, are on the rise. Brands expect these to significantly grow over the next two years, yet only 29% say that they are very satisfied with the ability of their tools to engage with customers across channels, and deliver a continuous experience, according to the study. Brands need to rethink how content is constructed and shared across teams so that it can be adapted for these new delivery models with minimal rework and maximum impact. This will help brands deliver content faster across different channels, languages and audiences.

3. Explore Intelligent Content Services

Since only a third of brands believe they provide customers with a continuous customer experience, brands looking to deliver meaningful and consistent customer experiences, across multiple channels and languages, will need vast amounts of content – more than it’s possible for marketing teams to create. An autonomous content supply chain dramatically changes human involvement – while simultaneously moving towards digital optimization and the experience humans crave and expect. Rethinking how content is created and adapted for these new channels will be essential to meeting customer expectations and creating that seamless experience.

4. Be Ready to Adapt Content for Any Channel

Customers want content, across multiple channels, at any time of day. Therefore, how do brands create enough content to meet demand? Little more than half of firms have a centralized and standardized toolset for the creation (51%), translation (54%), and delivery (56%) of content across regions and languages. The digital experience of the future will be driven by always-relevant content.

5. Realize That Customers Want Product Information

Buyers and users want the details about products and services not just after the deal is done, but during the buying cycle to understand their investments and make more informed decisions. Brands understand this trend. Three-quarters (77%) admit that keeping product information relevant and up-to-date is critical to a good customer experience. They also agree that improving access to product information would have the single greatest positive impact on customer experience — more so than any other type of content. Brands need to be ready to deliver everything from production manuals, videos and spec sheets to customers, in their own language and to the highest standards.

6. Leadership Should Drive Change

According to the Forrester Consulting study, 82% of firms agree content is critical to their company’s success in achieving top business objectives. Despite this, three quarters (80%) believe that current content supply chain challenges impede their ability to deliver on top business objectives. Vice President and C-level executives should be the driving force behind digital change. They have the advantage of seeing cross-departmental, global activities and may be in a better position to spot broken or redundant processes.

Many organizations approach content in an ad hoc way, wasting time generating content without knowing whether this content has already been created elsewhere, whether it aligns with messages conveyed by other departments, and – most importantly – whether it resonates with the recipient. This is where Linguistic AI comes in. Linguistic AI, capable of localizing large volumes of content, will make it easy to identify the intent of the human seeking information and connect them with appropriate content for more significant impact than ever before. It can also help provide empathetic, anticipatory, intelligent, respectful and real digital experiences – based on information and content across your business.

While companies strive to deliver relevant and personalized messages, for the most part, many can only hope the right content attracts the right person on the right channel in the right language at the right moment.



Arjen van den Akker

Arjen van den Akker

Senior Director Product Marketing
Arjen van den Akker has a 25+ years background in computer engineering and marketing and has worked at a series of international B2B software vendors. He joined SDL in 2012 (acquired by RWS in 2020) and works as Senior Director of Product Marketing for RWS’s digital experience and content management solutions.
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