Content marketing continues to be a hot topic in the marketing world. While the term can mean many things to many people, we’ll take the word of industry expert and founder of the Content Marketing Institute, Joe Pulizzi.
Content marketing is a strategic marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience–with the objective of driving profitable customer action.
So while there is quite a bit of interest in content marketing, the question I often ask customers is: “Once you have developed a content marketing strategy, how can you ensure that your carefully crafted messages and supporting materials will be delivered throughout all of your channels?” The way to ensure this is to have tight integration between your web content management system (CMS) and all of your customer touchpoints.
A CMS that serves as the focal point for all of your online marketing materials, including e-commerce and social media, becomes the motor that drives what I like to call the customer experience engine. The customer experience engine is a concept for creating the best possible experience for your customers, regardless of which channel is being used. Your company has a website and possibly a brick-and-mortar store, kiosks in an airport or shopping center, email campaigns and maybe even billboards. Of course, you know the messages and materials you’re sending must be consistent throughout all of your channels, but global enterprises often have the content for their channels locked away in silos, accessible only to those working in that specific channel.
Providing a consistently high-quality customer experience requires a well-honed content marketing strategy that is supported by the best tools possible for putting that strategy into action. It makes sense to have the most effective tools at your disposal and not be hindered with a suite approach with pre-determined tools that minimizes your options. An integrative CMS that serves as the hub of your customer experience engine allows you to use best-of-breed tools that have the best chance of driving success both now and in the future. It not only coordinates content throughout the enterprise, but it also facilitates the use of the best tools for every part of your organization, from marketing, to sales and support and beyond. The alternative, a suite CMS, basically has obsolescence built-in because technology changes, and what’s hot today may be hopelessly out of date in a year.
How to make your engine run smoothly
There’s a vast amount of information that both B2B and B2C companies need to help attract and keep customers: knowledge of a customer’s buying history, demographics, website behaviors, contacts with support centers and systems used to complete a purchase. The ever-growing influence of social media means that there are more channels to deliver content through and more feedback to receive from customers. How can you easily manage all of these channels? By developing your own customer experience engine. Here are some areas to consider as you create a customer experience engine:
- Make sure that the content your customers view on your website has the same quality when they view it on a mobile device. There’s nothing more annoying for a customer to be viewing something on their mobile device that is too hard to read because it was designed only to be viewed on the desktop. At a minimum, retailers should use website platforms built on responsive web design technology, which helps control the optimal display of content reliably on all devices. At a maximum, you might want to create special mobile content.
- Create high-quality content that is personalized and not just additional advertising.
- Make sure that content you are promoting comes across clearly in both social media and e-commerce channels. Have a plan for how to respond to positive and negative postings—and be quick about it. Unanswered negative posts have a way of lingering and sometimes growing out of control.
- Develop a technology and tools road map for the solutions to put your customer experience engine plan into action. Since the CMS is the hub for the content that drives your engine, it’s important to select one that fits with your strategy (and not the other way around).
Oliver Jaeger is vice president of global marketing & communications for e-Spirit Inc. in North America. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also learn more at www.e-spirit.com.