It’s quite amazing how much the digital and content worlds have evolved over the past ten years. Back then the smartphone industry was in its infancy, online search engines were just taking off and the world of chat, mobile apps – and the ability to connect to anyone – were tantalizingly close to becoming part of our daily lives.
Of course, consumer demand is driving this shift. But this shift has also been driven by technology innovation taking place across the content and digital industry, among companies with a shared vision to challenge the norm, and relentlessly focus on what customers want today – and more importantly, in the future.
Each year eContent magazine compiles a list of the companies that share that vision, across the content and digital media world. SDL is proud to feature among the latest annual listing. It’s not the first time we’ve appeared in this prestigious list – for the past ten years SDL has featured annually, testament to the innovation and development taking place across our language and content management solutions.
An opportunity to reflect
The publication of the list each year also gives us an opportunity to reflect on how things have evolved – and anticipate where it’s all headed. One thing is clear – customers want more and more digestible content – and across more channels. And it’s showing no signs of slowing down.
Back in 2009 we watched an average of 99 minutes of online video per week. Now it’s 82 minutes per day, or 574 minutes per week. Facebook only had 58 million users – today it’s more like 2 billion active users. Twitter had just reached 100 million tweets per quarter – now an average 500 million tweets sent per day. Online sales represented 3.6 percent of total retail sales worldwide, and today it’s 11.9 percent, and set to grow to 17.5 percent by 2021. No one could quite have predicted just how much the digital world will change and how much content would influence it.
Are businesses on a content collision course?
Our shift to digital has redefined our lives; we’ve become accustomed to having access to information and content, whenever we want it, wherever we want it, across increasingly more channels. And the number of digital consumers just keeps growing – more than double of the world’s population is now online, compared to a decade ago. It begs the question – are companies on a content collision course?
With more and more channels, and now even more people using them, the digital content world is only going to keep growing. Companies will need to create content around the clock. And that’s just not possible for already stretched marketing teams. So how can brands expect to create, translate, and deliver more types of content, across more channels, to worldwide audiences?
Marketing, product development, customer support, sales… each of these groups touches a customer’s experience. And all of these departments need to come together, and focus on the customer experience. Traditionally, most companies approach marketing and sales, product and support content in silos with each department focused on its own key performance indicators and specific touchpoints. This approach simply won’t cut it in the next ten years and it doesn’t have to be that way today, if companies adopt a global content operating model (GCOM), a way to move from manual to automated technology, and from silo to collaborative processes
Where should brands focus?
It’s almost impossible to predict the types of content consumers will want in ten years – let alone the devices or channels that will next make their way into our lives. But companies can prepare now, by blending marketing, commerce and self-service into a single holistic experience. This means taking content from everywhere in an organization, and making available in the moment a customer needs it.
Of course, customers don’t know, and often don’t care, what a company’s internal processes, departments and technologies look like. They do, however, experience the resulting fragmentation. To manage content on a global scale across channels in multiple languages requires a new approach – one that centralizes data, standardizes processes, and integrates technology into a unified platform across the entire content supply chain – the GCOM approach. Brands can then build an omni-content experience, across channels and touchpoints that brings together information from all parts of the business to global customers.
At a time when brands compete based on the quality of their customers’ experience, relevance is everything. And it pays off – consumers are 3.5x more likely to buy additional products when they receive a great customer experience. As your brand prepares for the next ten years, start now with cohesive omni-channel strategy that engages with customers through the channels they’re using today, and in the future.
To share more on this, SDL has just revealed that a series of its innovations that have been incubated over the past year have begun to deliver solutions based on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), helping brands cope with the explosion in content creation, management and delivery. These developments, which span across the content supply chain, not only help global brands move from manual to autonomous futures as they evolve towards a global content operating model, but enable them to create compelling content that drives continuous customer experiences. SDL’s Five Future States of Content (#5FutureStates) delve into more detail, providing highlights on how people, processes and technology have advanced over the past year.