Content is king but access matters more than ever
Content is essential for successful customer experience. Whether you are attracting, transacting with or assisting your customers – the way they access and use your content has evolved – which has implications for businesses. We share a prediction for brands, and some advice for consumers...
Content, content, content, it is to brands what location is to property. It’s often been said, and its never been more true, but the way content is delivered and the needs of a customer at the time it is sought have seen major shifts in content strategy, generation, management and optimisation.
It's not just this that businesses need to get their heads around – it is the access that organisations now make available to customers. It's this proliferation of access channels and the multiple use of them by customers that is changing how content is created and deployed.
Add to this the flip side, that consumers have been given multiple ways to engage with you – and your products - and you need to not only consider customer needs and goals when writing content, but the access point in the journey they are taking as they engage with you. Across mobile, desktop, social, call centre and counter, not least the service or product itself – content needs to be on task, goal directed – only then it will be ‘on brand’ as your customers see it.
The proliferation of channel options brands now have to access consumers has merely become more ways to ‘push their content’. This is a trap many organisations fall in to as they tell their story, and seek to engage customers. Too many end up presenting their information in overly complicated ways, explain their offer in a competitor rather than customer oriented manner, and too many put their needs to the fore – even as they purport to care about customers and their needs. .
As a consumer it’s increasingly hard to escape brand-related content, but if it's bad, you are going to be more determined to avoid it than ever. You have goals, needs and jobs to do, content for you should help you get in, do whatever you seek to do and get out, quickly, easily, confidently and successfully. For you, content needs to be delivered effectively, and where and when you need it – that's all you want.
So where does this all lead, what do we see happening and what advice do we have for brands and consumers?
Organisations across public and private sector are putting a real weight of focus on content (strategy, generation, optimisation), and its ‘ownership’ is spread across the business. It is no longer an afterthought or the domain of the marcomms team - instead, content specialists are becoming central players in the marketing or customer experience team.
Where, when and why drive what. Relevance is vital, and context is essential if content is going to be of use to your customers. In consumer terms, multi access that is the new normal – which suggests you need to be relevantly delivering and engaging with customers - which is another way of saying 'more on their terms'. What they need, when and why matters.
When it's right, content is informative, engaging and of value, and never more than is required. When it's not, it's too much, too often and probably more about the organisation rather than the user or customer.
Access in all places at all times is real – you drove it. As a consumer you have access to information, services and communication at all times across all channels. The corollary of this is that organisations have (and want) access to you - at all times, across all channels.
Increasingly, businesses are reaching out to you in more integrated and crafty ways. You might be able to switch off ads or skim past them with your MySky remote, but you will not be able to avoid brand-related content because it’s coming in ever more inventive ways.
For you, having the right content, at the right time, in the right format is still the key to ensuring you can make decisions, buy, sell, manage and comment. The brands that deliver you experiences and content that is most relevant, valuable and usable for you are the ones you’ll choose to spend more time with.
So, use your access wisely, and use your voice. Organisations want dialogue with you – so give it to them. Let them know what you want and need, and not just through your purchasing power, use your voice and your access through the multitude of channels available to you, not least of all social. Get your point heard and you will have to deal with being served up less drivel and less poorly designed and irritating customer experience.
How to make the best of the new reality?
Organisations must, must, must consider users needs and values when delivering content, whether it’s to engage with, retain or serve customers. They may not be able to avoid your content but they can always ‘switch off’.
Also, businesses need to choose and leverage channels and access opportunities wisely. Build the relationship and the story lines across all touch-points, yes – but ensure the content and function of each channel is fit for purpose, and never lose sight of the integrated whole.
We predict that businesses that get their content tonally right, relevantly delivered and embedded naturally in any user experience will trounce competitors and rightfully catch the attention of consumers.
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