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Why Digital Content Will Be More Important Than Ever in 2021

If we rewind a year, to a time when COVID-19 was only just starting to emerge, content was already hugely important and had been for several years. For many consumers, content is at the heart of the brand experience. Relevant, meaningful and impactful content can go a long to fostering loyalty, encouraging recommendations and cementing the relationship between a consumer and a brand.

The flipside is also true. If brands fail to deliver the type and style of content that will truly resonate with their audience, then there is a risk that those consumers will look elsewhere. The experience increasingly expected by consumers has become more important than ever, and content plays a significant role within that.

This has all been accelerated by COVID-19 and for many organisations, digital content will be more important than ever in 2021. This is why.

Content and its role in the digital experience

2020 research from Nuxeo revealed that more than half of consumers (54%) would switch to a competitor if the digital customer experience did not measure up. This digital experience includes: the right product info (21% said this was their biggest shopping challenge); personalised content (28% said this would encourage them to buy again); and good product photography (50% would buy elsewhere if this was lacking).

The nature and essence of a brand will mean different things to different people. A brand is informed and represented by many different influences and touchpoints, sometimes over a period of years. But content of some form or another will always have been involved in that process, even more so in the digital era.

Whether it’s a consumer searching for a pair of trainers endorsed by a favourite singer or sports star, someone finding the perfect sunglasses but in the wrong colour or size and having to find the store that has the right pair in stock, or a vinyl lover finding a replacement part for their record player and getting instructions on how to fix it – content is at the heart of all these experiences.

If a brand struggles to bring new product innovations to market quickly, or to respond in a timely way to new trends, they risk losing valued customers to rivals. Yet too often this is the reality for suppliers: the inability to quickly and efficiently generate and distribute relevant product information which helps to contextualise or personalise content for customers, means they are not ready for consumers as their latest demands are forming.

In many cases, it can take brands many months to bring a new product to market, with all the positioning and promotional materials required to support the launch and subsequent sales. This means that strong content is not something that matters just to marketing or sales, but rather should be an essential component of a brand’s business strategy.

Brands and their deployment of content

Our research revealed that 41% of consumers said they engaged at least once a week with a brand or retailer’s mobile app; 42% via a retailer’s website and 28% via a brand’s web site. Around a quarter of respondents aged under 44 said they engaged with a retailer or brand’s mobile app daily.

Social media is of course a popular way for consumers to engage with a brand’s content. 24% of respondents said they engage with a favoured brand’s content via Facebook every day, with 15% doing so via Instagram and 10% via Twitter. Just 5% of consumers overall engage with retailers and brands via TikTok every day, but in the youngest age category, this rises to 14%.

Relevance, personalisation and value of content clearly matter to consumers. More than four in 10 of research respondents say they have recommended a retailer because of the quality of the content they share, rising to almost six in 10 of 16-to-24-year-olds. 29% of respondents said personalised content from a retailer makes them feel more valued, while a quarter said it made them more loyal and more than a fifth (22%) said they would be more likely to recommend that retailer as a result.

Getting more value from content

Brands need to do all they can to maximise the value they get from content, and a big part of this lies in its management. Digital Asset Management (DAM) has long been an important technology in terms of marketing, but in recent years has become invaluable when looking at the larger product lifecycle and has evolved into Product Asset Management (PAM) approach. PAM is a strategy to leverage enterprise digital asset management technology across the product lifecycle.

By providing a common platform for critical product information (both assets and data) at key points in the product lifecycle (design, packaging, campaign development, etc.). The result is that the role that digital assets and data play in helping retailers and brands bring new products to market more quickly has grown and will continue to do so as consumers demand this.

With consumer demands growing around digital experience, PAM becomes an even more important strategy moving forward. It takes content beyond the marketing department, connecting it to data and other assets across the entire organisation. This connection means that PAM informs the digital experience across different business functions and at multiple touchpoints, making it easier to be more consistent in message and to meet requirements regarding the digital customer experience much better.

Digital strategy and experience are important at the best of times but have taken on a new importance over the past 12 months. Content is a key element component of not just digital experience, but overall business strategy too, and that requires investment in the right tools and systems to manage content effectively. With this, firms can deliver a first-class digital customer experience and offer the personalised and valued content that will improve consumer loyalty.

Alan Porter is Director of Product Marketing at Nuxeo

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