Content maturity: how developed is your content strategy?

Every brand hopes to develop a mature content strategy. It shows a sound understanding of not only how well a company utilizes its internal resources, but also how well its content resonates with an intended audience.

One sign of a mature content strategy is a well-defined omnichannel strategy. According to a report from Harte-Hanks, companies with mature omnichannel strategies retain 89% of customers. In comparison, only 33% of customers are retained by companies that have a weak omnichannel strategy.

An element of omnichannel marketing that was once seen as nice-to-have but has since become a necessity is personalization. Companies like Netflix and Amazon have raised the level of customer expectations when it comes to how brands personalize the digital experience. Now a constant stream of new and relevant content is necessary to compete in the crowded digital marketing ecosystem.

How well brands can compete in this regard depends on where they rank on the content maturity scale. This post will help to assess your current content maturity. It will also provide you with strategies that may improve your current content operations and personalization efforts.

Establishing a starting point

The first step in elevating your content strategy is to understand your starting point. Striving for the top level is commendable but needs to happen at a pace that’s right for your business.

Know where you currently rank on the scale, decide where you want to go and do it in your own time according to customer requirements, your overall organizational goals and capabilities, and competitive pressures in the sector you operate. In some cases, getting the most out of your current content maturity level may be sufficient.

Level 1: Tactical publishing

Companies at this level may have a one-person marketing function responsible for intermittent content creation and publication. Tactical publishers may be relying on relatively basic marketing technologies that offer limited support for content reuse, which makes it much more difficult to build omnichannel experiences.

Despite this, the foundations are in place to develop content maturity. And with a few changes, it’s possible to start moving forward.

Important considerations

Even when an organization lacks personnel resources or sophisticated marketing technology, there are steps that can be taken on the path to improvement. This is an opportune time to set the foundation for creating better content rather than simply producing more content. Focus on building a content development plan that targets a limited number of audiences with relevant content on one or two primary channels. Content that speaks with empathy is critical, and you can use simple analytics and KPIs such as page views or time on page to measure performance, understand what’s working, and get on the path to optimizing your content production for maximum impact. 

Level 2: Experience delivery

Many organizations early in their digital transformation journey may find themselves at this level. Their marketing teams are publishing fresh content on a consistent, ongoing basis, and their websites include an element of personalization and localization. They often are also incorporating tactics such as email marketing, social media management, and more.

While businesses at this level may have more resources and higher output, it’s not uncommon to see teams operating in silos and using disconnected tools and processes – all of which can lead to messaging misalignment, duplication of effort, and disjointed experiences across channels.

Important considerations

A key aim in advancing content maturity from this point is to organize content production – from planning to creation to collaboration and management – as a supply chain supported by a centralized content hub. With one repository to house all of your assets, as well as a coordinated planning and workflow system to govern who is producing what content for what purpose, it becomes easier to maintain consistent brand messaging, improve personalization efforts through uniform content tagging, and repurpose content across different channels. 

Level 3: Multi-channel reuse

Organizations at this level have advanced to delivering true omnichannel experiences. With a streamlined content supply chain and centralized content repository in place, they have the means to create and manage the volume of high quality, differentiated content that fuels personalized experiences for different customer segments. And with the help of a headless CMS, marketing teams are able to create content once and publish it to any channel and device, including websites, mobile apps, IoT devices, and more.

Important considerations

The ability to deliver a true omnichannel, personalized experience is a significant achievement but there’s still room to create efficiencies that will help you become more agile in meeting your customers’ needs and expectations. The next step to mastering content creation, management, and delivery is to start building content as granular, modular assets that can be modified and combined in almost infinite ways to connect with customers as individuals, rather than segments.

Level 4: Modular enterprise content

Organizations at this level are able to create, manage, and publish personalized content at impressive scale and velocity. Their efficiency and effectiveness comes from aligning technology, people, and processes to create and manage content as modular building blocks that can be intelligently assembled according to an individual customer’s interests, they channel or device they’re using, and where they stand in their journey with the brand. In short, content is viewed strategically, available as a service to the entire organization, and delivered seamlessly.

Important considerations

This may be the highest level of content maturity, but it’s still possible for organizations to enhance what they do once they’ve reached it. Maintaining a constant eye on what content performs well can keep a business at the top of its content game by continuously informing opportunities to refine content production and optimize content delivery.

But be careful not to go overboard. For enterprises successfully operating at this level of content maturity, it’s important to avoid going deeper than necessary. Take care not to overengineer personalization – beware the “creepy” factor that could turn away customers – and don’t lose sight of what you learned out the outset of your journey: quality before quantity. 

How Sitecore can help

While deciding which content maturity level your business should aspire to will depend on its own unique situation, there are always steps you can take to make improvements.

Ready to learn more about how your brand can boost its content maturity level? Sitecore’s Content Hub may have the answers. 

Discover how to house all your digital assets in one central location, leverage AI, integrate third-party solutions, and manage all your content.

Tim Pashuysen

Posted: Thursday 29 October 2020