By Heidi Unruh, Vice President of Marketing, North America, e-Spirit Inc.
There has never been a more complicated time to be a marketer. Think about all the different channels available to reach consumers today – websites, mobile apps, social channels, IoT, wearables, digital signage and more – with new ones popping up all the time. Imagine now all the different types and amounts of content these channels demand. Add to this any number of different devices on which content is consumed, and you have a recipe for digital complexity.
Digital complexity means that today’s customer journey is no longer linear, and organizations are struggling to keep up. That’s because this circuitous journey is fueled by consumers’ quickly shifting thoughts, interests and motivations that can change by the moment, depending upon circumstances and conditions. What consumers are really seeking are “micro-moments” of influence and an epiphany that will allow them to make their own decisions about what they want, how they want it, where they want it, and when.
According to Think with Google, “micro-moments occur when people reflexively turn to a device – increasingly a smartphone – to act on a need to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something or buy something. They are intent-rich moments when decisions are made and preferences shaped. In these moments, consumers’ expectations are higher than ever. The powerful computers we carry in our pockets have trained us to expect brands to immediately deliver exactly what we are looking for when we are looking. We want things right, and we want things right away.”
The bottom line is that today’s consumers will tell you when they are ready to engage, what information they are interested in, and how and when they want to buy. It is up to the modern marketer to be ready when those micro-moments occur – with the right style, right content, right campaigns, right products, and right type of engagement that is not only personalized, but also context-specific to that consumer’s need at that moment in time.
We know what we have to do, but the problem becomes how to do it. How do we create and deliver those micro-moments from a technology perspective? Creating exceptional content-driven experiences across the growing multitude of channels to deliver perfect micro-moments requires a more strategic approach to content that removes the burden of digital complexity from IT and Marketing.
In response, companies are moving from pushing content out to pulling content from multiple channels (third-party, mobile, social, IoT) and assembling it at the customer touchpoint. Making this possible is a decoupled, or headless, approach to content management in which content creation (authoring and storage) is separate from the presentation layer. This approach introduces the notion of Content-as-a-Service (CaaS), in which content is pulled together for the right customer in the right context in the right touchpoint at the right time and assembled on the glass – that is to say, at the display, regardless of what the display is. In this way, marketers give up pixel-perfect control to have context-perfect experience (in that micro-moment).
Large brands are already leveraging this approach. For example, Urban Decay has a successful e-commerce site up and running, but its e-commerce platform was not well-suited to supporting a global content marketing strategy. Adding to the challenge of managing and maintaining such a rich set of content, Urban Decay is in the midst of a rapid global expansion and needed a way to keep its brand presence absolutely consistent in every country as it expands from the U.S. to Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. These needs led Urban Decay to pursue a new content management system. Rather than look at an all-in-one suite, Urban Decay opted to integrate e-Spirit’s FirstSpirit CMS with Salesforce Commerce Cloud. FirstSpirit provides a decoupled web content management system (push) AND a powerful content API (pull) that can serve raw and pre-rendered content everywhere. This hybrid approach gives businesses the agility that is needed to create micro-moments of influence. The result of Urban Decay’s implementation is the recently launched “UD All Access” site that effectively doubles the size of the company’s website. This new site delivers content seamlessly to consumers on any number of devices based on what they are interested in at that moment.
CaaS delivers content with the speed and consistency needed to satisfy customers on their channel of choice – emerging or existing – whether via website, store, wearable, Internet of Things, social network, smart device or app. Instead of the old way of pushing content out, content is delivered as-a-service across all channels instantly, eliminating the need for costly integrations and allowing companies to add new channels to their mix with speed and efficiency, enabling them to better take advantage of micro-moments.
Readers wanting to learn more about micro-moments of influence (and how Content-as-a-Service enables them) are invited to download a new whitepaper on the subject, no registration required.
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