In October, over 300 technical, marketing and product information developers gathered in San Jose for the 1st Annual Information Development World (iDW). These thought leaders came together to learn how their organization could create exceptional customer experiences with their brands’ content.
That doesn’t seem so difficult, right? However, it is not something that most companies do well. A common pain-point for attendees — and for the majority of organizations — is how to enhance customer satisfaction through consistent, unified omni-channel content experiences. But how do you get the different departments in your organization to work together? And more than that, how do you get the individual teams within one department to collaborate and share content?
Paul Vallis, from HP, hit the nail on the head:
“One of the keys [of] moving from product focus documentation, or content, to solution-focused content is the breaking down of those silos, because a lot of customer experiences seem to live at the intersection of multiple corporate content domains.”
Robert Rose, keynote speaker and Chief Marketing Strategist for the Content Marketing Institute, introduced us to where marketing is heading by the year 2020. Which, scary enough, is only 5 years away.
Up until now, marketing has moved through 6 eras:
- Trade Era – the open markets of the 1850s
- Production Era –product differentiation was introduced during the Industrial Revolution
- Sales Era –price became the primary marketing message
- Marketing Department Era – the introduction of the 4 P’s (product, place, price & promotion)
- Marketing Company Era –brand’s began making promises to customers
- Relationship Era – 1 to 1 marketing became prevalent
This is where we stand today. With the abundance of information at our customers’ fingertips, companies are currently obsessed with bringing the right message to the right person at the right time in the right way. And rightfully so — building relationships with your audience is a pivotal part of any content strategy.
Rose gave us a sneak peek into marketing in 2020: The Experience Era. In an excerpt from his upcoming book Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing, Rose says:
“As content-driven experiences become an increasingly important way to propel our businesses forward, we find that the strategy for creating these experiences, ironically, is rarely driven from the top down. Rather, it usually has roots deep within the business, where a manager is achieving “pockets of success” with a series of ad hoc projects. Eventually, the modus operandi of “that’s the way it’s always been done” gets broken by proof that developing content-driven experiences will provide value to the existing marketing efforts.”
But it doesn’t stop there, as marketing is just one piece of the content puzzle. The conference aimed to identify how the other pieces work together to create exceptional experiences for customers at all touch points — marketing, sales, customer service, technical support and training.
iDW is really a conference of the future. If you learn to identify ways to break down the silos within your organization, to collaborate on omni-channel content-driven strategies, to create exceptional customer experiences — you will be ready for the new era.