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Tuesday 2¢: Things, Stuff and Content

Tuesday 2¢: Things, Stuff and Content

Welcome to the Tuesday 2¢ . It’s Tuesday, the weekend is a distant memory and it’s time to let off some steam and give our 2 cents on a hot industry topic. This week Ian Truscott thinks about things and before getting lost in all this stuff realizes, that we need to only redefine our understanding of content, but also of content management.

Recently when talking to our CTO Walter Bauer on Inside censhare we briefly dipped into the meaning of the word content, in the context of the things that are managed in our content management system.

Today our content management system (and there are other systems available) can manage a lot of different types of things that were previously not considered content to support the needs of the contemporary customer experience like the price of something, people information, analytics, a calendar, a schedule, resourcing, consumption data and digital rights to name a few.

Our classic definition of content has extended too, from text and limited sized images, to video, rich media assets, 3D models, virtual reality, voice and everything a consumer might touch, virtually or in real life.

During my conversation with Walter we briefly dabbled with the term "Thing Management", but of course that would never work, for a start the word "Thing" has been bagged for the Internet of Things. A Thing in this context is in fact something we are likely to be publishing content to the consumer through.

Secondly, how would we humble servants to our industry influence the folks that make the rules about stuff like this. Although, wow, as a marketer that would be super if you all changed and people started searching for "Thing Content Management", that's an SEO strategy I can get behind.

I can dream, but today I think we have to play the hand we were dealt. All this stuff is content; we therefore redefine the word "content". It becomes a broad church and any digital thing, item, object, or stuff is welcome here.

Does this have any implications on the way we think about content, the discipline of content management?

Well...maybe.

Off the top of my head, using your CMS to store customer data, suddenly General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) becomes relevant in your governance processes.

As does the data model, how and where things are stored is more complex, as we move beyond the classic use case of an article and some images.

How efficiently those assets can be retrieved and then rendered in our new world of dynamic, multi-channel experiences have also to be considered.

Same with the tools, that trusty web based WYSIWYG editor isn't going to be laying out pages for the brochure, editing high-definition video or fiddling with a 3D model or augmented reality. A requirement for some sort of creative suite desktop integration perhaps.

And then there is the relationship between these things, it's easy to model a taxonomy structure around text articles for a simple website or a library from a document store - but it gets more complex when you model the relationship between dates to create a calendar, or people and tasks to create a marketing resource dashboard, or translation processes, or a pricing calculator or analytics data for a content performance dashboard or a complex localized manual for a product.

All the things we are storing this stuff for, the business functionality that is becoming expected from the backbone of our customer experience platforms.

Oh, and if we call everything content, with no distinction between the simple and the complex, then how do you compare the solutions - their ability to manage, store and deliver things?

Wordpress calls itself a content management systems, but how would it fare with things?

The analysts answer is a complex, fractured, acronym laden, silo'd focus on specialist niches. The cure for your digital transformation ailments becomes a cocktail of ingredients that someone will need to stir into a palatable remedy.

So if we redefine content, then we redefine content management . Otherwise, let's start over - Stuff Management System anyone?

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Ian Truscott Ian Truscott

Ian Truscott has the unofficial and honory title of the “Träger des Firmen-Megaphons” for censhare, bringing 20 years of B2B software experience to our company (surely starting as a child) to lead marketing here. Luckily for us in the Munich office, he’s found the kettle and some tea bags – look at him, he’s happy.

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