Learning from Integrated Content Leaders of 2020

There's no recipe for becoming a high performing, leading brand. But research into the habits of businesses using an integrated content management approach shows that it is in fact part of the winning formula for many organizations, especially in times of crisis.

  1. chevron left iconLearning from Integrated Content Leaders of 2020
Lucy Campbell-WoodwardJanuary 11, 2021
  • Content Management
  • Digital Marketing

There’s no ‘silver bullet’ to creating a high performing, leading brand, and unfortunately we are not about to reveal one here. But research into the habits of those businesses using integrated content management shows that it is in fact part of the winning formula for many organizations.

The pandemic has revealed two key insights, according to a proposal from McKinsey October 2020: that companies who had prioritized customer experience (CX) in the last economic recession saw three times the shareholder returns than those who had not; and that companies who hadn’t begun a process of digital and CX transformation were behind the curve. The message was clear: If you haven’t started, start now, and if you have, keep going.

But how do you know what kind of transformation needs to occur in order for your business to fulfil its needs and achieve its goals? And then, of course, how can you then get such a transformation off the ground?

McKinsey proposes three building blocks for successful CX transformation. One: build aspiration and purpose, two: transform, and three: enable transformation. Now, it's easy to reel that off in writing of course, but not so easy to action. In fact, such steps require wholesale change across the business, both top down and bottom up, and laterally between departments, branches, and regions.

But within the slightly daunting McKinsey model is an interesting nugget. Inside ‘Enable the transformation’ is the suggestion to “Establish cross-functional governance and agile operating model”. The consultancy found that effective companies engaged in continuous improvement, took control of their own projects while working on them in the context of the wider business, and critically, they collaborated.

This is where McKinsey’s assertions dovetail with our own research: The State of Universal Content Management 2020. In partnership with London Research, censhare commissioned a deep dive into how companies are managing their content needs across the whole organization, and what separates the leaders from the laggards. One of the core findings for 2020 was that leading organizations value an integrated approach to their content, product data and digital assets, spreading responsibility and ownership of such assets over a wide range of departments and have systems in place that allow them to use assets wisely and collaborate effectively.

The report reveals how these leading businesses are almost twice as likely as their peers to say that all business functions have responsibility for content production (17% vs 9%). While marketing is naturally the premier department in this space for those at the top of their content management game as well those with a more mainstream approach, the latter were far more reliant on marketing to drive the process (59% vs 42%).

Of course, there are many reasons why organizations often fail to diversify content production across their business, but the anecdotally most common is legacy systems and/or a siloed culture. Content is often viewed as marketing’s exclusive purview. But naturally, as companies integrate their systems and processes more comprehensively across their business, content is needed in a much wider range of contexts and therefore from an increased number of potential sources.

This includes supply chain and inventory (Product Information Management /PIM systems) which need to work seamlessly with merchandising and marketing (Digital Asset Management/DAM solutions) as well as content production and distribution (Content Management systems) in order to avoid asset duplication and deliver information where it is needed.

The complexity of this content web becomes more apparent as companies grow, and is even more present in large, established organizations. But we were pleased to find that many such businesses, those with a higher turnover, are significantly more likely to have already implemented DAM (50% vs 23%) and PIM (43% vs 16%) than smaller organizations.

And as growth takes businesses global, it also has a profound impact on content production, management and delivery, and again, large organizations tend to be much more advanced in their willingness to allow their regional offices autonomy (27% vs 5%) in comparison to smaller organizations. The research found that this was largely because these smaller companies simply just do not have the frameworks in place to allow efficient asset sharing or use.

So where does this leave the 'winning formula’? Well, McKinsey argues that the collaborative and agile mindset needs to be embraced across the whole business in order for companies to succeed in a world in the midst of a global health pandemic. But even if the will is there, it must be supported by technologies that allow employees to execute effectively. Without it, workflows become cumbersome, mistakes more frequent, and assets more expensive to create.

But in addition to this organizational mindset and willingness to transform, it seems that an integrated approach to content management (or what we call Universal Content Management) is what separates the leaders from the those who are still not quite able to maximize on their content, product information, and digital assets, allowing them to survive these challenging times.

You can learn more about our research into executive attitudes towards content management and leading integrated content management behaviors by downloading the full research report here. For insights from top brands on how they’re already putting Universal Content Management to good use and feeling the benefits, visit our customer Success Stories page.

Lucy Campbell-Woodward
Lucy is the Digital Marketing Manager and a blog contributor at censhare. Based in Munich, Germany, Lucy forms a pivotal cog in the Corporate Marketing team, always with an eye on keeping the content machines churning. What her resume doesn’t state, however, is an impressive knowledge of Bavarian beer. Prost!

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