By Pamela Muldoon published February 3, 2015

Noz Urbina Talks Adaptive Content, Customer Experience

CMNXT Noz Urbina Custom Image To prep you for the Intelligent Content Conference March 23-25 in San Francisco, Content Marketing NEXT is speaking with a few of ICC’s speakers.

Noz Urbina of Urbina Consulting in Valencia, Spain, takes on the new, now, next format to offer a unique perspective on the importance of structured content, content personalization, and the concept of omni-channel distribution. I had a great time talking with Noz and am confident you will find a wealth of information in this episode.

What’s new, what’s now, what’s next

What’s new:

His consulting firm is quite new. Noz launched the business just one year ago after realizing that much of what he does to help clients could be more effective if he went out on his own.

One “new” area he addresses for content creators is the idea of structured content. Noz uses the example of a newspaper article as a familiar form of structured content. While the concept is not necessarily new, its mainstream adoption is. So how can a brand or organization incorporate a structure to its content creation? More content strategists need to know not only how to perform this function, but how to explain it in an easy-to-digest way.

Noz also stresses the importance of the adaptive content model to leverage resources, ideas, and of course, content. Create a model then adapt the content to be used in a different way, a new content asset.

Noz points out that this Content Marketing NEXT format is a great example of adaptive structured content. My interview format is structured in the three distinct segments. It is adaptive because each segment can be sourced to other content assets, thus it gets more bang from the content buck. In fact, this podcast was developed to be adaptive.

What’s now:

Noz believes a cultural shift toward content strategy is happening. We also are reaping the rewards of another trend – a customer-focused mindset – that needs to resonate from the top down. Marketers are now profoundly aware that content creation must center on the customer experience. A related subject is content personalization, which encourages us to map the journey through the eyes of the customer, not through the eyes of the staff.

The customer experience of your company touches across all various touch points within the company.

What’s next:

Noz covered a lot of ground on what’s coming up next for content marketing. Here are few of his ideas:

  • Internal marketing – Content strategists need to market concepts inside the organization to get buy-in. Content leaders need to treat this process in a similar way as they would a sales pitch: Consider the audience, develop a strategy, and pitch the decision-makers until the “deal” closes.
  • Campaign/project model – The project mentality is not the future of content strategy. Successful content strategy requires a continuous improvement model that operates in an agile state. As agencies and consultants we need to help our clients to understand this so they can ask better questions, challenge us to be better, and create even stronger customer-experience opportunities.
  • Omni-channel vs. multi-channel – At first glance these two ideas may seem the same. And yes, distributing content through different channels can be part of both definitions. The difference is that omni-channel is all channels, used in conjunction to support each other, while multi-channel is specific channels on which people will interact with your content. From digital assets such as your blog and videos to traditional marketing like billboards and print ads, and the retail kiosk in the mall, how is your content helping the human experience through these channels? How are you planning to adapt your content across all these channels?

Blast the buzzword

Noz’s words: Rebrand, user experience, responsive design

For Noz, one word is not enough.

Rebrand: The idea of rebranding is quite egotistical for a company. The idea that you can change your brand by changing your visuals and a bit of copy is nonsensical. You don’t control your brand. Brand is a thing that exists due to what is in the market. As a company, you are just hoping to shift and influence it. You cannot rebrand.

User experience: Things don’t have experiences. That’s what makes them things. The way we use the thing normally comes from a user interface laid out by an experienced designer. Although we can design an interface to elicit an experience, we cannot control the experience. The same design can offer a different experience for different individuals.

Responsive design: Noz provides his more technical definition of responsive design – the dynamic flow of visual elements on a page so that they look nice regardless of the device on which you are viewing them. Noz believes a company that chooses responsive design as a strategy is coming at it the wrong way. Responsive design should be something the organizaton is doing or has done. It should never be a specific business goal.

In the hot seat

Here’s a recap of Noz’s hot-seat Q&A:

Q1: What innovation in the last five years has made your life as a content marketer better?

Nothing has been really innovative so much as already existing ideas have been improved.

The work being done in cognitive science is not only fascinating, but something we as marketers should really try to better understand. Understanding why people do what they do or the experiences on which they have based their behaviors allows us to develop more interesting, engaging, and, subsequently, more successful content. Content modeling is not just about computers, it’s also about the way content is structured and stored inside the human mind.

Q2: What is the most valuable piece of advice you have been given personally or professionally?

“Get your baseline metrics” is a piece of advice shared by a communications executive at one of the world’s largest multinational enterprises. The advice was shared upon the revelation that a multimillion-dollar content initiative wasn’t able to prove its true ROI because the baseline metrics had never been measured.

Another great piece of advice actually comes from the book Thinking Fast and Slow  by Daniel Kahneman. He explains that memory trumps experience. Experience is fleeting and in the moment. What is important about the experience is the memory and the emotional story connected to it. This is a big reason why silo thinking is a thing of the past. If the experience is broken at any time throughout the buyer or customer journey, the memory of the experience is not good. The story has an unhappy ending.

Q3: What book have you read that still stays with you today?

The Information by James Gleick takes on how human beings have approached the challenge of communication from the earliest stages of civilization to the printed word to today’s Twitter platform. This book has allowed Noz to better understand the art of communication from the historical and cultural perspective.

Listen to Pamela’s full interview with Noz Urbina here:

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Cover image courtesy of Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Author: Pamela Muldoon

Pamela Muldoon is the Podcast Network Director for the CMI Podcast Network. In her role with CMI, she assists the podcast hosts with the development, production, distribution and promotion of their shows. Pamela is a veteran podcaster who can be heard on the CMI Podcast Network with her latest show "Content Marketing NEXT". To date, she has interviewed over 200 business and marketing professionals as part of her podcast formats. She is also a professional VoiceOver talent specializing in commercial, narration, eLearning, and promo projects. Learn more at or Follow her on Twitter @pamelamuldoon.

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  • B. Noz Urbina

    Hi Pamela, very happy to have done this interview. I’m sorry my sound right towards the end. Don’t know what happened there. Probably my fault! Also, I wanted to correct my attribution. Mike Atherton turned me onto a quote – “Brand is what they say about you when you’re not in the room” – but the original quote is actually Jeff Bezos of Amazon. So it’s actually Jeff Bezos via Mike Atherton.

    • Pamela Muldoon

      We are happy you did this interview, too! You offered up some excellent insight and information in this episode. Thank you! Yes, the sound during the Blast The Buzzword section did adjust on it’s own a bit. Though I did my own re-adjustments, sometimes this does happen when using Skype. Often it is a bandwith issue. Overall though, a great interview! Thanks again!

  • Sandy

    Excellent interview. My favorite quote, “Content isn’t just a way to feed leads into the sales funnel. Content is how the customer perceives the organization.” The challenge is to get people to realize content should also be used to connect with a customer after they buy your product in order to maintain the relationship.

    Wish I could hear you speak at Intelligent Content Conference in March, but not in the budget to attend. I just saw that post show video access will be available, so will definitely check that out.

    • B. Noz Urbina

      Glad you liked it, Sandy. And thanks for highlighting that. I’m very passionate about the idea that the future of marketing and content is nurturing ongoing relationships and advocacy. We must move away from a ‘create publish and chuck leads over the wall’ process model!

      Sorry you can’t join us at ICC. Hopefully next year!

    • Marcia Riefer Johnston

      Sandy, I can attest that it is a shame for you to miss hearing Noz speak. Hope to see you at ICC in 2016.

      • B. Noz Urbina

        You flatter me, Marcia. Not that you should stop… just pointing it out. :-)

  • rogercparker

    This was very illuminating. I loved the way Noz’s very clear explained advanced approaches to content structure in clear and easy to relate to terms. Your follow-up discussion of how you implement similar thinking in your podcasts nicely reinforced Noz’s ideas.

    Noz is definitely a pioneer thinker addressing advanced ideas, yet it his message come across in a an easy-to-understand manner.

    Like I felt recently when I ran across Jay Acunzo’s use of the term “anchor points” in a recent CMI post, it’s exciting to watch how how the Content Marketing Institute is providing a forum for pioneers to share cutting-edge concepts long before their mainstream discovery.

    • B. Noz Urbina

      Hi Roger,

      Thank you for that. You’re comment about relability is validating my work against one
      of my main goals. I will do a search for that “anchor points” reference.

      I felt I maybe should have been explicit in the follow up
      discussion regarding structuring that the podcast structuring is a great
      example of a similar approach, but it’s only the first step or ‘phase’. Creating reusable content is absolutely is creating a consistent
      content structure, which does pay dividends later – but the reuse (as
      far as our discussion shows) will still be by hand later. If that
      structure had been implemented in the content storage in a
      machine-readable way, then there would be new automation or
      semi-automation options opened up.

      For example, imagine that every new podcast added to the
      pot was automatically reused into several predefined secondary
      deliverables. You could have the text notes from the “favourite books”
      part all get compiled to a “Interviewees favourite books” list that was
      always live and growing, or compile a “Words of Wisdom Quarterly Email”
      which collated all the advice each interviewee talked about.

      Adaptation is also extremely powerful for enabling personalisation. I talked about this in my second CMI blog post on the topic, but I thought I should say that there are ‘layers of opportunity’. First is reuse across formats, second comes reuse in new deliverables, and third personalised deliverables where you start to tune the content to specific audience segments or life-cycle phases, or even, a specific individual that you’ve learned a lot about.

      Being able to do it at all requires the structure. But if
      you configure your content creation and storage tools/process so that
      computers understand that structure, and can do the grunt work in
      milliseconds, then you can *really* crank up the speed and scalability.

      In our omnichannel world, for more and more businesses, that is offering a highly compelling ROI.

      Sorry if that’s repeating myself but I wanted to bring home the ‘layers’ idea.