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How To Use Technology To Unlock Content and Marketing Potential

How To Use Technology To Unlock Content and Marketing Potential

Two brains are better than one.

Embracing the machine brain of technology as a partner with the human brains of content marketers lets you do things for your audience and brand that you could only imagine or considered too resource-intensive just a few years ago.

These examples of what’s possible with tech-human collaborations today and in the future — and what marketers should do about them — come from the experts who spoke at the recent ContentTECH Summit. You can still register (free) to go more in-depth and watch their sessions on demand.

Establish a single source of truth

“Your brand is your personality and your story. It’s how you stand out in that crowded marketplace,” says Ariana Keil, senior growth marketer at Canto.

But too often, that story gets jumbled across a customer’s journey. The prospect sees one personality on the brand’s social media and another in the deck a salesperson sent to them. That problem compounds itself each of the seven times a customer typically sees your messaging before taking the desired action.

“Your brand identity, your personality, your message has to be cohesive. It has to be consistent enough over those seven touch points so that the seed of your brand keeps getting watered,” Ariana says.

It’s a mistake that can cost your brand’s bottom line, Ariana says. Brand consistency across all platforms can increase ROI by 23%, according to a Lucidpress survey.

To ensure consistency, every company should have a brand management strategy, Ariana says.

A brand management strategy is a comprehensive plan to create, maintain, and enhance brand identity over time. It details the tactics, processes, workflows, and technology that make it happen. It also includes checkpoints to ensure you’re maintaining that consistency.

To create a brand management strategy, you must:

And you have to pull it all together into a centralized single source of truth. For enterprise organizations, that usually requires a digital asset management system (DAM).

As the content hub of your tech stack, a DAM should integrate with your project management, content creation, distribution, and analytics tools. It should also offer easy and accurate search features, otherwise employees will resort to their own devices to create and publish branded assets.

But integrating a DAM into your brand management strategy is not enough. Ariana advises treating the strategy as a dynamic concept. Measure how the brand narrative is being received through social media engagement, website traffic, conversion rates, etc. Then, take that knowledge, revise, and retool.

“Everything does change, and change is OK as long as your messaging consistently evolves along with your brand.”


Treat AI as the solution, not the challenge

Marketers have faced no greater change in recent years than the advent — and rapid adoption — of easily accessible generative artificial intelligence.

“[Without] a pragmatic or thoughtful approach to AI, organizations risk being overloaded with random point solutions,” says Ali Hart, senior product marketing manager at Optimizely.

If each team develops its own AI tech stack, they’re rebuilding silos you worked hard to tear down. Brand governance and compliance takes a hit. The AI tools may create biased or inaccurate content published by different teams, and it all can lead to the deterioration of brand and digital experiences.

But if you create a systematic approach to AI across the organization, AI tools can work with your human team members for the greater good. With this strategy, you can improve empathetic personalization.

Ali says you can customize marketing messages and experiences based on the individual’s preferences, behaviors, and needs. That personalization, though, should respect customers’ privacy and boundaries.

She also outlines other areas of impact of a positively embraced AI strategy, including:

  • Account-based marketing: AI-based analytics and lead scoring removes the manual work and better predicts the account’s interest or readiness to buy based on historical ad data and behavior patterns. It can also deliver more personalized and relevant content.
  • Dynamic ad targeting: Using AI technology, you can deliver ads with more relevant content at the best time based on real-time data.
  • Customer experiences: With a tailored strategy, AI can automate and personalize customer interactions, providing them with information and support.

You also can create your own large language model (LLM) based on your company’s guidelines, brand guidelines, etc., to inform your generative AI tools.

“Instead of just getting tools to say, ‘We are using AI,’ make sure they can help you do your jobs better,” Ali says.

Just don’t forget the human touch. Incorporate human oversight and intervention to ensure accuracy, fairness, and ethical considerations are addressed.

“AI should be your copilot,” Ali says. “It’s really essential to maintain a balance between automation and human insight to ensure that marketing still remains authentic and engaging and to ensure you’re still benefiting without compromising your brands.”

Also, let your audience know how AI is involved. Disclose how you collect data and provide clear explanations on how your AI algorithms work and benefit your customers. Add an AI disclaimer on your website. That transparency can go a long way in earning and maintaining your audience’s trust.

Deliver better for your customers

Given the benefits of generative AI for marketers, it only makes sense that your audiences will benefit, too.

“AI has allowed for really more nuanced and effective customer engagement,” says Sitecore’s Zach Escabedo.

Instead of offering only a handful of personalized experience options, you can use your metadata and AI tools to tailor thousands or millions (depending on your web traffic) of customized experiences.

Generative AI also can create a different search experience for consumers today. Instead of asking Google, they can just ask your brand, and they don’t need to limit themselves to inquiries for your products and services.

For example, visitors to a brand’s website or app could search for restaurants near the company’s bricks-and-mortar stores, even specifying the preferred type of food, and be served up a menu on the site.

“Your brand becomes an extension and leans out beyond what is traditionally known in the commerce world,” Zach says.

In a generative AI world, buyers won’t just search for a new pair of jeans. They can ask the brand to show them the popular fashion trends of the year. Then, they can ask about accessories to pair with those trending styles.

“It’s really starting to go beyond just a static experience with customers and really start to allow teams and organizations to lean into different tools and capabilities,” Zach says.

But don’t pursue generative AI possibilities without first establishing parameters. For example, you don’t want to allow someone at the last stage in the workflow to be able to create and publish a new paragraph or image that doesn’t match your branding. It disrupts the brand consistency you set up the system to enforce.

So, evaluate generative AI embedded in existing tools as well as any new tools to ensure you can establish the proper controls for your enterprise.

Understand AI’s role in SEO and more

Google Search is one tool you already know uses AI. It recently rolled out AI-generated overviews at the top of search results to the world. That prompted more questions on what marketers should do about AI.

Kelly Hungerford, director of digital strategy and services at SUNSTAR, a global oral health care brand, says Google’s generative AI move indicates search remains important. “As marketers, we need to be focusing on SEO,” she says.

Well-structured content for SEO will become even more important because that’s what AI tools will rely on, too.

Second, Kelly says, focus more on branded images and video, tactics that often don’t get the metadata attention they deserve. Google and other AI-integrated services are paying more attention to visuals.

“Start experimenting,” she says. “Image and video are really going to play … more than just text.”

Third, marketers operating websites across languages and markets should create SEO legs for each site. “You have to get that engine cranked up and running as soon as possible. If you have content that’s shared across multiple languages, multiple markets, you need to make sure you’re really localizing it and differentiating it,” Kelly says.

Ready for the future

Tech futurist Cathy Hackl, co-CEO of Spatial Dynamics, says people focus on AI, but you’re really seeing a convergence of different technologies moving really fast.

“They’re going to change human-computer interactions in ways that we’ve never seen before,” she says.

Spatial computing is evolving as a 3D-centric form that uses technologies to seamlessly blend virtual experiences into someone’s physical world.

With that advance comes new hardware, and Cathy says there will be more than just Apple’s Vision Pro or Meta’s new multimodal AI glasses. Expect Samsung, Google, Microsoft, and others to enter the marketplace. “That is going to force marketers to start to think about how they will play with these new devices … to think about new content types,” Cathy says.

It also will likely change the answers to questions every marketer asks: Where are people consuming content? What immersive experiences do audiences want to participate in?

But you don’t need to prepare by going out and buying an Apple Vision Pro, Cathy says. Just start paying attention to all the AI and tech announcements. For example, OpenAI’s GPT-4o’s assistant has vision.

Look to the gaming space to learn from the convergence of physical and virtual commerce. Cathy, a metaverse advisor-in-residence for Walmart, points to the retailer’s recent partnership that allows participants to buy physical things in Roblox and have them delivered to their houses.

Don’t be scared

With all the available technology and all the data collected from your audience’s digital experiences, the ability to ingest that information to help guide your strategy is huge. It also can be intimidating, especially for non-technical marketers. But don’t let it. AI and other tech opportunities aren’t going away. “It’s super important for us as marketers to invest our own time in learning how to use AI,” Ali says. “You may always feel a little step behind … but something is better than nothing.”

Missed ContentTECH Summit live but still want to learn how to manage, and scale great content experiences across all your platforms and channels? Register today to watch it on demand (it’s free).

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute