Sonja KotrotsosSonja KotrotsosAugust 7, 2020
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6min311

In today’s omnichannel business environment, the best and smartest content in the world might as well be invisible if it can’t be delivered to consumers correctly. 

This means in the context demanded by the customer, personalised to them, and via the device or channel of their choice. That’s a job for intelligent content — but what it sounds like is not exactly what it is.

 What is Intelligent Content?

Intelligent content is a content management technique in which content is structured as a modular, format-free, and semantically-rich business asset. This practice makes it easy for the content creators and users to find and reconfigure for various occasions.

Does A Business Need Intelligent Content?

What business and which content creators wouldn’t benefit from content that’s well-structured, usable, and all-around intelligent?

But to be more specific, intelligent content is essential for businesses that:

  • Produce more content than can be reasonably managed manually
  • Sell products or services with enough commonality that you can reuse content among them
  • Have omnichannel delivery requirements
  • Are using or will use chatbots or similar automated content delivery methods

The Benefits of Intelligent Content

From making content more usable to empowering sales teams to close more deals to boosting SEO efforts — the benefits of intelligent content are huge for businesses.

Firstly, it makes content more reusable across channels and platforms.

When content is removed from the context of presentation (such as a web page) and stored in modules that are labelled with semantic metadata (which is data that describes other data), it’s much easier for business users to both find and implement as needed.

This metadata enables marketers to create content just once, refresh it, and then republish it across any channel or digital device without rewrites or reformatting — saving time and increasing consistency. In other words, intelligent content enables the creation of omnichannel shopping experiences for consumers, which is a powerful differentiator for businesses in the modern age.

Intelligent Content also empowers sales teams to take advantage of more useful content.

Today, the sales funnel has more touchpoints than ever. And that means salespeople need to be able to access and deliver content that will add value and differentiate their business along the way. Because of the metadata labelling and modular storage, intelligent content is accessible for the sales team to locate in their company’s knowledge base or content management system (CMS), personalise as needed, and deliver via the lead’s preferred channel or device.

The best part is, to the potential customer, it looks like a company has dropped everything to thoughtfully develop and deliver content that has been created especially for them.

Intelligent Content also increases content discoverability to boost internal and external search results

Simply put, digital content that can’t be identified by computers might as well not exist. This is where the intelligence of metadata shines. Using metadata labels or “tags,” companies can attach additional information to their digital content to describe it in more detail. This metadata tagging makes it easier for search engines to find, identify, and display when a user is searching for a related topic.

This discoverability goes beyond external search engines to include a company’s CMS or internal knowledge base where an employee may be looking for customer info, product documentation, etc. Wherever the search is done — the better the metadata, the better the experience and the results.

Going Headless – How to Make Sure Content is Intelligent and Ready for the Future

Intelligent content isn’t so much about the words and images that make it up as it is about how businesses create, store, manage, and deliver the content. Luckily, there’s a tool that can set organisations up to serve intelligent content and the resulting omnichannel experience that consumers crave.

Headless CMS empowers modern organisations to create their content in entirely presentation-independent modules, organise and store it in a semantically-rich way with metadata, and deliver it to any device or channel — all thanks to the power of an architecture built on application program interfaces (APIs).

This separation of content from formatting allows content teams to create content just once and distribute it anywhere and technology teams to build the best frontend presentation without either stepping on the other’s toes.


Sonja KotrotsosSonja KotrotsosJuly 16, 2020
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9min977

When digital customer experiences aren’t seamless, they quickly become digital inconveniences. The more technology advances, the more consumers expect it to keep up with their daily lives.

Most of us regularly use several inter-connected devices. It’s often the ease of use and personalisation that takes place during these experiences that makes or breaks how we feel about a brand. That’s the value of omnichannel.

Omnichannel Explained

Omnichannel is an approach to sales, marketing, publishing, and other business disciplines that provides a customer experience that’s integrated and seamless across all channels. There are no barriers or limitations based on whether a customer is consuming content from a mobile device or a desktop computer — every stage of the experience is linked.

By comparison, Multichannel publishing is what most businesses invest in — a beautifully designed website, engaging social media campaigns, perhaps SMS marketing. But as responsive and engaging as those channels might be, if they’re not working together, it’s not omnichannel.

Multichannel leaves a big gap in customer journeys that take place on different channels. But with omnichannel publishing, it doesn’t matter what channel or device the customer is using.

Customers expect Omnichannel

In the explosive digital era that we live in, businesses need to integrate customer-centric narratives if they want to stand out. And customers need to be able to easily experience that narrative no matter the channel or device.

Consider book publishing. While studies have shown that hard copy books aren’t going anywhere — the reality is that most traditional publishers don’t concern themselves with forming relationships with readers. They make deals with authors and leave much of the customer engagement process to their distributors.

The numbers of ebooks and self-published books grow each year. Because this trend disrupts the traditional buying process, traditional publishers now realise that they must start building relationships with readers. On the flip side, Amazon has long recognised the importance of consumer-centric marketing and puts a lot of its efforts towards understanding its users. It asks questions, recommends products based on a customer’s purchasing history and notifies readers when a favourite author has released a new book.

The lesson here is that while content might be king, consumers are close to taking the title.

Effective Omnichannel strategy

The first thing businesses need to do is develop a high-level omnichannel strategy for how to use customer data to integrate your content along different channels. To do that, they must understand why customers interact with each channel, what drives them to do so, and when they’re most likely to engage with it.

The objective is a 360-degree view of users based on how they interact with each channel. Then, build on that data to weave those preferences into every step of the customer’s journey to create a seamless and fully integrated experience.

But not all data is created equal.

There are many platforms, devices, channels, and people to consider, so the key is to identify which data is essential to success. There are significant trends in omnichannel that need to be included in any strategy:

  1. Create Adaptive Content

One of the best ways to kickstart a robust omnichannel strategy is to start creating adaptive content. Unlike static content for a general audience (if it serves everyone, it serves no one), adaptive content is highly targeted and supports personalised and meaningful interactions across multiple channels.

A customer might be browsing on their tablet but want to make the purchase from their phone — the content should change seamlessly, based on the device used, the context and the user. For example, a CTA might be “click” on a laptop, “say select” from a voice-recognition tool, or “tap” on a tablet. Every part of the user experience is adapted based on how the user is engaging with the content.

  1. Guide Customers Across Various Touchpoints

A strong omnichannel strategy predicts the customer’s needs and then provides the right content to satisfy those needs. One great example is how many retail brands have started to combine the customer’s offline and online experience.

Retail brand Oasis, for instance, makes sure that all sales associates on the shop floor carry iPads. When helping customers, they can quickly check inventory or even order an item directly to a home address if it’s out of stock. The customer will then receive a notification by email or SMS to let them know their item is on its way.

With this seamless way of shopping, the brand makes everything as simple as possible for the customer, while integrating each stage using different devices and channels.

  1. Personalise Messages and Optimise Design

Consider how Goodreads connects with users. In its weekly email newsletter, users receive book suggestions based on what their friends are reading. Instead of reading something generic like “top picks,” subscribers get personalised content in which they have a genuine interest.

Adaptive content applies to the visual elements too, and 56 percent of consumers say they would happily purchase from a brand that provides an excellent personalised experience.

Other considerations include how content will look across different platforms and on devices with varying screen sizes. How does it look on mobile, social media or an email newsletter? Content needs to go everywhere, and it needs to adjust automatically.

  1. Complete Your Omnichannel Publishing Strategy with Headless CMS

A headless content management system (CMS) works as a content hub with a central repository for all your content, and it makes it easy to integrate best-of-breed applications and microservices. This content hub enables greater flexibility than having to rely on the built-in features of a traditional publishing platform — but it also comes with another significant benefit.

Under the hood of a headless CMS, content is created and stored separately from programming and design. Not only does that mean content folks are free to create, optimise, and publish content without help from other teams; it also means that they can integrate with various business applications (such as CRM, translation services, AI tools, A/B testing applications, analytics parsing, and more) so that the same content can be easily re-optimised and re-published — indefinitely — for different audiences, devices, and channels. In short, headless CMS enables publishers to optimise and personalise content on a larger scale than ever before.

For modern businesses, an omnichannel strategy has become a necessity for winning customers and building a loyal audience. And while optimising content for multiple devices and channels may seem daunting — it doesn’t need to be.


Sonja KotrotsosSonja KotrotsosMay 26, 2020
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8min1671

Customers have increasingly high expectations regarding customer experience (CX) because the corporate giants whose products and services they use daily set the bar incredibly high.

Whether a business is consumer-facing or B2B, customers expect seamless convenience and personalised attention that immerses them in the brand experience — no matter where they are.

Thankfully, this level of CX is no longer just the domain of giants. Today, the technology that makes this kind of customer experience possible is becoming more mainstream and affordable, making immersive CX achievable.

What is Immersive CX?

At its most basic, immersive CX facilitates a seamless customer experience. The customer becomes fully immersed in the purchase journey, effortlessly navigating from one channel to the next without interrupting their day-to-day activities to do so.

On the more advanced side of the immersive CX spectrum, technologies such as augmented reality overlays and virtual reality headsets facilitate experiences that literally immerse the customer.

Immersive Customer Experiences Start with a Roadmap

A CX experience roadmap is simply a plan outlining the measures necessary to improve customer experience and the timeline on they are planned. Any CX roadmap should address both short-term and long-term goals for establishing immersive CX.

Defining clear goals and timelines makes it easier to gradually roll out immersive CX initiatives, helping businesses to capitalise on “low-hanging fruit” and meet long-term goals. Chopping up the plan into smaller parts makes it much more manageable.

Additionally, having a CX roadmap makes it easier to set goals and measure the CX program’s success or ROI. Setting up a customer satisfaction score (CSS) or net promoter score (NPS) benchmark helps to tie CX efforts to the bottom line.

On the mindset front, a CX roadmap will help an organisation remain committed to staying ahead of the curve by continually innovating and iterating the CX program. Customer expectations will continue to evolve, and so should a business if it wishes to remain competitive.

CMS for Immersive CX

At the outset it is worth remembering that a content management system (CMS) plays a massive role in delivering exceptional customer experiences. It’s instrumental in aligning the data, processes, and people needed to create and deploy consistently immersive experiences.

A headless CMS uses application programming interface (API) technology so content can be created and stored separately from its presentation. This separation enables content and marketing to create, optimise, and distribute content while designers and developers are building the best front-end display for that content on every channel and device.

With this in place, there are then five pillars to creating a successful CX roadmap:

1. Customer intelligence

Collecting customer feedback can be as simple as asking for ratings, making it easy to leave comments, and incentivizing survey completion. However, if possible, focus groups that can discuss the customer experience with actual customers are ideal.

Businesses need to facilitate the discussion but not steer responses.  The objective is real, organic customer thoughts on what works and what doesn’t. This needs to encompass the entire experience of a brand to gain a complete insight into the customer journey.

If a business already has analytics in place, this data can speak on the customers’ behalf to measure which aspects of existing CX initiatives are successful and which ones need to be adjusted.

2. Customer understanding

An analysis of the data collected should enable a business to better understand customers’ current pain points, where they’re happy with a business, and where there is room to improve.

Customers’ impressions of a brand are very different from the expectations of the business. This might not be a bad thing, but a business must decide to either take steps to alter this perception or lean into it.

The fundamental goal in this step is to identify ways to improve the customer experience. This may mean doubling down on some aspects of a CX approach and overhauling others completely.

3. Customer journeys

All of the above information should be compiled into a fully mapped out customer journey.  The objective is understand how each of the most valuable customer segments interacts with a brand.

Questions to consider include:

  • How did each customer discover the brand?
  • What was their experience at each touchpoint?
  • Which touchpoint convinced them to choose a given business above others?
  • How did they experience the purchase process?
  • Would they repeat the process?

At each leg of the customer journey, mark the pain points and CX features that customers commend, and identify opportunities to implement immersive CX upgrades.

4. Customer Experience Goals

Once the areas of CX improvement are identified, a business must commit to a timeline.

This is determined by impact and feasibility: and this can be assessed by a few quick questions

  • Which CX improvements can be implemented right away?
  • Which CX initiatives does the business view as the most urgent?
  • Which changes will have the most immediate impact on the customer experience delivery?
  • What resources, infrastructure, or expertise are required to roll out the more critical items?
  • Which actions are dependent on other activities or infrastructure being in place first?

This creates a plan of action with all the relevant stakeholders. As always, businesses should focus on easy wins or “low-hanging fruit” first and allow plenty of time to work towards more complex goals.

5. Customer Milestones

Setting milestones and benchmarks are perhaps the most crucial part of the whole immersive CX roadmap process. They are the very definition of if a given CX initiative is yielding any positive results.

Benchmarks such as a desired NPS or CSS score should be set and a business then needs to decide how regularly it will review these metrics to assess if a given CX strategy is working. These milestones should be included in the roadmap and used to take stock and adapt the strategy periodically if necessary.


Sonja KotrotsosSonja KotrotsosApril 29, 2020
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8min1635

The extent of change in the retail industry has been remarkable. People are talking to personal shopping robots, storefronts are morphing to mirror passers-by, and consumers are using hand-held computers to digitally try on clothes from the comfort of their own homes.

As a result of these changes, the evolution of traditional operational models and other trends that will present significant opportunities for digital retailers fall into 5 broad categories.

1. Options for Shopping Channels and Devices Will Continue to Grow

Omnichannel retailers use technology to tie together shopping channels to “…create a unified shopping experience across every single device and channel that a consumer uses to interact with their business.”

This approach to retail provides consumers with a seamless and continuous flow at every touchpoint regardless if they’re researching or making a purchase. And, omnichannel retail product and content delivery is practically a requirement for brands that want to remain modern and competitive.

The average digital consumer has five profiles across various online channels. And the majority of them expect consistent interactions across every profile they use to shop and interact with retailers.

What’s more, omnichannel shoppers spend an average of 4% more on every in-store shopping trip and 10% more online. Compared to single-channel shoppers, omnichannel shoppers visit their favourite retailers’ 23% more often and have a 30% higher lifetime value. Yet, 55% of shoppers still say their retail experience is “disjointed” when switching between channels, and only 22% of North American retailers consider omnichannel retail a priority.

There is a significant disconnect between today’s shoppers and retailers—which presents a critical opportunity for ecommerce businesses that can provide seamless products, content, and experiences across channels.

2. Shoppers Will Use Augmented Reality to “Interact” With Digital Products

Augmented reality (AR) technology enables shoppers to use cameras on their smart devices to display digital elements in the physical world. Brands like IKEA and Converse are setting the standard for how brands can take advantage of AR to enable their shoppers to get a “feel” for products before purchasing them online.

IKEA enables shoppers to use their smartphones to virtually “place” furniture in their homes so they can visualise how certain products will fit into the space before making a commitment. Converse’s smartphone app helps shoppers virtually try on shoes and share their AR-enhanced pics on social media!

3. Facial Recognition and Device Tracking Will Become The Norm

In 2020, retail businesses will hone in on omnichannel marketing and sales by integrating data gathered in-person with online customer profiles. This type of tracking is possible using radio frequency identification (RFID)-enabled beacons and WiFi to track devices, sensors to monitor movement, and cameras and facial recognition software to identify specific consumers. Retailers will finally be able to understand how shoppers interact with their physical stores the same way they use analytics tools to tell what’s happening in their digital ones!

Bringing together web, mobile, social, and now in-person data will put retailers in a position to provide 360-degree customer experiences in 2020.

Using smart cameras and sensors, Eyewear retailer BonLook can tell you how many glasses-wearing women in their target age range walk by any one of their shops, at any given time, on any given day.

Furthermore, they can break down how many of those people came into the store and how many completed a transaction. Using this information, BonLook was able to grow their conversions overnight just by updating their storefront advertising to better appeal to the group of passers-by whom they wanted to convert.

4. The Advertising Model Will Morph Into Something New

Google, Amazon, and the big social media networks like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube dominate digital commerce advertising. Google and Facebook combined take in 61% of all digital advertising spend in the U.S., on average.

Over $270 billion was spent globally on digital ads in 2018 alone. Americans are exposed to between 4,000 and 10,000 advertisements every single day—and at least 75% of them engage in at least one form of ad-blocking. Consumers are overwhelmed, jaded, and less and less likely than ever to click on traditional, “interruption-based” ads.

Hence in 2020 and beyond, we’ll see advertising become more non-traditional, experiential, and naturally embedded in everyday experiences. A great example is Procter & Gamble’s Bare Skin Chat YouTube series, which features relevant celebrities in entertaining videos that are both engaging and informational—and has millions of views. In 2020, digital commerce advertising  will be driven by creating experiences that consumers want.

5. Voice-Based Digital Commerce Will Generate Billions

Smart speakers are no passing trend. In 2018, there were 2.5 billion voice-enabled devices. Predictions are that by 2023 there will be 8 billion of them.

By some estimates, as many as half of all searches may be done by voice in 2020. And how about the voice-powered shopping market, specifically? Estimates are that the market is going to exceed $40 billion by 2022. If businesses are not optimizing the products and content on a website or app for voice search, then 2020  will see them upgrade.

The need for consistency

To drive consistency across this scope of technologies, a flexible and scalable CMS is paramount.  A headless content management system (CMS) is a key tool in empowering retailers to create content once and publish it everywhere.

Because a headless CMS has no built-in front-end system that determines how or where content will be displayed, content managers can serve consistent content experiences across websites, apps, chatbots, connected home devices, voice assistants, and more.

It is entirely possible that to span the most basic customer journey, a business will need AR app integration that allows shoppers to interact with digital products, facial recognition and smart software gathering in-person data.  The new reality of retail is not just the old adage that retail is detail but that detail is now in the highest of definition from multiple sources.


Sonja KotrotsosSonja KotrotsosOctober 21, 2019
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5min2051

The old war is ending.

A truce has been called in the 20-year battle between marketing and IT for the territory of Digital Experience. Enterprise architects are turning IT departments into business consultancies and marketing now frequently takes on the development capacities for digital. As a result, growth-hacking and T-shaped marketers made it into mainstream marketing teams in 2019.

In 2020, marketing will go one step further and include front end engineers into their teams. But because of this, another war stirs – the war for front-end developer talent is going to become incredibly fierce, incredibly quickly. And this may actually define the success of many businesses.

The lessons of history

Like all wars, there are lessons in history. For this particular battle, those lessons can be found in Photoshop. 

Twenty years ago, marketing made leaflets. Marketers looked at what topics would be interesting for the audience and what brand feel they wanted to portray. For the layout however, businesses used agencies. And when those agency relationships didn’t work as fast as they were needed, businesses hired photoshop guys internally. The resulting war for talent, ideas, and execution defined marketing in many industries and the impact is still felt today.

Now, leaflets and brochures are gone. Largely, at least.

The main channel of communication today is digital media, and the photoshop guys of digital media are front-end developers. 

A different digital battlefield

It is also worth noting that the ‘digital’ battlefield itself is changing. Businesses used to have templates and drag-and-drop teasers on a homepage in a content management system. That worked in the world of desktop web. Now, businesses and consumers live in the world of mobile experiences, smart spaces, and connected products. As a result, desktop websites will continue to lose importance year over year. 

2020 is the year marketing disciplines will need to be ready for this fight. Modern content management systems don’t do templates anymore. They focus on content delivery, speed, and versatility to deliver into these new channels and experiences. They cater to the philosophy of growth hacking and constantly testing assumptions. 

This new way of working starts with these new channels, increasingly employs personalisation in real-time, and tests and refines customer interactions. In this context, front-end developers will become the highly prized special forces that can define marketing success.

There is no way around this. Marketing needs front-end developers if the business wants to deliver the latest and greatest Digital Experience to customers. With Digital Experience being the main differentiator, a business cannot afford to fall behind. 

There will undoubtedly be casualties, but to the victor will go the spoils of keenly engaged customers ready and willing to engage with a business in a variety of ways.




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