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Rebekka Topholm
Rebekka Topholm 11 January 2021

Predictions 2021: Content Management

With the most business disruptive year soon behind us it becomes time to see what 2021 will bring.

Business plans are being developed, teams are preparing, and it is time to think about what this year will bring.  

2020 was a year that brought great change to individuals, teams and businesses. Organizations were forced to undergo digital transformation, teams needed to turn on a dime, plans were chucked out of the window and new ways of working made their entrance in matter of weeks. 

Businesses that are digital mature were able to undergo these changes more easily than their more traditional peers. But with the help of technology many organizations have been able to digitally transform or made the necessary steps towards this. 

With 2021 starting, it is time to give our predictions to what the next year(s) will bring. Not completely surprising is that overarching trends like customer experience and frictionless touchpoints are continuing to be there. In this post we are diving deeper into how content is still a very relevant contributor in achieving a better customer experience in ecommerce and in B2B in general.

Predictions 2021: Content Management 

The age old saying that ‘if content is king, then context is god’, coined by Gary Vaynerchuk, still goes today. Content marketing in both B2C and B2B organizations and ecommerce is still a key topic. The ability to use content to support a better customer experience and to scale ecommerce success is often the base for many organizations.

This ranges from the written word to amazing photos and cool videos and having rich product data available for search engines and marketplaces. And although content management systems (CMS) and content marketing are as old as marketing, the ability to put context on it is still very relevant and becomes more feasible and easier every year through more accessible technology solutions. 

Content Prediction 1: Video 

Video has been a recurring prediction on many lists, and this will continue for probably at least a couple more years. But there is an extra twist to this year’s prediction and that is how video is being utilized. 

Ecommerce livestreams have seen a tremendous rise since 2020. As trying the product yourself became a challenge, shops jumped in with livestreams during which they discuss and show the product in-depth in quality video recordings. With livestream solutions offering viewers to interact with the presenters it became the best possible way in exploring products without leaving the house.  

Next to product livestreams, the commerce experience can also be positively influenced by videos showing the product from all possible angles, and potentially its many features. Of course, there is a difference if you are showcasing how a dress moves when walking to how a part of a large industrial machine fits into the overall picture.  

And last but not least, in B2B organizations video also took flight and I’m not even talking about Zoom’ing and the ability to see your colleagues.  

Videos in the form of webinars, livestreams or digital events have become mainstream as replacements for many in person connections. The benefits of this has been that good quality content has become publicly available for anyone that has enough time to watch it all. Sadly, quality did not always get the same attention that a physical speaking engagement would have had and with the rise of so many new webinars, so did the less quality ones.  

Content Prediction 2: Personalized Content 

In the last months of 2020, I have had a lot of talks with marketers, reporters and analysts about personalization and the importance of customer experience in ecommerce. While practically all reports are in agreement that a better customer experience leads to an increase in business performance certain groups believe that CMOs that have invested in personalization before will no longer have personalization in their top priorities by 2025.  

Of course, personalized content is more than ‘just’ web content.  

There are ecommerce marketplaces out there that have a very good handle on how a personalized experience can offer a great experience. Ranging from written postcards (something that is being commercialized as well and you can plug into this from your CRM system) to hotel chains knowing who you are and what your preferences are.  

But to still focus on content management, there is a hidden opportunity in the ability to personalize your content to the individual website visitor based on available information. 

Gartner recognizes 4 customer data sources that can be used to fuel personalization: 

Explicit First-Party  Data entered by user 
Explicit Third-Party Data integrated / coming from other sources 
Implicit First-Party Data captured based on browsing behavior 
Implicit Third-Party Data captured based on general web browsing behavior and/or integrated / coming from other sources 

To not expand too much on this, personalization that is based on a combination of explicit and implicit behavior allows you to use customer touchpoint to be a contributor to a better experience.  

If we take this to a B2B environment, you can use explicit third-party IP based information to personalize your homepage with industry matching messaging to grab the person’s attention in the critical first seconds of their visit.  

Or when it is a return visit of which the user has been qualified by the sales team before, this data can be made available to the user database in your website, like the Dynamicweb User Database, which can be used to offer a very specific web message to potential top customers.  

When you run an ecommerce website, then personalization can have a direct result to a better performing business. Gartner’s report on personalization shows that business that use explicit and implicit available data to personalize the homepage with the best matching products will have a significant better performing ecommerce site compared to ecommerce websites that do not make use of this tactic.  

To recap, personalized content results in a better customer experience resulting in increased ecommerce performance.  

Content Prediction 3: Voice search 

The third prediction that has a direct connection to content is voice search. With Amazon as the example, Amazon is expanding its reach in Europe and with that products like the smart speaker Echo and virtual assistant Alexa will make it possible to shop via voice search.  

If web search gave you the option to browse the first 10 results, voice search only offers 1 to 3 options. Hence it becomes even more important to have your product content, also known as product data as accurate, enriched and complete available to sales channels and marketplaces as possible. For this a product information management (PIM) system would come in handy to make sure that you are able to this. 

Conclusion 

As content management and content marketing has become a commodity there are still many developments happening. Ranging from new ways of using content to new formats and channels through which content is being developed and shared.  

The overarching goal is still to offer a better customer experience and to get access to information as frictionless as possible. Having the ability to feed into owned, but also external channels with accurate, rich and quality content is what enables you to try and manage the best possible customer experience and to scale ecommerce success.  

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