Archive for Multi-channel publishing

New Frontiers in Digital Content Distribution

As we said in our most recent Gilbane Advisor, “There are tectonic shifts underway among competing web, mobile, and social platforms, that will have profound effects on digital strategies.” While these shifts will impact everyone who distributes content, the major publishers have the most at stake, are paying the most attention, and are already experimenting. By now these experiments have provided some initial data, in particular with Facebook Instant Articles, though likely not enough to base major decisions on. Since we wrote the session description below a few months ago, Google announced Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project and Facebook announced Notify. Events are moving quickly.

Whether you are a publisher, brand marketer, or  independent blogger, this panel discussion is bound to be enlightening.

P1. New Frontiers in Digital Content Distribution

Publishers have been using social media as a means to extend their brands, drive traffic to web properties, and cultivate direct relationships with consumers. But the arrival of “off-site” digital media outlets—Facebook’s Instant Articles, Apple News, Snapchat, Twitter Lightning, and whatever Google might dream up next—has publishers asking: will social media platforms usurp publisher’s own brand sites or be a lucrative extension? What are the results from those who are early participants? What are the business and technology issues to consider when deciding whether to take part? How can you prepare your organization, infrastructure and content to be ready if your CEO/CMO decides to take the plunge?

A panel of media technologists will report on their experiences and share their insights as we explore the latest trend in the evolution of digital media.

Wednesday, December, 2: 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Moderator: Mark Walter, Director, Strategic Solutions, Managing Editor Inc. (MEI)
Panelists:
Brad Kagawa, VP Technology, Content Management Systems, The New York Times
Jay Brodsky, Principal, Align Digital
Eric Hellweg, Managing Director, Digital Strategy, Harvard Business Review

Multichannel or omnichannel, you’ve got multi-challenges

Whether you prefer to focus your customer experience strategy on the “all” of “omnichannel” or the “more-than-one” of “multichannel”, you have a lot digital, physical, organizational, and operational decisions to deal with. Whatever your terminology preference, below are four relevant sessions with ten presentations at the upcoming Gilbane Conference that will provide you with plenty to think about.

C2. Making Omni-channel Work

“Omni-channel” is a succinct way to refer to the core problem of marketing transformation since it is typically used to include digital and non-digital channels as well as all their related support systems. Used in this way the term represents an ideal that may not often be attainable, but that is no reason it should not be a target to strive for. What does this mean in the real world? In this session our three presenters will look at: what is being done at an organization on the path to omni-channel, some common early mistakes organizations make when planning for omni-channel, and some ideas and strategies for dealing with the growing impact of connected devices.

Wednesday, December, 2: 2:40 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.
Moderator: Melissa Webster, Program VP, Content & Digital Media Technologies, IDC
Speakers:
Kevin Novak, CEO and Founder, 2040 Digital
Moving to Customer Centricity in the Omni-Channel
Jake DiMare, Digital Strategist, Agency Oasis
Successfully planning for Digital Transformation
Loni Stark, Senior Director of Strategy and Product Marketing, Digital Marketing Business, Adobe
Connected Experiences: From websites to wearables to wherever

C3. Holistic Customer Experiences Require Fundamental Change

As we say in this year’s conference description, “A modern customer experience must be holistic and seamless. Holistic in that customer communications be consistent within the company and across all touch points and channels, and seamless so that transitions between customer interactions are smooth and frictionless. This is a continuous process that requires an unprecedented amount of collaboration and integration between internal and external facing organizations and systems.” In this session two industry analysts look deeper into the fundamental changes required in the supply chain and internal business systems.

Wednesday, December, 2: 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Moderator: Jeff Cram, Chief Strategy Officer and Co-founder, Connective DX
Speakers:
Matt Mullen, Senior Analyst, Social Business, 451 Research
Beyond Engagement and Experience; The Converged Enterprise and the Dynamic Supply Chain
Connie Moore, Senior Vice President Research, Digital Clarity Group
The New Customer Experience Imperative: Moving From Digital Transformation to Business Transformation

T7. Modern Multichannel Strategies

Implementing COPE (Create Once Publish Everywhere) is not easy, but for years organizations have built systems to accomplish or approximate multichannel publishing. Is this still the best approach? Or is there a newer model needed to support the more interactive web and mobile experiences? This session includes lessons-learned from COPE implementations as well as a proposal for an enhanced model of COPE for a modern customer experience.

Thursday, December, 3: 11:40 a.m. – 12:40 p.m.
Moderator: Jake DiMare, Digital Strategist, Agency Oasis
Speakers:
Chris Schagen, CMO, Contentful GmbH
Multi-channel content modeling: Learnings from 3 COPE projects
Andrew Blackmore, Solution Principal, National Customer Engagement, Slalom Consulting
CDSE – An Evolution of COPE for Maturing Brands

T8. How to Plan for Complex Multichannel Projects

Multichannel projects that aren’t complex are already rare, and the complexity is increasing. When planning for such projects it is helpful to look at successful results for repeatable patterns. This is not easy to do if you only have experience with one or two similar projects. All three presentations in this session provide some level of pattern analysis on relevant projects that will allow you to consider a much broader range of scenarios in your own complex project planning.

Thursday, December, 3: 2:00 p.m. – 3:20 p.m.
Moderator: Barb Mosher Zinck, Content & Product Marketer, MarTech Analyst, Publisher, BMZ Content Strategies / Digital Tech Diary
Speakers:
Martin Coady, Managing Director, Technology, VML
Reusability – the Myth and the Reality
In Koo Kim, Senior Vice President, NorthPoint Digital
Patterns of Successful Digital Projects
Jeff Hansen, Content Solutions Lead, SingleStone
Designing a Flexible Content Architecture to Enhance both Customer Experience and Author Experience

The convergence of web and mobile design

The actual title of the article I am referring to above is 7 future web design trends, by Jowita Ziobro. The trends are on target and the examples are clear. Worth a read.

But what struck me is that the post is a reminder that the way to look at planning and development of web and mobile applications is to focus on the ‘and’. Too much of the discussion is about the limitations of web or mobile or which should come first – a sometimes necessary short term choice but not a strategy. Jowita’s larger point is that from a design point of view web and mobile are converging. The post also suggests functional convergence.

Design convergence

Jowita’s first trend, “Gestures are the new clicks”, provides one example:

We forget how hard scrolling webpages used to be. Most users would painstakingly move their mouse to the right edge of the screen, to use something ancient called a ‘scrollbar’…

In 2015 it’s far easier to scroll than it is to click. On mobile, you can scroll wildly with your thumb. To click on a precise target is actually more difficult — the complete opposite of what we’re used to on the desktop.

As a result, we should expect more and more websites to be built around scrolling first, and clicking second. And of course, that’s exactly what we’ve seen everywhere…

There’s every reason to expect this trend to continue as mobile takes over more of the market. Modern sites have fewer things to click, and much more scrolling. We’ll see fewer links, more buttons, bigger ‘clickable’ areas, and taller pages that expect to be scrolled.

So mobile is changing web design for the better, and not only because of the consistency of the UX but because it is offers improvements.

Functional convergence

Mobile is also learning from the web. Mobile apps are either constrained by limited access to their own data and content, need custom deep linking to code to access other apps data, or need to exit to the web via a web browser. Whether the app uses a lightweight custom browser built for the app or one of the mainstream browsers the UX often suffers. The limited linking of mobile apps is a significant functional constraint, especially for enterprise apps.

Apple and Google are each interested in the health of both the web and their own mobile ecosystems and are both advancing deep linking to address data and content access. This will be a little wild-westy for awhile but the direction is clear.

Jowita’s sixth trend, “Components are the new frameworks” is relevant to design and function:

Web technology continues to get more complicated, and less semantic. Designers must embed messy code onto their pages for simple tasks, like including Google Analytics or a Facebook Like button. It would be a lot easier if we could just write something like this instead:

<google-analytics key=”UA-12345–678″>

And we can with Web Components, which aren’t quite ready to be used by most designers yet. 2015 is looking like their year.

Google’s Material design is here, and it may just be what gets this movement started. Powered by Polymer, and supported by all modern browsers, it provides the rich animation and interaction components from Android apps, with simple tags…

Apple’s newly announced Safari View Controller for iOS 9 ups the ante for mobile browsers by providing developers access to Safari code making it much easier to access the web from mobile apps. Developers can still build their own for specific design or functional reasons if they need to. See iOS 9 and Safari View Controller: The Future of Web Views.

Jowita ends with:

Right now you see the best of mobile app design appearing in web design. With enough time, the difference between an app and a website might almost entirely disappear.

Optimistic perhaps, but there is a trend to root for here. And a perspective to be embraced for a superior UX.

Multichannel content management

Meg Walsh at Gilbane 2013In Marketing technology landscape explosion and CMS evolution we looked at two of the major themes of December’s Gilbane Conference. The third major theme that we asked speakers to respond to in our spotlight series was the challenge of multichannel delivery:

What is the best overall strategy for delivering content to web, multiple mobile, and upcoming digital channels? What is the biggest challenge? Development and maintenance cost? Content control? Brand management? Technology expertise?

The best overall strategy and the biggest challenge are the same: creating and managing content that can be optimized for each channel and device including those not anticipated. In short, true Multichannel Content Management, or MCM if we can deal with yet another acronym (Yaa!). Of course the “multichannel” is only necessary for emphasis because “web” content management has been dominant for a few years, and “enterprise” content management was hijacked by the document management interests early on. Perhaps soon, “multichannel” will be redundant and just plain old “content management” will suffice.

Multichannel content management is really hard. Organizations have been implementing such “single source publishing” or “create once, publish everywhere” systems for many years, but the difficulty and cost prevented most from taking it on and forced others to give up even knowing it was the right thing to do.

Multichannel content management is still hard, but it was one thing to hesitate when there was only one extra channel – now there are n+1 channels, the cost equation has changed, and you can’t build a sustainable digital experience without solving this problem.

Organizations who successfully built multichannel content management systems in the past were largely those with direct access to technologists, for example technical documentation, product support, engineering, and R&D. Marketing organizations, aside from a few with large global presences and big brand asset management problems, mostly stayed away – technology and cost were fearsome, and organizational structures and agency dependencies also created barriers. Staying away is no longer an option. Reaching today’s consumers requires an n+1 distribution strategy.

In her keynote presentation, Marriott’s Meg Walsh inspired the audience with her discussion of their distribution and scale challenges and the necessity for a strategy based on adaptive content that is device agnostic – in other words, a multichannel content management capability. She shared a wonderful quote from Jonathan Perelman, VP, Agency Strategy @Buzzfeed, “Content is King, but Distribution is Queen, and She wears the pants.”

Note that Meg’s role is very much that of a marketing technologist. She ran the content management practice in Marriott’s sales and marketing group before moving to Marriott’s IT organization to take responsibility for technology platforms to support the sales and marketing activity.

We’ll be covering much more of what one attendee called “Real multichannel content management and publishing” at this year’s conference, and would love to hear from more marketing organizations that are making the Distribution Queen happy.

Speaker Spotlight: Frank Schneider – Multi-modal interface essential to mobile customer engagement

In another installment of Speaker Spotlight, we posed a couple of our frequently asked questions to speaker Frank Schneider, VP of Customer Experience Solutions at Creative Virtual USA. We’ve included his answers here. Be sure to see additional Speaker Spotlights from our upcoming conference.

Frank Schneider | Gilbane Conference

Speaker Spotlight: Frank Schneider

VP Customer Experience Solutions

Creative Virtual USA

 

Is there a “Marketing Technologist” role in your organization or in organizations you know of? Should there be? What should their responsibilities be?

As technology becomes the backbone of every organization, it forces the cross pollination of roles, especially now between marketing and IT. With a shift towards data-based marketing and new relationships forming between marketing, sales and customer service, the advent of the “Marketing Technologist” is real. This shift is fueling the need for marketing automation, sales enablement, content management, knowledge management and even translation. Marketing Technologists have emerged as the perfect conduit between platform adoption and management, and the traditionally non-technical roles of sales, marketing and customer service.

With customer service becoming the new marketing and marketing’s ability to directly influence the sales pipeline, Chief Marketing Technologists are sprouting up as the perfect solution to balance a variety of needs including marketing and CRM software, content marketing, social and mobile, data and analytics, web and app development, ad networks and customer engagement programs. From social media monitoring to SEO analysis to translation management and ecommerce, Marketing Technologists are fast becoming the “must have” in every organization that is competing in a global economy.

Do you think “web content management” should be the hub of digital experience management implementations? If so, should it have a new name to match an expanded role? If not, what should be at the center?

Content marketing is evolving to become the center of digital strategy. Consequently, every organization should endeavor to employ the new role of Chief Content Officer or some derivative thereof. Managing the ebb and flow of content and messaging via multiple channels has created the need for a more comprehensive content strategy across departments and media. Channel management between web, social, and mobile have not only created opportunities to deliver messaging, but an urgent need to provide fresh material for public consumption.

Organizations must take cues from traditional publications hiring copy editors, writers and reviews to constantly curate fresh content that furthers the company’s mission, corresponds to the marketing goals and satisfies the needs of their audience. However, you do need someone leading the charge – a person that understands the mission of the content team, rallies the resources and takes ownership of getting it done. Furthermore, they need the tools to get it done. Now more than ever, technology will play an ever increasing role in how content is aggregated, curated, manage and delivered.

What is the best overall strategy for delivering content to web, multiple mobile, and upcoming digital channels? What is the biggest challenge? Development and maintenance cost? Content control? Brand management? Technology expertise?

A proper macro level strategy for content delivery across multiple channels should be comprised of several key elements.

  1. Consistency. Whether it be call center agents looking for an answer or policy or a customer checking a web page, the right answer, right messaging, and proper branding should be pervasive and consistent, no matter the medium or device. Nuanced variable can be in play in regards to format, UI, and design, but at the end of the journey, customers need to feel that your content delivery allowed for a seamless experience.
  2.  Correct and Compliant. Along the lines of the first element, “correct” can mean many things. First, the item must incorporate content that is not just correct in regards to the answer from a company perspective, but answer precisely the question the customer has (in regards to what began the content search or inquiry). Furthermore, this correct answer must incorporate personalization factors; in other words, the answer must be particularly right for that customer or that profile of customer. Lastly, content must be compliant… from HIPPA, to SEC guidelines, to CPNI… content delivery must adhere to compliance guidelines will protecting the interests of both consumer and business.
  3. Automated and seamless. Content delivery across all channels must be deployed with a strategy towards, and enabled by technology and tools for, automated cross pollination and management of content. The idea of multi-channel strategy, that is, the ability to deliver in multiple channels (web, mobile/tablet, call center, IVR, social/community, branch), must mature from brainstorming strategy to refined omnichannel capability. An ominichannel content delivery system allows for authentic smart delivery of content, no matter the channel or modality.

Catch Up with Frank at Gilbane

Track T: Re-imagining the Future: Technology and the Postdigital Experience

T1: Are You Leveraging All the Mobile Technologies Required for Competitive Mobile Engagement?
“Come As You Are: Multi-Modal Interface is Essential to Mobile Customer Engagement”
Tuesday, December, 3: 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

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iBuildApp for iPad: Free Mobile Digital Publishing Interface

The iBuildApp solution has templates, is automated, and totally free to create and update, and will be integrated with blogging and CMS platforms for easy publishing. The fully functional publishing app takes just 2-3 hours to create and publish content. Just copy/paste content into pre-made templates for the iPad or add media from other CMS platforms such as WordPress, Drupal and Joomla. To integrate it requires snippets of code from iBuildApp to be inserted into the CMS code. By using this service, publishers can focus on their content and leave the formatting, publishing and distribution to iBuildapp. The finished product is built automatically by iBuildApp’s platform and all of the content, is hosted on our platform and can be updated quickly – Free of charge and no human intervention required. http://ibuildapp.com/

Why Aren’t Publishers Moving to XML Repositories More Quickly?

As we start to delve into some of the interim results of our survey of book publishing professionals, there is a great deal of good data to mull over. While the results are preliminary (and we welcome your participation here), some trends are emerging.

One interesting set of data points surround how publishers are viewing XML, how extensively they work with it, and what technologies they are using to support the management of the XML. Among those using XML, it’s significant that only about half have invested in some kind of storage mechanism specifically for XML, including both relational databases and dedicated XML repositories such as Mark Logic server.

While that overall number might or might not be so striking, I am struck by what some publishers feel is a barrier to adopting an XML repository, namely, the “Challenge of building XML knowledge, skills, or awareness.”  This trumped more traditional barriers to technology adoption such as cost and the maturity of the technology and would seem, on balance, to be a solvable problem.

 

Digital Platforms and Technologies for Publishers: Implementations Beyond “eBook”

We are very happy to announce that we’ve published our new report, Digital Platforms and Technologies for Publishers: Implementations Beyond “eBook.” The 142 page report is available at no charge for download here.

From the Introduction:

Much has changed since we decided to write a comprehensive study on the digital book publishing industry. The landscape has changed rapidly during the past months and we have tried to reflect as many of these changes as possible in the final version of our report. For example:

  • Sales of eBooks finally reached their inflection point in late 2008.
  • Customer acceptance of digital reading platforms such including dedicated reading devices like the Kindle and the Sony Reader and mobile devices like the iPhone and the BlackBerry have helped accelerate the market for digital products.
  • The Google settlement, once finally approved by the courts, will substantially increase the supply of titles available in digital formats.
  • New publishing technologies and planning processes are enabling publishers and authors to create digital products that have their own set of features that take full advantage of the digital media and platforms. Embedded context-sensitive search and the incorporation of rich media are two important examples.
  • Readers are self-organizing into reading communities and sharing their critiques and suggestions about which books their fellow readers should consider. This is creating a major new channel for authors and publishers to exploit.
  • Print-on-demand and short-run printing continue to make significant advances in quality and their costs per unit are dropping. These developments are changing the economics of publishing and are enabling publishers to publish books that would have been too risky in the previous economic model.
  • Lower publishing and channel costs are making it possible for publishers to offer their digital titles at lower prices. This represents greater value for readers and fair compensation for all stakeholders in the publishing enterprise.

We are privileged to report such a fine collection of best practices. And we are thankful that so many smart people were willing to share their perspectives and vision with us and our readers. We thank our sponsors for their ardent and patient support and hope that the final product will prove worth the many hours that went into its preparation.

We encourage readers of this report to contact us with their feedback and questions. We will be pleased to respond and try to help you find solutions to your own digital publishing challenges!