Over the last couple of years, Mary Meeker’s annual report has outlined the rapid growth in cloud based services used across the typical enterprise, already reaching the use of more than 1000 systems in the average organisation.
This of course includes the services enabling daily operations for departments including finance, HR, and IT. However, sitting comfortably at the very top of the list was marketing departments, using an average of 91 cloud services across a typical enterprise.
That number feels about right when you consider many marketing departments working on a regional and global scale. What doesn’t make sense, however, is that even with all those systems, consistently getting marketing assets into the hands of all those who need them is still a challenge that requires heavy manual intervention.
The age of asset management
We’re living and working in a time when Enterprises are achieving YoY savings of around 16% based on the move to more efficient cloud based computing and storage systems (depending on setup), while cloud adoption continues to rise sharply with an estimated $210 billion in total spend in 2019.
As a result, more and more of those marketing cloud services are freely integrating content storage features into their offerings. If not as the core enabler of better marketing, at least as a convenient side offering. Want to leave some files here while you message your colleague? Yep, you can do that!
Even those systems dedicated to helping marketers more effectively store content long term, traditionally known as digital asset managers (DAMs), are rapidly innovating to offer more and more creative ways to store content well.
Every enterprise organisation has one of these systems – not always known as a DAM, but very much one at heart. To find yours, just ask yourself what lie you’d tell if a member of your internal process police asked where your content is officially sitting. Even though it’s actually resting in a mix of your Gmail, Slack or Dropbox accounts, the answer you’d give is your central asset storage system.
Content marketing with compromise
One of the pain points we regularly hear about from our customers is how difficult it is to actually use these central storage platforms.
That’s not because they don’t offer value, but for two reasons to do with the nature of enterprise software. Firstly, swapping out a core storage system in a global automotive enterprise is a long undertaking, so there’s a good chance it hasn’t happened in a while, which means that system is likely to be outdated, cumbersome and all round unintuitive to use.
Secondly, when a new system like this is introduced as a global standard, its functions naturally need to satisfy a lot of departments, such as IT, web teams, compliance, creative… the list goes on. Whatever system is brought in must serve the organisation – a sort of cross-departmental compromise, so it ends up serving about 20% of the marketer’s needs but burying those solutions deep in extraneous features. Features that ticked the procurement boxes, but haven’t been used since.
It’s no surprise then, that research suggests satisfaction with marketing technology rollouts can be as low as 8% across a typical organisation.
The real challenge of moving content
We don’t believe that a slightly better mousetrap, or storage system in this case, is the solution to these problems for marketers.
That lack of suitability is because the automotive marketer’s job is to move content. Whether it’s moving content from a central market to a country based one for a model launch, ensuring dealerships have the latest promotional imagery needed or waiting on new campaign creatives from an external agency, the automotive marketer’s main concern is getting assets from one person or system to another and publishing the best content available so that their customers can experience it.
That movement is where the friction starts. Only a fraction of those stakeholders listed above will typically have access to the brand’s central storage system.
A large proportion of those that do, use it so infrequently that their first port of call when needing an asset is to message the marketing manager – again. So much so, that Forrester estimates that 56% of marketers believe they need to be heavily involved in content projects owned by other departments just to get them over the line.
Add to that mix the marketer’s responsibility to ensure the correct asset is actually chosen among the minefield of outdated or expired imagery that might be lurking in the central system, and inevitably they spend a significant portion of their time acting as a content switchboard for a host of stakeholders. A bottleneck that’s leading to 80% of enterprises holding the opinion that content supply chain challenges are genuinely impeding on the delivery of business’ objectives.
That’s the issue we wanted to solve. We want full content control to remain with the marketing team, but remove all of the manual work that goes along with it.
How are we doing that? It’s not a superhuman AI that calls Barry from PR for you and reminds him where to find the image from the website homepage. But we’ve built something that will give marketers the same level of freedom in their daily work.
Our goal for Content Portals was to build an integrated sharing solution, to specifically address the practical challenges of serving an enterprise business with enough content to power a rapidly growing number of customer channels.
Introducing Content Portals
Content Portals allow marketers to quickly create temporary or permanent locations where stakeholders can easily access, engage with and download content relevant to them through an intuitive interface hosted by StoryStream – all without needing one-to-one support or complex asset management features.
We’ve built a solution that’s flexible enough to be used in-depth by the marketing team, but works just as well in letting a new agency or a distant dealership have controlled access to your content reservoir on their mobile device.
As Content Portals is a module within our core platform, markets can also manage the workflow of assets directly into the publishing modules of StoryStream, for web, email, screens and social, and more importantly see the insights around which of these assets are resonating and driving engagement best.
Do Content Portals still offer essential asset management features like applying content metadata? Yes, absolutely. But we see a need to remove much of that work from a marketer’s day. We want to give them the flexibility to do something in-depth if needed, but let automated content tagging and workflows do the hard work – it’s about time AI was put to use for more than bad jokes and buzz words.