De-coding your content - measure, optimise and experiment for great customer experience

Posted by Dom Graveson
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Netcel’s Autumn Digital Leaders Meetup provided another platform for senior practitioners and strategists to share and address their challenges together as a peer group, with advice from both Episerver’s and Netcel’s teams as hosts and facilitators.

It’s always fascinating to spend an hour with such great people and hear how we are all using, advocating and driving digital to enable our different businesses and organisations to thrive in these uncertain times. September’s DLM focused on the role of content in digital customer experience – how we create it, measure it, build a culture around it, and place the customer firmly at the heart of our digital content operations. The meetups have an informal format, but we do start with a set of topics gathered from the folks who attend. We explored how the Covid crisis has forced digital to the forefront of most business’ strategy and accelerated the need to deliver relevant, effective and inspiring customer experiences. Read on for our analysis of how content plays a crucial part in creating optimal customer experience and how we can use content as a tool for experimentation tool to discover opportunity and manage risk.


In the race to go digital, great content is the fuel that forms closer customer relationships

With social distancing, WFH and local lockdowns in place for the foreseeable future, it’s imperative to re-create important in-person customer interactions with relevant digital content. Great digital customer experience provides businesses with a competitive advantage and allows differentiation across crowded channels that go beyond pricing alone.

The most successful businesses invest in understanding, on a granular level, the motivations and needs of their customers. This enables them to segment into behavioural and engagement types and use cases, that enable the design and automation of content-led experiences.

Once you have designed your desired digital customer experience, the challenge is to prioritise the content touchpoints to keep them manageable and measurable, and to ensure your digital marketing people are given the training, tools and time to generate the content to deliver these outcomes.


Digital investment is accelerating – content is at the heart of this

Every business is having to embrace digital best practice faster than ever, even in communities and industries where digital adoption has traditionally been slow.

With so much change over the past year, lots of companies now aspire to have digital experience at the heart of their agenda and have suddenly had to pivot towards digital transformation across many functions at once. This means both B2C and B2B businesses who rely on building in-person relationships for significant sales are now having to consider how to deliver a great online experience for their customers.

Content is both at the heart of these experiences, and an effective tool for this experimentation. Content is what drives customer touchpoints – converts a sale, encourages a transaction – and is also something we can experiment with very effectively.

We can think about content across all formats – written, images, videos, infographics, etc. When building customer journeys we can think about how different experiences might drive customer outcomes. Do we need more or less detail at this point? What about using large images and inspirational copy? What impact might an adjustment of how pricing is displayed have? We can experiment with all these and more.


Measuring the effectiveness of the investment in digital content experiences is key to sustainability and organisational support

Some businesses are using tried and tested models to justify the ROI of digital investment. Often these metrics focus on traffic and digital platform performance such as transactions and bounce rates. But are these governance approaches still fit for purpose?

Given the dynamic few months we are having, and no sign of this letting up, there is an urgent need to experiment, innovate, and get digital experiences into the market quickly. Often new governance models are needed to match this fast moving digital environment.

Even pre-Covid, many B2B businesses are seeing millennials move into key decision maker roles. These younger buyers may want to move their buying research stage online rather than visit showrooms, shops or offices. It will be different across geography and sector, combining analytics and data are key to understanding these preferences


Experimentation is crucial in discovering opportunity and managing risk

With the world changing so rapidly and long-term behavioural shifts to online interactions driven by Covid-19 and other factors, we need to introduce more content experimentation into our digital operations. This means we need adaptive digital platforms that can adjust experiences and measure the impact of these adjustments.

Content experimentation enables businesses to keep up with their competitors and the evolving world, test new ideas, and measure their success and customer impact. This could be a simple experiment such as varying tone of voice in your content, changing the layout of a promotion or using alternative imagery. It is most effective when it is combined across a whole digital customer journey.

This requires a digital experience platform that can automate this process and deliver numerous content experiments simultaneously. More progressive platforms build in experimentation and real-time behavioural analytics to identify the interests of people and deliver the best content to the right people, and deliver this at scale. Customers’ preferences are evolving and markets are changing. We need to ensure we have built our product based on real experimentation and user testing both before and after launch.

In a world where things are changing so fast, this kind of governed experimentation is a highly effective way to manage risk. Long term fixed roadmaps are dangerous in this day and age, and we need to build in adaptability from the start. Combining robust approaches to identifying opportunities through insights and experimentation, with measurement that focuses on business outcome, is a way to ensure continued success.


The old tools may not be enough – it’s more than personas and journey maps – it is a combination of embracing digital culture and investment in a platform for the future

Personas and digital journey maps still play a role in modern digital experience marketing. However, these need to be dynamic and updated with continuous measurement of user behaviour in response to content experiences and feedback. Having solid analytics in place is one part of the solution, the other is the capability and process to respond rapidly to insights.

We’ve probably all experienced businesses heavily investing in content they think their customers want but doesn’t actually meet their needs. Digital experience platforms that enable you to make data-driven decisions and serve experiences in real-time. Adaptive content experiences is the shift businesses need to take to scale personas into genuine one-to-one interactions.


Where next?

Content optimisation and experimentation are at the heart of building great digital customer experience that can make the difference during these uncertain times. However, building sustainable digital success is about bringing best practice process like this, together with the right technology to deliver a clear digital ambition. This digital strategy needs to be built on robust insights and deliver a vision your whole organisation and get behind and benefit from. We will be exploring this more in future sessions later this year.


Sign up for a complimentary digital clinic

If you’re interested to have a conversation around any of these challenges and how they affect your organisation, sign up for a complimentary digital clinic, to help provide you with an action plan to drive your digital customer experience forward with confidence and clarity.

Alternatively, keep informed with the latest digital experience news and views from the team and details of future Digital Leaders Meetups.
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