@soydavidacosta / November 29, 2018

Headless: the future of content marketing is not in the content

How many times have you heard or read that the content is king? In recent years, a significant part of the investments in paid media actions (both off- and on-line) have begun to shift progressively towards integrated strategies for digital public relations and content marketing, generating greater affinity, scope and an ROI more valuable. But, while “content is king” is not a false claim, we do see it, to this day, somewhat incomplete. 

content management| INNN

Inbound marketing yes, but…

The tools and methodologies of Inbound Marketing have allowed us to integrate, automate, sophisticate, and adapt our messages in a very precise way to create efficient and relevant content towards our audiences, depending on the level of affinity or interest they have with our brand (the famous one, conversion funnel). However, from the experience in the day to day of the agency, these strategies based on Inbound Marketing have a series of deficits or improvements, especially in the case of small and medium enterprises. To mention just a few:

1. They require a strong investment sustained over time and a minimum internal monitoring and control team. And they do not exclude other investments (paid media, off, public relations, etc.)

2. The channels, payment, and advertising actions (display, programmatic, SEM, advertising in social media) are not fully integrated. And without gas, we do not always reach our destination.

3. Sometimes there is no defined brand positioning that supports a really relevant and differential content strategy. We create infinitely useless infinite content. In general, Inbound tools are optimized for B2C and little for B2B.

4. They base the entire funnel approach on explicitly rational criteria (searches, information, training, scoring) and do not incorporate emotion and impulse as a determining factor in the purchase and relationship with a brand.

5. Some of these integrated tools have “loyalty by kidnapping”, limiting the agility of companies to test different ecosystems, tools. For corporate culture, in INNN this is the opposite of our engagement philosophy. 

From mobile first to people first

But beyond current limitations, there is a reality that opens the way and for which most brands are not preparing, within their processes of digitization. We refer to the proliferation and multiplication of channels, devices and supports, the progressive digitalization and interconnection of the objects that surround us, or the Internet of Things (IoT: Internet of Things) or the arrival of artificial intelligence to marketing. From the mobile first (think at the content level, UX/UI and technology from the mobile to other devices) we must go to the people first, that is, not starting from the premise of the concrete device, but from the situation in which each person within the experience of consuming a content and adapting it to the closest device according to each circumstance. 

At the philosophical level, it is an idea very united to the approach that Google makes with its “Micro-Moments”. Basically, the same content must have the ability to adapt and “paint” correctly on the device that is most suitable for the public depending on the situation in which it is, whether on the street, at home, on the bus or watching a series of Netflix at home. And since we tend to allow any object, however everyday, to be interconnected, we must consider our contents, counting on the fact that today, more than ever, any space is a possible brand space. The glocal reaches your kitchen (literally).

Inbound marketing. Content management | INNN

This change in the paradigm of the customer journey poses numerous challenges:

1. In a future media and media planning, we have countless objects, gadgets, wearables, and screens through which we can relate to our audiences. How to identify them? On which to focus our efforts?

2. Logically, these interactions will contain very little advertising or commercial content  that is very relevant. How to be relevant as a brand? for example, in a microwave? How to keep my tone of voice as a brand in an e-commerce chatbot.

3. And from a technical point of view, but one that greatly influences the creative conception of our content, we must prepare ourselves to reduce the impact of content management systems (CMS) that predominate in web environments (more than 60%) and that determines the way in which this content is conceived, designed, updated, and consumed. 

Disengaging content and continent

As if it were a lesson in linguistics, the need to distribute the same content in multiple devices very different from each other, requires us to “break our brains” to radically change the way we understand content and its container (the channel or device in which it is represented). Digital content management today is based on a 100% web-oriented concept and, therefore, to web content managers (CMS such as Wordpress, Drupal, Magento, Joomla or many others).

The current CMS work under the premise that content (for example, this post) and containter (the blog template we use in our CMS -INNNsite, self-developed), are two sides of the same coins. A CMS offers different templates and resources to improve its visualization, more and more with the ability to “adapt” to different devices (responsive design). Now what happens when it is not enough to “adapt the content”? And if we really work with information, data, videos,images whose visualization of systems and devices that are not based on the framework in which our system is developed or, directly, do not rely on any type of web standard? Are we anchored to each device “or channel has its own content manager, with the obligation to create and upload these contents manually in each case? It does not seem the most logical answer. 

Headless or decoupled systems work under a totally different premise. They are absolutely oriented in the management of the content, not of its visualization or front-end. The content is created, edited and stored in “pure state” and equipped with tools, documentation, API´s and SDK´s (development kits for specific languages, such as PHP or Javascript) so that this pure content can be properly exported to the specific characteristics of each channel, device or microservice. Not basing relationships on technology dependence but on real value and fidelity. We can work internally on our website, outsource the development of an APP, distribute our digital content in a marketplace or send notifications to our refrigerator, managing each project with different equipment or suppliers, connecting each of them to the same content center, completely decoupled and independent of each support.

Prime Content, benefits of moving from CMS to PrimeCMS

A Headless system, either as a service or SaaS (for example Contentful), exceeds the limits of a web content manager. We can create content with total freedom and flexibility and publish it on any current or future device. 

We have a series of interfaces and managers so that any editor can create this ‘pure content’, or working directly with the developers, so that they generate their own CMS (philosophy that pivots our R&D project in INNN, Prime content), has a series of advantages over current monolithic systems: 

  • It allows us to focus on our content and user experience, without being totally determined by a specific type of front-end.
  • Get the design of a CMS for a series of devices is also flexible, customizable and adaptable to our needs. 
  • It maintains all the systems of permissions, roles and edition of the current Wordpress systems. 
  • They diminish the dependencies of software or concrete systems, and, as in the case of Prime Content, it is 100% based on standards. They are more flexible systems, which also allow for the creation of freer, more creative content that is less subject to templates or pre-established structures.
  • We can interact directly in front of the content repository, through a REST API.
  • They allow natural evolution in a much simpler, less expensive way and reduces the “time to market” of projects.

Content is king, we will not discuss it. But his throne begins to be a bit uncomfortable, it has run out small. We have to start governing by getting up and assuming that our message is liquid and can spread in any corner of this challenging realm that is digital marketing. 

David Acosta

David Acosta

david.acosta@innn.es  / 

INNN’s executive creative director, the all-terrain of digital communication, vocational copy, branding teacher at the university and funding member of the University of Seville’s Aula de Videojuegos. While focusing on technical aspects, David always works closely to clients, making the most out of his creative and commercial vision. Humour is one of his most outstanding attributes.

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