No Need For Speed, Marketers Need The Ability For Agility

Agile is a term that all the marketing kids are dancing to these days. But what often gets lost in translation is the distinction between being fast—and being truly agile.

Undoubtedly, the digital disruption has left many marketers struggling to rediscover the joy in the practice of marketing more broadly. An IBM C-suite study found that 66% of CMOs feel pressure from their CEO or board to prove that marketing has value, and 60% said that CEOs are “turning up the heat.”

The Struggle For Content Is Only Fueling That Heat

As content marketing becomes an increasingly important part of the overall strategic mix, marketers are feeling their chairs warm up as they have to learn how to become mass producers of rich, digital media experiences. In a study that surveyed the Global 1000 businesses on how they were re-orienting their operations to manage the “modern, always-on and mobile shopper,” 96% said that integrating digital media components has fundamentally affected their business. Sadly, a third of the marketers in these companies said that these shifts have “left them feeling ‘under pressure and vulnerable’.” 

Download the white paper Digital Assets Should Be Agile, Not Fast

These are keen observations. At the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), we’ve also seen this frustration in businesses looking to develop more creative management processes while scaling their content marketing. The fear of moving too slowly is causing marketers to do foolish things and to develop more media and more experiences and more digital content at a faster and faster rate, rather than optimize a set of well-define digital experiences in an agile way.

What’s The Answer?

Well, high-performing brands are reorienting their digital media creation and management. They’re finding that “more and faster” is the wrong focus and that they must step away from it. These marketers understand the difference between quick and fast—and have developed a better process for creating rich digital content experiences. Their new asset creation and management methodologies help their teams create and manage more impactful customer-centric experiences. As they evolve beyond old, stale hierarchies and “governance-oriented” digital asset management (DAM) processes, these companies are infusing these experiences intelligently into every part of the customer journey. Put simply, they are reorienting to agile asset management strategies, not fast strategies.

Quick is a measure of time; fast is a measure of speed.

One of the key challenges we see during our content marketing consulting engagements is that many marketing organizations are inheriting, and thus trying to modify, existing DAM processes and tools to manage today’s new, disruptive environment. Many companies mistake today’s DAM needs as just enhanced Web Content Management (WCM). Or, many companies will try to modify an existing Enterprise Content Management System (ECMS) that was implemented at a time when high levels of governance, rights management, and archival capabilities were needed.

To be clear, this has less to do (most of the time) with the capabilities of software, and more to do with what processes that software is meant to facilitate. However, in both of the examples above the companies are mistaking “fast” for “quick.” In the former example (using a WCM or shared folder to do the job), the marketing department confuses expedience with capability. In other words, the marketing team may conclude that a “DAM Light” solution is the fastest way to help create a more collaborative workflow process for digital content marketing projects; therefore, the team works to simply use the WCM system or some shared network folder to get the work done.

In the latter example (modifying an existing ECMS/process), the team confuses capability with flexibility. In this case, the business looks at its existing investment in a big system that has helped it capably govern enterprise digital assets as a sunk cost. The team tries to do everything it can to modify this system for today’s near real-time content marketing needs.

Both of these approaches often result in frustration and an inability for marketers to collaborate effectively to create impactful customer-centric, rich-media experiences.

This new focus on agility over speed requires that management of digital assets be made real in the organization. Creation of rich media can no longer be everyone’s job and no one’s job.

To accomplish this, new processes must be created and new technologies considered. And then, possibly, new roles should be created to facilitate those processes. This is an approach or methodology that focuses on the creation of content-driven experiences as a separate asset. It has as much potential value as a product and could potentially even have revenue possibilities.

And this is, candidly, how we’re seeing marketers rediscover the joy in marketing more broadly and cool off that hot seat.

If you’re interested in reading more – check out our white paper that we did with Widen on this topic.

And if you’re interested in perhaps getting some help in selecting your next WCMS or DAM system, our consulting and advisory service may be of use for you.

 

 

Robert Rose
Chief Strategy Officer at The Content Advisory
As the Chief Strategy Officer of The Content Advisory, the exclusive education and consulting group of The Content Marketing Institute, Robert develops content and customer experience strategies for large enterprises such as The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Oracle, McCormick Spices, Capital One, and UPS.

Robert’s book, Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing was called “a call to arms and a self-help guide for creating the experiences that consumers will fall in love with.” For the last three years, he’s co-hosted the podcast This Old Marketing, with Joe Pulizzi. It’s frequently a top 20 marketing podcast on iTunes and is downloaded more than a million times every year, in 100 countries around the world.
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Author: Robert Rose
As the Chief Strategy Officer of The Content Advisory, the exclusive education and consulting group of The Content Marketing Institute, Robert develops content and customer experience strategies for large enterprises such as The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Oracle, McCormick Spices, Capital One, and UPS. Robert’s book, Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing was called “a call to arms and a self-help guide for creating the experiences that consumers will fall in love with.” For the last three years, he’s co-hosted the podcast This Old Marketing, with Joe Pulizzi. It’s frequently a top 20 marketing podcast on iTunes and is downloaded more than a million times every year, in 100 countries around the world.
  • Kirsten Knipp

    Hey Robert – I feel like we had a mind meld … I did a slightly different take on speed vs. agility a few years ago: http://blogs.gartner.com/kirsten-newbold-knipp/2015/06/24/speed-vs-agility-whats-the-difference-in-marketing/ … but the lessons hold true today > and they can deftly apply to the way that marketers think about managing their content more intelligently – to empower agility. Great post and hope you are well!

    • That doesn’t surprise me… Great minds and all of that…. Love your post! And thank you for the kind words. I hope to see you in Cleveland…