Efficiently manage creative delivery in digital marketing organizations
How did marketing organizations change their creative content approach with the constant rise of digitalization, and what are some personalization trends we’ve seen so far in 2022?
In the past few years, personalization has become one of the key indicators most brands look at when measuring their success. Having more personalized one-to-few and one-to-one content has become essential in building meaningful and long-lasting relationships with consumers, driving loyalty, and providing exceptional brand experiences across many industries.
The shift became even more evident when, in the initial months after the COVID-19 pandemic hit, most brands moved toward digital channels and communication. Personalized content became a baseline for consumer expectations aligned with digitalization as more and more organizations started investing in the digital economy over the past few years.
Consumers today are in the driving seat of their experiences and expect brands to understand their underlying communication needs and respond to them promptly by serving relevant content at the time and the place of their choosing.
So, what elements does an organization need to focus on to meet those needs, build more efficient marketing strategies, and make their marketing campaigns work?
- Data remains one of the main factors in driving successful personalization, and many companies are heavily investing in creating a good stack of martech solutions. But creative content and its prompt delivery are a crucial step in developing a successful personalized customer journey.
- According to Nielsen Catalina Solutions, creative content is still one of the main drivers of sales in an advertising campaign. By analyzing 500 digital campaigns, they found that creative drove 47% of the total contribution to sales. Also, generic creative resulted in underperforming sales results while stronger, more personalized creative brought at least two times higher incremental sales results, positively affecting overall campaign performance.
- The rise of exploring the power of real-time creative optimization over the last few years brought new areas to invest in, including the incorporation of artificial intelligence (AI) models. Many companies have been trying to improve the creative delivery algorithms they use to advertise their personalized content using content intelligence. At Netflix, for example, 80% of the content being streamed is based on its recommendation engine, so finding the right image to display that content is crucial to engage their audience and generate growth.
- Content marketing has been moving away from product promotion to audience-focused strategy and enrichment. Within the next year, we can expect to continue to see the rise of interactive content since it drives better engagement than static content. Video is becoming more and more prominent in this space, and as more people engage with their brands from their smartphones, all content needs to be adjusted to be mobile-first, personalized, and — most importantly — delivered quickly.
What are some of the challenges that companies are facing when it comes to bringing personalization strategies to life, and what three areas should they focus on to overcome them?
With real-time personalized communication across many platforms and channels, one of the biggest challenges marketers across all industries are facing is how to create good content, maintain its repository, and manage fast and efficient content delivery and optimization.
The pressure to have an “always-on” communication model drives many companies to face challenges of having content that’s not personalized, dealing with inefficient communication, or having higher costs for content optimization and delivery. As personalized communication and targeted creative ads bring a higher return on investments, companies are naturally trying to find a way to invest smartly into their marketing organizations, technology, and creative environment that will support personalization at scale.
Agility remains important for any company operating in this modern digital world, and many organizations aspire to find and design a model that will be adaptable for long-term market developments.
But the question remains — how do you establish a successful creative content delivery model and introduce creative innovations in your marketing organization efficiently, and where do you start? To solve this, marketers usually turn to investing in new technologies and adding them to their existing stacks — but that is just one piece of the puzzle and often does not eliminate the challenge completely.
Here are three potential focus areas that every organization should be evaluating to become more agile and drive more efficient content marketing strategies:
1. Explore creative content delivery models
In previous years, many organizations were working with external creative agencies and partners to design their creative content strategies and to build and deliver content for their marketing campaigns, but that is changing. With the onset of the pandemic, companies started to explore different models for developing creative in order to be more efficient, like introducing hybrid creative teams or building an environment where both in-house creative teams and external creative agencies work efficiently.
According to Gartner, in-house creative teams continue to claim more prominent roles within the chief marketing officer’s organization. External creative agencies’ spend still makes up 23.7%, but more companies are looking to reduce the scope of work and explore alternative creative content delivery models. Nearly half (41%) of companies utilize an in-house model for the digital marketing strategy and execution, while 36% utilize a more balanced hybrid model.
This hybrid model worked the best for brands that have designed their internal capabilities to balance the work of their external creative agencies. External agencies are being utilized to bring industry standard best practices, new innovations, and trends, bringing a fresh perspective into your marketing campaigns. Setting up an in-house team becomes more of a necessity to drive efficiencies by building a team that will become your brand leads — focused on ad hoc and on-brand creative development that delivers content quickly and scales your business efficiently. Success is seen in bringing that missing agility element into a company’s in-house marketing organization.
Overall, companies need to become more adaptable to create content at a faster pace, and exploring and investing in hybrid models opens up opportunities to achieve that. With this model, you cannot just create content at a faster pace, positively affect your costs, have shorter go-to-market time for most of the campaigns. You can bring the opportunity to scale for your future needs — so this is a good area to explore.
2. Create an environment for successful creative collaboration
With the introduction of new technology, products, and services, the way content is being created has changed, which has brought new opportunities. But it also introduced a few challenges for creative teams, especially in this new hybrid work environment.
The ever-rising need to focus on targeted real-time creative communication, reduce content duplication, and produce content at a higher velocity for an increasing number of formats requires creative teams to start thinking differently. Efficient collaboration today becomes crucial as more and more creatives are exploring new ways to create and collaborate on ideas and deliver content efficiently.
Breaking down silos by introducing new tools that will enable creative assets to be shared in real time and working with stakeholders’ feedback while the content is being created, optimized, and ingested into a platform for delivery is essential for efficient marketing campaigns.
We recently shared the next evolution of Adobe Creative Cloud by introducing two new services: Creative Cloud Spaces (Beta) and Creative Cloud Canvas (Beta) and extending Illustrator and Photoshop to the web (Beta) as collaborative spaces. With the capability of the new shared repositories where teams can access and organize files centrally, add libraries, explore ideas, display, visualize, and review all the creative work within a project, collaboration in real time becomes easy.
3. Focus on introducing the right tools and technologies
More than 59% of the executives confirmed in a recent IBM research study that their organizations have started investing in integrating new digital technologies into their post-pandemic environment, and there’s not any indication that investments in digital technologies will be slowing down anytime soon.
Many organizations are looking at how they can be more responsive and build resilience, and adaptability to meet customer needs through better technology becomes a key component.
Cloud and AI are top technologies that can help enable faster and more efficient collaboration. These technologies are expected to bring positive business results, and 94% of executives plan to expand to platform-based business models. Content intelligence is an emerging trend that plays a big role in merging machine learning and AI benefits to drive high-quality content strategy, and more companies are looking at introducing these into their organizations. Delivering highly personalized targeted creative becomes easy with content intelligence.
But investing in new and upcoming technologies has its downside as well. As the martech landscape expands and new solutions are being introduced at a faster pace, a challenge many companies are facing is how to make sure that by introducing new platforms, they’re still able to create an efficient ecosystem where all integrations can be done successfully.
So, what is the solution for finding the right stack? A good place to start is evaluating the digital maturity of your organization, how that aligns with your marketing organization strategy, planning for growth, and finding the right partner to help you in the process.
By partnering with Adobe Experience Cloud, companies can select various applications and services that will allow them to have a comprehensive solution for insights, content, engagement, and more. With Adobe Experience Manager, your team can scale workflows, improve tagging, make it simple to gain valuable insights, and automate your content discovery and creation processes to meet digital demands.
Here are some great success stories on the impact of the right solutions brought by partnering with Adobe.
How IBM changed its narrative on digital marketing
IBM has helped pioneer information technology but recently wanted to strengthen data as its storytelling language. The company had massive amounts of data to work with, but it was being held back by siloed legacy systems. Understanding that the data wasn’t telling complete narratives that a marketing or creative role could shape into compelling customer experiences, change was needed.
IBM needed to unify its digital assets. With 40+ DAMs that housed over 171,000 assets, some of their best content wasn't getting seen by their customers. Adobe collaborated with IBM to consolidate more than 40 DAMs into five unified marketing technology platforms, reduced the number of web page templates, and moved to the account-based marketing platform Adobe Marketo Engage.
By implementing those steps, they improved their email engagement results, decreased time to create web pages from 3 days to 45 minutes, and saved 72% of costs on web page globalization efforts.
Under Armour centralized its content with Adobe Creative Cloud and Adobe Experience Manager
As a sportswear company, Under Armour produces hundreds of thousands of creative assets, including product shots, marketing copy, store displays, videos, and images of their gear in action to promote their products. These assets are used in a variety of sales and marketing campaigns, and due to a pressing need to share content with their wholesale partners more effectively, Under Armour partnered with Adobe to find the right solutions.
Under Armour used Adobe Creative Cloud to produce most of its creative assets, introduced Adobe Experience Manager Assets for a workflow that automatically adds relevant tags, and Adobe Sensei to use its AI and machine learning technology to help with easier content delivery.
Overall, by utilizing these solutions, the creative assets were easier to find, reduced manual processes with tagging, saved four hours per user through easier license management, lowered storage costs by reducing duplication of files and workflows, and increased daily active users and monthly asset downloads from Asset Sharing Portal by more than two times.
Adobe on Adobe
At Adobe we created an environment where we deliver quality content across regions and different teams that is highly personalized and localized, driving everyday efficiencies from content optimization to simply shortening the go-to-market time. With collaboration across multiple marketing, product, and consulting teams in the world and testing and implementing new automated solutions, we created the space where personalization strategies come to life with ease.
Taking the right first step
With the increase of many companies’ digital presence and focus, retaining consumers has become harder. As personalization is here to stay, organizations need to look at how they’re able to deliver on those expectations.
Understanding the consumer requires the integration of the right technology, involves setting up expert teams with specific skillsets, and creating an environment of real-time collaborative space. At Adobe, we understand the importance of personalization and can help your organization lead your digital transformation and create long-term customer value in today’s ever-changing market.
Milica Jovanovic is an engagement manager within Adobe Customer Solutions supporting Global Marketing Operations (ACS GMO).