Demand for content has skyrocketed, and marketers are drowning in it – they just can’t keep up.

Last week I presented a webinar in conjunction with Adweek on how to deal with this, Thriving in the Content Tornado: How to Stay Sane, Protect Your Brand, and Delight Customers.

I wanted to recap some of the key themes in a few blog posts (if you’re reading this a few weeks after it was posted, the whole series is here) for those who haven’t had the chance to watch the webinar.

We started by looking at three examples that highlight the content management challenges enterprises are facing.

Here’s how it works at one of the largest food companies in the world.

It’s not a pretty picture! Assets are everywhere, multiple systems are connected in a spaghetti diagram no one can untangle, keeping everything running is expensive, and change is really hard.

For all the cost, complexity, and effort this picture represents, the reality of working with digital content in most organizations today is very manual, through email and instant messaging. Our research with content strategy decision makers in marketing and IT shows that the majority of them cite this manual collaboration in uncontrolled, unsanctioned, and unscalable systems as the number 1, the biggest challenge they face. It’s no wonder many teams feel like everyday heroics are needed just to keep the lights on.

Another example: I was talking to a luxury retailer about their creative teams a couple of weeks ago. They own multiple department store brands and also sell online. Their online teams are fighting for content for their channels with a creative team that’s still focused on the physical stores and doesn’t have time to manage specific requests from the online team for sizes or resolutions. And product information is managed separately in a whole other system that can’t handle much more than a thumbnail. In the store, sales reps have yet another completely disconnected and outdated clienteling app on their iPads. In short, a given SKU exists in many different systems, with no consistency, with the same work being done over and over. This is not a smart strategy in a low margin industry!

A third example comes from one of our customers, TBWA, one of the largest global advertising agency networks with over 10,000 employees.

One of their clients is a global leader in beauty care and cleaning products, and they found it really challenging to gain alignment across the client’s HQ, country marketing teams, and the multiple TBWA agencies supporting them, around the creation, distribution, and use of creative assets.

The story starts with a client and agencies distributed in a variety of countries and regions. In each of those regions, there are localized versions of commercials. And this is a consumer product brand, so we have localized packaging for each product, as well. Of course, each of those packages and commercials, had different professionals shooting them, and each photographer has a contract for the usage rights of their work – which can differ country by country. On top of the countries, commercials, packaging, photographers, we also have models. So for each country, for each model and each production, and each packaging and each commercial, there are different usage rights to track.

In TBWA’s case, their prior rights management system did not allow derivative assets like adaptations to inherit the rights of the masters. Moreover, it lacked the transparency across stakeholders to avoid lengthy manual processes and potential ticking time bombs.

So those are 3 examples of real pain from content overload.

When you’ve had enough of the chaos, how can you restore control and even thrive? We shared 10 tips.

The first was to put content at the center. Content is already at the center of the experiences you create, but the way you manage it often isn’t. Forrester and others have highlighted the importance of putting content at the foundational layer of your approach to digital experience, so that you have a single source of truth for content to make it universally accessible and useful.

DAM’s Role In The Digital Experience Technology Architecture
Role of DAM

(Source: Forrester Research. Vendor Landscape: Digital Asset Management, 2017. Complimentary copy here)

But putting content at the center is easier said than done! In the next few posts on thriving in the content tornado, I’ll look at strategies for getting folks on board, broadening your view of content regardless of where it sits in the organization, and leveraging the cloud. Stay tuned!