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Start here to Transform your Content Collaboration

June 17, 2024

Marketing and martech operations leaders often get promoted or reassigned responsibilities - one of them being content management solutions like DAM, PIM, and workflow tools. Most of these leaders have no hands-on experience using and building content, but they need to provide the right service to empower the business. 

“I’m in charge of content management now, where do I even start?”

Too often they skip straight to assuming they only need a DAM technology solution, only budget for that one tool for one year, and jump in blindly believing whichever sales team they liked the most. Then they work in an unexpected mix of suffering for about 18 months before they call a consulting firm to come help them figure it out.

If I could turn back time with them and lock us in a room with a whiteboard for a couple of hours – there are six key steps we’d review to successfully launch a transformation of a business’s content management solution. We’d even have lunch and some good laughs during the process.

STEP ONE. Start by starting a Business Gap Analysis

Content is a critical component of a business, but it is not the only part of your business. It’s important to align your content strategy with your business needs. Finding out the business vision and goals doesn’t have to be about content at all, but content management can support that vision.

Some common themes are happening today:

  • Retailers expect more content-rich digital shelves

  • Businesses want to expand their social media presence

  • Marketing and design teams need to be more efficient and effective

  • Speed-to-market demands only increase 

  • Brand quality control and management need to be consistent across the globe

The business vision and goals don’t have to be about content at all, but content management can support that vision.

Identify the Vision

Take the time to think through the vision statement. What are the success metrics and success criteria? What are the benefits and risks both inside and outside the business? Why is this important for the future state of the business? Who will be impacted and what is affected?

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Once the business vision and goals are clear, the next step is to align the content management strategy. Here are questions to get the right thought processes going:

  • What’s missing from your day-to-day business needs?

  • What are the areas you are neglecting that need improvement?

  • How are internal teams and external partners finding the brand content today?

  • What is the content collaboration experience today?

STEP TWO. Do a Resource Audit

What are we working with here? The resource audit is a reality check of the people available or needed, the volume of processes involved, technology solutions available, and the budget management needs. I prefer to think of this as energy in, energy out.

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People: Roles and Responsibilities

Like any good team dynamic, it's worth the energy to take time to clarify each player's role. There are likely teams of people throughout the business that would benefit from content management and collaboration. Consider inquiring within sales, learning and development, outside agency partners, and corporate communications.

Use the RACI model:

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Documenting the RACI and sincerely reaching out to the teams that could benefit from content management will later support finding the true stakeholders and gaining buy-in for the ultimate content management solution. 

Volume of Processes: Asset, Frequency, and Channels

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In the review of process requirements, we need to first understand the reality of volume and frequency. How many content assets are coming into the business and how many need to be distributed out to all the channels? What’s the turnaround time for those groups of assets?

Product: Technology solutions

Lastly, find out the landscape of technology solutions in place today. Here are some basic questions to ask both the IT service teams and the actual responsible users.

  • How do you store and share your content today?

  • What other systems do you use to work with your channel distribution needs?

  • Do you think you could leverage any tools through your agency partners or retailer partners?

Budget Planning 

All products need a budget plan. Commonly, content management solutions are underfunded because of a lack of planning for the budget and business case. The good news is that the right content management solution could lead to a healthy return on investment (ROI) of about 30%. That ROI is a mix of content reuse, minimizing search time, and speed to market.

Too often martech managers skip straight to assuming they only need a DAM technology solution, and only budget for that one tool for one year.

The budget needs to consider the:

  • Resource support for implementation and regular managed services 

  • Tools for content management solutions (DAM, PIM, workflow) 

  • Ongoing communications and user support

STEP THREE. Gather Requirements

It’s time to practice active listening and find out who (really) are the key stakeholders involved. Don’t overthink this one, you’ll have time to do that later.

  • Who are they?

  • Where do they sit in the business?

  • What are they responsible for?

  • How does that need to function for their success?

  • Why is this important to them?

Take time to document any patterns or conflicts of interest. Circle back to investigate further if you’re hearing strong conflicting information. All the patterns - those are the likely shared pain points, opportunities, and goals. Once you get this part right, the rest is going to go a lot smoother. Keep this list in mind, because we’ll leverage it again to dig into the actual user case scenarios.

STEP FOUR. Establish Content Governance

Content governance provides the framework to ensure that all content assets are consistent across all platforms and aligned with the business’s goals and brand identity. What is needed to successfully administrate, maintain, and support the content ecosystem?

There are three key areas to manage in a successful governance model: strategic, operational, and tactical direction.

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Find the content influencers

This is more than just finding who is responsible for each content area. Keep in mind there will be a larger community within and around an enterprise that will influence the content ecosystem’s solution and ability to function.

How do you establish rules and accountability?

Visibility, visibility, visibility. Hosting a regularly scheduled governance meeting with common dashboard goals will help continue the collaboration and review the alignment to the overall business strategy. As soon as part of the governance council or influencers break off into silo, trouble will soon follow.

STEP FIVE. Identify Use Cases

To understand how and why departments work with various assets, you need to investigate and be inclusive. The basic answers you’ll need to discover are: who are they, what do they need to be successful, and what are they responsible for?

The stakeholder list you worked on during the number three requirements gathering will come in handy here. Stakeholders are usually not the main or only user cases. Drill down into the teams and partners connected to each stakeholder and/or that corner of the business.

Lining up the stakeholders to the content process pipeline from ideation to archive will help you see the gaps in user experience. For example - under curate, who else in a business needs to collect and curate content? Under create, if you drill down - does legal need to review any talent contracts for rights management?

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STEP SIX. Vendor Selection

Finally, it’s time to select the content management solution - vendors and implementation partners. At this point, you’re ready to launch an RFP or make your vendor selection since you know the business vision, resources available and needed, requirements, ongoing governance needs, and user case scenarios.

Depending on your overall analysis results, keep in mind you’ll need to consider ALL the outside resources involved. The content management solution may require a technology solution and implementation partner support from a third party – like Blue Trail Digital.

Here are some tips on what to look for when meeting with your technology vendor lineup:

  1. Do they offer an out-of-the-box solution that fits the business needs? If not, how far off is it?

  2. Does the budget line up and is the contract agreement mutual?

  3. Does this solution meet the volume of content coming in and out of the business?

  4. What’s their relationship management style? Are they a good partner fit for your business culture?

Summary of the Six Steps 

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Enjoy the Adventure! Good luck with your content management adventures. I hope these six steps help you with a successful experience. Building a high-functioning content management experience makes peoples' lives just a little easier and happier to create great content. 

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