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The Quicksand Problem: Stop Getting Stuck in Content Silos 

Content is the lifeblood of digital experiences. Water in the desert, if you will. Everybody wants it but for most organizations, creating, publishing and distributing content can often feel like a slog. Content is often scattered across multiple teams and systems and created to serve a niche use: blog posts, email copy, webinars, etc. Each content type can live (and die) within a single platform (CMS, marketing automation, sales enablement tools, etc.) and be extremely difficult to reuse across other applications and channels.

In our digital-first world, millions of new experiences become available every second and trends come and go in a flash. To stay connected with your audiences, you can’t invest all of your content strategy in a single channel. (Just ask anyone who tried to build a brand on MySpace or Google+.) As the number of channels and devices rises, organizations need to efficiently scale the volume of content they produce and activate all of this material again and again across an array of touchpoints. 

However, without a centralized view of all the content being created, IT and marketing teams are overwhelmed by duplicate requests, endless rounds of revisions and one-off campaigns. All these content silos mean organizations are getting stuck in creation and maintenance cycles,  falling behind on the innovative efforts they should be investing their time in to stay ahead of the competition. We call this: The Quicksand Problem

When you can’t create digital content quickly enough and everything you create is locked in place, your audience can’t get the content they want. Your customer experiences will feel disconnected, inconsistent and — worst of all — irrelevant to the current way that people want to be engaging with your brand. Thankfully, there’s a way to free yourself from the quicksand trap -- by embracing an open and fast-moving approach to content at scale.

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Empowering IT and Marketing to Move Faster

To pull yourself out of the quicksand for good, you’re going to need a strong partner to toss you a rope. However, too often IT and marketing departments find themselves deadlocked in a painful tug-of-war that doesn’t move either of them forward. 

Brands must leverage a unified digital platform that distributes the digital work across the entire organization. Business users need to be able to create new content and deploy new content experiences with little to no IT involvement. An open digital experience platform (DXP) with low-code tools that provide intuitive front-end editing capabilities gives site builders and marketers what they need to quickly build, launch and design new sites and pages without slogging through a million back-and-forth emails, Slack messages and Zoom calls. IT still maintains control by creating pre-approved templates and design systems that can be shaped to serve any experience — from mobile to web to digital signage. But by having site builders and marketers play a more active role, these teams can work in parallel to each other, expediting workflows and getting content to market much faster.

Like stumbling upon a deadly sand trap, the future of digital experience is sudden and unpredictable. Brands need to act fast and adapt their content strategy and pivot quickly to meet the new demands of a multiexperience world so they can deliver the services customers want in the right moment, regardless of the type of device they use to access it. 

Designing an Adaptable, Composable Content Strategy 

Distributing digital work across the organization will help your teams move faster, build content more quickly and rapidly create sites at scale. But it doesn’t solve the entire Quicksand Problem. The content that is created must be reusable and shareable on any channel or touchpoint. As more channels and frameworks arrive to deliver and host content, content creators can’t be burdened by thinking about where and when to deploy that content and keep track of every place it lives. 

Content that can only live on a single channel or site is inefficient and regressive. Instead, brands must embrace a composable content strategy. Rather than locking content into a specific front end presentation, developers need the ability to define content models and components that can ensure content is structured, discoverable, shareable and reusable across experiences of any type.Global digital leaders such as EPAM, an Acquia Global Select Partner, validate this approach. 

“We’ve found that the atomization of content has been a key driver in the race to free content from its traditional silos. This approach not only allows organizations to more effectively reuse content but also enables a truly multichannel delivery model that will reach customers however they choose to engage,” said Dustin Collis, Senior Director and Co-Head of EPAM's Drupal Practice. 

Digital acceleration isn’t slowing down, and being future-ready requires brands to offer up the right content in the right context. When change happens, you need to be open to adapt your approach and not let your content sink deeper within the silos. However, open content is only the first step. To ensure your content is personalized and meaningful to your customers at each step, brands also need to unlock critical insights from deep within their customer data. We’ll show you how to use data to navigate the customer journey in our next post: The Labyrinth Problem.   

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And for more on how brands can get out ahead of the competition through an open, adaptable digital architecture, check out our e-book: How to Pivot Quickly in Today's Digital Ecosystem

Eric Fullerton, product marketing manager, Acquia

Eric Fullerton

Lead Product Evangelist Acquia

Eric Fullerton is the  Lead Product Evangelist for Acquia's suite of open digital experience products. Eric’s passion solving for the future of digital comes from living it firsthand for the past 10 years.

Eric has been navigating the divide between people, process, and technology at small organizations and global tech giants alike as he continues his journey to excite employees and engage customers through the power of digital marketing.