David Armano posted on Technorati + Authority, which discussed Technorati's new rating system. Related to his post were some comments on content in general and its quality. I mentioned to David that content "design" and the related experience seems to lag functional and interface components of experience design. In essence, content is the stepchild of design. David promised to chew on this and get back to me so here's something to chew on.
At SAP, content has been a continual effort. How do we get our content to the level that it becomes a value added part of the customer experience? What we hear from customers is that there is too much, not enough third party or co-created content, and that the content is jargon rich.
Content is the cornerstone of a superior customer experience because it provides the context in which the experience takes place. To date our internal efforts related to content and customer experience does not match the product or route to market experiences we are aiming for. Now we've dedicated a team to focus solely on the content aspects of the experience. We're looking at the obvious:
- What we say - its clear to me and my colleagues that we have a LOT to say. But what we are hearing from customers (and this is so obvious) is don't tell us too much, tell us the right things. Also, give me two perspectives, one that is role based and personalized to what I do and give me a functional view. We actually saw clear geographic differences here with NA executives looking more for a role based content experience while stakeholders in EMEA were looking more for a functional perspective. We don't have data on APJ yet.
- How we say it - one thing we have spent a lot of time on is Content Tonality. We have been accused (and rightly so at times) of taking a rather circuitous route to delivering a message. To address this issue, we are focusing on the source - our content producers. We have been training our content producers to align their content with the Voice of the Brand. All content has to be plain spoken - we use blogs in our training as examples of the type of writing we are looking for. We are striving for a conversational tone, honest, impactful, positive etc.
- Who we say it to - I referenced this above. The content must align to specific personas based on who we are trying to communicate with. What is most important is being able to personalize the content during the buying experience so that we can move buyers through the sales funnel quickly and effectively.
Things like radical transparency, entertainment value, co-creation are all critical elements of a next generation customer experience but without contextual based content, its all just window-dressing isn't' it?