Can you handle the growing content stack, or are you (also) a victim of it?
THERE IS A BUZZWORD CIRCULATING, and it is a contradictory one of a kind. It’s called Creative Automation, and it might influence your daily workflows. And it might prove worth its buzz, too, as a tool to avoid stress and free up time for what makes your heart beat when you are a marketer and a creative one. In short: get the tool to handle the content gap.
Everything that has to do with content is growing: Demand for content has never been greater, the number of channels and media is increasing, and as a consequence creative and marketing teams are on the brink of stress. According to a recent survey of 300 US marketing leaders, as many as 86% state that their teams are reporting stress over the amount of content to be produced. The content gap is by far the issue that marketing managers experience as the biggest challenge - even though there are certainly still problems with systems that do not integrate well, the challenge of working from home, workflows that lag, and so on. But the growing content stack is putting massive pressure on campaign producers, creative teams and marketeers.
The content gap is the biggest concern, and most of all, I guess, because it's a puzzle near impossible to solve. In the last year alone, 80% of the 300 interviewed marketing managers have experienced a significant increase in the number of campaigns and content to be launched. So marketing and creative teams are challenged to produce enough content - and challenged to do so with the same headcount. And the answer to the impossible challenge can be a buzzword that can solve the problem like a magic wand.
Yes, it's OK if you just turned a little skeptical. Let me try to accommodate your skepticism, then.
It does not sound right: Creative automation. It is an oxymoron. Because the one thing that most of us would agree could never be automated is creativity. Creativity is the very ability to get new ideas and express them in an imaginative or artistic way. Automation, on the other hand, is a habit, and a habit is by definition a repetition of something, so it is not new. But I would still argue that creativity can be automated, or at least everything surrounding your creative output can be automated.
Let us briefly dwell on your approach to content production as it looks to a great many creative and marketing teams. This approach is characterized by, for example, something as impractical as sharing files. Images, text and video fly around in an email or platform universe, where it is almost certain to be flying, not on the shortest possible route between two points, rather your files are circling and moving about.
The challenges of today’s content production include:
- The file size is too large to transfer via your file-sharing platform.
- The file size is too large for an email attachment.
- The file is not accessible because the third party you are trying to share it with does not have access.
- The file (s) you sent via email will never appear because the file size was too large.
- You do not have the password to access the file sharing.
These are everyday problems for an incredible number of marketers who, in a hyper digitalized age, end up handling many manual processes.
Some companies have already realised these challenges. I know, because we work with some of them. Marketers are starting to go about creativity more systematically, because they have to. The large marketing departments produce stacks of material, and not just for digital use. Stores and chains still need signs and banners in a multitude of touchpoints. Just think about how many signs you encounter in your local supermarket. They belong to the print generation of signs, and it is not dead and buried at all yet. Then there are all the other channels, primarily digital, which are social media, websites, ads and you can finish the sentence with more examples. The solution is called scalable content production, and it sounds like another magic wand you have to wave.
Scalable content production is a working tool, but also another way of saying automation. We all want to put the whole creative production into an optimised supply chain, where the first brief ends up as a campaign without too many roadblocks along the way. Often, the reality is not that streamlined. The supply chain is easily broken when the many different programs and tools that everyone involved uses do not integrate painlessly with each other.
Your marketing manager understands this, right?
No, in fact, there is a risk that your marketing manager does not understand your technological challenges - except that she probably (also) encounters them every day. According to the aforementioned study, one can read that "three out of four marketing managers are frustrated with how long it takes to launch a campaign". Try for fun to make a count of how many different tools you use to carry out a campaign. Do you sync data easily and elegantly across the tech inventory, or do you encounter bottlenecks when the recipient is unable to read your Google Sheets or download your image files?
Creative Automation is truly a magic wand when it is based on a solution that retrieves all scattered data in one place, so you can create scalable content production from here just at the touch of a button. When that happens, you suddenly get time to be creative, not just productive. And time is what we all seem to be lacking. Time to get new ideas that are imaginative and stand out in a world of advertising and advertising noise of an average nature. Time to feel your creativity flowing like an automated coffee refill.