Today Adobe completes 30 years! In human terms, that’s a big leap, often interpreted as moving “from the terrific twenties to the terrible thirties”. Days like these are brought in with champagne and celebrations – a moment to say goodbye to an era and also one to welcome the next. A very big word of thanks to the millions of people around the world who have created, used, enjoyed, and critiqued our creations.
I would like to celebrate this occasion with a look at content and marketing, the core of what Adobe’s present and future is based on. The source of this chain of thought was my recent keynote address at the Society of Technical Communication’s Annual Summit in Bangalore. I focused on the key trends on the content space from the perspective of a writer, a reader and a marketer of content. I will use a similar approach here to explain the way we’re headed in terms of marketing in at least the next year (a safe bet, isn’t it?).
There have been several predictions about the future of technology that went horribly bad (some worse than a botched up face-lift). So I will keep mine firmly rooted in trends that already have us by the scruff of the neck.
As a writer
- The world is expanding and mixing furiously: businesses and people are spreading and mixing faster than we think
- Everyone has to contribute to an ROI: so the devilish ratio of returns to cost will haunt us all
As a result, the implications for the content creator and marketer are:
- We will produce more content and more types of content (more rich media). Integrating the authoring and publishing engines with the CMS will be a key challenge.
- The content will have to be reusable. Writers have to focus on creating enterprise structures and guidelines to make content more reusable and searchable.
- We will work in groups spread across the earth. Collaboration will be a combination of technology (cloud), patterns (XML, perhaps?) and processes. Have you read about the ‘A Million Penguins’ study?
As a reader
- The digital eye will read everywhere: digital immigrants (like me) and natives (born after the iPhone) will notice and read content all day, through different means.
- Their attention span is crashing: Would you still read David Copperfield for fun? Or would you do it Gangnam style?
The implications? Here goes:
- Content will be published to multiple channels and adaptive design (as opposed to just responsive web design) will help the content to respond to user interaction, preferences, locations…..(list goes on and on)
- Content will have to be user and context sensitive. It will have to be precise, related to the need of the audience and it will have to be conveyed fast!
- Multimedia will replace words in more places than ever, and even if it takes up more time, a majority of users will want to see a video (as a funny example here’s a video that trains you to increase your reading speed) as opposed to reading paragraphs.
And finally, as a marketer
- The market is growing and diversifying: there are more places and ways to reach our audience or for them to reach us
- Consumers love to interact: marketing communication has become a 2-way process and what the consumer has to say is gaining more ground (Coca Cola intends to use consumer-generated content till 2020!)
So the implications (and I promise this is the last time) are:
- Content will be scrutinized and enriched socially. So we will have to allow our content to be commented on, shared and modified. Else it will be deemed uninteresting and too static!
- Content will have a global purpose, so content created in English will have to be prepped to work in German and Japanese as well!
- We have to assess our impact. Content marketing will not be complete without content analytics. Usage, experience and the effects of content on campaign effectiveness will have to be reported.
The overall impact for content creators is that we will have to know and understand our audience even better and cater to their needs in every possible way. Design and media will be our tools and means but understanding and aiding the correct consumer behavior will be most rewarded. From the perspective of the marketer, content is going to be a key differentiator and knowing the consumer (who using social media is also a creator) of the content will make all the difference.