Get ready for the future content supply chain to be autonomous, brands warned

James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.

If you’ve got a well-oiled content strategy in place – or indeed several content strategies all vying for attention and wishing to become the chosen one – then a new report from SDL may be of interest. The study, called ‘Enabling the Future State of Content’, has advocated that brands need to rip up their current initiatives and look ahead to an automated future.

Naturally, it’s worth noting immediately that SDL’s primary role, of content translation, has a large part of what it has to say in the report. Yet the wider trends cannot be denied.

Getting the most out of what content you have is vital for any marketing department, whether it is using off-the-shelf synopses, stitching offcuts together, ‘Franken-blog’ style, or automating parts of it.

The report makes note of this in what it sees as the content supply chain of the future, combining both a machine-first strategy and a human-optimised experience. In the creation process, the content creates and organises itself, but with the human touch customers can easily find what is relevant to them. The second step, translation, sees machines translating content, but users always automatically finding it in their own language. Finally, how the content is delivered means customer always get what is tailored to them; it is ‘agile, secure, and your best salesperson.’

It does sound rather a lot. Yet in a previous report from SDL, it was found 93% of organisations polled said the amount of content they produce will increase in the coming two years. Yet according to Gallup figures, only a quarter of millennial respondents said they were emotionally or psychologically attached to a brand or product. Something has got to give.

The report notes that content needs to be ‘synthesised’ rather than created. “Up until recently, many organisations approached content from a quantity perspective, spending an inordinate amount of time generating [it],” it argues. “Because of the difficulty in crafting a message, visualising it and delivering it to the appropriate channels, this content was rarely individually tailored.

“We can have a million permutations of the same message that we think is relevant for the buyer, but delivering just the right message at just the right time still remains a seemingly miraculous occurrence.

“An autonomous content future that synthesises content on demand, rather than just delivering more content, changes our present reality to a future landscape of perfectly relevant content,” it adds.

SDL has what it calls a ‘linguistic AI’ tool by the name of Hai which aims to create, translate and deliver content at whatever scale a business needs. The company says its tool is now ready to graduate onto bigger and better things, with SDL Content Assistant launched back in November. “Engaging with customers globally requires content, and lots of it. This content all needs to be tailored for different channels, devices – and of course languages,” said Peggy Chen, SDL chief marketing officer.

“If brands want to stay ahead, they’re going to have to build autonomy into their supply chain, remove those mundane manual processes and make humans and machines work together to deliver more personalised experiences – at scale.”

You can read the full report here (email required).

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