Augmented Digital.

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There's been a lot of talk over the past few years about augmented reality - being able to layer digital experiences and information over the top of what you're actually seeing in front of you. Google glass, layard and a host of other apps have been offering this for a while now and consumers are starting to show an interest.

However, so far what we have seen has been somewhat experimental and has relied on inserting a digital layer between the customer and the experience. So what if we can get to augmented digital, where the real world manipulates the digital world?

Some people may dismiss the notion of augmented digital as playing with semantics but, in my opinion, we are entering a new evolutionary phase where there is actually a difference. For example, ibeacons. IBeacons are making waves in retail environments because they offer a new way to augment the customer experience. Rather than having customers in-store looking at the world through their phone - the augmented reality approach, the real world is being enhanced by adding  more content. This new content is currently in the form of data sheets, coupons and vouchers and on-screen video and it's all been driven by what the customer me is actually doing.

What this means is that the customers digital experience is now being augmented by what the customer is doing in the real world - where they are in store, how much time they spent in particular departments and then the usual metrics of products purchased, money spent, complaints made, items returned etc.

This change is quite significant as it shows a new way to use digital, devices and big data to provide the appropriate real world experience. There is no longer a need to dictate customer behaviour to augment the real world by making them see the world through apps or glasses. Instead, customer behaviour can now dictate the digital experience and to me this marks the start of a new age of augmented digital.

For retailers themselves this also marks the start of a new phase where offline data now contributes to the big data pot. The single customer view which we hear of so much in digital has been extended to include the real world too. So, in as much as customers have an omni-channel view of the world, brands can now get an omni-channel view of their customers.

What this means is that rather than look at our customers in a silo or channel, we can now just look at our complete customer and this is probably the most exciting opportunity of all.


Image source: http://www.breedcommunications.com/blog/retail-ity-bites-how-augmented-reality-is-changing-the-customer-journey/

 

Whatever your business, be it a regional or global brand, the content you produce plays a vital role in your success. You know that… hence you’re reading this.

A well formulated and executed content strategy not only drives more traffic, at the core, it defines what your business is and helps build a strong connection between you and your audiences.

So let's quickly look at why developing a coherent content strategy is important and how setting clear goals and understanding your audience will elevate your online performance. 

What is a Content Strategy?

It's basic right? Content is at the core of how you define the way your business presents itself and an effective strategy should look to ensure that tone of voice, messaging and the core values are surfaced across all channels, from service or product pages on your website, to blog posts, through social media updates blah blah blah.

But let's keep it simple - your content strategy should be a clear roadmap that connects your marketing activities to your business goals. Align to your customer’s wants and needs and engage them at every interaction point and boom, you're in business. 

Who are my Audience?

You likely start all your projects with this chalked on the wall because your business knows “exactly” who its customers are right? Sounds obvious but we often find its not been done forensically enough (not based on data), is too old (more than 12 months ago - forget it) or its a spin off from some brand work that was legitimately aspirational but doesn’t face the reality of who you your business is actually engaging today.

So start (or circle back) with audience research, building out those personas to understand their ambitions, their lifestyle, their pain points or concerns, and crucially their wants and needs - in your context. 

Do I need to tailor content?

As part of your research find out where your audiences spend their time online and how they interact with content: Some may spend time thoroughly researching a product or service, whereas other audiences may want their content to be quick, snappy or easily digestible in the form of a video, infographic or short blog posts.

 

Ultimately, the key is to produce a strategy that creates the type of content your customers want to see:

  • What are the problems that your product or service will help them solve?

  • Who are they most influenced by?

  • What voices influence their behaviour?

  • What type of content do they consume?

  • Where do they consume content and engage with brands?

Different Content, Different Objectives

 All content is not born equal: When producing your strategy, it is important that the objectives for each individual piece are defined, that these fulfil your marketing objectives and tie to the overarching goals for your business.

There are various content frameworks that exist to aid content development in this way, but one that is popular and effective is Google’s hero, hub and hygiene method: It provides a framework on developing content to achieve different goals and gives guidance on the effort needed to create each type of content.

Hero Content

Hero content is essentially campaign content, it is big splash ideas designed to appeal to a large audience with the aim of telling your brand’s story at scale. 

Ways of measuring hero include the amount of PR mentions or links from authoritative domains plus social interactions and mentions of your brand across all channels. 

Considering the scale of hero campaigns, this content is not regularly produced and is reserved for peak promotional times where it’s important for a business to stand out from their competitors.

Hub Content

Hub content is the stuff that keeps your audience engaged, it expands on the themes of product or service level content, educates users and helps create a connection between themselves and your brand.

Hygiene Content

Hygiene content is the bread and butter of any website, it is the BAU content for products and services, it is SEO focused and targets important keywords at a product, service or guide level.

How do I manage all this?

Content development is only one part of the ongoing work needed when working with an effective content strategy. We call it “feeding the beast” because it really is the fuel in your brand vehicle and once you start you really can’t stop (if it’s delivering results) but that’s where performance measurement comes in.

Your greatest gift in managing the outputs from your hero/hub/hygiene style efforts is to understand If your content is working. To truly deliver results your business must first understand the objectives and goals of each piece of content to effectively measure its success. That as a guiding light from day 1 will let you slow down, speed up, stop or start new content briefs and projects.

Remember - content strategies are not set in stone. They are living breathing things and should adapt and pivot as insights become available and your brand naturally evolves.

If ever you want to chat content and explore new initiatives we’re always here to help.

want to speak to one of our experts?

 
Nick Towers
Nick Towers
Co-Founder & Joint CEO
Co-Founder, CEO and self-confessed massive geek, Nick has been in digital since graduating from law and moving into technology many years ago. Through a combination of building awesome client relationships, crafting a formidable team of digital experts and consistently delivering results for our clients Nick has taken Sagittarius from being a successful small agency to the global digital customer experience consultancy and Sitecore powerhouse that it is today.
Nick Towers

Nick Towers

14 Oct 2014 - 5 minute read
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