Stop managing content and start composing it

To unlock the power of content, explains Gavin Estey, VP Technology at Appnovation, you need to free it from vault-like CMSes and extend its use and reach.
May 18, 2023


You’ve heard the buzz. Composable is a thing. But what exactly is it? For this series of guest posts, we asked industry experts and Contentful partners what composability means to them.

Gavin Estey, VP Technology at Appnovation, outlines his perspective in the video below. And in the post thereafter, he explains how by releasing content from rigid templates, it becomes easier to find, personalize, localize, and translate.

The term "Content management" is dated

Content management is a dated term. Content management systems corral content in one place (or, for most organizations, in several places) where it's essentially locked in a vault. But content doesn’t appreciate in value sitting in a CMS. 

To unlock the power of content, you need to take it out of the vault-like CMSes and extend its use and reach. It's time for composable content platforms like Contentful. Free content from rigid templates and structure content for reuse across channels, making it easy to find, personalize, localize, and translate. This empowers teams to stitch content together and compose new experiences that reach people in different ways. 

Composable content is all about enabling teams to distribute the right content to the right visitor on the right channel without recreating that content every time. That’s how you squeeze the most value out of every piece of content you create.

Your customers can tell if you’re managing content in silos

Traditionally, content is created, organized, and stored in different systems based on your organizational structure. This siloed approach gets in the way of building digital experiences that truly focus on your customers.

Conway’s law states that an organization's structure will be reflected in the software it produces. The same is true of content. When marketing, communications, ecommerce, customer service, and product teams work in silos, your organizational structure is exposed to the world. This results in marketing pages that don’t match your ecommerce site, product FAQs that contradict support page content, and product categories that sound like internal jargon.

For instance, on a recent visit to a well-known electronics site, I was left wondering where to look for televisions. Are they home entertainment or home appliances? On another site, I searched “how to make a return” and got a message saying there were no products that matched my search. I know why this happens, but as a customer it’s frustrating. 

Trying to understand your internal structure slows customers down when they want to complete a task, make a purchase, or get information. Your customers shouldn’t suffer because John in marketing can’t update a page that Bob in customer service owns.

Composability frees your content from organizational silos.

Composable frees your content from organizational silos

Freeing content from organizational silos requires a new approach. Instead of creating chunks of content, you break content into smaller, reusable pieces — think headlines, product descriptions, and hero images. Teams use this atomized content to compose campaigns, product pages, and other experiences.

Composable content platforms organize all these pieces of content into content models and structures so teams can find and share content across the business. Teams can pull frequently asked questions onto a product page and into a customer service chat to keep everything aligned. You can easily integrate sales, marketing, and product materials by mixing and matching content for different purposes. 

Compose experiences that put the customer first

The goal is to meet customers where they are in their journey and help them get to the next step. It sounds simple, but so many companies miss the mark. Composable content empowers you to structure content in a way that’s customer-centric, not organization-centric. 

Here’s an example: On a recent quest for a new frying pan, I came across a page full of great information. I thought, yes, this is the pan I want. I scrolled down, looking for the “buy now” button. It wasn’t there. It wasn’t on the page at all. I had to navigate to the homepage, click on shop, and find the product page for the pan I wanted before I could complete my purchase. 

Empower people closer to the customer to create and use content

The best team to create content isn't always your marketing or product information departments. This top-down content can feel inauthentic. People focused on specific business areas have blind spots that people closer to the customer can see — like why an informational page needs a “buy now” button. 

If you want your brand to sound and communicate like a real person, you need to break down silos and lower the barriers between people who know the customer and people who publish content. It’s the people closest to your customers who know what customers are asking about and what type of content they need. 

Consider this opportunity that many companies miss: twice a year people turn to Google asking how to change the clock on their devices. Every electronics company should have a page for this. It’s an opportunity to reconnect with customers, help them complete a task, and show them other products they might be interested in. This is easy, evergreen content.

To deliver this type of customer-centric content, you need workflows, tools, and technology that empower more people to be involved in the content creation process. Obviously, you don’t want everyone publishing content. That would be chaos. This is where tools like Contentful shine with strong governance, custom interfaces, and clear workflows that give teams the right mix of freedom and governance. 

Personalize experiences to meet customer preferences

Personalize experiences to meet customer preferences

When we talk about delivering great customer-centric experiences, those experiences should be heavily personalized. Composable content structures content in a way that supports this level of personalization. 

When your unit of experience is a web page, it's hard to personalize that experience. With a composable approach, your units are reusable pieces of content. You can take those different pieces and remix them to compose experiences that meet each customer’s needs.

I saw the importance of this level of personalization during a European rollout. Testing revealed that Americans wanted to see pictures of products at the top of the page, while people in Germany preferred product specifications at the top. 

To meet these different preferences, you need to empower the people closest to the customer — in this case the German team — to make personalization decisions. They need technology that lets them find approved content and use it to compose the experience their customers want. 

A composable content platform, like Contentful, gives teams this flexibility while providing guardrails that keep your brand voice and message consistent. It makes these highly-personalized customer experiences possible at scale.

Being able to compose multi-channel, multi-device content to meet customers where they are is how you get the most value out of the content you’re already creating.

Deliver better customer experiences with the right tools

Being able to compose multi-channel, multi-device content to meet customers where they are is how you get the most value out of the content you’re already creating.

CMSes were built for a page-centric world, but that's not how customers navigate the digital world today. They visit a product page, chat with customer service on an app, and make a purchase on your ecommerce site or in person.

Composing experiences for this new world requires a platform that can organize atomized content, democratize content creation, and enable teams to scale personalization all while keeping your message consistent. 

Learn more about the Contentful Composable Content Platform and how it can free your content and empower teams to compose great customer experiences.

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