These days, there isn’t much that marketers can’t measure. Every activity and strategic initiative can be analysed and assessed for effectiveness. Great, right?
Well yes, of course, but this measurability has also led to greater expectations of the marketing function. Subsequently, many teams are feeling the pressure to sharpen their focus and eliminate waste, in order to squeeze maximum value out of their budget – an imperative that’s further complicated by a diverse and fragmented ecosystem that’s seen a growing range of digital platforms jostle for attention alongside more traditional forms of media.
In this landscape you simply can’t afford to continue to blast out static content; the ‘spray and pray’ model is no longer an option. Fortunately, though, there is an alternative: Create Once, Publish Everywhere, or COPE.
While not a new concept, the challenges highlighted above mean that more and more organisations are turning to the COPE model to do just that – cope with increasing demands on their content, and get the biggest bang for their marketing buck. Let’s look at how this works in practice…
One of the most notable technological advances in the last decade has been the sheer volume and variety of connected devices on offer. It can seem like no two screens are the same – and this is where COPE really comes into its own.
By offering different presentations of your content for each of the major breakpoints such as desktop, tablet and mobile you’re in control of what’s displayed, and how – ensuring that your websites and applications remain accessible, usable and useful no matter how users choose to interact with you. (This approach works particularly well when employed as part of a responsive or adaptive framework, where not only the content but the entire layout of your site can change depending on how it’s viewed.)
And device-specific content won’t just make your users happier. Search engines will appreciate the increased accessibility, helping you rise through the rankings, while your business results will benefit from relevant calls to action being placed front-and-centre, even when you’re short on space.
It’s not just screen sizes and functionality that differ across devices though. User requirements and goals can also change. This can significantly affect the way they interact with your services – for example, smartphone users may be more likely to be on the move, while tablet users often use their device to browse from home.
Through the COPE model, these disparate behaviours can be targeted to give users the information they want, when they want it. For example, your smartphone content may prominently display contact and location details to help shoppers when they’re out and about, while maximising the visual content on tablet devices can encourage leisurely exploration.
So far we’ve looked at the ways user requirements change as they move back and forth between touchpoints. But what about if you’re talking to completely different audiences, as large international organisations have to do on a daily basis?
Here, too, a COPE approach can help take some of the weight off, by providing regional teams with content that can be tweaked and translated to suit the needs of their particular audience. And, because everyone’s pulling from a central content reference, you can be confident that your messaging is clear, consistent and on-brand.
You may think at this point that the concept of COPE is pretty straightforward, but this can be deceptive. A lot of moving parts need to come together to make your strategy a success – not least a comprehensive understanding of your users. Taking a user-centred design approach can reveal the subtle mental models and behaviour patterns your content needs to accommodate – and if you can validate these insights through testing with representative or real-world users, then so much the better.
It’s also imperative that you have a strong technology stack in place. After all, what use is a content strategy if you can’t put it into practice? Delivering the right content to the right people at the right time and in the right format calls for a sophisticated content management system that can recognise the device your site or application’s being viewed on and adapt what’s displayed accordingly. And for an even deeper level of personalisation, consider a customer experience platform such as Sitecore. These allow you to deliver different versions of your content to new and returning visitors, take explicit preferences into account, detect implicit behaviours and much, much more – helping ensure your messages really hit home.
There’s another piece of the puzzle too, and it’s one that’s often overlooked: your internal culture and processes. If your teams are working in silos, it’s going to be difficult to get a complete picture of what content is being created – leading to inefficiencies and, worse, a confused and inconsistent customer experience. So, get your teams talking to make sure all activity is coordinated!
As marketing teams are being asked to do more with their budget, opportunities to increase the value of your assets are clearly worth exploring. Whether you decide to embark on a full-scale COPE strategy or adopt individual elements of the model though, it’s vital to make sure you have solid foundations in place – based on user insight, powerful technology and open processes.
If you’re interested in finding out more, get in touch with a member of our team.