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Originally published on the Storyteq Blog
If you are a CMO, creative lead, or brand manager, you already know what scaling your content production can do for your business in a time of rapid digital growth. You’ve probably even told your organization to get you there already.
So why is your move to creative automation coming along so slowly, even though you may have been talking about the need to scale production for years? It might be because you and your creative and marketing management team have yet to take a sufficiently active role and make the benefits known from the top down.
More and more companies need to mobilize dozens of teams across design, marketing, and production to scale their content production practice is no easy feat. On top of it, more and more brands are swimming in a sea of sameness, crafting ad experiences that lack context, connection, and brand relevance which, in turn, trigger ad fatigue.
Today, your audience’s expectations for personalized content are higher than ever – making creative automation essential for resolving repetitive tasks at scale. But there’s more to it than just creating a number of assets in a record time. Creative workflows are becoming much more complex. Attention spans are shorter. Content overload is becoming the new normal.
In our research, we found that when a brand faces the prospect of supporting multiple campaigns in multiple countries, they are faced with three fundamental choices:
When trying to understand how cities work and how they develop over time, urbanists often analyze their infrastructure. Looking closely at the roads, railways, and rivers that run through a city can often reveal some important truths. For example, how can we think about Amsterdam without thinking about reclaimed land? It seems obvious, but only when you actively think about it. Most of the time, infrastructure is invisible.
We can think of creatives in design and production in a similar way. Creatives are a fundamental part of our marketing toolkit but the way we produce them is something we don’t always document, assess, or talk about.
This option brings the benefit of maintaining a premium level of service, but it also comes at a hefty financial and operational cost.
Research shows that in 2020, we created and collected more than 44 zettabytes of digital data. That is 44,000,000,000,000 (44 trillion) gigabytes; and that, by 2025, the amount of data created in a single day will go beyond 460 exabytes (which amounts to around 168 trillion gigabytes a year).
For marketers, that’s an astonishing amount of digital noise that they’re struggling to break through to be noticed. On the consumer side, the content volume is also growing every day with the average person being exposed to 4,000 to 10,000 ads per day.
But out of those ads, how many will stick in our minds?
It’s no surprise that advertisers and creatives in today’s digital era need to battle it out to win the attention of consumers, which is made harder due to diminishing attention spans and a growing reliance on devices.
This, combined with stricter privacy laws and high content costs makes for challenging times for a brand that is looking to make a statement. But no matter the challenges marketers are exposed to, the truth is creating less content is not the option.
Clearly, the first two options have serious pitfalls. Fortunately, there is a third option. It includes using creative automation alongside sustainably paced hiring. This approach to scaling your content production requires an excellent set of platforms, experimentation, and shifting your mindset to a new way of working.
Storyteq has aimed for the third option in scaling up their own creative production – a combination of approaches rather than throwing money at the problem or letting our standards slide. They concluded that to take customers’ content to the next level, it’s crucial to make content more captivating, more personable, and more creative than ever.
Automation is an irrelevant term to your average creative team member because it’s ambiguous. For many creatives, automation translates into the need for more creative assets so marketers can deliver more asset variations.
Producing content is flourishing in every industry. In a recent survey of content strategists, the most common industries were technology (27%), education (19%), agencies (16%), and government (7%).
Takeaway: Understand your goals and how your growth impacts your industry.
Transforming workflows future-proofs your company especially when you’re delivering hundreds and thousands of variations of the same asset for the same campaign – this is when efficiency is key.
Step 3: Create different ad variations and push them to the ad channels
One cannot perform without the other. In addition to that, don’t immediately dismiss your current way of working and take an agile approach.
Takeaway: Implementing creative automation can yield some great results and will help you stay ahead of the curve as more and more businesses ride the dynamic creative wave. As marketers, it all comes down to personalizing your messaging and the way your target audience likes to consume content.
Chances are, your competition is already making great use of it in their marketing strategy, so get in that meeting room and start convincing your stakeholders before you’re left behind.
With creative automation, you can create thousands of assets in a short period of time. You can use an existing video or banner as a template or make a brand new one in minutes, which you can use to individualize based on your audience. But there’s more to it than removing or automating non-essential steps from our daily workflows. In this section, we’ll share what it means for your team in practice.
It takes more than a marketing department to build a brand. You need to involve everyone in your company and get them engaged. The reality is, everyone is busy reaching their own goals but with proper processes in place, this is easy. Seamless and user-friendly creative workflows enable everyone to easily adapt their brand guidelines to any brand asset quickly and effortlessly.
As every brand has a limited number of employee hours available, workflow automation takes redundant tasks off your team members’ to-do lists, they can fill those hours with higher-level work. The result is better productivity for your team. When knowledge workers answered a survey after their teams automated workflows, 86% reported that this change made them more productive.
A key ingredient in building a successful brand is the ability to be consistent. A consistent brand can generate a 33% higher increase in overall growth, – an evident reason for making sure you have the platforms you need to succeed with your process.
For many creative teams, branding compliance is just an extra bottleneck in the constant battle to get campaigns launched on time. But in today’s digital environment, branding compliance has moved beyond just trademark attribution and copyright designations.
In fact, 78% of surveyed marketing teams said their work was subject to at least one type of compliance requirement. Properly managing brand integrity across channels is also a growing competitive differentiator; today’s consumers cite brand transparency as a major purchase motivator across industries, from FMCG to retail.
So why is creating compliant creative production processes still a blindspot for creative teams? Marketing departments are producing more content for more channels at a faster rate than ever before.
Also, given the breadth and reach of today’s omni-channel campaigns, the number of stakeholders involved in the sign-off can increase exponentially.
Every day, marketing teams experience the tension between quickly producing quality creative content across channels and ensuring that content production for all of these channels complies with the internal and external brand and industry guidelines. For those focused on chasing customer engagement across channels, ensuring compliance will often be an afterthought.
What is certain is that all the neglected elements of your campaigns can still be addressed through creative automation by allowing your teams or clients all across the globe to output the versions they need using your universal guidelines, without the constant need to keep teams accountable for their deliverables.
With more privacy laws in place, personalization and individualization will be more difficult to achieve. However, it won't be an impossible task. Now more than ever, brands are going to rely on owned data to fine-tune multi-language campaigns or geo-location targeting for better engagement.
As Marc Poelsma, Online Marketeer at Allianz Direct recently shared: “Allianz Direct is active in several countries so we have to make sure that the copy can be adjusted for our target groups in every country. And we also want to make some elements dynamic in the templates. For example, we want the opportunity to change some elements which can be different in every country. A person in Italy does look different than someone in The Netherlands for example. So we have multiple models in our campaigns, and these models are easily adjustable with the Storyteq platform.”
There’s still an opportunity for most advertisers to improve their media quality.
One of the best ways to do that is with efficient workflows, you’ll get to help your team be more efficient without sacrificing the high quality content that your audience loves you for.
According to The Drum, in a post-cookie world, the enormous untapped opportunity will remain on the creative itself; but before we even talk about how much planning goes into the creative, it’s also time to retire the typical ad we see and ignore every day.
Even this small shift towards how you conceptualize and craft the ads you deliver will improve results a lot faster than trying to replace what’s lost due to cookies.
The only way to find out is by testing. All ad strategies and underlying processes should be focused on agility, flexibility, and having the ability to adapt to changing circumstances fast.
A more personalized ad experience brings you closer to your audience. And with improved segmentation comes the ability to deliver a more personalized experience. If you know where your audience is in the funnel then you can serve them with the ad that is best suited to their stage and their preferences.
“Storyteq is ideal for us to perform A/B testing. We can change a lot of dynamic elements in the templates and try what works best in our target audiences. This can be copy, color usage, models, etc. Using Storyteq makes it very cost- efficient because we can easily create these banners ourselves.” – Marc Poelsma, Online Marketeer at Allianz Direct
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