Why You Need a Content Supply Chain

In today’s social media-driven economy, the word content has never held more weight and currency. Consumers can’t get enough — the average digital content consumption is now six hours and 59 minutes per day, and that number is only going to continue to grow. So how can brands and retailers possibly keep up and continue to produce the amount of fresh content that their shoppers desire?

The answer is simple: they need to focus on their content supply chain and to put their customers to work for them. With incredibly high-quality phone cameras and editing apps available to everyday people, now user-generated content (UGC) and brand-created content really don’t have too much of a difference in quality.

Social media platforms are built off of this philosophy entirely. It’s estimated that TikTok users watched 22.6 trillion minutes of video in 2021, and that content is mostly made by everyday users who are posting that content for free. Yes, some of them are being paid, but the TikTok creator fund only doled out $200 million in 2021. Compare that to Netflix; its estimated original content budget in the same year was a whopping $17 billion, and its minutes watched paled in comparison to TikTok’s, at only 9.6 trillion.

Don’t get me wrong, branded content has a purpose and you need it, it’s just that UGC solves for content demand because it’s highly scalable and less expensive. Plus it’s cheaper, faster, more authentic, contextual and drives higher conversion than branded content. In the old days it was fine to create a limited amount of content, as you didn’t have an infinite amount of channels to distribute to, but now you have to think about contextualization, personalization, individual retailers — the list goes on.


The Content Supply Chain Issue

There are two big overarching issues that are affecting content production. The first is that discretionary budgets are now under pressure due to a looming recession. In times of economic downturn revenue goes down, which puts your budget under pressure. Under said pressure, the demand for content that converts becomes even more important, particularly if price is a consideration.

Second is the inability to service today’s higher content demand due to much higher retailer and marketing channel needs. Luckily the content that converts, UGC, also happens to be scalable and low cost. So if discretionary budgets are now under pressure but you still want to maintain a level of marketing spend that’s going to help maintain sales, UGC is a good lever to utilize to do that.

What if we think about content creation like we think about a product supply chain? If we do that, the name of the game is delivering the right content, at the right time, through the right channel and to the right consumer (and the lowest cost). To do this you need high-quality content at scale that can be created all the time. But where do you even start?

Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t even have a content supply chain or a content creation process. Most people don’t think about it this way, as different parts of creation are historically owned by different functions. To start you need to stand back and assess what your consumers demand through the channels they engage with, then your processes, then your organizational wiring and technology underpinning the process. Chances are all three are disconnected. But to create content successfully today you need to have one supply chain platform that manages all your content.

If we get into the mindset of thinking about our content supply chain like your product supply chain, then you need to start thinking about how to collect it, curate it, how to amplify it and how to distribute it.

Key Takeaways

  • Your customers, and consumers in general, are itching for content — so much, in fact, that it is impossible for you to ever produce enough.
  • This is because it’s expensive and time-consuming to produce, there are infinite channels and platforms you need to fill, and today especially budgets are tight.
  • Therefore to be successful you have to create a content supply chain, ensuring that your processes, organizational wiring and technology underpinning your content creation and management are all connected.
  • To meet the content demand consumers require, you need to be utilizing UGC as much as possible. Not only will it allow you to have the quantity you require, but also the high-quality content that converts due to its authenticity and reliability.

Doug Straton has experience with powerhouse companies including Unilever, L’Oreal, LVMH, Bristol-Myers Squibb and The Hershey Company. Wanting to explore the technology side of digital, Straton pivoted to martech in 2022 as the Chief Customer Evangelist for Bazaarvoice, a tech company that allows brands and retailers to collect and display many types of user-generated content through one of the world’s largest syndication networks.  In this role, he engages with and consults for a “who’s who” of brand and retailer leadership on maximizing business value through digital. Additionally, Straton is a strategic advisor to Alert Innovation (robotics), Nectar (media buying), Digital Commerce Global (“DCG”, benchmarking and consulting) and is a CDO board member of the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA).

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