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    April 25, 2016
    6 minute read

    Speeding content to market: Product launches and communication

    by: Ethan Walfish

    The Takeaway: Your content management teams must align with your ad team/marketers, and both need to improve their communication with buyers at retailers in order to successfully launch products and ad campaigns.

    We're in the early days of managing product content in a centralized way, and in 2016, many of those efforts are dedicated to getting content right. But for a change of pace, let's talk about what needs to happen when launching new items or ad campaigns. Why? In those cases, there is even more pressure on your product content. After all, consumers are likely unfamiliar with your new items and offerings, and the internet is the first place those shoppers will go to become educated.

    "To give consumers the product content they need when they want it, you need better internal collaboration."

    So, here's today's product experience management lesson: Timing is everything, especially when your brand is introducing a new product or ad campaign. And to ensure that you're giving your consumers the product content they need when they want it, you require better internal collaboration.

    Going live without product content
    In the age of distributed commerce, you're trying to get your products on every digital retailers' site, and that entails aligning your content with respect to accuracy, consistency and quality. With your old products, that just means making the rounds and updating information. But what's your strategy and process for launching new items or ad campaigns? Many brands have trouble in that aspect.

    This scenario will likely seem familiar to many of you:

    Your business wants to advertise new selections with your retail partners. Your advertising team works tirelessly with those sites to get ad campaigns online in a set amount of time. But in the hustle, bustle and haste of launching that initiative, that group forgets to check in with your product content team. Or worse - and more likely - those advertising professionals were never told to loop in product content operations. There simply is/was no process because, historically, your brand hasn't invested in product content.

    As a result, the ad team moves forward with its project, and your retail partners are a few days from launching those new ads. Employees crack a few beers to celebrate success, when you or another leader notices a problem: Product content based on the new ad materials isn't live with your retail partners.

    The race to update your product content across all retailers' sites is on, but there's no way you'll be ready with that information by the time the campaign launches.

    Your customers notice that something is off, they can't find the product content they need and they move on - a likely occurrence, given that 94 percent of consumers will either abandon a site or simply give up if they can't find the information they crave, according to our recent report, "Cracking the Consumer Code."

    You need to prepare for product and ad campaign launches by aligning your product content team with your advertising group.You need to prepare for product and ad campaign launches by aligning your product content team with your marketing pros.

    Problem, meet solution.
    What was the problem in that scenario? Your brand lacked the process. It didn't have a "mechanism established to communicate launch within [your] business," to borrow language from this sweet infographic from Asghar Maqsood via Inc. Your teams didn't have the internal alignment required to successfully launch an ad campaign in 2016, and as a result the timing of releasing supporting product content was off, and that can certainly cost you sales in the short and long term.

    When your brand is planning to launch new campaigns and products, your entire ecommerce organization must be held responsible for creating and maintaining a process that ensures your product content is updated and sent to market alongside other marketing materials. This process needs to be proactive, and just as you plan a go-to-market timeline for ad campaigns, product content creation must be accounted for when planning a launch date. And in many ways, your retailers and their buyer teams should also be kept in the loop - they need to know when you plan on changing product content.

    At the end of the day, your brand's product experience management practices must expand and encompass your entire ecommerce organization if you hope to create more visibility and transparency throughout the go-to-market timeline. Create a process, and stick with it to ensure you're hitting the mark with your distributed commerce strategy.

    If you want to learn more about how your brand can better align itself internally, check out this blog post on ecommerce challenges and solutions as well as this article on the importance of a chief digital officer, or CDO.

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