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Is Brand Orchestration the Future of WCM?

At CoreMedia, we believe that companies in all customer-facing industries are on the verge of an enormous shift in the way they manage their global brand presence. Are you ready for it?

Web Content Management (WCM) is a massive technology wave that continues to grow. In all industries, an increasing percentage of value creation is now done through digital technology. New players emerge with the knowledge and the moxie to disrupt existing businesses through innovative customer experiences and smarter digital technology – often in physical environments such as bricks-and-mortar stores that were once considered entirely distinct from the digital ecosystem.

As a result of this increasing digitization, the global WCM market is predicted to grow to $11B by 2023 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.2%.

The WCM market is just the latest of several major technology waves we’ve seen over the last few decades, including enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer-relationship management (CRM) systems. Each has followed a similar pattern: rising complexity drives the need for increased agility and greater synchronization of data across previously disconnected systems.

We are now on the verge of another major wave: global, omnichannel brand orchestration. And once again, it is being driven by an abrupt increase in complexity. This new technology wave promises to grow much faster than the overall WCM market, of which it’s a subset. But before you can fully understand what brand orchestration is you need to understand the problems that make it necessary.

Increasingly, brands compete through better customer experience, and this means content is really at the heart of everything. Iconic brands have better stories to tell. And they know how to tell them better.

But the telling of these stories is harder than ever. The world of online information moves faster every day. The number of digital channels is growing at an accelerating rate. But the biggest transition will be the merging of the physical the digital.

To stand out in the future, then, companies will need to establish at least two key capabilities: 1) “Digital Stores” (i.e. physical stores augmented with digital technology such as interactive screens plus voice control), and 2) “Digital Products” (i.e. physical products augmented with digital technology). To stay competitive and reinvent their customer experiences for this new era, brands will need to be able to deliver iconic microexperiences and relevant content at every step of the customer journey – both online and offline.

The challenge is that delivering the right brand stories to the right customer in the right format at the right time and place has, in fact, never been harder.

Another challenge faced by marketers and brand managers is the exploding Marketing Tech ecosystem. Scott Brinker’s famous Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic (otherwise known as the Martec 5000) has grown from a mere 150 solutions in 2011 to almost 7,000 today with no evidence consolidation will occur any time soon. And this is just the marketing side.

Every additional touchpoint and and every new tool increases the complexity of the digital brand ecosystem.

All of this comes at a time when the value of the world’s most important brands has never been higher.

Brand orchestration is the ability to manage these digital experiences at scale, personalize them, and deliver them instantly and consistently to any channel – physical or digital. Acting instantly and communicating effectively is the name of the game.

These solutions will be an evolution of content management but will need to encompass a wider range of touchpoints (both physical and digital) and content types. They must be open and flexible enough to integrate with a broad range of best-of-breed marketing and commerce tools, and must include a business user interface that enables marketers and merchandisers to act quickly and at scale.

So, at a minimum brand orchestration must consist of the following elements:

  • A modular and channel-agnostic repository for storing reusable content elements

  • The ability to create and manage “digital product” inventories

  • Tools to make all content “stoppable” on any channel

  • Support for true headless content delivery

  • A scalable, event-driven architecture for security, stability, and speed

  • Integration with advanced AI to improve both customer experiences and marketing workflows

  • Advanced personalization and centralization

  • Integrated tools for multi-site and multi-regional publishing as well as sophisticated translation workflows

  • Dedicated tools for business users to create and manage shoppable content experiences in a wide range of environments including in-store

Brand orchestration will therefore become the system of record for all successful brands through the ability to manage content for all customers, including instant updates, and the synchronization of experiences across all touchpoints – including online and mobile experiences, but also in-store, programmatic advertising, out-of-home, and video.

This is why we believe the market for brand orchestration will grow much faster than the overall WCM market – driven, in part, by the increasing size of CMO IT budgets, which are increasingly on par with the CIO’s tech budget. We expect the demand for these types of solutions will expand dramatically in the next few years and that the competition to become the leading brand orchestration technology provider will be fierce.

And the opportunity is huge. Salesforce alone aims to grow their revenue to $28B by 2023. Assuming all of Salesforce’s CRM customers will need to invest in some form of brand orchestration (and that they allocate an average of 10% on these solutions) this would create a $3B opportunity for brand orchestration within the Salesforce ecosystem alone.

Now that you have a better understanding of why brand orchestration is needed and what it consists of, the question is: how do you get there? What will the path be, from where you are today to where you need to tomorrow?

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