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Your Content-Delivery Strategy Can't Start and End at Mobile

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When I received my first PC, a Tandy 1000, in fourth grade, I didn't think one day I would be standing in front of a customs officer on the U.S.-Mexico border trying to explain why I had two laptops, an iPad and an iPhone -- all for personal use.


Today, the PC-only customer is extinct.

Not only are brands thinking about cross-channel experiences, some now speak of "mobile only." When the first smartphones were introduced, few if any of us fully appreciated the profound impact they would have on the way we shop, how we socialize with brands and each other, and our intense dependency on them every waking moment.

Related: Successful Content Marketers Do These 5 Things Differently

Yet, a content-delivery strategy that ends at mobile will become as quickly outdated as an approach than a "PC-centric" strategy did years ago.

There needs to be a shift in mindset. We can't be married to a particular device format. Instead, stay focused on the needs and behavior of your audiences -- where they're consuming content and the challenges they face that ever-changing technology can exacerbate. When we do this, we realize the content-delivery priority of smartphones is not an "m" (mobile) problem, but an "n" (nth degree) problem.

So how do you deliver personalized and contextual experiences driven by content to a set of screens on different devices? Again, these devices are smartphones today, but are quickly evolving to become our watches, cars and appliances.

Learning context

Data needs to include both the context of the device as well as that of the individual. It needs to pull together what has happened in the past and what's occurring in real time. Where many organizations trip up is believing they need to have it all before making it actionable. Not true.

Even knowing simple things like the fact that a visitor clicked and read an article on home-mortgage options can help to personalize the content delivered to them across the site, mobile app and in-person experiences. Analytics that simply looks at one channel are not enough in this era of multiple devices.

Adjustable content

Organizations need to think about content that shrinks and expands both in size and meaning for the devices to which it's delivered. For images and video, use technology to create and cache different sizes and resolutions. And metadata on the content needs to be cross-channel aware so it can be easily shared across organizations that are often still organized by silos -- be it the mobile app, website, social or email marketing team.

Related: Sales on Mobile Are Booming, So It's Time to Think Small Screen First

For example, with (disclosure: owned by Adobe), which provides strategies and best practices to digital marketers, there is a single place where content is managed and then delivered to the web and mobile devices through a combination of responsive design and mobile-app development capabilities.

Data will be the guide

Given the exploding number of combinations across data sets and content, technology needs to not only be an enabler of an organization's desires, but an advisor to them. For example, predictive analytics is about technology helping marketers make better choices ahead of executing a decision. Innovations in machine learning, which tie data to the set of content to be delivered for the best experiences, will aid organizations to become more relevant, and at scale.

It can't be technology alone

As organizations set priorities for a cross-channel content-delivery effort, it's important to also recognize while technology that connects customer context and content across touch points is critical, it's not the only element for success.

There is also a real human challenge: how do you captivate your audience? What's the point of being able to deliver content to smartphones if your audience doesn't care to interact with it? Thus, organizations must balance the technical ability to deliver content across all channels with the substance of those interactions.

It must be a brand story powerful enough to transcend the fragmentation across devices, with content that is as useful as it is delightful. That type of content is in style, no matter the era.

Related: 5 Mistakes You're Making When Producing Digital Content

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