Akshay Sura - Partner
7 Oct 2020
This is the transcript and video of the Supercharge your Product Strategy using Sitecore Content Hub Webinar.
Note: The following is the transcription of the video produced by an automated transcription system.
All right, so hey, guys, today we’ll be talking about supercharging your product strategy by using Sitecore Content Hub and will walk through the webinar as to how we will do that. Again, we are from Konabos. It’s pronounced Co-Nah-Bose, it’s interesting. And it has a story behind it if you want to look it up. We have quite a few of the Sitecore MVP’s currently working with us, do a lot of work in the Content Hub, Sitecore and Sitecore Commerce Space with DCX Enablement. My name is Akshay Sura, I have been an MVP for quite a few years and deal with a lot of the community events such as SUGCON and Hackathon and things like that. With me today I have Chris Williams, who’s been an MVP for even longer than I have, and evangelizes this Content Hub. So before we before I give it to Chris, I wanted to quickly go over what is Sitecore Content Hub. So Sitecore Content Hub is SaaS based offering, which Sitecore provides as part of their acquisition of style labs and Sitecore Content Hub within itself, has separate products which deal with different aspects of content and whether it’s related to product or content types or how you manage content instead of Content Hub. So with that, I will give it to Chris. So for those that aren’t familiar with Content Hub, Content Hub is what I call a trilogy in five parts, kind of a. The main parts are if you look at product content management and digital asset management, there are they are very tightly coupled. So you have your product content management allows you to to create your entities and use your entities for products and brands and catalogs and stuff like that, and then be able to tie them back to your digital assets, which is part of your dam and your marketing content, which is created in CMP. The other the other major parts are MRM, which I typically say is the JIRA for marketers, allows you to create your, your projects and your tasks and assign them. And then when they’re done, they actually get uploaded to the to the DAM or to the CMP environment is content so that they can get properly approved right. From the tasks rather than trying to find where they are. The other piece is the web to print, which allows you to create your two. I use your adobe template and to put in existing assets and content that you’ve created under DAM or CMP and then produce the PDF in order to do your print posters or catalogues or whatever other print mechanisms are. You require.
So, the first thing we wanted to go through is what is the ideal content lifecycle? So, we have our own the pretty scenarios where we would love to plan for pieces of content related a campaign. We come up with ideas. We convert them into actual piece of content based on our planning. Once that’s done, we optimize the piece of content for search engines as metadata keywords, anything you need in depending on the channel you’re trying to push this piece of content to and then you publicize it. So, you push this piece of content or a piece of content to different channels, namely web, social, mobile and syndicated sites and things like that. Once its distributed it. You want you want to be able to see how it performs or see which piece of content are working really well, which aren’t try to figure out how some of them are working better than the others and possibly use that knowledge to make the content, which isnt performing as well, perform well. And that’s the ideal scenario. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like that in the real life, so when you’re dealing with multiple departments, people spread over different time zones or even different parts of the building, even it becomes difficult in order to manage people in different parts of the organization, different departments getting the review or approval process becomes harder. Some of it becomes manual. The content, which is being developed in one department, you use a different piece of software as opposed to another department. And it’s just you’re not on the level at the same level. Not everyone has the same understanding. You know, there’s duplicated effort all over the place and things take longer. And the common goal here is to make sure that we build a piece of content, get the return on investment, on building that content. But that rarely happens nowadays, especially with different tools, disjointed systems, just not coordinating well as one unit. And to make it worse, you have teams for each of these different channels, so you have silos for CRM or Commerce or CMS, they have their own marketing people who deal with it, own content writers own IT staff, which deals with each one of these silos, which makes it even worse. And all we are trying to do is we want to aggregate content, plan for it, collaborate, manage how the entire ecosystem around content works, and then be able to publish the respective channels. So, if there were a way for us to produce everything in one place and then push it to these different channels, it would make life easier. This is a view of some of the channels which is digital marketing team has to deal with nowadays. So, you can get into granular details. For instance, in social media, if you were to push a piece of content to Instagram as opposed to Twitter as opposed to LinkedIn, you can instantly see that there is a difference there.
What you would do on an Instagram would mainly be visual and photo specific, but something like Twitter its short text with an image. And then you go into LinkedIn, you could have a lot more text with it, with an image as well. So, content varies once you get into this and it only makes things complicated. Now here it’s an illustration of working against deadlines and time, and that always comes into play when you’re dealing with, say, for instance, a product launch. And it’s hard because it’s different. And it’s not just one department or one group of people who are involved for a product launch, for instance. It’s different departments, different functions. Not everything has to do with IT. There’s logistics involved so it becomes harder. To make things worse. If your product lines look like this, where you have tons and tons of products and the products are based in physical and online or just physical, just online, it just becomes difficult very fast because you’re looking at multiple products with their own variant, each having their own set of assets. Now that even the development of these assets, depending on if it’s a product spec sheet, is done by probably a specific group of people inside the organization as opposed to the photo shots of the product itself, which is done by a different part of the team. And then it just the amount of assets you’re dealing with, the amount of products you’re dealing with is exponential and it just gets even more painful.And all we’re trying to do is we just want to get organized, even though it’s painful to begin with. But once we get organized, we get on the same wavelength, things will eventually become easier. So, let’s take a look at. A couple of the use cases, so we put together a couple of use cases we would seem near and dear to us, which would seem out there in the industry while working on one of the most important one, which we’ve been talking about, is just having teams which are not connected, which are disjointed, because either they’re in different locations, they’re siloed, they have their own things to worry about, but their goal is the same, which is they want to build content which can be used across channels. They want a better return on investment and they just want to be successful. Now, in order to do this. It’s in in the age we are in, it should only be easier because we have technology, we are able to get on virtual calls, we are able to do things which generations, like a couple of decades ago found it really difficult. We don’t have issues with bandwidth, for instance. So, it should be pretty easy for us to be all on the same page. So what would be the solution for something like this, which is it would really help if there was one unified platform where you can put in ideas for content, for a specific campaign, create the actual content, collaborate with the entire team, whether they are in your same department or different department to get feedback, run it through the different departments, be able to manage and deliver the content, whether it’s the actual product content or CMP or even the assets themselves.
But having one central place where all of these people from different parts of the content lifecycle are able to collaborate. And I think that we think that would help a lot. Now, let’s take another use case, so this, again, is a common issue, especially when you’re dealing with the volume of content. So, I assume you have quite a bit of the amount of products in your system, a lot of content related to the products or blog posts, articles, you name it. Now, the biggest challenge is to keep it from getting stale. And one of the best examples I always give for a scenario like this is once you start getting into this cycle where the content gets stale, what happens is it opens up the door for anyone else. So, these third party sites which syndicate your products, for instance, or your content, they’re able to recognize or they probably are able to recognize that the content is getting stale. So, they are able to enhance your content and add more things onto it. And we’ve seen this time and time again, we currently have a customer where their blog posts are three years old and they just don’t have the time to generate new content. But then their products are syndicated on these centralized distributed a website where the distributors themselves are purely online and they’re able to enhance the content for these products. No reason why the company themselves couldn’t do. But that’s a problem which is faced by many of these companies. And the problem is that, again, one central place they need to be able to curate the content and have the source of truth be in one possible place, have anything and everything related to this products or content in one place so that different teams who need this content related products or similar products, whatever that is, you should be able to get this info. But that seems to be a really big problem. Now, how do we solve it? Again, the solution seems pretty simple to say out loud, but again, having one place where you have all your content, either whether it’s created, it’s pulled in from other systems. So, you might have a PIM. And again, PIM doesn’t necessarily mean you have all your product info, you have all your product for which you need for certain aspects of your product lifecycle. But maybe the content you need for marketing websites, syndicated content, different channels, you wouldn’t expect that in a PIM. So, it needs to be added on in a system like PCM, in Content Hub. So, having one place where you can do that, having one source of truth, where everyone can go to, we think what would help this use case scenario? Now, if we take the third and the last use case, we’re going to talk about today is and again, it’s funny talking about this, because we see this in our clients every single day.
So, they use cases. The sales team is having difficulty finding a product specification. And this is a very, very common issue in the in the customer we are talking about or we have dealt with. Their common problem is they have a ton of products across multiple brands. They have a lot of these spec sheets which get generated catalogs which get generated, which are physical as well as digital, and yet there’s still need. So what these sales guys are trying to do is in order to fit the need for a potential customer who is buying like five hundred of these or a thousand of these in bulk, they don’t have time to even talk to the I.T. people and explain, hey, this is my need. Can you help me with my need? I need I need to be able to generate a product factsheet which can do X, Y and Z with this branding. What the sales guys are doing is they are opening up Adobe Acrobat, generating this product spec sheets from the different brands, cutting and pasting into their own PDF and giving it to the customer. The problem with this approach is it works great. You’re able to satisfy your customers need, but a you’re not on brand to depending on who’s doing it, they might not pay attention to detail and it might actually hurt your brand because it doesn’t look as good as it should. And then the most important issue here is you’re not really solving the problem, the problem being one source of content, one place where everything is held and one place with which everything is taken out from. And that is essentially what the problem is at this moment. So, it doesn’t help our base brand. It doesn’t increase. Productivity is just duplicating. Imagine the amount of time these sales guys are wasting. Re-doing the same exact thing. It could just be automated. Now, what could be a solution to something like this? The solution could be, again, provide one single unified platform, single source of truth, have everything in there, and you build processes into this. So, if there is a spec sheet, which the sales guy needs to build, all while we can make it, we can program it, we can use web to print all the sales. Sales person has to do is jump in, press a button on Content Hub for the specific rendition, and we can build a spec sheet based on how they would like it, based on the template they want to use. And it just becomes like a repeatable process. And if there are any changes, you go back and add new renderings or add new processes in place so that we are not redoing some of this and we gain efficiency that way.
Now that we are done with all of our use cases, we quickly want it to run through before we get into the demo part, the different stages of how you would want to think about it. So, planning content is once you set it up, you know, all of these steps will make sense. It’s just a matter of setting it up, bringing the whole organization on board from top down so that everyone’s on board, they’re committed to it and they do it and they just follow it. And hopefully that you’ll find pitfalls, you’ll fix them. And over a period of time, it just becomes part of your process and everything will run smoothly and obviously like to keep a well-oiled machine. You keep need to oil and keep oiling it to make sure it doesn’t squeak. So first part is planning. So being able to ideate. So come up with ideas, create content, reviewing existing content, planning out new content which complements your existing content. That’s all part of the planning portion. You have access to MRM, where you have marketing calendars based on your campaign and planning is a crucial part of any product marketing campaign. The second part is authoring and I think this is greatly overlooked when you’re trying to create content, you people want to jump in to creating content. But what you do need to think about is coming up with ideas. So what you most likely find when you’re dealing with different people is people have brilliant ideas. It’s just not surfaced enough to the rest of the group or the rest of the teams for them to notice something and maybe pick something, which would be a better fit for the company. So ideation is something which is part of content. It’s a really cool piece of content creation where you can ideate with your entire team. Share ideas, you add comments, figure out which is on Brand, which works, which doesn’t, and then once you find the ones which go through the ideation process and you kind of have a liking towards it as a team, you push that into content creation at that point so you can actually author it. And like any other piece of software, collaboration is everything. So one of the nicest pieces of Content Hub, which I love is the actual process where you review, annotate, go back and forth between team members, different groups, different departments, and come up with a better solution, whether it’s an image, whether it’s a piece of content, video, you name it, you would be able to move that piece of content in different workflows and be able to review, annotate, push it back, pull it forward, and then at the end of it, you would have a really good piece of content and you are able to build it in a very agile way.
Now, managing content, the stakeholders who are involved in it all, again, trying to jump between JIRA and Confluence and DevOps and this software and that software just makes it too complicated. Too many things, again, makes the department siloed. Instead, if you get the Buy-In for them to have one single source of truth, one place where everything is Content Hub, it just makes it easier for you to manage not only just content, but also all the stakeholders curating content. So this is kind of interesting. So I think once you get into like the MRM piece where you have the content calendar, you’re able to produce different piece of content. So as part of a campaign, you’re not just trying to create blog posts or articles or Web pages. Right. You’ve got to think about the channels beyond where we are so stuck in our ways that we just think social web, but there’s more to it. So we have our Web channel in social. We have multiple channels like Instagram, like the example we just took. We have third party syndicated website. We might have a third party store which is pulling a feed from us in order to sell our products along with all the others. So in order to do all of these, in order to have a product launch, we need to have content which is across multiple channels. So we might have to write a couple of blog posts. We might have to write social media messages which go to Twitter only, which go to LinkedIn only, which might go to Instagram. So you might have to create articles. So as part of the MRM content calendar, you’re able to schedule these out, get your team members involved in order to create these modular piece of content, have enough metadata and you can cater to multiple experiences based on based on this curation again. Finally, you want to be able to push your content across different channels. You want to be able to measure. So all the effort you and your organization put into building content is of not much value if you don’t know what effect it is having or causing on your target audience. So you need to be able to measure the effectiveness of the context as well as the content. So you need to be able to see how this piece of content is working well on a Web channel. Is it working well on the third party syndicated site?
So you need to be able to leverage this piece of content across multiple channels and see how well it’s working. And again, you take those learnings based on the measurement you’re seeing and the audits you’re running and you go back and make improvements on the content, which isn’t working as well. So with that, we’ll come to the demo portion. Let me bring our instance up. So this is an instance of three for one content hub. And again, cameras, as one of our business partners was kind enough to style it. I’m not quite sure how many of you have seen Content Hub before, but pretty much every page that theming, the content on a piece of page, the components on pages, they’re all configurable. So one of the coolest pieces of Content Hub of which I find very interesting is the actual theming portion of it. So you can create themes, you can create things so that they cater to a specific user or a group. Where Chris had given an example this morning where you have your users from a specific distributor or is a specific store chain who blogs, and they are able to see their own branding, so they wouldn’t they would just feel at home, for instance. So you are able to specify and create these themes and you can change them according to different users. So it makes your life easy. Not only that, the ability to be able to create new pages, be able to have a page hierarchy, be able to change how a component acts based on conditions, based on things it’s seeing as a user as well as a piece of content just helps a ton in creating a good UI. So what you get out of the boxes and what you see here so you could make changes in order to make it make customizable to how your organization needs it. One of the crucial pieces of this and again, depending on how you use this, every entity. So, for instance, if you’re trying to use PKM, which is part of content management, every entity is customizable. You’re not locked into something which is out of the box and you just have to make do with it and you have no option to do anything. All the entities in here are customizable. You are able to add additional fields, additional metadata in order to hydrate this these entities to a way which fits your organization, your use case. So it’s a very powerful tool where you can customize it to store the information you need. You can customize it to look the way you need and you act the way you need. And that’s, I think, a very good differentiating factor for content if you’re looking into evaluating content.
The other thing while you’re in there is if you go into schema, you can you can create your own entities as well within here. So one of the other big advantage is that you can actually go in here and say, you know, m m dot sub product or, you know, m m dot, you know. Right, and then that allows you to create you can then, oh, you’ve got an extraordinary. And what you can do is you can then add your own schema and you can build out your own hierarchy in the way that you want. So one of the things that other systems will do for you is they’ll be like, here’s the rigid hierarchy that you have to bring all your products and hierarchy in from, whereas this will actually allow you to create you can create product category, subcategories, brands. If you search and if you search under schema, there’s actually a name brand that already exists there that they don’t have set up out of the box. But they know that some people tend to use it. So they may have put like a name brand in there so you can create your own entities with your own field and then create your own relationships. So that’s one of the other very powerful pieces to be the entity model as you can. You can create it for what you need. You’re not stuck with mapping, you know, your business process to a rigid model that’s already set. So, yeah. So coming back to PCM and again dealing with products, you’re not looking for product information, which you already have in the PIM, you’re trying to look to enhance that product information so that you could push it to different channels depending on your need. So going through PCM, so you have product catalogs similar to a commerce system, right. So you have I have two catalogs here, engines and cars. And then you have product families, which are basically categories. I have electric and gasoline cars and then you have products themselves where I have a couple of different products. Each product, like I mentioned, is and is an entity you could customize it to what your product requirements are, tag product to one or more catalogs or one or more product families. It’s very customizable and depending on your needs, you could pretty much do anything you need to. You could have your own life cycle as to how this product traverses through the workflow. You can get different departments involved depending on the user groups you create for them, and push this piece of content between them so you can get a legal review. You could have someone who’s a product specialist who can look at the core product data, someone who’s from a marketing and sales perspective. They can look at it and everyone can vouch for the quality of the content before it actually gets approved and pushed out.
So it’s quite a bit of things you can do, take days to go over all of these if you want to go through all the piece of content. But we do have quite a bit of this as blogs and webinars. So I’ll go back to the presentation there. So we’re trying to wrap up a little bit. So just to summarize, what we’re all trying to do is we’re trying to build content, get a return on our investment and just want our content to be successful in the different channels which interest us as an organization. In order to do this. What we feel is having one place where you create ideas, create the content, manage the content, have one source of truth, are able to go to that source of truth for content, for any channel would help quite a bit be able to actually push this content out to different channels and be able to measure it in order to see how successful this is. Be able to personalize this piece of content to say, OK, you know what, I’m going to tag this piece of content with the audience. They belong to the tags, which will give us more context as to who this content appeals to. So it’s a game. It’s a virtual reality. It’s an electronics product or a specific video. Things of that sort would help quite a bit. And then having all of this in one central place with the same UI for every single thing. So any department which is dealing with your entire content lifecycle is in one place and not just disjointed in terms of using different pieces of content helps quite a bit. Now I’m saying. So I’m going to wrap it up so we can take questions at this moment. I do want to mention that. So let me give the permission for the meeting. So, again, you can reach us out, we are in social channels quite a bit, so if you have any questions, you need to reach out for any suggestions. We’ve already done quite a bit of content. So if you’re just starting out or have questions, be sure to just reach out. We’ll be more than happy to answer your questions. Here’s some of our info for if we wanted to get in touch with the phone or email or Twitter and LinkedIn channels, we post quite a bit of content on YouTube as well. And see if you have questions. We can take your questions. We don’t have them right now. I want to ask and at another time, we’re more than happy to answer your questions as well.
Right, so I’m not hearing anything, so let me go to the next slide, so I just want to mention that we’re running of quite a couple of webinars as of quite a few more coming up. So this is the one for the supercharges product strategy, October 20th. We have another webinar which is running both in the North American as well as Asia Pacific region. Look, before you leap. That’s an interesting webinar to me, because this was something we were stuck in when we’re trying to get into content. We didn’t have the complete 360 of, you know, how do we deal with it? How do you get started? How do you plan for what happens when you actually get it? How do you deal with domain models? How do you end up implementing it? How do you deal with migration of tons of content into this brand new system? Do you phase it out at once? How does that work? So this webinar, look, before you leap, encapsulates all of that. So if you have questions, you’re looking. And then they if you’re attending this Sitecore Symposium, we have a talk in there about the CMP connector and we haven’t talked about it in this or there’s some blog posts out there. But CMP and DAM managed by Sumith doing this presentation that Sumith and I are talking about how the CMP Connector helps you integrate content pulling back into the site, of course, space and how, you know, what are the upcoming releases for this CMP anyway? The advantage of going to see that one is if you’re really interested in CMP, you’ll get to see the new connector.
Thank you so much for joining us. Taking time out of your busy day. Hope this was a quick, short webinar. And again, if you guys have any questions, be sure to send them our way.
If you have any questions, please get in touch with me. @akshaysura13 on Twitter or on Slack.
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Akshay is an nine-time Sitecore MVP who has spent more than a decade working exclusively on Sitecore projects.
In addition to his work as a solution architect, Akshay is also one of the founders of SUGCON North America 2015, SUGCON India 2018 & 2019, Unofficial Sitecore Training, and the Sitecore Slack.
Akshay founded and continues to run the Sitecore Hackathon. As one of the managing partners of Konabos Consulting, Akshay will continue to work with clients to lead projects and mentor their existing teams.