Modern marketing has an insatiable appetite for content. The proliferation and fragmentation of channels and media and consumers’ growing expectations for rich, relevant and resonant content in many formats and languages means that most marketers are genuinely struggling to feed this content-hungry beast.
Consequently, the content supply chain—the sourcing, production and governance of marketing content—has become a conspicuous bottleneck, the rate limiter for digital marketing maturity.
For the most progressive marketing organizations, the solution is decoupling—where the factors of content production are separated from the strategy and execution of programs and campaigns.
Marketers used to rely on a relatively straightforward content sourcing model. Agencies of record and internal teams created the necessary content apace with the campaign cadence. But, as this cadence shifted from one speed to two, the traditional sourcing model has proven ill-equipped to keep up.
Aristotle once said that nature abhors a vacuum; when space is created, it’s quickly filled in. The same is true for the content supply chain. Here, the vacuum is created by the wide gap between supply and demand, and the space is filled by a diverse ecosystem of content providers, including:
- Freelancers found out in the wild and through marketing talent communities;
- Boutique agencies that turn the crank on content production at scale;
- Third-party content that’s curated through licensing arrangements or via fair use;
- Content cultivated from communities through user generated content techniques; and,
- Machines that act as robowriters to create content asset derivatives and variants.
While agencies of record would like to do more, most are resigned to the fact that the economics of a more continuous model of content production is at odds with their more campaign-oriented constructs. They simply struggle to scale out capacity and scale down costs to meet this more continuous demand.
Thus, multi-sourcing is the model and decoupling is the method.
The most progressive marketing organizations appoint a content leader to look after the content supply chain and wrangle all of these relationships, acting—not unlike the modern-day CIO—as, not a scale operator, but a sourcing integrator who arbitrates between scarce supply and explosive demand.
For marketers, the end of single sourcing is nigh. It takes a village to sustain the content supply chain.