SDL, a specialist in global content creation, management, translation and delivery, has revealed its Five Future States of Content, a series of disruptive content trends for brands to watch in 2018. With content at the heart of every customer journey, SDL predicts content will hit a new dimension of organsational importance, with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) playing a leading role in automating content creation, translation, organisation and delivery.
Self-creating and organising content may seem like something out of a science fiction movie but advances in AI and ML make this, and other exciting advancements, a reality for brands now and in 2018. SDL’s Five Future States of Content report looks at where AI and ML are set to make the greatest impact in the way content is securely created, managed, translated and delivered to global audiences. The Five Future States of Content include:
1. The demand for content is too high to keep pace with: Content will create itself
In his book The Grand Design, reknowned physicist Stephen Hawking argues that the universe can create itself out of nothing. But can the same be said about content? Thousands of writers would be needed 24/7 to create all the content required to power future digital experiences. Breakthroughs in AI and ML mean that in 2018 it will become possible for brands to automatically generate finely-tuned content from information stored in a variety of repositories across their business – giving every customer their own, truly unique experience.
2. The amount of content is too overwhelming to manage: Content will organise itself
Creating content is only one of the many applications that Machine Learning is capable of. Brands will begin to use Machine Learning to create taxonomies of all their company’s content, summarising and tagging it to facilitate better search results through content management systems, improving metadata and optimising SEO, and enabling other enterprise systems to automatically discover existing content. This will maximise reuse and return on already invested content creation efforts and help form the next frontier of digital experiences.
3. The waterfall methodology has dried up: Content will be agile
With the future of content creation and organisation being accelerated by AI, content will need to be structured and formatted so that it is machine ready. SDL predicts that the old waterfall approach to creating and delivering content will become obsolete in favor of a continuous global content operating model. We’ll see more companies adopt this approach in 2018, enhancing global content and localisation teams with AI and ML capabilities, like authoring tools and machine translation, to create and deliver engaging content at an extreme scale in response to our fast-paced society.
4. The customer decides before they ever talk to your salesperson: Content will become your best seller
Brands are already shifting their sales priorities to focus on content creation rather than just selling. That’s because salespeople spend just one-third of their day actually talking to prospects, and content never stops talking. SDL expects the creation, translation and delivery of content to become as much of a priority to sales leaders as incentivizing and training sales teams. SDL also predicts that the types of content that sells will expand rapidly beyond the traditional marketing materials into the realm of in-depth product information, a source of information that companies leave mostly untapped today. Research supports this trend: more than half (53 per cent) of global customers are now consulting manuals, FAQs and technical content to learn more about a product before purchasing.
5. Content is your biggest security risk: Content will be secured
Upcoming legislation, including Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), means that businesses will need absolute control of customer information. They will need to provide transparency, a full audit trail and complete data custody come May 2018. But companies outside Europe are failing to prepare, and we expect some big brands to be quickly hit with fines of up to 4 per cent of revenues. In order to organise and secure high volumes of data in 2018, brands will turn to on-premise ML technologies to translate, analyse and automate their content supply chains.
“Content that creates itself, organises itself, and scales globally with ease all sounds like the stuff of imagination,” said Peggy Chen, CMO, SDL. “But the rules of content and marketing are changing in 2018, and the emergence of new AI and Machine Learning technologies are powering this seismic shift. Smart companies know that this is the future they must prepare for if they’re going to thrive in the years ahead.”