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3 digital trends companies cannot ignore in 2021

Digital trends 2021: Remote work setup

With the COVID-19 pandemic having changed the ways consumers shop, read and engage digitally, organizations and publishers have an opportunity to come out on top through delivering a seamless, personalized omnichannel customer experience like never before. By understanding content’s role, putting a CMS at the center, creating an effective partnership between product and editorial, and utilizing future-proofed technology, businesses today can build effective content strategies that foster loyal brand advocates.

Even with the promise of a vaccine, virtual-first is here to stay

As consumer behaviors adapted in 2020, marketers and publishers realized that scaling virtual and digital reliance is not just a stopgap, but preferred as a way to better align data and analytics to content, and map the entirety of a customer journey.

Virtual-first will continue to dominate nearly every facet of modern life. Consider the healthcare industry: nearly three-quarters of consumers had their first-ever virtual visit during COVID-19, resulting in additional digital content touchpoints in advance and in follow-up of visits. While there was innovation happening in healthcare prior to the pandemic, electronic medical records, telehealth and other areas have significantly accelerated.

Similarly, the events industry has experienced a massive shift. In the B2B space, in-person events and conferences were traditionally major revenue drivers. Even before COVID-19, the virtual events market was valued at $78 billion, according to Grand View Research. Consumer and B2B events will remain virtual-first through 2021 and beyond, even if some are eventually able to include an in person element. With the acceleration of virtual events and conferencing technology, B2B managers and executives see exponential potential to deliver powerful experiences.

All of this is to say, to adapt to 2021’s virtual and digital-first environment, teams across organizations will need to continue to build new skills, capabilities and mindsets. COVID-19 amplified a skills gap that already existed when it came to digital abilities. Before the current crisis, changing technologies and new ways of working were disrupting jobs and the skills employees needed to do them. In 2017, the McKinsey Global Institute estimated that as many as 375 million workers—or 14% of the global workforce—would have to switch occupations or acquire new skills by 2030 because of automation and artificial intelligence. In a recent McKinsey Global Survey, 87% of executives said they were experiencing skill gaps in the workforce or expected them within a few years—but less than half of respondents had a clear sense of how to address the problem.

Trend #1: The Brightspot Solution
Multichannel can’t be a strategy; it must be a central approach to content. We can reasonably expect that workforces will still be largely remote at least through the first half of 2021. Brightspot’s digital-to-print capabilities and out-of-the-box options for getting sites up quickly (e.g., in the case of needing new sites for virtual event launches), makes it easy for brands to get started. And, instead of being unprepared when a new channel emerges that can support content display, Brightspot’s headless and hybrid CMS options enable pushing content to a front end without disruption.

Multi-device, dynamic personalization is key

One short-term impact of the pandemic and resulting deluge of digital content is digital fatigue. As workers and consumers, many people are spending the bulk of their day looking from one screen to another. Multi -screen and -device was already becoming a norm, but the complexity of delivering content in this environment is now magnified by consumer sentiment and exhaustion.

This digital fatigue is likely to lead to skepticism when receiving content, and reduce the chance that someone will view a piece of branded content, especially if they do not think it is relevant. Marketers and publishers must be thinking about continuing digital fatigue: targeting, personalization and a close look at frequency with which audiences encounter content is key.

How to create content experiences that overcome digital fatigue

Be relevant to what is happening in real-time
Personalize and speak in an authentic way
Deliver a consistent message across mediums
Trend #2 : The Brightspot solution
To combat digital fatigue, connecting with consumers through personalization and digital storytelling will be key. Brightspot makes this easier through personalization capabilities and analytics that help organizations and publishers connect with segmented audiences. Strong collaborative tools via Brightspot also help keep editorial and digital teams on track, and brand consistency supports strong storytelling.

Digital agility and flexibility will differentiate successful businesses from failures in 2021

While there are challenges brands will need to solve to navigate the next frontier for digital media, the tools and techniques to answer these challenges have never been more accessible.

Increased content consumption makes flexible workflows more important than ever. In 2021, content workflows that can be customized to meet unique needs will be critical to keep the publishing process on track, especially with more remote digital and editorial teams as a result of the pandemic. The publishing process will require smooth and fast content workflows to help editors oversee each step and adjust in real-time, as needed.

Headless architecture is already popular, but will further grow this year as demand for flexibility increases: reaction to the pandemic created a need to digitally transform fast. People will continue to consume more and more content, especially on web and apps, meaning brands will need to deliver digital experiences in real-time, an approach for which headless is ideally positioned. If this year has taught us anything, too, it’s that the need to remain flexible and have access to multiple options is critical for businesses to pivot quickly; flexible CMS solutions that present all options—headless, hybrid and decoupled—will help organizations and publishers stay ready for changing business needs and be able to choose what works best for them.

Every problem can’t be solved by replacing platforms: a demand to keep content always running means smart integrations will lead the way forward. Using a CMS as the central hub will be increasingly critical for organizations and publishers to adapt in the moment to various situations, accessing data, programs and processes already in place as a starting point.

Trend #3: The Brightspot solution
While headless architecture is already popular, core and ancillary tools and platforms will further grow and enable new flexibility to transform more quickly, effectively. Brightspot’s ability to support customized workflows and whatever architecture you choose (decoupled, headless, or a bit of both) means organizations and publishers can choose what’s right for their business, while integration-readiness means they don’t have to build from the ground up to get ahead.
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