Many, many pieces of Lego toy pieces in one image.

The content demands placed on marketers today are higher than ever before. Not only are we continuing to strive for those personalized omnichannel experiences,  but COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter protests around the world have pushed marketers to quickly spin up marketing messages and content at the drop of a hat. Think about how quickly Nike had to turn around its “For Once, Don’t Do It” video. And doing it right is critical, so that your brand isn’t seen as profiteering but rather as being genuine and showing leadership.

The way we used to create content doesn’t work for today’s marketing. In my own marketing experience, the old-school way of content worked like this: do fiscal year planning and map out content plans; when your “turn” comes, work with creative teams to scope out the content; creative teams build the content from scratch; go through endless reviews and approvals (usually with someone as a major blocker because they are busy or on vacation); and then put the content out and forget about it.

Creating Experiences Differently

These old ways of working just don’t cut it anymore. We need to change the way we work and the way we create content. But how?

As a marketer, I have experienced success in changing this paradigm by working with experience building blocks. Using this concept, what would once take me and my team two to three months to create now takes about two weeks. The reduction of time is invaluable as we need to pivot quickly to respond better and faster to our customers and the current market situations.

Let’s dive more deeply into experience building blocks.

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Defining Experience Building Blocks

Experience buildings blocks are the smallest piece of reusable content. Why do I call it experience building blocks? Because all is content supposed to be driving an experience!

By breaking down content to smaller, reusable chunks, marketing teams can more easily reuse, recombine and repurpose content to be used on multiple channels.  I was able to do this by identifying our four or five “core” pieces of content. These core assets served as the basis of our content marketing. When I’m creating new content I’m able to recombine, reuse and repurpose existing materials to get to market faster.

To use these building blocks successfully, I suggest marketers follow these three ideas: 

  • Democratize content. It’s not feasible to rely on a designer or videographer or copywriter for every single piece of content that goes out. In order to repurpose content more effectively, creative teams must empower marketers to recombine and create content themselves. That’s not to say creative teams are unimportant: they are critical members to creating experience building blocks, and must still provide the support and expertise to create the finished product.
  • Be agile. I'd be remiss if I didn't mention agility when discussing creating content more quickly. To effectively repurpose and recombine content pieces, creating net new experiences, marketers have to change the way they work and think about content. It can no longer be a long, drawn out process. Instead, marketers must embrace the core philosophy around marketing agility. This means that when creating content, they must focus on constant planning (not once a year planning!), more collaborative ideation and creation processes, and a test-and-iterate content strategy.
  • Be context aware. To better repurpose and recombine content, we have to understand what is actually in that content. Take the example of Lego building blocks — not all the blocks are the same. Some blocks are used to make roofs of a house, some blocks are best used to provide the foundation of the house, and some blocks are specifically made to be a home’s window. Content is created in the same way. So marketers must add structure and descriptions to their content, making it context aware, to ensure that it’s being repurposed in the appropriate manner.

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