5 Hallmarks of an Agile Content System

Data insights, content modules and standard design systems speed up production and increase impact.

The biggest challenge for today’s content producers is to consistently produce personalized content at a large scale, and credibly have an impact on revenue. Put simply, businesses need to find a way to produce the right content, for the right person, at the right time, on the right channel. The way most companies are set up today makes this a particularly difficult task, one that can’t be tackled by simply adding more employees or investing more money. Our research shows that the teams who are successful in this endeavor have invested in an innovative set of practices that make up an “Agile Content System”. Here are the five most important ones.

Using data to inform content creation

While most content teams have been using some form of analog data to create content (e.g. surveys, demographic studies), accessing the right kind of digital data is what sets the innovative teams apart from the rest. Modern content teams should be able to readily see which content is performing best on each digital channel and adjust creative elements accordingly. Additionally, these teams should also be able to access multi-source customer data to help create content that is tailored specifically to unique audience segments. 

“Accessing the right kind of digital data is what sets the innovative teams apart from the rest.”

This kind of repeatable access to data and analytics means investing in platforms that integrate with each other, educating the creative team on how to use data, and most crucially, organizing groups to collaborate in a more efficient way. Additionally, the most sophisticated teams are using the power of AI to generate both insights, as well as create or suggest content variations based on those insights.

Producing content in modules for approval and recombination

There’s a lot of value in breaking up your content into smaller chunks or modules when you’re creating it. For one, it makes it easier to send and receive compliance or legal approval on smaller chunks of content. It also facilitates more personalization, since you can take all those different content modules and recombine them in a variety of ways for different audience segments. Modern AI-powered content systems are now creating a huge number of variations on the same video ad, or blog post or article by automatically recombining different content modules for new end versions. 

Centralizing and automating content storage

Digital Asset Management platforms or DAMs have become the best place to store creative content. With cloud storage and easy processes for sharing content drafts for collaboration and approval, DAMs make it a lot easier to produce more quality content and have it serve a variety of functions across the organization. The key to successfully using a DAM is to have it be the central repository for storing and managing content for all content stakeholders, which may include product, sales, marketing and service teams. It also follows that there needs to be a standardized tagging and naming scheme that allows multiple teams to upload and download content efficiently. Again, this is another process that can be greatly enhanced with the use of AI that can automatically scan content, determine its themes and automatically tag/store it in the right location for future use.

Uploading a standard design system

Scaling content means allowing content to be produced in multiple centers, rather than a single group at the center. With so many content-producing groups, it can be difficult to maintain standards in quality, as well as consistency in brand and messaging. Investing in a design system helps solve that problem, and also ensures that any new team members or content producers can start to create and match previously produced content quality much faster than they normally would. While most companies have some set of guidelines and rules for brand consistency and visual elements, the most sophisticated ones have uploaded these as a “design system” that is embedded in all the content platforms. This enables creators to access the rules and criteria in real-time, and in some cases, have the approved visual elements and copy supplied in real-time.

Measuring content effectiveness beyond awareness and engagement

While almost every company tries to measure the success of its content in terms of views and clicks (awareness and engagements), the really innovative ones have found a way to attribute even more value to the content, by tracking how much revenue it generates, how many customers it moves along the funnel, or how much money it saves by replacing service inquiries. This elevates content to a strategic tool used by all teams and functions, rather than a promotional asset to be used only by the marketers.

In our upcoming research report, The 2021 State of Digital Content, we’ll be publishing maturity benchmarks for each of these practices, along with the most pressing challenges, investments and priorities for digital content producing teams. Sign up for our subscriber list below to receive the report as soon as it publishes, along with other insights from the Altimeter team.


Effective content strategies require speed, agility and flexibility. Without these five capabilities–data insights, standard design systems, content modules, centralized storage and effective metrics–companies will find themselves at a disadvantage when compared to nimbler competitors.