Design & Technology December 21, 2016
Why Gizmo reminds me of Dept's Content Delivery Framework
I’m the type of person who counts Die Hard as a Christmas film and who finds Miracle on 34th Street so sweet that it makes me feel physically sick. So it may come as no surprise that last night, as I settled down with a mince pie, I flicked on one of my favourite, festive flicks: Gremlins.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the plot, here it is in a nutshell: A dad buys his son, Billy, an unusual pet (a mogwai) from an antique store in Chinatown. The mogwai comes with three golden rules: don’t expose it to bright light, don’t get it wet and don’t ever feed it after midnight.
Billy calls his new pet Gizmo and, with only three things to remember, proceeds to c*ck it up monumentally. Gizmo gets wet and spawns more mogwai. These naughty ones trick Billy into feeding them after midnight. The naughty mogwai form cocoons before hatching into evil, reptilian gremlins.
They wreak havoc on the town, killing people with snowploughs and stairlifts, and causing a whole array of mischief. Billy’s Mum is a bit of legend and microwaves one and sticks another in a blender.
Anyway, they all get blown up apart from the most evil one of them all, Stripe, who meets his end when Gizmo exposes him to sunlight whilst he’s trying to spawn in a department store fountain.
It’s all very jolly.
Now, what I’m about to say will probably a cause an eye-roll, but bear with me…I believe there are some key similarities between Gremlins and digital campaign content management.
Creating Campaign Gremlins
Imagine you’re a global manufacturer that runs large-scale campaigns on a regular basis. Every digital campaign is built from scratch by external companies – it takes weeks and is hugely expensive. Outsourcing the design, build and hosting to different agencies is leading to a problem with governance and inefficient processes; even the smallest of changes is a hugely time consuming process.
You end up with hundreds of custom-built microsites, many of which will never be re-used. Analytics implementation across the campaigns is variable, and you can’t track like-for-like results.
You’ve basically ended-up with a hoard of gremlins, that pretty much do as they please. The lack of analytics means that you can’t optimise, so the same flaws are replicated across all future campaigns.
If you handed these microsites the keys to a snowplough, they’d flatten your KPIs before attacking your mum.
The Campaign Gizmo
What you want, is a Gizmo. It looks good, behaves as you would expect it to and learns from its mistakes. It’s easy to manage and easy to replicate.
Enter Dept’s Content Delivery Framework…
This year, we developed a content delivery framework to tackle the exact gremlin challenges mentioned above for a world-renowned manufacturer. The key goals of this framework were: standardisation, cost reduction; reduced time-to-market; predictability; efficiency; localisation and analytics.
By taking a component-based approach, all managed in a centralised CMS, campaign sites can now be created in less than two weeks.
A digital tool kit lists out the purpose of each drag-and-drop component (such as ‘awareness’, ‘navigation’ etc), so that content editors know exactly which ones to use for any given campaign. Images, colours, titles and fonts can all be changed, giving them creative freedom while maintaining a consistent technical framework, with the same analytics tagging, html and hosting solutions.
Unlike the gremlins of previous years, these new sites replicate all the good, without spawning the bad.
So, instead of mopping up the mess of convoluted processes and inefficient, costly custom-builds, our advice is to seek a solution that is easily replicable, with the flexibility to theme it as it as you so wish. Like what happens to Gizmo with a drop of water, a content delivery framework can help you to reproduce the technical foundations of any given campaign simply and easily, whilst providing the ability of flexible design.
We’ll be sharing more information about the Content Delivery Framework in the new year (without any Gremlins), so watch this space. In the meanwhile, enjoy all the festive shenanigans. If you’re after a Christmas film-fest, check out the top 100 here…
(Admittedly, the link between Gremlins and the CDF is a tad tenuous. But at least I didn’t go off on one about the similarities between A/B Testing and Die Hard’s Han Gruber. I’ll save that for next year.)