Marketing Content Strategy

Contentful Envisions a Future of Universal Content


The moment developers get used to one new device, another invention pops up to join the multiscreen experience. Contentful, a German startup CMS, seeks to end the circus with its beta release designed to meet both current and future needs for multiscreen development.

The company began as StorageRoom, a venture that tried to solve mobile content issues through cloud-based services. Essentially, StorageRoom worked as a data collection system to smooth out the broad disparity in formats and functions companies were caught in due to a combination of old legacy systems and basic Excel spreadsheets.

As the company related in its blog, the venture soon grew more ambitious as the founders realized that even their cloud system could not keep up with the web and mobile application trends. Thus Contentful was born, thanks to investments from Point Nine and Balderton Capital.

The new venture treats content as a highly fluid form of data that can be created in a tabula rasa space and then plugged into any screen necessary. The CMS works with iOS, Android, interactive HTML5 and JavaScript, with complete presentation independence. In the creation process, the system divides content into different “Entries” which fall into various “Content Type” categories. This method of classification makes it easier for developers to create a general blueprint for a site that can then be applied to a variety of end destinations.

The goal is ambitious: Forget making a single version of content that can be easily plugged into tablets and smartphones. The company wants to be ready for Google Glass, smart watches and automobile touchscreens.

Contentful’s strategy underlines the differences between the old systems and the new age of marketer requirements. It tries to create answers before the questions arise, with a universal type of content creation that is ready for anything, even screens that no one has thought of yet. The company’s view of changing customer habits focuses on “convenience and speed” as primary movers in the multiscreen market, but plenty of changes are also fueled by marketer innovation.

Screens in cars, elevators and transit systems seek to add more convenience to the customer experience. A look at the grocery store of the future reveals indoor map tracking for targeted kiosk ads, point-of-sale screens that remember a customer’s purchase history and proximity payment systems that can offer similar products or immediate loyalty program discounts. Most of these upcoming changes are the product of marketing experimentation, as companies seek to reach customers in a world where mobile is the norm, not just a tech trick.

The latest perspective, embodied by the Contentful offering, sees content as unbound marketing material that can shift from screen to screen as needed. This says some interesting things about the current craze for optimization: Eventually, it may be impractical to try to optimize content for any type of screen experience. When this occurs, surely it will be easier to find the types of content that work for every type of screen instead?

Photo Source: Flickr

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