The time is now:

Creation and context have evolved content experiences

We must remember that, as consumers of content, our preferred choice of content experiences is based more on context than on the quality or features of the format.

This is a concept that is known as the “whole product” theory: the fact that when consumers favor one product over another, their choice is about more than the core product quality itself. Indeed, we all make choices about a core product in combination with the complimentary, and contextual attributes that surround it.

Videotape wars

A great example of this is the “videotape wars” of the late 1970s and early ’80s. Sony’s Betamax videocassette format was far superior to the more widespread VHS format. The picture quality, sound, and image stability were all better. However, VHS won the product battle handily because it offered a longer recording time on each cassette, a lower cost, and widespread compatibility.

Put simply, as content consumers, we are more likely to prefer a format because it more broadly fits a desired personal context than because it is new, offers superior quality, or has more features. Thus, legacy content experiences are not made outdated when a new, better content format emerges. They are made outdated when the ease and cost of creating the new content meets the widening desire of the consumer to such a degree that the old experience is made contextually irrelevant.

This is the point the New York Times Innovation Report was making about the drag of print. Their argument was that purely digital news organizations had already recognized the benefit of going “all-in” on the digital content experience. But the New York Times was (and is) still dealing with transitioning from legacy formats (print), and so considers itself at a disadvantage. Thus, any efforts made to speed the transition would be helpful because the writing was on the proverbial wall: print news had now been made outdated.

They are made outdated when the ease and cost of creating the new content meets the widening desire of the consumer to such a degree that the old experience is made contextually irrelevant.

So, for the New York Times – the answer to the question of “when” is “it can’t come soon enough.”

That leads us to our next question: how does this apply to digital content in the world of B2B content marketing?