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SXSW: Making software for an ever-changing omni-channel world


Content may be king in today’s omni-channel world, but consumers are far from submissive subjects. Brand marketers can’t just put any piece of content in front of their audience and expect results. To drive action, it has to be the right piece of content, at the right time, to the right person. Over the past two years, VSA has put significant efforts and investment into developing technology that allows brands to offer their customers seamless and relevant experiences across channels. This year, at SXSW Interactive, Cory Clarke, Partner, Technology Lead, revealed two VSA designed software products: TypologyCMS and the VSA Predictive Analytics Platform. Both products have transformative potential for brands’ content marketing programs.

TypologyCMS: the omni-channel content management system. There are many content management systems (CMS) on the market today—from WordPress to Drupal to Umbraco—but rarely does a CMS meet the omni-channel needs of marketers today. What happens when a user needs to publish specific content on a website, digital screens throughout their retail store or office, mobile devices, and the corporate intranet?

Most CMS systems are equipped to publish a brand’s content to a responsive website or social media platform, and make some fundamental assumptions on how those sites work. TypologyCMS does not make such assumptions; instead, it enables publishing of reusable content across multiple channels simultaneously, and allows content to be delivered where a brand’s audience will benefit the most.

Cory Clarke, Partner, Technology Lead at VSA Partners and SXSW Interactive speaker, offers VSA client Fontainebleau as an example of a brand that has benefitted from the new technology. The premier Miami hotel needed content and brand consistency across its many digital platforms—its website, in-room mac desktops, digital signage throughout the property, condominium microsite and intranet.

“The typical CMS systems didn’t truly solve the problem at hand,” he said. “TypologyCMS was born from these kinds of client challenges, evolving through the creation of multiple sites and applications to become a robust platform to manage content from one central portal, while serving content across multiple digital touch-points.”

Ultimately, TypologyCMS allows for a great user experience for both the back-end manager and the consumer. Beginning March 2016, TypologyCMS will be open source, available here.

VSA Predictive Analytics Platform: the real-time content analytics platform. Most modern marketers are using programmatic media to deliver the right digital ad to the right person, at the right time, but VSA wanted to enable the delivery of customized content after a user engages.

VSA’s data science and technology teams have spent the past two years building a proprietary Predictive Analytics Platform that allows VSA and its clients to deliver targeted content to users post click. Through a unique predictive modeling algorithm, the platform is able to identify and deliver the appropriate content to each consumer across devices in real time. The result is a predictive content marketing tool that optimizes the delivery of financial incentives, content and social sharing recommendations by individual.

“In working with a Fortune 500 CPG company, we used the platform to evaluate each consumer —their likes and dislikes, their friends’ preferences, where they visited—and helped establish the most relevant follow-up content that would appeal to each user,” says Charles Hammerslough, Associate Partner, Director of Data Science at VSA Partners, and formerly Head of Modeling for Obama for America. “With the individualized content, the platform helped to deliver a 25% increase in offer redemption and 30% lift in purchase intent.”

While VSA is certainly not the only producer of predictive analytics systems, VSA’s platform builds technology around the problem, allowing for more accurate audience analysis and higher-performing marketing and brand offers. VSA’s technology and data analytics teams are consistently evolving the platform and its capabilities.

Building the two systems, VSA brought together design thinking and technology to solve brands’ omni-channel and content marketing challenges. These are the first two software systems VSA has built, but the company sees the opportunity to create others in the future.


Cory Clarke is Partner, Technology Lead for VSA Partners. Cory has pursued a career that bridges the technology and design fields, and he continues to drive innovation as lead of VSA’s Technology Practice. His experience ranges from technology VP at a startup to leading his own software consultancy to academic research and teaching at Columbia University and Pratt Institute. He also holds patents in software and building design. In 2006, Cory co-founded Tender Creative, which became part of VSA Partners in fall of 2012. Cory spoke at SXSW Interactive this past Sunday, March 13, 2016.