For the media industry, the days of the passive viewer have gone. It’s no longer useful or even viable for a media organisation to stereotype their audience in these terms. To do so could be fatal.
Choice has exploded for customers in recent years. We’ve seen the rise of non-linear programming; access to anytime mobile media services; unprecedented opportunities for participation; user-generated content of every kind; and more besides.
The viewer can now shape the experience they have to fit their needs and desires. Personalised customer engagement has been at the heart of the most successful new Over The Top (OTT) media players since their inception but the question remains for the more traditional media companies – how to make this change?
Competing in a now crowded market place requires a radical shift in engagement.
To put individual customers at the center of a media business model you need to know who they are, how they behave and what they expect. You need this information in order to craft personal propositions and engagements. You also need it to plan your own future investments and strategy, particularly regarding commissioning and partnerships. As IT partner to the Olympic Games, we have had first-hand experience of this shift in viewership and had to evolve with this seismic change. We’ve had to keep pace with our viewers – a global audience of sports fans, using some 8 billion devices.
Whether watching live or on playback; accessing the vast resources of related sports data; or joining in on chat forums and social media; fans of the Games now routinely expect a breadth of experience which would have been unimaginable just ten years ago.
The digital success of the Games is in part down to making it as easy as possible for individuals to access and explore their favorite events in the ways that suit them best.
For the Games media team, this detailed and articulated understanding of the fans’ behavior is central to the development and investment of the next wave of services. We must deliver not only for the next Games but also for the next generation of viewers. This ability to examine and analyze audience behavior at every level now becomes an essential capability for any media company – no matter what their specialty or focus.
We all know that data analytics can help you to know your customers better. It’s easy to go through the motions of commitment to customer engagement. Most media companies now make it easy to share content and comment; to link directly to Facebook and Twitter; to comment and ask questions during live broadcast and so on.
This is all positive, and it’s all relatively easy to achieve. So how can you go even further?
Automation and intelligence
Crafting and delivering winning and personalized propositions for your customers can only be achieved with a combination of imagination and mechanization. How, for example, can you monitor quality-of-service at an individual level, and be ready to win over clients with the speed and efficiency with which you resolve issues?
How can you offer bundled services, crafted to individual taste and habit, which are going to be irresistible to your customers? How can you offer meaningful rewards and incentives to customers who provide content and ideas – even if their contribution is as minor as providing real-time updates to a traffic service?
And how can you do all this in a way which is always a positive reinforcement of your brand and market position? It is essential that media companies excel at every touchpoint – that they treat every touchpoint as an opportunity to demonstrate quality – and this spans billing, identity management, content recommendation, and more besides.
You can only analyze and act on a near-constant flow of customer data using advanced automation. For the media CIO team, it is essential to establish smart and agile software platforms which will deliver great customer experience.
Paradoxically, IT and automation become the key to customer engagement and intimacy.