Media 2015? Year of the Customer

For the media and entertainment companies we work with at MarkLogic there is no doubt: 2015 was the year of the Customer.

More than ever this past year saw entertainment companies reaching out and delivering content directly to fans, while information providers were tailoring content and delivering more effective marketing. But this year, behind all that activity, media and entertainment were also investing in collecting more and more information about their customers – all to create great experiences and deliver great content in the context of their users.

Customer-Centric App Woos Streamers

The first big splash came early in 2015 with the release of the NBC Entertainment Digital’s app to support the 40th anniversary of Saturday Night Live. Developed to raise the profile of the show and to connect fans from every era with the SNL archive, the app pioneered using semantic data to model how fans think about the show and power both search and personalized recommendations. Its launch during the live show rocketed it to the top spot in the Apple App store. And its continued success with great reviews and over 100 million videos streamed shows that knowing and connecting with your customer is the key to create a great new kind of experience for your fans. Here’s the whole story of the NBC app development and for its full impact check out this Gizmodo article.

Customers Click-Thru on Relevant Content

The trend kept rolling into the world of legal content with the groundbreaking platform developed by the team at ALM Media. Facing the dual challenges of content being available online and advertisers being able to find audiences, ALM focused on understanding their customers better than anyone else. To do this they created a universal profile of their customers that included not just the traditional usage and registration, but also how they connect to the content – what they were reading and even where they were mentioned. ALM created this Universal profile from over 60 sources both internal and external to their organization and then put it right into action. I won’t spoil the punch line for you in this great video of Jeff Litvack and and Gene Bishop walking through the project … but like the SNL app, it showed that connecting to your customers and, in this case, delivering them content aligned with their interests, results much better experience for everyone. This video is just 15 minutes long – for anyone in the content space or interested in connecting to your customers (i.e. everybody) it is a MUST SEE.

The customer trend that SNL and ALM started continued to pick up steam and, looking back at 2015, it has been a part of nearly every conversation we’ve had in Media. This is because it turns out that knowing your customer gets to the key question about what makes up a media company. At a keynote at the 2015 Berlin Publisher’s Forum I had a chance to sum it up – and I came up with Content in Context. Context is how you put that customer data into action. What your customer is reading, who they are reacting to it — and what his or her environment might be. It is not just are customers mobile or not — but are they researching or at the lab bench? Not just if they are online, but are they on the big screen or sneaking a couple of videos at lunch?

Collecting and curating this information is now mission critical for every kind of media organization. And it is also about creating something unique and valuable to just your organization. Only ALM and NBC could create the data that links their customers and fans to their great content and now ALM and NBC can leverage that unique data across everything they do.

In 2015 we saw how critical getting to know your customer is for media companies. And we also may have learned that by getting to know your customer, you can also better know yourself!