How Effectively Are You Serving Your Audience Of One?

Andreas Pfingsten

Most producers of content are looking to reach a wide audience, the exact opposite of delivering personalized content to an audience of one. However, one of the great paradoxes of creative work is that what we create for an audience of one is much more likely to reach an audience of millions. Why? When we tweak and compromise our work in the hopes of driving eyeballs and clicks, the work loses its authenticity, truthfulness, and potential resonance.

Ultimately, this is no different in marketing and sales. While the focus is on truly understanding the consumers’ needs and wants, authenticity and transparency of the consumer engagement journey are the driving forces to build a trusted relationship that creates brand loyalty.

Inspire customers with innovative, outstanding experiences that put them in the driving seat

In order to stay relevant and not be relegated to the role of a simple content provider to companies such as Facebook, Apple, or Netflix, media companies must transform into direct-to-consumer, digital-first purveyors of exceptional experiences. To compete for content and advertiser revenue against such highly capitalized competition, media companies need to bring consumers an outstanding brand experience – by creating a seamless and personalized journey across time, place, channels, and devices.

Consumers will flock to value, where their needs are met by an experience that is innovative, relevant, and puts them in control. The emerging technologies enabling this are already transforming the industry, changing the underlying economics of content delivery and engagement, and changing the rules of the game for incumbents, while throwing the door open to new competition and new business models.

To thrive, media companies must focus on audience-centricity: With the ever-growing number of content choices, understanding your audience at a segment of one will be a critical factor to build a trusted relationship. 

To set the foundation for becoming a truly audience-centric company, you must manage four pillars of consumer engagement well:

  1. Customer identity and access management (CIAM) – Turn anonymous online visitors into known, loyal customers by providing a convenient and relevant experience that is connected to all your digital properties and based on first-party data. A good start is to enable a more transparent and simple way for online visitors to gain access to your properties and make themselves known. CIAM systems are designed to provision, authenticate, authorize, collect, and store information about consumers from across many domains and enable consumers to provide and maintain this information themselves.
  1. Consent management – The intend of privacy regulations like GDPR is to honor your customers’ wishes throughout their relationship with your business by ensuring their profiles, preferences, and consent are reflected accurately across every customer engagement and channel. This can be best achieved by standardizing requests for consent across every brand, channel, and platform to include clear opt-out functionality and easy access to terms and policies. Furthermore, data ought to be centralized in one place to ensure customers’ explicit permissions are consistently honored across every channel, platform, and region.
  1. Customer profile management – Once CIAM and appropriate consent management are in place, you can build rich customer identity profiles from permission-based data and orchestrate them across your applications and services. You can transform account and profile data – volunteered during customers’ digital interactions with your business – into a unified customer profile that can be a consistent source of truth for governing and orchestrating customer identity, profile, and account status data across your primary marketing, sales, and service applications throughout the entire customer lifecycle.
  1. Customer experience management – Understand the key drivers of the customer experience, from the content you deliver to the services surrounding it. With a full suite of customer experience tools to support the consumer experience journey, such as page-level website feedback, consumer satisfaction surveys, targeted ad and content delivery, and A/B testing, you will be able to make powerful predictions about your consumers’ behavior and step in quickly to close the loop and improve the experience.

Benefits of a modern customer experience platform

Once you have these four pillars in place, you will combine the power of operational data (e.g., subscription conversion rate from free to paid, churn rate) and experience data (e.g., streaming or payment experience), which will enable you to deploy a true customer experience platform across all channels with transaction and behavior data. This will empower you to increase relevant up- and cross-sell opportunities, reduce churn, drive innovative content creation, and increase ad revenue.

Effectively serving an audience of one requires more than the right technology

In order to successfully operate a modern customer experience platform, media companies need to have the right technology and customer experience capabilities and culture in place:

  • Competencies – the skills and actions that ultimately establish experience management as a discipline within the organization.
  • Culture – an experience management-centric mindset and behaviors in leaders and employees for those competencies to thrive. The culture of an organization can either accelerate or inhibit the spread of experience management competencies.
  • Technology – a platform that can collect, analyze, and distribute insights to the relevant people and processes. This technology empowers everyone to understand and act on the insights generated from both operational data and experience data.

Ideally, all three components of customer experience will be acquired and built gradually in parallel to serve an audience of one effectively.

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Andreas Pfingsten

About Andreas Pfingsten

Andreas Pfingsten oversees the Media Industry Business Unit (EMEA North) and go-to-market activities for SAP. His is currently focused on helping media companies maximize the opportunities in a direct-to-consumer world by leveraging a holistic customer experience approach. During his career of more than 25 years, Andreas has worked with many leading media companies across the globe.