Archive

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Online Video Monetization Strategy: Opportunities for Growth and Improved Brand Loyalty

Overview

The digital retailing experience is nothing like shopping at your favorite community store or the familiar highway mall. No longer is there a simple buyer and seller business relationship. These days, consumers have the opportunity to interact with retailers, in addition to traditional venues, in a variety of virtual ways via web and mobile apps, social media sites, and Blogs. At the same time, consumers have the ability to receive ‘push’ alerts from retailers on new and sale merchandise directly to their mobile devices and can easily access a wealth of product information with a few click of a mouse. It is indeed a whole new and exciting playing field for both retailers and consumers alike with abundant offensive and defensive plays available to both sides!

Online Video Trends and Opportunities

Over the last ten years online video has matured from an obscure hobby among the populace into a sizeable and profitable market created around a thriving ecosystem of content creators, publishing platforms, and an array of enabling technologies, services and smart devices Currently, we are witnessing the continual and growing consumer interest in online video and the analogous investment by brands and retailers to exploit and target segmented audiences with sticky monetized content.

Within this digital setting, the retailer class is paying attention to the unending demand for new and imaginative lifestyle-centric videos with a direct electronic path to e-commerce sales and revenue. This trend is an extraordinary opportunity for retail executives to leverage their video production capabilities and assets in an attempt to significantly improve their online sales performance.

Conventionally, the most fashionable way brands and retailers monetize video assets is through advertising, the video content itself is free, but money is made by selling ads before, during, or around the video experience. Recently, we have seen the emergence and acceptance of video annotation where video objects are made clickable with displays of meta data, graphics and links to e-commerce thereby adding a valuable new tool to a content creator’s tool box.

Life Style Segmentation and Monetization

There is a widespread sentiment emerging among retailers and other sectors that ‘lifestyle’ is seriously influencing video content context production and placement. Segmentation based upon way of life interests is resulting in attractive and successful personalization of video content. We are in many ways returning to the theoretical view of 1 on 1 marketing with an online personalization line of attack, albeit, with a better likelihood of victory in its reincarnation!

In this regards, there is a bona fide requirement for content creators to obtain the technical capability and tools to link video displayed products and associated metadata to e-commerce and social media sites. For instance, if you are watching a Big Bang Theory episode and are keen on the bizarre shirt Sheldon is wearing you may desire to identify the brand and where it can be purchased. Choices for the consumer could include pausing the video to display the product data and e-commerce link or waiting to view the product data at the video’s post roll. Also, the capability to record consumer product ‘Likes’, publish product comments to Facebook, and announce video viewer only product sales during or at video conclusion would definitely be marketing pluses for retailers.

Online Video Monetization Examples

Recent market intelligence reveals that growing consumer lifestyle video demand is a prime force driving brands and retailers to adopt new and creative ways to monetize online video activities. As retailers get serious in accepting video as a strategic medium to reach targeted consumers, they will need to fully identify with and appreciate the key technologies to support this valuable revenue impacting approach. Topical Nielsen study reveals that streaming video is now the second most popular and common online activity, trailing only social networking and video web viewing is up over 20% while mobile video viewing is in excess of 200%.

A successful monetization approach, by and large, represents a mosaic framework supporting an array of customized and fully integrated technical components. Some examples include:

  • Online videos made clickable with select objects (products, locations, and other items) annotated with associated metadata, creative graphics and links to external sites.
  • Online annotated videos embedded within other annotated videos to further highlight targeted consumer lifestyle interests via projects, locations, interviews etc.
  • Video player with two viewing displays incorporating (Display 1) annotated video and (Display 2) another annotated video, and / or a combination of Power Point slides meta data, creative animation, graphics, and links with external sites. In this approach, both displays would be synced improving the richness, visual, and cognitive experience for the viewer.
  • Online web and mobile sites designed and developed with imaginative and integrated visual effects including use of creative animation and graphics, annotated videos, and links with external sites and / or live events.

Adware, Viewers & Monetization

Over the years, consumers have adopted clever techniques to steer clear of viewing TV commercials and web displayed adware! Will people also avoid viewing annotated videos because of their subtle commercial implants? The jury is still out on the reaction of the population to the pros and cons of people investing scarce time in viewing annotated videos. However, what is known is that consumers will characteristically search for and view ads they favor and are associated with their life cycle and purchase patterns. Also, it is believed, that ads that don’t resonate, entertain, engage or lack relevancy will be avoided at all cost! People by and large will choose ads that they want to watch and hopefully will include annotated videos.

Monetization Challenges & Decisions

Realization of the benefits of video monetization is predicated on the successful development and execution of a formal strategy. Strategy building encompasses an array of business and technical elements that form the basis of the strategy. The key questions typically addressed in a monetization strategy are outlined below:

Subject Matter Understanding:

  • Are both technical and business stakeholders suitably conversant on the variety of visual video and online annotation effects and techniques used in the monetizing video process?
  • Has ample information been gathered to support that annotated videos will be acceptable to the company’s target audiences and their end users?
  • Has sufficient analysis been completed that validates that widespread use of annotated videos will have a positive and quantifiable impact on the company’s product sales and revenue?

Enterprise Strategic influence:

  • Is the annotation value proposition in alignment with the corporate marketing strategy and financial plan?
  • Has the competitive landscape been analyzed to identify key competitor current and future plans and decisions for the use of annotated video?

Video Design & Standards:

  • Has annotation visual effects types and styles been agreed and documented as standards?
  • Is there a company process to create annotated video design specifications and development work orders in a professional and quality-centric manner?

Video Touch Points:

  • Has research been completed and analyzed on the ease (or difficulty) for viewers to interact with annotated videos and web and mobile sites segmented by user age, computer literacy level, profession, life style interests and other viewer characteristics?

Video Production & Support:

  • Will the video annotation process be an in-house or an outsourced business activity?
  • Have online video platform (OVP) providers been identified capable of supporting annotated videos?

Technical:

  • Are all known technical issues and problems typically associated with online video use identified, plotted within a risk management framework, and mitigated as to potential negative outcomes?
  • Have the technical platform(s) and device(s) to support the company’s annotating videos been identified?
  • What delivery mode(s) for viewing the company’s annotated videos will be used? (Corporate web and mobile sites, Facebook and other social media sites, reseller site, Blogs etc.)

Conclusion

Consumer expectations in the digital space are at an all-time high and companies are under pressure to keep customers happy and loyal to their brand, improve profitability and maintain or obtain a competitive market advantage. With this said, in the era of the smarter and empowered buyers, retailers need to grab the’ brass ring’ quickly and demonstrate through their innovative technology use that they understand and are reacting to market demands.

In conclusion we will leave all with a topical Peter Drucker quote:

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

Advertisements

Banking: 2012 Technology Investments Focus

Introduction

Banking institutions face an array of daunting revenue and profit challenges in 2012 as they grapple with cut-throat competition from other banks and financial companies as well as a growing dissatisfied customer base. Customers are listening to and becoming increasingly concerned with the endless political chatter (in the old and new media) focusing on the ‘good, bad, and ugly’ – with emphasis on the ‘bad and ugly’ of continual (unnecessary) product fee increases coupled with a lessening of service efficiency and effectiveness and outrageous executive compensation packages and golden parachutes.

2012 Bank Influencers

What key influencers will face the banking industry in the New Year? In the US, the housing crisis, access to credit markets and high unemployment will persist as obstacles for full recovery. In Europe, the euro debt crisis will continue to threaten the continent and the global financial market. In China, currency valuation and government fiscal and monetary policy will have continuing negative impact on the world stage. Healthier financial geographies around the globe are too small and too export-oriented to escape a downturn in the West.

In 2012, within this unpredictable and impulsive background, banking institutions will need to re-evaluate the type, pricing and delivery of products to customers with key goals to improve revenue and profit in tandem with improving customer loyalty and increased wallet share. Previous years’ strategic considerations focused on growth. In the current unsettled economy, a new consideration is survival! Banks are reacting with a variety of strategies including crafting and implementing strategies and plans for profitability and competitive capabilities, products and services enrichment, precision pricing, and targeted customer acquisition

Market Quandary

In the face of this market quandary, bank expenses generally are being trimmed across the board with the exception of technology. For example, in 2011, technology investment increased and 2012 appears poised for modest growth. In this climate, banking executives will need to re-examine their value proposition with an eye toward more creative and effective use of technology. There are numerous practices available to slash costs but the only way to concurrently shrink costs and innovate is to leverage and exploit the bank’s technology assets focusing on the customer touch points.

Key Banking Technology Investments

For 2012, key banking technology focus includes:

Mobile Environment

Social Media

Online Banking

Cloud Computing

Business Intelligence

Multi-Channel Integration

Mobile Environment: Mobile has become one of the fastest growing business tools and is changing the traditional banking paradigm. Apple’s success with iPhone (and iPad) and the rapid growth of mobile devices based on Google’s Android have led to increased use of special client programs, called apps, downloaded to the customer’s device. Mobile banking is quickly moving from a “techie” to conventional capability that is changing how consumers think about and handle personal finances.

Customers can now easily acquire apps through the Apple and Android marketplaces, by scanning a promotional QR Code (Quick Response bar code) or requesting a link be sent to their mobile device while visiting the bank’s website or Facebook page.

A recent report by market research provider First Annapolis found that 54% of top 100 US financial institutions surveyed offered a selection of mobile banking services. In this regard, consumers are conducting an array of banking activities on their mobiles, and in many cases these devices are now their first point of entry. It is estimated that in excess of 32 million Americans are using mobile banking services, and that the market segment is primed for growth as the technology matures in 2012 and beyond.

While some banking customers will never accept mobile banking as a way of being serviced, for many, the expediency of paying bills, transferring funds, and handling other key financial transactions anywhere, anytime is too much to resist.

Some banks are now realizing that customers are continually in search of new capabilities that provide additional flexibility for managing their finances. In this regard, banks are offering innovative services such as:

  • Financial tools that monitors spending, manages finances, and recommends additional financial products and services effortless on the mobile.
  • Instant “micro mobile loans,” with application, approval, and disbursement via the mobile device.
  • Loyalty programs that integrate with the retail, entertainment, travel and vacation businesses that provides financial incentives for customers that are ‘on the go’.

With the wide range of mobile capabilities available it is vital that banking executives resist the temptation to launch a mobile platform of services until the appropriate research and planning is completed that validates the consumer requirements. Banks also need to understand which customers to target with each new mobile service, as well as the optimal fee structure for each feature.

Social Media: No longer do banks talk and customers passively listen! Web-based social media tools facilitate online conversation and interaction that allow people globally to easily share ideas, insights, experiences, and perspective. The rapid acceptance by consumers everywhere have left the banking industry scrambling to come up with ground-breaking strategies to unleash the power of social media as an alternative sales and service channels for the digital-aware segment of the population.

The current economy has led large numbers of consumers to mistrust banks. This is one reason why so many banks are now turning to social media as a way to become more transparent and intoned to customer requirements and concerns in ‘real time’ in an attempt to build stronger trust and brand loyalty.

The crafting of a social media strategy is vital to formalize the approaches necessary to successfully capture direct consumer product interest as well as current trends and service breaks discovered from consumer use data, customer comments and other interactions collected from an aggregation of the bank’s social media sites. Analyzing social media data in real time allows banks to quickly identify key issues as they occur and respond swiftly before they spiral out of control.

Online Banking: Unit costs for online activities are measured in pennies while costs for human-mediated transactions are expressed in dollars. On-line banking activities include a wide range of services, for example: (1) providing consumers with capability to initiate money transfer payments to other consumers and vendors worldwide; (2) allowing customers to scan checks and deposit images; (3) providing customers with an efficient and effective online lending and investment processes.

Customers favor the increased convenience obtained from using online banking with the significant positive impact on their personal time. The key benefit for banks in deploying online activities is either maintaining or obtaining a competitive advantage in their targeted markets as online banking is a component of the ‘level playing field’.

Cloud Computing: The banking industry is in the early stages of accepting and adopting the cloud computing approach to support mission-critical business activities. Gartner recently reported that more than half of bank industry transactions will be processed within Cloud-based systems by 2015.

In the Cloud, security and stability are key concerns. With some justification, control and risk managers fear that moving essential functions from internal server-based systems to the Cloud will subject sensitive information to undue exposure and risk. Yet the potential advantages of the model are such that for banks to reject the Cloud outright would be financially imprudent.

Banks have invested significantly over the years in enterprise systems that support customer activities. Today, these “legacy systems” employ outmoded technology, until now they continue in production because of the expense, difficulty and risk of migrating daily operations and vast quantities of data to more sophisticated state-of-the-art infrastructures. Banks will need to understand the real impact on their capital, investment, operating cost, product enrichment and innovation, and customer requirements as they plan to upgrade and develop new systems and make decisions to migrate to a Cloud environment.

Business Intelligence (BI): The ideal BI system provides employees and stakeholders straightforward and timely access to the information they need to effectively perform their jobs and ability to analyze and easily share this information with others. BI transforms raw transactional data generated by customer activities into customized reports, dashboards and repositories of meaningful and actionable information.

BI as a rule enables an increase in the customer ‘wallet share’ by targeting banking products and services to customers based on an appreciation of their specific characteristics, needs and behaviors at any given point in the Customer Life Cycle (CLC). (CLC Definition: The stages each bank customer will pass through in a long-term relationship through acquisition, retention and extension.)

Use of the CLC approach creates greater demands on data mining, analytics and CRM capabilities. These activities need to be integrated and operationalized through enhancements to the bank’s campaign management and point-of-sale (POS) systems.

Multi Channel Integration: Bankers face a multitude of difficulties when it comes to integrating all sales channels and customer service into an integrated and streamlined business process. Channels customarily symbolize silos of channel-specific customer data that lack integration across the enterprise given that they are often managed and serviced by different business units and managers.

Multi-channel integration is a vexing task for many banks, as it generally requires sharing and collaborating information across organizational boundaries and reconciling seemingly incompatible business and information architecture models.

In the current environment, customers require the means to interact with their banking institution using a variety of channels of their choice. The consequence of a bank’s helplessness to provide an integrated channel approach is little or no sharing of information across dissimilar channels, duplication due to channel-specific processes and a disorderly, unsatisfactory multi-channel experience for the customer.

The use of a Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) framework is viewed as a feasible and pragmatic tool to support development and deployment of a successful multi-channel customer experience. For example, SOA allows data, applications and processes to be identified and set-up as services, which can in turn be re-used across different channels, ensuring that all channels have access to a universal set of processes, systems and data. Banks with SOA typically achieve tighter coordination and integration of their valuable channels so that customer interactions can be managed, tracked and completed successfully.

Conclusion

In 2012 and the remainder of the decade, banking institutions must confront and challenge the traditional banking models by positioning technology as one of the top drivers of their institution’s success. Banks need to ensure that they understand and fully appreciate their institutions’ strategic business requirements and be able to provide the appropriate capabilities and resources to execute in a successful manner.

The bank’s strategic technology positioning should engulf their total product delivery and service apparatus by computerizing in an integrated manner all of a bank’s mission critical activities that interact with and support revenue producing customer touch points. The technology-centric strategies employed should be pragmatic, creative and disciplined so as to facilitate total alignment with an evolving, knowledgeable, savvy, and engaged customer base.

In conclusion I will leave all with a topical and associated W. Edwards Deming quote – “It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.”

Bank Lending Challenges: Aligning People, Process, & Technology

In today’s hypercompetitive market, banks must become skilled at how to
create services quicker, cheaper, and better and improve profit margins in the
face of escalating competition and other economic realities. Increasing business
process efficiency and effectiveness are critical success factors to improve
margins and allow more flexibility in financial product and service pricing.

Sustaining an elevated level of service in customer, agent, and broker interactions
is one of the most effectual ways for banks to distinguish themselves and
increase profitability in a highly aggressive and crowded market. According to
the Economist, “banking executives are discovering that the winning differentiator
is no longer the product or the price, but the level of engagement – the degree to
which a company succeeds in creating an intimate long-term relationship with the
customer and external stakeholder.”

Banks are always talking about searching for the silver bullet that will somehow
transform their bank lending activities into a well-oiled cost-effective machine!
However, without discovering the silver bullet most banking executives will agree
that a successful year over year profitable lending activity will always
contain exceptional and skilled governance supporting with well-organized
and high performing people, processes, and technology.

Real Life Experiences

Have you been a participant in a real life drama with a bank in attempted
to negotiate a business loan? If so, the following should be familiar scenarios
and bring back some frustrating thoughts as you recall your own experiences.

  • The effort to complete the loan forms during the process of negotiating
    a commercial loan is often a waste of time or very frustrating as bank
    representatives will typically ask the same questions in the initial
    meetings and follow-up phone calls.
  • Banks have a lengthy list of forms that require input from the
    borrower, the borrowers’ attorney or outside agents (appraisers,
    inspectors, etc); these documents habitually are misplaced or are the wrong
    version which requires significant duplication of effort.
  •  Identification of the authorized borrower’s representatives
    during the loan negotiation process can be subject to weak security and
    controls that generally increase compliance and legal complications for
    borrower.
  • Banks cannot locate your completed documents after submission
    due to error prone processes and routing activities.
  • Banks do not know if the documents that you mailed or sent
    by courier have arrived at the Bank and therefore delay the loan processing
    activities.
  • Compliance and transparency of the process is inconsistent particularly
    with keeping pace with the correct version that reflects new
    compliance language.

The experiences highlighted above are difficulties that are assumed by many
to be part of the game and accepted as a way of doing business! However,
that was yesterday in a different economic climate. Today, new technology
and processes enable banks to become better at the process of managing
customer expectations. In addition, collaboration tools can empower
bank staff to work in an efficient and timely fashion with their clients which
results in significant gains in improving the customer experience.

The Productivity Factor

For the last decade, a key goal of banking institutions within their lending
areas has been to rely less on manual-centric paperwork by automating
lending transactions and communications. Thus the stacks and files
of paper that clutter lending offices and bog down employee productivity are
evidence of the fact that many banks are far from achieving their goal and
improving the overall productivity of these activities. So why have banks not
improved their business practices in dealing with their lending activities?
Some key causes may include bank management’s:

  • Failure to appreciate the strategic and mission critical nature of content
    management as applied to bank lending in ensuing that customer
    loans are handled in the most effective and efficient manner supported by
    state-of-the-art technology and time-tested best business practices.
  • Employment of legacy document and content management systems
    lacking:
  1. Critical functional and technical capabilities
  2. Cross-division and external integration for exchange of
    vital documents and information
  3. Automated process work flows
  4. Non-supportable outdated versions of vendor content
    management solutions.
  • Absence of enthusiasm to aggressively challenge current failing loan
    policies and processing activities and identify enrichments to customer
    customer and stakeholder ‘touch points’ and the overall banking experience.

The Lending Activity Triangle

What are the critical components for consideration when undertaking
bank lending improvement? Our experience is that best-in-class
banking institutions place focus on the lending activity triangle elements
namely, people, process, and technology people.

The focus on each of these is both individually and combined as
outlined below:

People: The people focus of the triangle is always the most complicated
as training typically takes a back seat to populating the production line with
live bodies to move loan packages through the paper mill. A successful bank
lending activity will generally have difficulties if the people component is not
fully prepared with appropriate training and empowered for prime time
immersion into the process as productive employees. Considerations for
evaluating the people element include matching skills and experiences with
the current employee universe, training requirements, and approach to
continual monitoring employee performance.

Process: What should be the first consideration for enhancing bank lending?
Improvement typically starts with identification of the current process
weaknesses followed by a top-to-bottom redesign of the associated activities and
flows. Key decision points include considerations for bank policies controlling
cross organizational borders, roles and responsibilities, governance and
risk and control.

Technology: A successful process design typically entails pairing the redesigned
process with the most appropriate enabling and supporting technology to meet the
joint objectives of improved productivity and customer touch point effectiveness.
Key considerations include design of an innovative technology architecture that
provides functionality richness, user flexibility, performance, and support
and cost effectiveness.

In actual fact, no major software implementation is really about the technology.
It’s about aligning people, processes, and technology to implement a  solution
that meets business needs. The result is the ability to capitalize on the full
potential of a business technology investment.

Changing a bank’s approach to improving overall performance by embracing
a holistic approach to people, processes and technology has the potential to
mitigate risks, inject better-than-anticipated improvements into your
organization, and lead to a successful deployment of a content solution
that solves critical business problems.

The bottom line is that banking institutions need to constantly challenge the norm
so as to identify and enable necessary changes on an ongoing  basis if they are to
maintain or attain competitiveness in their targeted lending areas.

In conclusion we will leave all with a topical W. Edwards Deming quote:

“A system is a network of interdependent components that work together to
try to accomplish the aim of the system. A system must have an aim.
Without the aim, there is no system.”

Authored by:

Brian Blair, President of Malvern National
Services LLC (http://www.malvernnational.com) and,

Kevin M. O’Sullivan,
President of The Knowledge Compass, Inc. (http://www.knowledgecompass.com )

%d bloggers like this: