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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.”

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 )

Knowledge Compass Customer SharePoint ECM Experiences

It is estimated that over 70% of leading US businesses currently use or are planning to deploy SharePoint over the next few years, but few have formal content and information management strategies and plans in place! The introduction of SharePoint is providing many of these companies a rare opportunity to take ‘a time-out’ to formally re-examine their core business processes, fully understand and redesign ECM and knowledge-centric systems, and streamline the use of content at the convergence of customer touch points, employees, and corporate IT systems.

Knowledge Compass offers strategic and business and technical level consulting services to assist customers assess their content requirements, design, develop (or customize), and implement ECM solutions in alignment with their corporate business and technical strategies.

Over the last year, Knowledge Compass customers are increasingly selecting SharePoint for their ECM business activities throughout the enterprise in situations where they formally selected ECM point solutions.

A recent review of customer projects identifies that the majority of our SharePoint development customers believe that SharePoint will result in a more effective, efficient, and flexible business environment managed through a familiar Microsoft desktop environment and built on a trusted and extendible platform.

The three benefits reported by our customer’s business and technology leaders with the highest value from SharePoint ECM deployments include:

  1. Improve User ECM Acceptance & Participation
  2. Avoid Content Handling Risk
  3. Increase IT Productivity

Improve User ECM Acceptance & Participation

It is typically understood that ECM project success relies heavily on user acceptance and participation as key critical success factors (CSFs). Briefly, employees who are expected to use an ECM application within their work processes should be able to accept without reservation the new ECM solution as a practical and valuable tool that supports and not restricts their work activities.

SharePoint is a unique solution that provides genuine ECM capabilities to users where they do their content creation and collaboration – inside customized SharePoint group-centric sites that is familiar to all who have used Microsoft desktop solutions. This addresses the challenge that users will not need to learn and identify with a totally dissimilar user interface, navigation, and other content-handling activities.

Our customers report that their ECM project’s user acceptance and participation were improved significantly by SharePoint’s capabilities including:

  • Uncomplicated use, integrated tools and rich capabilities to manage, find, and share mission-critical documents and information
  • Straightforward to add and identify document meta data to track, find, and share documents and information throughout the enterprise
  • Improve decision-making; easily find the right business document or information—regardless of who created it, what format it’s in, or where it lives.

Avoid Content Handling Risk

A dilemma facing most ECM projects is how to successfully design and implement a fully integrated enterprise governance framework that eliminates inefficiencies and waste that have been institutionalized over many years within the enterprise’s content (and information) handling policies, processes and activities.

Our customers identified the below SharePoint capabilities as having the largest impact on the successful alleviation of content-handling problems and risks.

  • Information Architecture (IA): defines and categorizes SharePoint site content and format, including Web pages, documents, and lists within a formal IA; provides users a more productive work experience organized within a consistent information framework.
  • Taxonomies (& Folksonomies): allows users and groups to craft and manage global and local customized Taxonomies and Folksonomies; provides improved content categorization and quicker access to required decision-making content.
  • Metadata Management: supports improved refined and filtered searches for more effective and efficient navigation of SharePoint lists and document libraries content.

Increase IT Productivity

Customers are enthralled by the IT productivity improvements typically realized with use of SharePoint’s comprehensive out-of-the-box capabilities such as:

  • SharePoint 2010 works seamlessly with technologies currently used including Microsoft Office, Microsoft Exchange Server, and Microsoft Unified Communications
  • Use of Microsoft .NET Framework object models to reduce learning curves and development timeframes
  • End user management of their own SharePoint sites without having to contact the IT Team, thus saving time and cost of software expenses.
  • Integrate with legacy systems with reduced work effort and fewer difficulties generally experienced in integration activities
  • Interoperability through SharePoint Business Connectivity Services provides a standardized method of accessing, displaying, and editing content in legacy system environments
  • SharePoint 2010 provides a simple installation and configuration process, including a smooth upgrade from SharePoint 2007

Summary

  • SharePoint’s provides our customers a pragmatic user-friendly front-end to their ECM solutions. Users and work teams can easily navigate to a recognizable SharePoint site to collaborate, innovate, create content, and make decisions.
  • SharePoint allows our customers to save and redirect their centralized IT Team’s technical resources for other mission-critical enterprise developments and support activities.
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