Digital Hollywood takeaways: mobile & personal lead the way
“When will there be too much noise and too many choices for consumers?”
On the Immersive Customer Experience panel at Digital Hollywood this past week, our moderator asked us that question. I almost jumped out of my seat with my answer “We’re already there!”
The world is too noisy
I think that one of the things that stands out among professionals in the various media industries is that they are generally such big consumers of their products that they forget that most people aren’t like them. To be in media or advertising is generally to be a fan of it.
Many of the people in the media industry are hyper-consumers of the content, which might make it challenging for them to see how overwhelming the media world is for the average person. The plethora of selections does present us all with an amazing array of quality content, but it also means that we can never hope to consume anywhere close to all of the amazing creative output.
Standing out with your audience is what matters
Our moderator was really asking us about the competitive landscape of media and if the trend towards “immersion” of the consumer will overwhelm people and make it impossible to stand out with consumers. Because I already believe that we’re past that point it’s clear to me that the next step we have to take is to focus on the audience that is truly appropriate for what we’re building. No longer can a new technique or piece of technology be enough to capture the attention of the masses.
Instead, every publisher needs to be highly focused on where they truly resonate with consumers and to go deep with that audience. The immersion today lies in true connection with consumers, being connected to their lives, their cares and their desires. Creating true relationships with customers is the next step that will enable companies (media or otherwise) to really build lasting franchises as opposed to random hits.
The move is to mobile, now
After spending several days with executives from content, advertising and distribution businesses, two things are obvious to everyone:
- Mobile is an inevitable and frightening (to some) trend: the speed with which consumers are adopting mobile is far outpacing advertising monetization strategies and uprooting much of the media industry’s current revenue projections
- Consumer expectations have never been higher and continue to rise
At panel after panel, people discussed the “When” of embracing mobile, shifting resources to the development of mobile apps and properties. The question, however, is a naive one. If you haven’t yet begun to develop your mobile presence, you’re behind.
Every single mobile-oriented executive was touting their exceptional growth, while their counterparts were ringing their hands about the potential losses of revenue. Mobile is a tidal wave of consumer time and attention – the winners of the next 10 years are already staking a claim to consumers by running fast after mobile possibilities.
Satisfying consumer expectations can only occur on mobile
In the search to truly connect with audiences on a personal level, mobile is clearly the channel that holds the keys to true immersion. These personal devices rarely leave our sides. We start and end our days with them. The panic we feel when the battery gets too low is perhaps silly, but it is indicative of the dependence we have upon our connected lives.
As people, we expect to be able to connect with anyone, anywhere, through our phones. The same can’t be said of our ability to reach the companies who want our business, however. We expect them to be around and they’re not present.
In several panels you could see exactly why this is the case. The sense of exasperation was obvious: consumers expecting more for less was a theme that kept coming to the forefront of the conversation.
It’s not just that we, as consumers, expect more content, it’s that we expect more connection: more personalization, more understanding, more listening. Traditional media companies are struggling because they’re used to broadcasting at us and now they need to have conversations at scale.
The good news is that everyone in attendance at Digital Hollywood was there because they’re trying to figure out the future and make sure they’re responding to consumer needs. Even if they are dragging their feet on their way to the inevitable future, the emphasis on figuring it out and having tough conversations was ultimately a very positive sign. The most aggressive companies are seeing the opportunity and capitalizing on the hesitancy of traditional media companies – expect them to be the ones moving the industry to a more mobile and personal future.