You have a shiny new streaming video application. You’ve spent the good part of the last year working on strategy, design, programing, configuration and training all getting ready for your big launch. QA is about done and pre-launch meetings have started to take place. The bug count is dwindling and leadership is growing excited about the imminent unveiling of the next big entertainment channel.
At one of the many meetings getting ready for launch you look around and see that no one from the marketing team is in the room. A moment of panic sets in as you realize that your shiny new streaming TV application (OTT Application) still has test merchandised content all over the place and you don’t fully understand how your new merchandising system works.
In our research, we’ve found that good merchandising solutions are essential to properly promote the content your customers care most about. These systems can be quite complex or overly simplified depending on who you have as a platform provider. When you are evaluating OTT platforms (Over the top TV) be sure to remember the below merchandising essentials.
1. Context and Targeting
Who are your customers? What do they like? What are their habits? Are you going to reach them in a way that is compelling? Personalized browsing experiences are becoming more and more popular. In the early days of Netflix there was quite a commotion about their recommendation engine driven approach and they’ve had a lot of time to work on it. Since then many others have followed suite (all to different degrees) like Xfinity, Hulu and more.
I must admit it took a while for me to fully appreciate what they were doing and how much effort it took to get it right. Now, it’s common place to roll out brand new services that are designed with this idea in mind. Personalized browsing paired with personalized ads/content make for a powerful combination of art and science driving deeper customer engagement.
2. Bundle Up (It’s cold out there)
Embedding content contextually is a fantastic start. But how do we motivate customers to buy content that is high margin? We all know that new movies have higher royalties, possibly minimum guarantees and that older content has more meat left on the bone. Sometimes having a merchandising option to bundle content together into a single promotion will do the trick. Offer the whole Lethal Weapon boxed set at a discount and you’ll make more than you would selling that hot new release. Be creative here, if you can personally target bundles given a user’s actual tastes that might produce some good results.
3. Frak the Fragmentation
So what devices is your application running on? Samsung, LG, Roku, Xbox, Vizio, iOS, Android? Did you know that many platforms that offer OTT video delivery truly thought about merchandising as an afterthought? Some providers require marketers to create a campaign for each platform and publish them individually! That’s crazy, in many cases that means just mindlessly creating the same campaign over and over again. Make sure the platform you choose offers a solution that allows you to manage one campaign across devices and also abide by your studio restrictions.
Start to Finish
When building these applications keep merchandising in mind from the beginning. It will pay off in spades later when you can create easy to run campaigns that target your customers in a way that motivates them to buy. If you’re merchandising solution is falling short or you need help with your strategy for implementing a sound technical and strategic plan we can help untangle the cord.