From funnels to touchpoints to end–to-end journeys, we’ve come a long way in our understanding of the decision processes that customers make when they are choosing a service, whether it be TV or anything else. And it’s becoming increasingly obvious that an efficient Content Discovery Platform and the ability to personalize that journey on a daily basis, is the best way to shorten the amount of travel and ensure that those journeys are ‘stickier’.
You can trace the genesis of the customer funnel all the way back to the tail-end of the 19th century and the initial development of the AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action) model by E. St. Elmo Lewis. What is perhaps remarkable is that, while it evolved a succession of different hierarchical models throughout the course of the 20th century, it wasn’t until the very last years of the 1990s that you start seeing references to customer journeys. And the emergence of the digital economy in the years since has seen acceleration in the evolution of theories regarding these journeys.
Current thinking is epitomized by McKinsey’s article on From touchpoints to journeys: Seeing the world as customers do. This argues that when most companies focus on the customer experience, they focus on the touchpoints along the way (or pain points if the experience is an unfortunate one). The authors state that this siloed focus doesn’t tell the whole story and it is the customer’s end-to-end experience that matters.
In other words, touchpoints are cumulative.
The Role of the Content Discovery Platform
We’ve touched on the subject of customer journeys before when talking about the importance of personalization. Then we quoted David C. Edelman and Marc Singer writing in the Harvard Business Review about the new ways companies are adopting “aggressively proactive” strategies to shape the paths of customer journeys.
“Companies building the most effective journeys master four interconnected capabilities: automation, proactive personalization, contextual interaction, and journey innovation,” they wrote. “Each of these makes journeys ’stickier‘”— more likely to draw in and permanently capture customers.”
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What is new here is the realization that it is the journey as a whole that is important. McKinsey research at one media company experiencing a high rate of churn highlighted the fact that while each touchpoint had a 90% chance of an interaction being perceived favorably, the overall journey satisfaction fell almost 40% over the course of the journey. The article then goes on to map the competitive advantage that better performance on journeys can confer.
“In both the insurance and TV industries, for example, better performance on journeys correlates strongly with faster revenue growth; in fact, in measurements of customer satisfaction with the firms’ most important journeys, a one-point improvement on a ten-point scale corresponds to at least a three-percentage-point increase in the revenue-growth rate.”
The graph below illustrates this.
Personalization is a key part of this whole process, especially when we zero in on the TV industry. As Brett Sappington, Director of Research, Parks Associates wrote in his guest blog post The Industry in 2020: The Rise of Personalization. “The future for the TV industry will be far more customized and adaptive to consumers in discovery, experience, and content.”
Touchpoint management will always be an important part of understanding customer behavior, but the future of many industries is less about selling products and more about managing customer journeys in their entirety. At VO we have paid attention to designing our services and products with personalization in mind, so that each step in the customer’s journey is fully adapted to their needs and wishes as it progresses.
The idea is to provide as frictionless a customer experience as possible: in the old funnel parlance to allow a smooth glide, from first contact all the way through to the purchase decision. Customer journey mapping has revealed that the paths are far more complex than that, but by deploying a Content Discovery Platform as part of their OTT of TV Everywhere offering, operators can at least ensure part of the overall journey experience is as smooth as possible.