M&E Journal: The War for Attention

By Steve Sobel, Go to Market Lead for M&E, and Brian Vellmure, Managing Partner, Ignite, Salesforce –

The future will belong to those who can personalize across moments and brands at scale, which means breaking down silos across the business and changing our orientation to benefit the customer.

There is a famous sketch from the 1950s that outlines Disney’s content monetization strategy. It depicts films and characters as central assets and demonstrates how mutually reinforcing business models capture value from consumers. What Disney recognized is that capturing and keeping consumer attention is critical to success.

Fast forward 60 years and the principals still apply, despite a new war for attention underway. Technology shifts have opened the doors for new entrants, including disruptors like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Studios, that have rapidly taken advantage of new mediums and mobile devices to grow and capture mindshare. Consumers are empowered with choice and a variety of content as millennials and Gen Z have shifted their viewing habits to a “stream first” consumption model.

Traditional monetization models are under attack, but that doesn’t mean media and entertainment companies are losing relevancy. In fact, they have strong emotional connections that they can use to build direct relationships with consumers. Winning the war for attention is synonymous with transforming how our industry operates, personalizing consumer journeys, monetizing our content, and innovating within our operations and distribution strategies.

Salesforce has a long history and successful track record when working with companies in the media industry, and we’ve developed a strong perspective on what we think companies need to do to build an agile platform to win the war for attention. The future will belong to those who can personalize across moments and brands at scale, which means breaking down silos across the business and changing our orientation to benefit the customer. It also means exploring the implementation of intelligence to drive relevance at scale.

Consider these simple strategies to help you take advantage of the new media landscape:

Personalize consumer engagement

Personalization technologies have been around for a long time (product recommendations, tailored advertising) but now it’s essential with every consumer touchpoint. As you build out marketing journeys for loyal fans, contemplate how each touch can be curated to continue a true 1:1 engagement. Conversely, how do you treat someone who is new to your content or franchises? This requires a different engagement plan. The paths to customer loyalty twist and turn but journeys can be carefully crafted for different touchpoints and distribution channels. Furthermore, journeys that are segmented based on behavior, and then are personalized based on individual history, help to keep consumers engaged across the buying funnel.

Monetizing content

The Disney sketch referenced at the start of this article is still relevant today. Touchpoint and consumption have vastly changed, but it’s time to think about adjacent and complimentary business models that extend consumer engagement. A great example of this comes from Twitch. Twitch is rapidly growing but got its start with streaming gamers doing what they do best: playing video games. Each feed provides a new opportunity to engage with fans and drive revenue for studios and players. It acts as a brand extension that creates interest in the central property: the game and its characters. Explore brand extensions, like customer communities and social media, to further enrich and drive consumer relevance at scale.

Innovate with intelligence

The value of intelligence clearly transcends media. Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google’s Assistant use natural language processing to understand the context of spoken words. Facebook taps into machine learning for facial recognition, making photos more social. Many companies are using deep learning to help cars drive autonomously. Intelligence has applications across industries but can be particularly powerful in media. AI is already deployed across the advertising business to optimize spend, effectively place ads and land the right message with the right consumer. Creative directors are exploring how to leverage AI in the content creation process, too.

Now is the time to consider applications to your business process to accelerate sales and deliver the highly tailored experiences consumers have come to expect in the new media landscape.

The ‘”war for attention” is constantly evolving across industries. New channels like AR/VR will continue to emerge and challenge the status quo. It’s up to us to personalize, monetize, and innovate to stay ahead of the curve and deliver on consumer expectations. The industry is going through massive change, but those who put the consumer at the center of business, think outside the box, and break down barriers to consumer engagement will come out ahead.


Click here to translate this article
Click here to download the complete .PDF version of this article
Click here to download the entire Spring/Summer 2018 M&E Journal