February 28, 2020

Growing a Category via Unique Customer Experiences

by Melissa Caffrey

You’ve heard that a picture is worth a thousand words, but how many for a video? According to Dr. James L. McQuivey’s Forrester study, “How Video Will Take Over the World,” the answer is…drumroll please…1.8 million! Wow, powerful stuff. How did McQuivey get to this number exactly? 30 (frames per second) x 1,000 (a picture’s worth) x 60 (seconds in a typical explainer video (60) = 1.8M. And that’s at the very least, depending on how long your video is.

Read just about any “Top Marketing Trends” article for 2020, and you’ll see that adding video and live-video content to your digital marketing toolbox is not just optional these days, it’s essential. Video’s effectiveness in engaging consumers and garnering a good reputation has been on the rise and it doesn’t look like it’s going to stop anytime soon.

Brightcove leads the way in its category, providing cloud services for video to its customers, and CMO Sara Larsen wants to keep moving the organization forward. Larsen talks about the profound marketing shift from pushing product to creating unique customer experiences, and how she’s piloted this change to drive both company and category growth. You can read some of the highlights from her interview below, and listen to the full episode here.

What is Brightcove’s purpose?

Our purpose is to help our customers bring their stories to the eyes of the world. We are continuously developing new technologies for how to do that in live scenarios, social scenarios, in all kinds of apps—whatever the newest format is, you need to make content for it. We do that with an experience that is consistent, with a high degree of quality, and a trusted level of support and security. I think the piece that is becoming more and more relevant is how we can help our customers understand how video is working. What are the analytics around it? Which analytics matter? We’re getting asked a lot about that now, because while people understand they need to be in the category, they want to understand their relative success in it as well. It’s not just about the product or service anymore, at the end of the day you have to deliver an experience.

What are your top priorities since you’ve joined Brightcove?

Well, one of the top priorities that I have, and that the leadership team has, is to continue to build a breakout growth model for video. That includes not only how we’re growing as a company, but how we’ll be growing video as a category and the way people are engaging in the world. That could be how marketers and companies are engaging people, how media organizations—and really any content organization—are reaching people, so we’re thinking through that. What does this mean internally? How do we organize our priorities? Where do we put emphasis? What do we potentially de-emphasize?

Growing a category is not as easy as it sounds. How do you approach this strategically?

People are still wildly engaged in visual content and, if you think about it, the video category is expanding and shifting. People consume content today on their phones, on the go, on their own time schedule, and linear/non-linear viewing habits have changed significantly. I think our job as a category leader is to understand those shifts and to help our customers through them. You take a very traditional category of news and content which was one-way delivery, static format, and make it a live event that the publisher now hosts. Helping various people in different parts of the industry figure out those customer expectations and how they can get ahead of that curve is really what our job is here at Brightcove.

Tell us about how you’ve brought customers into the discussion.

For our customer conference this year, PLAY, which happened in Boston in May, I threw out a couple of objectives to the team. I said “Let’s have more customers than we’ve ever had at this conference. This isn’t a conference about us, it’s about us hosting a conversation on video and the best way we can have that conversation is with the people that are using it today in really unique ways.” We had more customers than we’ve ever had at our conference, speaking on the main stage and in breakouts and practitioner sessions, in workshops. We got tremendous feedback from attendees on that.

What were some other benefits of the new initiatives you incorporated into PLAY? 

We were able to use our own product by having more video at our video conference than ever before. We live-streamed. We used our new live-to-social capability and had some great social engagement online. We were able to capture a lot of real-time video onsite and really started to think about how we could transform an on-site experience into a live experience and then build a video component into it. Now that’s available online, and we call it “Replay.” That was one area where we brought the customer dimension and the product together in a unique way. I also think that stretched the team a little bit, in a good way, because they had to get out of their silos and think a little bit broader.