Gone TV Gone! Suspect: Online Customer Experiences!

Martina Boni, Amrita Jambavalikar, Samvit Roy, Julien Naggar, Shikhar Shah
MBA Perspectives
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Key Takeaways

​What? Online streaming has enabled the switch of visual content from television to online platforms.

So what? Online customer experiences are continually being designed by marketers to create the cultural and emotional bonds that ensure higher degrees of engagement and social acceptance.

Now what? Marketers should incorporate experiential marketing models into marketing campaigns to design superior online customer experiences.  

​MBA Perspectives: 'Big Design' is an exclusive AMA series examining customer experience design.

Move over television. Your days are numbered. You will not survive the Judgment Day. 20 years later, kids will find television sets in museums and ask their parents, “This ‘idiot box’, seriously?” These statements might seem as an exaggeration right now, but the gist is not far from the truth. Television is going to bite the dust, and all of it will be attributed to one usual suspect: the Internet!  

Online streaming has been nurturing the trend where visual content is moving from television to online platforms. Future marketers would be wise to recognize this movement. And the rationale? Simple! Online customer experiences are continually being designed by marketers to create the cultural and emotional bonds that ensure higher degrees of engagement and social acceptance.

Let us explore this contention with the example of the pioneer of this movement: Netflix. Why would one choose Netflix over television? The traditional attribute-oriented strategic marketers would say that the reasons are no advertisements, easy access and mobility, pause and play features, HD quality, and multiple screens. Sure, everyone loves these features. But is that all to this story?

We, as customer experience designers, say that there are deeper aspects of experiential marketing that shape the social elements that are at play here:

1. Creating a need to be accepted by your network: The non-Netflix watcher has become a social pariah. What does Netflix encourage people to do when they pause between hours of binge watching? Share! Connect! Tell their friends and family. These network effects are the designs that will make Netflix a part of our daily schedules, a luxury that television used to enjoy. We have become a part of the “Netflixing” sub-culture. 

2. Creating a need to make the right choice: With the plethora of options at your behest, Netflix marketers convinced us that it is the right choice for utilizing our time. Do you believe it is a random strategy to release content in one go and promote binge watching, as opposed to the week-by-week model of television? Customer experience designers understand that the psychological benefit of remembering the plot points, since consumers are watching the shows continually helps with constant engagement. They tap into the subtle emotions instead of pure rationality.

3. Creating a need for having social experiences: A shortcoming of television is the opportunity cost of missing social experiences if one is hooked to it. It is its doppelgänger brand image (Thompson, Rindfleisch, and Arsel 2006). But customer experience designers have now positioned Netflix in a way that hours of streaming content on Netflix is now seen as a point of social association in networks. An example is the popular “Netflix and Chill” phrase, where social experiences such as dating can be practiced while sitting in your home and watching television shows or movies on Netflix together.   

These needs were always there in society, but Netflix has created a direct link between them and its own value proposition through utilizing a hybrid branding model of cultural and emotional branding and thereby, creating the superior online customer experience.

So, our recommendations to marketers for the future of successful online experiences: accept this trend and come on-board! Attributes can be imitated, but the value of the emotional connection and cultural acceptance will always stay unique. Online experiences are getting more personal, something that television was inherently unable to achieve. The onus is now on marketers to understand this perception!


References

Thompson, Craig J., Aric Rindfleisch, Zeynep Arsel (2006), “Emotional Branding the Strategic Value of the Doppelgänger Brand Image,” Journal of Marketing, 70 (1), 50-64.  


The AMA is pleased to partner with Professor Markus Giesler and his MBA students from the Schulich School of Business at York University.


Author Bio:

 
Martina Boni, Amrita Jambavalikar, Samvit Roy, Julien Naggar, Shikhar Shah
Martina Boni, Amrita Jambavalikar, Samvit Roy, Julien Naggar, Shikhar Shah are students in Markus Giesler’s Customer Experience Design MBA elective course at the Schulich School of Business, York University.
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