Last updated: What media companies can learn from omni-channel retailers

What media companies can learn from omni-channel retailers


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“Think like a retailer” – that’s the mantra that media companies are adopting as they look for new ways to drive subscription revenue and monetize more content.

Media companies are realizing that it’s no longer enough to produce great content – they also have be great omni-channel marketers as well. The retail industry provides inspiration and some tested and true strategies that media companies can leverage to increase renewal and new acquisition revenue.

  • Design for every device. Retailers understand that consumers know brands, not channels. Therefore, retailers ensure that their customers have the same experience, offers, discounts, and messaging across every device and channel. For media companies, that means subscription products and content offers need to be driven from a single location regardless of where the transaction occurs – whether that’s an app store, a third party subscription seller, or directly on a website or mobile app. Responsive design of pages ensures that offers are optimized for any device – critical for a subscription form that may layout and display one way on a large screen and have a completely different flow on a mobile device.
  • Build rich profiles. Understanding your customer provides you with the best insight to extend and maximize your relationship and revenue. Retailers do this through relentless data crunching, and media and entertainment companies are no strangers to the benefits of big data. Media companies have the added benefit of being able to augment behavioral data with consumption history and patterns – topics, devices, engagement time, locale, social engagement, and more. They can add a layer of first-person data derived from surveys and forms that can be exchanged for access to premium content.
  • Form direct relationships. Direct to consumer models that have prevailed in retail are starting to be explored by media companies looking to better understand their users and increase margins by cutting out third parties who take a significant slice of subscription fees. Direct engagement provides the best path to knowing what content and offers resonate with an audience, what drives subscription and content transactions, and what cross-sell and upsell opportunities are most relevant for the audience.
  • Segment, target, and personalize. The holy grail in retail is to target a “segment of one.” For media customers, that means getting the next level of granularity beyond income level, professional experience, and topics of interest. This requires analyzing data at the individual level to determine characteristics that are shared across readers or viewers. Using that data is the key to presenting highly personalized offers that are relevant and drive subscriptions.
  • Cross-sell and upsell. There are two components of cross-selling and upselling that retailers focus on: knowing the next best product to present to the consumer, and removing the friction from the purchase process. The single-click checkout is probably the most effective tool that retailers have to encourage a customer to spend more, again and again. Media companies have the same opportunity to mine analytics to determine relevant cross-sell offers and to leverage a payment instrument that is already saved on file for renewals. Enabling a single-click conversion path for additional subscription offers or for unique content offers is a way for media companies to exploit this same trend.
  • Discount and promote. Typical retail discount and promotion techniques – whether that’s Black Friday or Cyber Monday discounts, buy-one-get-one promotions, time-limited flash sales, or Groupon-style bulk offers – can all be leveraged by media companies to sell more subscriptions and content. Remarketing to users who abandon the checkout process can have a substantial impact on the bottom line. There’s no audience better versed at finding ways to promote and prompt consumption than the big retailers. They present plenty of ideas – and opportunities – for media companies to study and emulate,

Retailers have had a head start testing, trying, and refining these best practices for increasing average order value, repeat purchases, cross-selling, and upselling. Media and circulation marketers looking to achieve those same goals are starting to borrow from the best practice playbook of retailers to drive customer lifetime value.

Photo: Gil C /

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