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So What Exactly is a Digital Touch Point?
Randy Palubiak co-founder of Enliten Management Group, a research and consulting firm that helps enterprise organizations with the development of their media business strategies. He has a new book entitled Digital Touch Points: How to Gain a Competitive Advantage Using Video and Dynamic Media (Practical Tips for Executives). The emerging growth within the new media tech industry has forever changed the way we communicate. The rapid pace in which these technologies are growing is changing the communication landscape for consumers and businesses. Staying on top of every emerging technological advancement isn’t possible, and falling behind is simply not an option. My interview with Randy Palubiak will give you some extremely insightful tips on how to stay ahead on the curve, and bridge the ever-growing communication gap in the new media technology industry.
Can you give us a little background on your business experience? And briefly touch on your experiences with new media technologies.
I have been an industry consultant for video and dynamic media communications for the past 15 years when I co-founded Enliten Management Group, Inc.
While attending the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, I worked in the production department at KOMU-TV (NBC affiliate). This started me down a career path of producing, directing and technical directing programs and video content for local television stations in Little Rock, AR and St. Louis, MO, including corporate videos and satellite-based videoconferences.
Then came a period where I worked for AT&T, EDS and GE selling and implementing satellite-based business television (BTV) and interactive distance learning networks. I worked extensively with their clients’ telecom and IT organizations, integrating video systems into their infrastructures. Those engagements have proven invaluable with the convergence of video and data (televisions and computers) and overwhelming influx of today’s new media devices and applications. I am fortunate that every job has been an excellent, logical stepping-stone to the next.
So what exactly is a Digital Touch Point?
A Digital Touch Point is the reaching of an individual through an electronic device. More specifically, it is a point of contact when a person or a company provides a targeted customer or employee with information or content via a digital media channel for consumption on a digital device such as a television, computer screen, tablet, smartphone or other smart device.
What inspired you to write a book on Digital Touch Points?
The phrase digital touch points pretty much describes today’s environment, our society and how we are informed and communicate as individual consumers as well as in the workplace. We use digital based technology to access content, interact and share experiences. However, the amount of new technology and video applications is overwhelming many companies.
The book Digital Touch Points is to provide executives’ perspective on how digital media is impacting the enterprise space and how to leverage all elements of the entire video ecosystem. Bottom line, it is intended as a tool to provide guidance and structure for companies to gain a competitive advantage through the use of video and dynamic media.
The topics addressed in the book are based on personal experiences with clients. The tips, perspectives and recommendations are based on lessons learned and achieved outcomes.
Why do you believe it’s important for business executives to embrace this new frontier of emerging media? Why should they care?
Business executives should embrace video and dynamic media to enhance marketing and sales initiatives and improve communications and training throughout their companies. They are able to do so with a mix of commercials and advertisements using traditional media and video content via proprietary media channels, the public Internet and social media channels. Today’s solutions allow companies to efficiently and effectively reach target audiences on a global basis, to display screens at desktops, in conference rooms and training centers, and via mobile devices wherever they wish to conduct transactions or need for business applications.
More than ever, video is contributing to increased revenues, decreased and/or offset costs and improved customer experiences. Simply put, video and dynamic media are providing business value.
Rich media communications is a vastly expansive field, which grows exponentially every year. What are some best practices that corporate enterprises can implement to stay informed on what’s next?
Every company should understand that it is not just about technology. Companies need to establish a media business strategy where they; clearly identify target audiences, when and where to reach them and what they want them to know and do. Think: advertising, marketing and promotions. The media business strategy should be inclusive of reaching employees (internal audiences) as well as customers.
Next, companies should establish their communication strategies where they leverage existing systems and infrastructure with the right blend of new technology and media channels. They should be cautious about not chasing every new mousetrap but focus on solutions that work across the entire enterprise.
Companies should hire media and technology savvy talent; people who understand social media and recognize the value of video and the significance of engaging, interactive communications. They need to staff appropriately, with enough resources to properly create and manage the content, which inevitably will increase in volume, quality and type and originate from various sources. Think: governance.
The buying process/approach is changing for video and media solutions. Now that they are computer-centric, companies are purchasing systems, software and some staffing services as managed services (Managed Video as a Service – MVaaS). This is merely a different acquisition vehicle, which is similar to what IT and telecom organizations have used for decades. It allows companies the opportunity to establish fixed budgets and mitigate risk by having vendors be responsible for managing against equipment and software obsolescence.
Also, it establishes a responsible role for trusted vendors to provide industry insight and technology and software roadmaps. Think: future-proofing.
How can a company that is behind the technology curve catch up and benefit from utilizing rich media content? What are some implementations they can employ to get their business headed in the right direction?
Very good question. In fact, many companies are overwhelmed with the new and evolving technology. For instance, some of them have yet to upgrade to HD and find that we are on the cusp of Ultra-HD. Other companies may have implemented systems (such as digital signage, digital asset management, interactive distance learning, etc.) only to find that their user requirements exceed the system capabilities or that new/different functionality is available with other solutions. They are not alone.
I recommend companies establish a three-to-five year strategy to replace and upgrade existing systems and implement new and emerging solutions. Many of the existing solutions have years remaining on their contracts and/or useful life before obsolescence. This approach allows companies the opportunity to manage upgrades and implementations while ensuring that all components in the video ecosystem integrate with other databases and systems in the company’s infrastructure.
The key to success is to understand the entire video ecosystem from the recording/capturing systems to publishing and delivery, display, tracking and measurement tools. The heart of the system will be what companies use to manage, preserve and protect their content (DAM/MAM), whether they are proprietary systems, via the Cloud or a hybrid solution. Also, they need to be sensitive to the increasing role of big data and the benefits/value of leveraging analytics about customers’ actions and reactions as well as employees.
Business Executives are always looking for new innovative ways to increase both internal and external communications. How does creating rich media content and spreading them across multiple digital mediums help build a stronger communication infrastructure?
Excellent question. This ties back nicely to the previous questions, where we discussed the importance of companies having well thought out media business and communication strategies. With all departments, stakeholders and functional support organizations at the table, people can be on the same page about how companies can reach their internal and external target audiences.
Common solutions can be implemented to create, deliver, manage and track content throughout the enterprise and over the public channels, for both live and on-demand consumption. The joint focus on the entire ecosystem can help avoid unnecessary expenses for systems with overlapping or similar functionality. Additional efficiencies can be achieved by having common systems for administrators and end-users, enhancing the user experience. Also, the company will benefit by content being readily available and easy to access for viewing or use throughout the enterprise.
Processes and guidelines should be established to ensure the consistency of corporate messages and training content, regardless of the point of origin (e.g.: user and employee generated content). Let’s be realistic, with all of the available media, we are in somewhat of the Wild West, where anyone can produce and share content. Good governance will be critical to protect the corporate brand.
Are there any industries that you feel may benefit the most from these new media technologies?
I can’t think of an industry, where organizations can afford to disregard reaching customers and/or employees via video and dynamic media. Certainly, every retail, hospitality and service organization with direct consumer contact should embrace new media. All companies and organizations should use every tool possible to communicate with and train employees.
Are there any new media communication innovations on the horizon that you see being a factor in the next 5 to 10 years?
Although it is difficult to be specific about new media and capabilities in the future, there are a number of areas where we can anticipate significant innovation:
Compression technology will continue to improve and enable the efficient distribution of corporate video and rich media content across proprietary and public networks.
Content management capabilities will be robust, providing corporate media administrators the ability to easily manage, protect and preserve content and facilitate easy and ready access to content by authorized end-users regardless of location.
Display screens are advancing to the next generation(s) with Retina Display, Ultra-HD and OLED technology. It will be interesting to see what the next technology will be after 4K. Wearable devices, such as Google Glass and smart watches, may be embraced as the fifth and/or sixth screen(s).
Mobility will be a huge area, as vendors compete to develop the next mousetrap. Screen sizes will vary to meet user needs and applications and functionality will exceed our expectations as devices will interface with and control all things computer-based. Also, the mobile devices will enable two-way video communications for everyone from virtually anywhere. As social media goes so will the use/integration of video and dynamic media. If we think this is a video and media-centric society, we can only imagine how prevalent it will be in 5 to 10 years. Big data and analytics will be as critical to video and media managers as ratings and costs per impressions (CPI) are to marketing executives.
What are some of the key points you would like readers take away regarding Digital Touch Points?
Video is now digital…data. Hence, it is like other applications that traverse the organization’s infrastructure and public Internet. Today’s video and dynamic media solutions are affordable, secure and robust.
- Establish a media business strategy, which will be the basis for a well thought out communications strategy. The company business objectives and targeted digital touch points should drive technology decisions.
- Embrace the concept of managed services.
- Allocate the staffing/human resources to carefully select and implement the right solutions and strategically implement them across the enterprise to address the needs of all stakeholders and focus on meeting the organization’s business objectives.
Digital Touch Points are becoming increasingly valuable to enterprise organizations in connecting with both customers and employees. Both groups use the same (or similar) media channels and viewing devices to interact with and deliver digital media content, essentially blurring the communication lines as content is delivered over proprietary and public channels. The key to giving your company a competitive advantage lies in developing a media business strategy that reaches all targeted audiences virtually everywhere using multiple devices, and then implementing the communications plan to blend these new media solutions with the existing infrastructure.
Randy’s new book is available on Amazon. The Digital Touch Points whitepaper is available for download as well. Let’s talk about some new media solutions your company is developing or already employing. What are some of the things your brand is doing to future-proof its employee and consumer communication protocols? Talk to us! Please leave a comment, or reach out to us on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.