Emily Groch
Emily Groch is Mintel Comperemedia’s Director of Insights, Telecommunications, providing omni-channel marketing analysis and competitive insights to telecom providers.

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending, and participating in, the 2018 National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show. At its core, the show is about content, which makes it particularly pertinent not just for those in the video and radio industries, but also for marketers.

Over the course of four days, I absorbed a great deal of information about what’s happening in content creation and where it’s headed. Here, I share four takeaways for marketers from the NAB Show.

1. Personalization is the focus, with little concern about reinforcing echo chambers

As has been a theme at marketing-related conferences over the past couple of years, everyone seemed to be discussing personalized content. Artificial intelligence (AI) is getting better at analyzing text, video and audio, as well as discerning when, where and with which pieces of content viewers engage. Providers realize that the more content can be personalized to its viewer, the less likely the viewer will churn. For advertisers, the better you can get at serving the right ad to the right consumer, the more likely they will be to engage, and/or make a purchase.

However, I didn’t hear a satisfactory solution to questions about how to strike a balance between hyper-personalized content and delivering something fresh and different to the consumer to break up their echo chamber. As content becomes increasingly personalized, marketers that can find a way to break through the repetition may be more likely to stand out and get noticed.

2. Re-engagement marketing efforts will increase as AI gets better at anticipating churn

During a fascinating session hosted by Ooyala, Paul Johnson, CEO of MPP Global, a digital media and entertainment cloud CRM and eCommerce platform, discussed how machine learning will be applied to predict churn. In fact, he explained that MPP Global has been able to identify for its users 90% of the people who would churn in the next month. With this kind of capability, marketers will be armed with specific targets for re-engagement. I would expect to see that re-engagement efforts such as special offers or educational efforts will increasingly start to crop up in email, app messaging and maybe even direct mail efforts looking ahead. Be prepared to re-engage.

3. Experience is (still) all – but now it’s about mixing the virtual and the real

I also had the pleasure of hosting a panel with a number of leaders in the augmented reality space. One such leader, Vntana CMO Natascha French, explained how her company is using holograms to bring the virtual to life. She showed, for instance, how Nike used hologram football players to reveal new high-school football jerseys, to the shrieks of delighted students. During a separate session, American Express and its partner Radical Media demoed the new Justin Timberlake AR experience available via the American Express Music app, through which Timberlake appears to walk users through the inspiration behind his latest album. The companies emphasized the importance of using the technology to elevate the storytelling and drive unique experiences that can delight customers, drive loyalty and spread brand awareness among those who may be less likely to engage with traditional marketing.

4. You don’t need a big budget to launch a successful marketing campaign

NAB is not just about professional, high-budget content creation. In fact, experts discussed platforms that enable content creators to work with limited resources, and user-generated content was a hot topic throughout. One of the most interesting perspectives on this topic came from NASA’s News & Social Media Director Veronica McGregor. She explained that because NASA has no marketing budget, they’ve gone to social media to spread awareness, with livestreamed events and a heavy emphasis on influencers.

NASA has connected with influencers by inviting them to apply for special VIP events (the influencers have to pay their own way) to meet with scientists and go behind the scenes at NASA, in exchange for sharing their experiences with their audiences. NASA deliberately chooses social media influencers with audiences that wouldn’t typically be big NASA fans. This approach has been massively successful for the brand. In fact, influencers have even taken over social media responsibilities during government shutdowns, using the hashtag #whatnasamighttweet. Now, NASA is a special case—this is a brand that has a devoted audience of space lovers. But many budget-constrained brands can build greater engagement and awareness by harnessing the power of social media.