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How Media, Entertainment and Information Companies are Personalizing Content to Convert Prospects into Customers

Sunil Karkera
Global Head, TCS Interactive
James Wheless
Global Managing Partner, Consulting & Services Integration, Tata Consultancy Services
Lakshmi Ramesh
Head, Media Center of Excellence, Cognitive Business Operations, TCS
Lisa Fairbanks
TCS Product Management Leader Customer Experience Strategist and Customer Analytics Innovator


This report on marketers in the media, entertainment and information industry is based on TCS’ larger 2019 study on digital marketing opportunities for CMOs in 11 global industries Innovating Brand Experiences Through Digital Transformation. The findings of this report are based on just one part of the study: how marketers in this sector are using digital technology to personalize their communications with prospects to convert them into customers. This goal of conversion is what we refer to as Stage 2 of the brand experience. (Converting prospects to customers is one of four stages; we are also issuing reports on what marketers from select industries are doing in the other three stages.)

We surveyed 51 firms in this industry located in North America and Europe. While all of them have marketing programs in Stage 1 (to generate awareness of their company’s offerings with prospects), in “only 65% are involved in creating communications in the conversion stage, which traditionally falls under the Sales arena. Marketing’s role in creating communications for customers falls off significantly (to 14%) in Stage 3 (post-sale customer support) and 25% in Stage 4 (up-selling and cross-selling). In Stages 2 to 4, media, entertainment and information company marketers are considerably less active compared to the average of the 11 industry groups we surveyed. (See Figure 1.)

Key Findings in Stage 2—Converting Prospects To Customers*

#1 Media Companies Are Active on Digital and Social Channels but Also Rely on Traditional Channels

Every marketer we surveyed from the sector that creates communications for Stage 2 of the brand experience uses online channels such as digital advertising, the company website and email marketing. Usage of email marketing as a channel to turn prospects into customers was slightly above the cross-sector average, 100% to 96%. The takeaway? Although media, entertainment and information businesses have a strong online presence, they recognize that email marketing is a worthwhile channel.

Our findings show that these CMOs are involved in creating content in traditional sales channels to convert prospects into customers. All of them are involved in creating messages for channels that marketers in other sectors are less committed to. Such traditional channels unanimously used by this sector’s marketers include print media advertising (used on average by only 76% of all respondents), contact centers (93%), and billboards (86%).

Marketers in media, entertainment and information industry companies are also far more likely to create sales messages for their company’s mobile apps and online videos.

79% create marketing communications for their mobile apps compared to an average of 67% of other sectors.

91% create marketing content for video sites (YouTube, etc) compared to 77% of all other sectors.

* Note: While 51 media, entertainment and information companies participated in the survey, the findings below are based on the 33 companies that create marketing content in Stage 2.

In contrast, three sales channels that marketers are involved in less frequently to create messages including:

■ Their company’s social media pages (61% vs. 77% on average)
■ Ads on other companies’ mobile apps (18% vs 27%)
■ Ads on other companies’ e-commerce sites (18% vs. 27%)

In the case of social media, it is possible that some media-industry marketers (e.g., newspapers and magazines) are less active here because this role is often handled by content producers such as journalists.

Only 18% of media marketers are involved in creating ads on other companies’ e-commerce sites (compared to a cross-industry average of 27%).

#2 Media Marketers are Active in Personalizing Communications but May Be Missing a Key Opportunity

The vast majority of marketers in this industry are creating content for Stage 2—the Conversion stage of the brand experience, and a full 97% personalize communications. In doing so, they use a wide variety of data. Of the five data types we asked about, media marketers use four more commonly than the cross-sector average (See Figure 3.):

■ Demographic data (82% for media respondents vs. 78% for all respondents)
■ Web traffic data (55% vs. 47%)
■ Real-time location data (52% vs. 44%)
■ Past buying behavior with other companies (45% vs. 44%).

The only data source that companies use less commonly than average to personalize marketing content is social media behavior data (30% vs. 41% for all respondents). Of the 11 industry sectors, media marketers are among least likely to capitalize on social media data. This is a missed opportunity. Social media data can be particularly helpful to companies in identifying trends in the marketplace that could be used to convert prospects to customers.

Of the 11 industry sectors, at 30% vs 41%, media marketers are among the least likely to capitalize on social media data--a missed opportunity.

Social media can also reveal the interests of an individual, which can indicate whether she would be more likely to read The Wall Street Journal or watch the popular HBO cable TV series “Game of Thrones.” Netflix—which has boasted that its own streaming video service is its best marketing channel—has become increasingly active on social media, and the effort has been credited with driving one of its most successful original productions.

82% of media marketers use demographic data to personalize communications in the Conversion stage.

#3 In Personalized Content, Useful Information and Special Deals Win Out

How exactly are media marketers personalizing content to turn prospects into customers based on the wide variety of data they’re collecting? Above all, they are communicating useful product and service information to prospective customers. This tactic is used by 66% of media marketers, below the average across all industries (71%). The second most common personalization tactic is to provide offers and special deals. A slightly smaller percentage of companies in this sector does this (63%) compared to 67% across all sectors. (See Figure 4.)

There are two types of content personalization that marketers use more commonly than do marketers in other sectors to try to turn prospects into customers. Some 44% content media marketers tailor the graphic design, such as the color and images, of their messages. This compares to 39% for marketers across all sectors. Likewise, 34% of media marketers provide relevant videos, compared to 27% across industries. In fact, companies in the industry, where video is a core part of many businesses, were among the most common users of personalized video marketing.

66% of media marketers communicate useful product and service information to prospective customers, which is below the average across all industries.

About This Research


We surveyed 51 companies in North America and Europe in the media, entertainment and information industry. (See Figure 5 for a breakdown of sub-sectors). 71% of the respondents described their business as B2C, 20% were B2C, and the rest target both B2B and B2C. More than half (57%) were based in the U.S., 21% were in the UK, 20% were in the Netherlands and 2% were in Canada. (Figure 6.) About half (51%) of the firms have marketing budgets of $250 million or more (Figure 7), and 44% have revenues over $5 billion.


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