Evolving Content Needs in Online Communities

Insights from the Inaugural Appinium User Conference

Adam Brown | February 27, 2020

Content is king in the world of online communities, and today’s end users have evolving expectations for how it is delivered. When it comes to learning management, service and support, modern customers often prefer to view content as a video. 

Appinium User ConferenceConsider how platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and others have become part of the daily fabric of our lives. I had to think hard about the last time that I searched for and clicked on a written article that would help me tie a bowtie, french braid my daughter’s hair or build a pinewood derby car with my son. While a picture may be worth 1,000 words, I tend to go straight to videos for the best and quickest results. (Full disclosure, I’m still a little shaky on the french braiding, as the video didn’t tell me how to keep an 8-year-old’s head still for more than 10 seconds at a time).

Video is increasingly the preferred way to deliver content to community users. This comes despite traditional challenges surrounding native storage limits/costs, integrations to external sources and custom development needs. That being said, there aren’t many better ways to train a trade professional to install your product, share a download of a win story with peers, or build advocacy by featuring a luminary customer story. Today’s end-users expect video in their digital experience, and companies are making waves in the marketplace to meet those needs.

Here at 7Summits, we were early adopters of the video wave, providing our customers with Video Gallery and other Salesforce Lightning Accelerators that support video content. We also partner with like-minded companies to help meet ever-evolving experience needs. One of these companies is Appinium.

Appinium was the first company to enable one platform, native on Salesforce, for video and learning management to drive the behavioral change necessary to achieve business outcomes.  They do this by correlating content consumption data to Salesforce metrics across the enterprise with personas focused on Marketing, Customer Success and Learning.  

I have been partnering with Appinium on behalf of my 7Summits clients since 2017.  When I ran into co-founder and CEO Steve Jacobson at Dreamforce 2019, I heard that they were hosting their first annual User Conference in February. I was excited to register and hear how others are using their platform, as well as gain insights into what’s next for the company. Not to mention that it was in Redondo Beach, CA. In February. That beats Chicago in February…where do I sign?

The User Conference was a great event, with a lot packed into a few short days. The opening night reception allowed us to watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean while networking with customers from 35 different companies, ranging from Fortune 100 to SMB to non-for-profits. The full-day sessions were jam-packed with customer success stories, roadmap reveals and some interactive product brainstorming. It was all time well spent! Throughout the event, there was a noticeable focus on customer success and keeping everything tied to the human elements of what we deliver. That’s all core to life on the mountain here at 7Summits and definitely resonated with me!

Now that I’ve had a chance to reflect on the event, there are a few key takeaways that I would like to share, and that I am excited for us to leverage as we continue to deliver best-in-class digital collaboration experiences to our own clients.

Vertical Focus on Marketing, Sales/Support Enablement and Learning

Appinium is not “just” about Learning; their entire philosophy is that these verticals are not silos, but rather a flow of experience and data. Consider that a customer’s journey with your company begins well before they sign on the dotted line, even before they become a prospect. Appinium helps to provide a consistent experience to individuals as they enter the funnel, become prospects, onboard as new customers and ultimately need to be supported and certified. More importantly (and in particular when Appinium is included as part of your Community Cloud instance) you can track the flow of data through the entire process. Knowing which content and which personas are the most impactful allows companies to leverage that data to drive strategic decisions that impact real business outcomes.

Roadmap Highlights

Appinium mirrors Salesforce in providing three releases per year. While there are a ton of features set to release in the upcoming months, a few that resonated with me when thinking about the solutions we provide to our clients include:  

  • Video to Case – This is going to be huge. Flip how companies think about customer service and case management. Move away from text-based issues and written responses. Customers can now record and submit a video of their issues in real-time, and Service Agents can respond in the same fashion. No more ambiguous descriptions, no more lost-in-translation, and (the worst) no more “we could not replicate the issue.” Here’s a video showing what’s happening! Record it right from your desktop or mobile device through the Appinium platform. Everyone sees the same thing, helping to optimize case resolution.
  • Recommended Media – Ensure that Sales, Service and Customers have access to relevant content when and where they need it based on their current activity in Salesforce.
  • Video Interactions – From within Salesforce, add interactions on top of otherwise flat mp4 files to drive engagement and add a deeper level of meaningful user data.
  • Appinium Insights – Correlate video and learning consumption data to objective performance metrics in Salesforce, and determine content strategy to drive business outcomes. I can’t wait to see what we can do with these insights and Einstein AI!

All in all, the inaugural Appinium User Conference was everything that I hoped that it would be. Time is money, and this was time well spent. I can’t wait to see what’s to come in next year’s conference. Steve and team set the bar high and I’m looking forward to engaging with my own clients and prospects to continue to push the boundaries of user-centric digital experiences leveraging the power of Appinium and Community Cloud, taking them to the summit! 

Adam Brown is a Vice President & Sr. Account Executive at 7Summits with 23 years of relationship and management consulting experience. He is passionate about customer focus and mentoring the next wave of service and sales professionals.

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