Manon Fennis – XITE

Manon Fennis – XITE

Creating fans through brand growth in the music video industry

Music videos are everywhere: we “see” music on smart TV’s, in clubs, on airplanes or at the center of the party. Music consumption across all demographics has developed to music video consumption.

Music video service XITE caters to this broad audience, with the focus of bringing interaction to the experience. Manon Fennis, VP Marketing Europe at XITE, explains: “This is a core component of our business. As the customer interacts with our product it improves the experience by making it more personalized”. So how does all this work into XITE’s Brand Growth strategy?

From viewers to fans
One of the KPI’s of XITE is the number viewers, but even more importantly ‘session time,’ or how long the viewer watched the channel. Manon explains that XITE is shifting the focus on getting ‘fans’ to return to the channel again and again, and once there, to stay longer, which translates to ‘engagement rate’. Manon: “Online we also look at ‘engagement rate’ because reach and impressions don’t say that much about engaged customers. Engagement rate tells us that our content is likeable and that our fans are engaged with our brand.” XITE provides a linear TV channel as well as an interactive and personalized music video application, in which their fans find curated channels by genre, mood, and more, plus the ability to search the entire XITE database and even make their own channels. As for XITE’s marketing strategy, this is focused on turning viewers into fans, and target specific groups with content catered to each group. As the viewers get more and more of the content they love in their ‘content funnel’, they come to see XITE as their ‘go-to’ source for music video content and become deeper fans. “We’re a love-brand, so our fans are very important.”

Interacting with the fans
According to Manon, media isn’t just one-sided anymore. “It’s all about interaction with your customers.” XITE works with OOH, TV, social media, mailings and influencers. “I believe in a mix, to communicate your message through a variety of touchpoints and screens.” XITE’s target audience is 13-34 years old, and Manon explains that with such an audience you can’t leave out digital media in your mix. “We try to create synergy between different platforms. For example, the people watching XITE on TV can be directed to our website to join a competition for concert tickets. On the website they’ll find our YouTube series, which can direct them right back to the TV channel. So, I really believe in cross-referring over different channels. That’s how you keep people in the XITE funnel.” Regarding trends, Manon tells us that it’s important to determine what works for your brand and target audience specifically. “We use Twitter because that’s where a lot of fans are active through fan account channels, even if a lot of marketing publications and articles would advise against it for the young adult target audience”. Manon emphasizes that it’s important to select platforms that work for your brand and audience, and not to follow every trend blindly.

Reaching the fans
Manon mentions that the use of low reach media can also work. “It can work in niche markets. With very specific target groups, low-reach media may sometimes be the only way to go.” XITE uses both short-term- and long-term media. Manon says, “We use short term media for our campaigns where the message is ‘go watch XITE now’. Long-term focuses more on XITE becoming a part of the viewer’s daily routine. We try and find the right balance between the two.” XITE is also investing more and more in research around brand awareness and brand image to measure success.

Manon adds that it’s not easy to gather insights from TV, it’s a lot easier to gather insights from XITE’s interactive application. Therefore, the customer journey is never overlooked. “It’s very important to find out not just how people got on our platforms, but also the journey through the product itself.”, Manon explains.

Fans in the future
According to Manon, new technologies have a tremendous impact on the brand. The changing TV landscape is a good example. “We won’t just jump upon every development. We do monitor every new technology and decide whether or not the potential is there for us to be a leader in that space.” Manon explains that XITE is sometimes even ahead in technological development, such as with the interactive application, which was the first of its kind to be developed for cable operator set-top-boxes.

This leaves us wondering where music will fit in the media and tech landscape in the future… who knows! One thing is for sure: XITE seems to have a clear view of where the industry and the newest technologies are heading, and they’re certainly not afraid to dive into new trends.

Manon Fennis is the VP of Marketing Europe at music video platform XITE. Manon is responsible for the European marketing team which includes strategy, campaigns and creatives. XITE is live in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Qatar, Canada and the United States.