Lean Forward vs Lean Back

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There is a significant shift in the customer behavior involved with new technology and how marketers reach and interact with these customers. This change can be best explained with the concepts of Lean Forward and Lean Back. When determining how best to address your customers, you should consider how the dynamics of the interaction more closely follow Lean Forward vs Lean Back.

Lean Back describes the more “traditional” mass media interaction exemplified by most television viewing. You know the image well, and you have done it yourself: You sit down on the sofa, click the remote control, settle on currently broadcasted video content from a channel that is served to you. The media experience is typically more passive and oriented toward a longer attention span. While the media hopes to engage you – whether through a show or advertisement – it is understood that the viewer is probably relaxed, and perhaps distracted. They may be talking with others in the room, preparing a meal, reading a magazine, or talking on their phone… Note that these days, nearly everyone has an internet-capable mobile phone in their pocket or beside them.

In contrast, Lean Forward describes someone who is engaged and seeking information. This involves shorter attention span and the person engaging with the media does so with a clear purpose. Internet browsing is generally done with a purpose in mind. With nearly everyone carrying mobile devices that can access the internet, this kind of target customer interaction has grown exponentially. As mentioned, television viewers have their mobile devices with them, and when intrigued by something on television, they may shift to the internet to find related information.

That information may be provided in the form of text, but website visitors – especially on mobile – strongly prefer video content. Upon finding what may be the answer to their question(s), it is often more cumbersome to read a lot of text and continue scrolling down the screen than to watch a video that explains the information to them in a multimedia experience. There may be an element of “Lean Back” in this part of the visitor behavior – It is essential for you and your company that they find your video and that you give them the information they are seeking. This affects their customer experiencepossibly their first point of contact with you, which will affect how they continue. It also affects your website’s SEO in that search engines seek to provide relevant content for user queries – that is what determines whether they are effective for their users.

Websites and the videos on those sites need to be delivered in ways that elegantly meet the visitors’ needs. That means the websites need to display properly and be easily navigable on mobile devices. Mobile-responsive website design, often employing a mobile-first strategy, is a good way to accomplish this. Depending on how your website is set up and what you are using to display videos on your site, you may need to specify that it is mobile responsive – that it will resize relative to screen size so as to display properly and be easily accessible. In case you have any doubts, this recent ReelSEO article explains why 46% of online video is currently watched via mobile – and it is growing.

The visitor has a mission and a short attention span. They will leave if you don’t give them what they are seeking quickly, opting for information from your competitors. This must be kept in mind when planning and creating your content. Remember: In this kind of video marketing, you want to give them Help – Not Hype. At NRV, we have been creating videos and supporting written content of this type for many years, and we would be happy to assist you in assessing your opportunities for engaging with your target customers in a lean-forward approach using online video that we produce with you. Here are several examples on our site that show the type of format that is often most effective in meeting the needs of customers seeking information.

Contact NRV to learn more about creating great video content for your company or brand!

The Video Content Marketing Guru writes for New Relevant Video LLC and currently oversees the day-to-day content production review and publication staff. His (or her) identity is kept anonymous in order to thwart the efforts of the NSA and support the Witness Protection Program.

New Relevant Video is an innovative production and marketing company that applies over 25 years of expertise to produce powerful, highly successful media that promotes products and services to a mass audience on broadcast television and the internet.
Call Us: (800) 301-6925
Email Us: info@newrelevantvideo.com


About NRV

New Relevant Video is an innovative production and marketing company that applies over 25 years of expertise to produce powerful, highly successful media that promotes products and services to a mass audience on broadcast television and the internet.
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