How Video Personalization Can Improve Customer Relationships
The relationship between brand and customer has evolved quickly over the last several years as consumers become more empowered. They know marketers have access to a wealth of personal information, making generalized content less appealing and almost unacceptable. As an early proponent of data-driven marketing, I often asked the question, “If we know so much about people, why do we continue to speak to them as if we have no clue?” In today’s world, the plethora of consumer data makes this question more relevant than ever. It’s not that any brand disagrees with the value of personalizing messages; they just don’t know how to do it well.
Speaking to customers as if you know them — because with data, you do know them — has the power to completely transform the brand-customer relationship for the better. Marketers have gained more access to customer data and can better use it to inform their messaging. At my company, we help brands use their data to engage customers with personalized video. Not only is video an amazing storytelling medium that leverages sight, sound and motion to communicate and evoke interest, but the personalized aspect of it enables brands to speak to customers on an individual basis.
The ability to personalize video to create engaging, highly relevant messaging at scale is the nirvana of marketing. Here are some things to consider when turning to personalized video to help transform your brand-customer relationships:
1. Think about your communication from a holistic point of view. You must have a clear picture of all the messages your brand sends to customers, including the frequency of the messages, the content of the messages and the medium through which they’re delivered. This should be the case even if the communications are managed by different departments. If you begin to scrutinize messages at each touchpoint before understanding the overall approach, then you won’t know how communications overlap or understand how your customers perceive your brand.
2. Differentiate between your assumptions and reality. When you decide to deliver a message, you’re guessing what customers are thinking about at that particular point in time, then assuming your message will be important to them. Is that assumption correct? For instance, a brand might send customers their personalized video bills just before their first bills are due because the brand assumes billing details and payment information are important to customers at that time, and the video will provide valuable information. If an assumption is incorrect, however, then the video makes customers aware of things they don’t care about at that moment in time, and they deem the messages irrelevant. For brands to provide value to their customers, they must engage them with information they're interested in at a particular moment.
3. Know when to engage. You won’t hear anyone today saying their inboxes are too empty or they haven’t seen enough ads. Your customers certainly don’t appreciate irrelevant messages in their already-cluttered inboxes. However, they do appreciate meaningful messages. We’ve heard consumers complain time and again that “brands aren't good at engaging me when I’ve already told them what I'm interested in.” This goes back to my question in the beginning of the article. With the data you have, why aren’t you talking to customers about what they’ve already told you they think is important? Looking at both quantitative metrics (e.g., video completion rates) and qualitative metrics (e.g., viewer feedback) will help you determine if your customers are receiving communications too frequently, or if one particular touchpoint is irrelevant or ineffective.
4. Determine the right media mix for your communications. As a video company, we know the power of personalized video in entertaining and informing viewers. We also know that doesn’t mean personalized video is appropriate every time. The medium through which you choose to communicate should be tailored to each message and each situation. When personalized video is the most effective medium for your message, also think about how that video is delivered — do customers receive an email or text message, or view the video in their online accounts?
More than anything, you must understand your customers’ journeys and listen carefully to their feedback. Marketers need to use all the data available to them to adjust messaging for the individual consumer across channels to capture attention. Videos that are highly personalized and delivered at a point in time that's relevant for the customer will keep viewers engaged. Data is incredibly powerful and valuable. However, don’t forget to look beyond the data points to the individual. You need to have an understanding of how customers move and interact, and have a line into their feedback in order to be informed and enable engagement on a one-to-one level.
Jeff Hirsch is chief marketing officer of SundaySky, a company that powers personalized video experiences in real time throughout the customer lifecycle.