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ZEF By ZEF • March 10, 2016

Jacob Simkovich - Personalized Videos: Avoiding Static Shock


 Jacob Simkovich: Personalized Videos: Avoiding Static Shock

I’m going to begin by making two very confident and somewhat obvious statements, followed by a third, less intuitive, conclusion:

1. Customers like it when you personalize their service

2. Almost everyone prefers videos to text 

3. Personalized videos are no fad, they’re a lasting trend and will be with us for quite a while


Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Let’s tackle that first statement. When I refer to customers preferring a personalized service, it’s not some foreign concept that has only recently been introduced to the technological landscape.

This is as simple as the theme song from everybody’s favorite 80’s sitcom, Cheers.

“I want to go, where everybody knows my name. Where they’re always glad you came.”

Imagine you go to a café that you have been to dozens of times. You walk in and see the familiar barista who has taken your order several times before. You two have even stopped to chat a few times when the line wasn’t too long. You make your coffee order and then, much to your chagrin, the barista asks for your name! As if you haven’t shared that information with her a hundred times.

Now, imagine that the same barista not only didn’t have to ask for your name but greeted you upon walking into the café, referenced a previous conversation during your order and even made a unique little design in your cappuccino. That is a café worth revisiting.

The Reality of Reading

Unfortunately for all you writers out there, reading is on its way out. According to renowned philosopher of communication theory Marshall McLuhan, the generations that grew up with television will be the ones that solidify the transition from the word-oriented culture of the past to the image-oriented culture that has taken over the Western world.

If you’re in denial about these societal changes or just a dedicated book lover, please skip these incredibly depressing statistics about the current state of reading.

This decline in interest regarding reading has a lot to do with the rise of visual media, like film, television and, the nail in the literary coffin, online videos.

Standing Still is Not an Option

Fear not, for marketing has always persevered in the past and will continue to do so now. Marketing, as an industry, is dependent on constant evolution.

In fact, personalized video has been around for a while now. You see it often in your mailbox, companies identifying you by name, attempting to get your attention, your click and, ultimately, your business.

That might have worked a few years ago, but at this point we’re all so used to it that it almost blends in with the rest of our email. They may not be getting caught in your Gmail’s spam filter, but they’re often getting caught in your mental spam filter.

The goal here is to beat the 8-second attention span. You can see the value of this approach in the rise of GIFs – the internet equivalent of getting distracted by something shiny in your peripheral vision.

Personalized Video and the Blizzard of Special Snowflakes

It may be surprising, but we’re not far off from that future depicted in so many sci-fi movies. No, I’m not talking about hover boards (the ones that don’t randomly catch fire) and time machines. I’m talking about receiving multi-variable automated video communications that are addressed to you and refer to you and details of your life/interests by name.

Personalized videos aren’t just a sales tactic, they’re also used to nurture leads,  give regular updates, and even just wish your loyal customer happy holidays.

The personalization doesn’t stop at mentioning the recipient by name either. These videos can include other details, like company name, email address, homepage, phone number, LinkedIn picture and more.

Persona Grata

It’s well established that identifying and accommodating target personas is an essential part of modern marketing. Interactive content is now recognized as a highly valued commodity when enticing both new and established personas.

Now, it’s possible to adjust your email marketing to automatically reference key aspects of each of your target personas.

Nike exemplified this strategy in a clever way with their recent email campaign that customized their videos based on which city the recipient lives in. They referenced local landmarks, city-specific statistics (taken from data collected by users’ Fitbits) and even regional weather.

Depending on what data is accessible, these campaigns can target and differentiate personas based on all sorts of demographics, like gender, income, age, etc. We’re only touching the surface of what is possible.

A Friendly Sherpa in the Buyer Journey

Personalized videos are already proven to drastically increase initial engagement like click-through rates. However, they’re also useful for the entirety of the inbound marketing funnel, from awareness to purchase, and beyond.

According to Andrew Angus, an expert and leader in the technology, “The play button is the most compelling call-to-action on the web.”

Both inbound and outbound marketing can benefit from this type of email campaign. Just by mentioning a personalized video in the subject line of a nurture campaign, the open rate can increase by 272%. Personalized videos can be used at every touchpoint of the customer journey, to highlight coupon offerings, promotions, social media, loyalty, and more.

What are Your Options?

Lucky for you, there are a few established leaders in the world of personalized video. The presence of competition means that they’re fighting for your business. The main players in this arena are Idomoo, Impossible Software, Vidyard, and Sezion. They all have available demos and free trials, so take some time to determine which one is the right fit for your company.

In the words of Tamara Gruzbarg of Gilt Groupe, “True personalization of customer experience will stop being reserved for a select few and will need to become an operational principle for any marketer who wants to remain relevant in an increasingly fragmented and regulated environment.”

So, don’t be late to adopt this innovative practice and make sure that your company is the barista that makes each customer feel valued, important and eager to share their affection with their friends

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