A Video Just For You -- And Your Customers

When you buy a new car, do you really want to learn about it from a 300-page manual, or would you rather have a curated curriculum of two-minute videos that you work through at your own pace, which are not only tied to your specific car, but also reflect learning about your dealer’s services, the add-ons you purchased, and questions about how you wanted to set up its dashboard-based capabilities?  And when you did that, wouldn’t it be useful to have contextual links to take care of actions related to the video?

It’s already commonplace to swap around static content to make the experience more personalized, but words on a page are so boring. There are still countless examples of key interactions when companies don’t even bother to personalize the verbiage, such as when they onboard a new customer, explain a bill, or try to cross-sell.

Most marketers are already struggling with massive amounts of content creation. An entire ecosystem of offshoring has emerged to provide low-cost, high-volume production and management. If marketers want to use video more, which they should, the costs of this complexity would get prohibitively out of control.



Or does it? Let’s componentize video as if it is data, into scenes made from templates where the scenes can be combined, and frames in the templates can be personalized, all based on real-time data.  And then, let’s connect these videos into their own micro-journeys where you can track viewing and click-throughs by scene, all enabling you to improve the content continually.

Then let’s rethink experiences where personalized information is key, and video can drive much deeper engagement.

In healthcare, you can onboard customers to educate them on the health plan they just bought, explain the often-confusing bill they just received, or guide them through enrollment in a health management program.  In financial services, you can guide customers through decisions on which account is best, help them understand how to manage their 401K, and alert them to credit issues.

For any loyalty program, inform customers of their immediate status, use their past behavior to help them shop for what they are entitled to, and offer personalized suggestions to raise their status. For insurance companies, use personalized video to manage the flow of information about a claim.

The examples are endless. For consumer goods companies and retailers, use personal video to power the content behind scaled OTT media buys.

This is starting to happen, driven by companies such as SundaySky (whom I’ve worked with in my last role) to rethink how we could educate customers, cut service call volume, get more digital permissions, improve engagement on next best action prompts, and raise satisfaction.

The transformation unlocked by emerging players in personalized video deeply shapes the expression of a brand in customers’ eyes. Video better meets their needs. Personalization makes it totally relevant. Embedded links make everything simpler to do.  In one example, over 70% of customers watched videos, and more than half took all the follow-up actions they should.

The concept sounds compelling, but the challenge is where, organizationally, to get the momentum to own this and reshape the customer journey.  The natural place could be marketing, as it usually owns the communications with customers and the enhancement of brand equity.  But many points on a journey could be owned by service, operations, product, or specific channel managers.

Reworking a journey requires cross-functional teams, working together in a rapid cycle, to test and iterate, scale, and gradually extend videos across more customer types and experiences.

Any company who declares it is “customer-focused,” or who adds some kind of feedback metric (NPS, Cust Sat) into its core performance incentives cannot just rely on everybody across the company doing the right thing. Managing journeys and experimenting with new experiences requires a lead in the C-Suite, who has a voice to bring the ideas and process changes needed to the table.

 The economics of personalized video, for example, could cut across all customer-facing functions in a company. Someone has to own it and drive what will be a relentless program of innovation, implementation, and impact.

My next column will get into new data sources that enable journey management. As personalized video makes clear, segment-of-one is much more than marketing. Nonetheless, marketers now have the tools and the opportunity to build brands based on it.

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