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 own dealer’s services, the add-ons you personally purchased, and questions you could quickly answer 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 is already commonplace to swap around static content to make the experience more personalized, but words on a page are so boring. And there are still countless examples of key interactions where 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. Research conducted by Wharton shows organizations are dramatically reallocating their sales and marketing budgets to increase funding for the creation of selling content and videos. An entire ecosystem of off-shoring 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 continuously.
Then let’s rethink experiences where personalized information is key, and video can drive much deeper engagement. In healthcare, onboard someone 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, guide someone through decisions on which account is best, help someone understand how to manage their 401K, alert someone about credit issues and what they personally can do. For any loyalty program, inform a customer 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 through all the information flow 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. Over 70% of customers watched the personalized videos and more than half took 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, agile, test and learn way that iterates, scales, and gradually extends across more customer types and experiences.
Any company who declares they are “customer-focused,” or who adds some kind of feedback metric (NPS, Cust Sat) into their 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, center of gravity in the C-Suite, who has a voice to bring the data, 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.