Consumers have drastically changed since the dawn of digital. People now have discussions with brands rather than just receive their messages. When they are enthusiastic about a product, service, or an incredibly helpful customer-care experience, they take to public social forums to sing the brand’s praises. If they have a negative experience they can use the same tools to lambast a product.
Although the forums and frequency for communication have drastically changed, people are still people. They still look for the products and services they need and that work within their budget. How we discover products today is significantly different what our grandparents did, but people still have the same concern: Is this right for me?
Advertising is an opportunity to spark conversations with consumers, but only if those ads are relevant to the needs of the individual. The digital revolution has taught the consumer that brands are very capable of personalization, and they’re now impatient with brands that deliver irrelevant messages.
This is where the personalization potential of digital video comes into play. Increasingly, video is emerging as the ad format most adept at creating personalized experiences that are also memorable. Using sight, sound, and motion, video engages the user far better than the best personalized email or display ad.
Personalized Video Sparks the Conversation
Recently, videos have taken center stage for hyper-personalized experiences. Facebook came out with its “Year In Review” for each user in video format, and Nike sent more than 100,000 one-minute videos to Nike+ members cased on their training activity. Cadbury Glow took gift-giving to a whole new level by providing consumers an easy tool to share food memories via personalized videos, and along the way sold a lot of chocolate. These campaigns did more than just move product; they built a relationship between the user and the brand.
On a marketing level, these examples prove that 1-to-1 personalization done the right way isn’t aspirational — it’s real. Every retail marketer has the opportunity to use their own troves of customer data and technology to create truly transformative personalized video campaigns.
Advertisers love video, and they’re looking to increase spending by 19.5 percent in the category through 2016, topping $5 billion. Why such a dramatic increase? It’s simple. Consumers watch more video each day. Simultaneously, video ad views increase 100 percent annually, guaranteeing mindshare for the advertiser.
They also offer advertisers other critical benefits. Brand stories are nuanced, and they don’t easily fit in a display ad. Video allows for a more dynamic understanding and recognition of the brand in a concise 15- or 30-second spot (and it’s easy for consumers to share with their friends). However, marketers need to follow Nike, Facebook, and Cadbury’s lead—making sure their video ads are highly relevant to the person who actually sees the ad.
Advertising as Entertainment
I think it’s time to forget about product promotion, which I know is a radical idea. Think of your advertising as a way to educate, entertain, or enhance your customers’ priorities. Your customers leave millions of clues as to their attitudes and preferences across myriad touch points. Take advantage of the opportunity to collect that data and leverage it to inform the messages you present to them, providing insight into what will resonate with them most.
Connect with the Right Audience
You may have a great promotion that benefits many types of consumers, but spray-and-pray is a waste of money and tells the consumer that you just don’t understand them. If you know that a particular consumer is an suburban mom (and if you don’t you should), why show her an ad for a pick-up truck? And don’t just show her a mini-van display ad. Show her a video demonstrating how easy it is to get kids in and buckled up, along with information about the local dealership where she can schedule a test drive. This isn’t rocket science; it’s a matter of knowing the desires and needs of who you are selling to.
Keep Messages Relevant
Relevancy is unique to each brand. Why are your customers loyal? What is it that keeps them coming back for more? In the case of Nike, brand relevancy is all about personal strength, so personalized videos about users’ training make a lot of sense. Whatever your brand’s drivers are for each audience segment, they need to drive the primary brand messaging. Creating this level of personalization builds familiarity and loyalty with customers, which ultimately moves the needle with sales.
Technology makes it easy to leverage data and to create video elements on the fly based on who will see the message. Retailers and brands have proven that personalized video is one of the best vehicles for starting conversations with consumers. So what are you waiting for? In Nike’s famous words: Just do it.