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How B2B marketers can captivate customers with personalised video

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16th Apr 2015
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Finding new customers and charming the dollars out of existing ones is what business is all about, isn’t it?  But reaching new prospects and turning them into customers, and eventually into advocates for your business is no mean feat. 

Personalised video has been hotly tipped as a key marketing component for 2015. Jim Nail, principal analyst at Forrester, recently said: “We believe that personalised video will command increasingly larger portions of advertising and marketing budgets due to its ROI improvement over traditional video content and other outbound methods of communication.”

We know that personalising emails can improve clickthrough rates by 14% and conversions by 10%, according to research group Aberdeen. When you consider that a link to a video in an email can increase click through rates by some 200-300% (according to Forrester), then the mathematical probability that personalising videos will work really starts to really stack up.

Personalised video is about delivering the most relevant, effective and useful video to individuals at exactly the right time.  It’s about moving away from one to many towards one to one. 

This time it’s personal

Consumer marketers are already embracing personalised video where it’s seen as a natural extension of print personalisation. One frequently used method is for companies to bolt their customer databases into animation software which displays customer names and their exact billing details. In the consumer space, recent campaigns from HSBC, Alfa Romeo, BT and Mini are all breaking new ground.

However, B2B personalised video has an opportunity to go even further. In business, people buy from people and it’s more important than ever that an authentic, personal connection is made. As human beings we respond better to video generally than text-based communications. A picture may well tell a thousand words but when it starts to move, it does that ten-fold. When you add the power of personalisation, it’s truly magical. As Jim Nail points out, it really works.

Many B2B clients are using personalised video as an integral part of the sales journey with some impressive results. Currently each personalised video is being watched an average four times, suggesting that customers are forwarding the videos to colleagues. 

At its most effective, it can combine self-recorded clips with a choice of pre-edited, bite-sized clips that blend into a single, perfectly formed individual video for every customer or prospect – as used by Vodafone’s highly innovative enterprise marketers for example.

  • Getting started - There are a number of tools to help create and distribute video content of ‘acceptable quality’ and smart marketers will be mixing this raw and ready material with glossier productions. One question might be, if I’m not using it for a mammoth data-driven consumer campaign, how can I use it?
  • Opening the door – A key driver for any business is creating leads. This can be achieved in any number of ways but once those hard-won leads have been passed to inside sales, they often falterIt’s a very logical step for inside sales teams to use personalised video where they rely on little more than disembodied voices and text-based emails.
  • Pre-sales - once you get a positive response, it could be time to introduce your customer or prospect to a subject matter expert or senior director.  When the stakes are high, a few moments of their time could make an enormous impact on the sale, particularly when you consider that personalised videos often get shared.  
  • Post-meeting – you can also make impact by following up a meeting with a personalised video message, drawing in relevant clips from a library that your team has supplied. By the time your customer gets back to their desk, a video filmed in the car park on a smartphone has been blended with relevant clips and is sitting in their inbox.
  • Triggered actions – If you use a personalised video tool which is properly integrated with your organisation’s CRM, it should be possible to track views and trigger actions as a result. When a personalised video is viewed, a follow up call can be made to take the sale to the next stage, or an automated email can be sent.

Getting started with a personalised video initiative is not as complex as it might sound. If you consider your offer from the customer’s point of view you can easily imagine how much more effective your video would be if it takes into account the viewer’s age, their job, their interests and, most specifically, what aspects of your offer are likely to appeal to them.

Right now early adopters are getting the benefits of real differentiation and initial positive metrics may well be reflecting that. By using personalised video you could be putting your competitors at an unfair disadvantage. It’s worth thinking about.

Ben Moore is an acknowledged authority on personalised video having spoken on the subject at events around the world. He is managing director at Positive Image and vCreate.  

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