Video is the most engaging digital medium, and brands that leverage video in their customer experience initiatives have a distinct competitive advantage against those that do not use video. Marketers that implement contextual video experiences — experiences that are relevant, targeted and timely — create organic customer interactions and enhance the connection to the brand. Before jumping into such an initiative, companies should answer the following questions to ensure their efforts will yield the greatest return.
1. How are we interpreting and applying big data?
The benefits possible with big data are enormous – if companies can interpret and apply big data in real time. For all of the buzz around big data, many companies still struggle to do this correctly, and they’re missing out on delivering engaging and effective personalized experiences to their customers. Brands need to be sure that they can access and use big data to get, grow and keep customers. If they don’t, these companies will be negatively impacted and suffer unnecessary costs. For example, if a customer’s bill or statement is not updated online after a payment, that customer will likely call the company’s contact center, adding to the company’s costs.
If instead, companies use big data to its potential, they will have greater knowledge of customer preferences and can personalize all interactions, which will ultimately deliver measurable results. And the deeper the data, the greater the value: medium to high variability within data sets allows for more opportunities to address individual customer needs, wants or questions. If the majority of data is generally the same, rich personalization doesn’t provide much incremental value. This helps brands nurture long-term relationships that yield greater loyalty, as consumers today expect to get personal interactions with brands across all channels and to be treated as individuals, not as mass-market segments.
Brands that deliver relevant, tailored and timely experiences at the right time and on the right device can achieve the personal connections for which customers yearn. The most effective customer experiences are those that go beyond a single touch point and are united across multiple channels and communications because they allow brands to connect in a natural and unforced way across channels.
2. Where should we implement contextual video?
Brands can deliver smart video advertisements that use customer profile, historical and situational data at the customer’s nearest touch point to engage the shopper across in-store and digital channels. This supports multichannel initiatives and creates consistent experiences across channels. For example, retailers can encourage customers to purchase online and pick up in-store by leveraging customer geo-location and the nearest store’s inventory availability data, delivered in the form of a real-time video to the customer’s browsing device.
Retailers can also use contextual video to combat showrooming, which is a fast-growing practice among consumers, by delivering a relevant video experience based on store location and sending it directly to customers’ smartphones while they’re in the store, featuring products the customer previously browsed online or products related to recent purchases. Smart video uses contextual big data from individual customers to determine special pricing, existing rewards points or free shipping. Brands realize significant return on ad spend using smarter video advertising programs, as they improve customer experiences and deliver measurable financial impact.
Service industries also benefit from contextualized video experiences, particularly companies like telecommunications providers, insurance providers and banking institutions that suffer greatly from low net promoter scores (NPS). Monthly billing statements are a major area where providers can implement contextual video to improve customer experiences. To counter the negative NPS and bill confusion and complexity trends, companies like AT&T walk customers through their billing statements with personalized real-time videos. Personalized video billing statements reduce billing inquiries to the call center, so by leveraging available big data, brands can directly reduce costs.
Additionally, by looking at a customer’s usage patterns and behavioral activity, service providers are primed to recommend a relevant offer in real-time, whether it’s a new credit card or an updated wireless plan. By identifying what the customer needs at the right time, brands can effectively deliver a value proposition for that offer to the customer, increasing uptake on the offer and ultimately brand stickiness.
3. How do we identify which digital customer experiences will deliver the most business value?
As more brands invest in digital customer experiences, they need to put their efforts toward the technologies and programs that deliver the most success and incremental value. It’s no surprise that brands are turning to video, as it has proven to be the most engaging digital medium. Brand messages and calls-to-action delivered via video are more engaging and targeted, and delivering contextual experiences that meet the consumer’s needs in the moment only increases engagement. By using video, brands can increase take-rates on offers, for example, to create an online account or enroll in a rewards program.
To be sure a brand is successful at applying contextual video experiences, it must set certain expectations. Defining a set of benchmark success criteria to be measured and optimized for is key, though will vary for each initiative. Key performance indicators for customer acquisition include measurable lifts in conversion rate and significant returns on ad spend, while customer engagement initiatives typically look to increase customer satisfaction and net promoter score, while deflecting churn.
Companies across all industries can leverage contextual video at each stage in the customer lifecycle and realize positive return. Although upselling recommendations may vary by customer history and transactional data, or merchandising messages may differ between techie and fashionista customer personas, or a customer’s status may differ by segment, delivering highly engaging videos with personalized text, images and audio make consumers feel both appreciated and justified in their brand choices.
This article was contributed by Kelly Ford, vice-president of marketing at SundaySky. SundaySky is the creator of the SmartVideo technology and provider of an enterprise-scale software-as-a-service video platform. We accept vendor-written articles based upon their usefulness to our readers.
Shopping image via Shutterstock.