Rachel Eisenhauer Tue May 23, 2017

A few weeks ago, we hosted our fifth annual SmartVideo Summit in New York City—a day where our customers and partners came together to learn from each other and share their experiences and new use cases for data-driven video storytelling. We were honored to have SundaySky customers from AT&T, Royal Bank of Canada, Hilton Worldwide, T. Rowe Price, Citi, and Verizon all onstage expressing their commitments to person-first customer engagement.

The art of personalization

This year’s Summit theme, the art of personalization, explored what it means to craft brand-customer relationships that are built on personalized engagement that resembles more of a human-to-human conversation than it does a one-way marketing message. We looked at what it means when personalization is used to truly enrich consumers’ lives by:

  • Guiding customers with helpful, useful information to achieve their goals, rather than simply buy a product;
  • Engaging emotionally so that it makes the customer feel known and appreciated;
  • Proactively providing what customers want and need in the moment; and
  • Influencing behavior change by inspiring customers to take the next-best action

This type of purposeful personalization makes the customer feel valued and drives value back to the business. While mastering this craft is no easy task—not everyone can be an artist, after all—there is an art to crafting personalization strategies that do this, and our customers and partners attended the Summit as a step on their path to mastering this artistry.

Four pillars of success for video personalization

Here’s what we explored at the Summit…

Put the person back in personalization

We invited guest speaker Andrew Hogan, a customer experience analyst at Forrester, to share findings from his recent research report Pivot To Person-First Personalization, which highlights how many personalized experiences today miss the mark, and how enterprises must approach personalization programs with person-centric objectives to improve customer experience and accelerate the creation of long-term business results.

“These squishy things called feelings,” as Andrew stated are the driving forces behind customer loyalty and brand abandonment. Customers who feel valued and appreciated are often brand loyalists. Annoyance, disappointment and frustration are indicators of customer disloyalty. But, simply adding a personalized “Hi Rachel” greeting to a website or mobile app homepage falls short on customers’ expectations of what they want and need to do in that moment.

Andrew emphasized thinking about the person on the other side of the screen: What is she trying to accomplish, and why? What is he doing in this moment? What is his goal? Answering these questions—as a personal conversation, no less—guides brands to identify what they want to say to customers. This type of personalization starts with the person’s objectives before the company’s data needs or technology requirements.

Deno Hairston, AVP of Consumer Digital Experience at AT&T, reinforced the person-first personalization mantra by reminding the audience about the power of one. “Customers have to be the focus and customer-centricity has to be the model. If it’s not, brands miss it when it comes to personalization, because it’s just that: specific to the person, to the customer,” he said. It might start at the group level, but to drive effective engagement, it comes down to the power of one.

“Customers have to be the focus and customer-centricity has to be the model. If it’s not, brands will miss it when it comes to personalization.” — Deno Hairston, AVP of Consumer Digital Experience at AT&T

Jackie Talbot, Senior Director of Personalization at Hilton Worldwide, highlighted this same message. She and her team constantly ask themselves, “What is the guest trying to do?” and look at every engagement from the guest’s point of view to ensure they are creating an easy, seamless experience that the guest will enjoy.

SundaySky customers at the 2017 SmartVideo Summit

Humanizing data to make it meaningful for customers

One of the most prominent and recurring themes of the day was how can brands take their endless stream of data that exists everywhere, turn it on its head and flip it inside-out to use it in a positive, meaningful way that answers the “why” for an individual customer. The ability to do this allows the enterprise to shift to customer-centricity, humanizes the engagement and adds the art back into personalization, which has been taken over in the data-driven, martech landscape.

Ken Lain, VP of Sales and Service Operations at Verizon, challenged the audience to flip that data around and find the meaning behind it, while Gary Williams, AVP and Senior Solutions Consultant at T. Rowe Price, reinforced this message and how it translates to his business: “We manage the money, but really the emotion behind the money is what drives that action.”

“We manage the money, but really the emotion behind the money is what drives that action.” — Gary Williams, AVP and Senior Solutions Consultant at T. Rowe Price

Kaksha Mehta, Senior Manager of Marketing at Royal Bank of Canada, discussed the digitization of the bank’s mortgage customer lifecycle as well as the importance of staying human in a digital channel: “Everyone talks about being digital to save money, but what about the human connection? You can’t lose that human-to-human connection because at the end of the day, we’re all human.” She also reinforced one of Andrew Hogan’s findings about a brand’s need to lead with a strategy that focuses on the customer experience, despite having an innovative technology at your disposal. For instance, the opportunities to leverage data today—especially in personalized video—can make a marketer feel like a kid in the candy store, “… but do you really need to use that much data to make an impact and enhance the client experience?” asked Kaksha in her final takeaway. Rather, find the meaning behind the data that puts the customer at the center.

Master artists leading the industry

The day concluded with our inaugural SmartVideo Vanguard awards, dedicated to honoring and celebrating the innovative brands and marketers leading the way and achieving phenomenal success with SmartVideo. We presented awards in five categories, each focused on pushing the SmartVideo limits with regards to data, creative, performance, personnel and strategy. Here are the winners:

  1. Best Use of Data: T. Rowe Price
  2. Best Creative Execution: Neiman Marcus
  3. SmartVideo MVP: Catherine Echols, Verizon Wireless
  4. Most Significant ROI: Pottery Barn
  5. Most Strategic Use of SmartVideo: AT&T

Congratulations to the winners!

SmartVideo Vanguard Awards, given to the top brands who are leading the industry in innovation with personalized video.

Read another highlights recap of the 2017 SmartVideo Summit from Keypoint Intelligence analyst David Stabel, and stay tuned for more blog post recaps and videos over the coming weeks!


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