The importance brands place on customer experience cannot be emphasized enough; in massively competitive global marketplaces where comparable products might be available at a lower price, brands can separate themselves from competitors by providing quality experiences to customers.
Customer experience differentiates companies throughout the entire customer lifecycle – from acquisition to retention, all the way to the creation of loyal, high-value brand advocates. In the digital world, marketers use a range of platforms from television to smartphones to set the tone for the brand-consumer relationship.
In order to maximize the value of digital experiences, marketers need to embrace one of the most effective ways to shape customer experience: well-placed, well-timed, online videos.
As brands continue to invest in digital customer experiences, they must focus on which technologies and programs will yield the greatest return. For digital touchpoints, this lies in contextual experiences that meet the consumer’s needs in the moment and are delivered using the most engaging digital medium: video.
Brands delivering contextual experiences are the ones creating the greatest emotional connections with their consumers. Consumers now expect personal interactions with their brands, and they demand that interaction be made available on their preferred devices (smartphone, tablet, desktop, laptop, connected TV, etc.)
Contextual video experiences feel organic to the customer and enhance the experience with the brand by providing the viewers with messages that have three common elements: relevance, targeting and timeliness.
Contextual experiences go far beyond the shotgun-style segment messaging of yesteryear, and as a recent Forrester report finds, will be crucial for brands that want to provide optimum digital experiences for their consumers today and into the future. A coinciding marketing trend is big data. To streamline the delivery of contextual video experiences to individual customers, brands can use analytics technology to comb aggregated customer data and retarget messages in the form of personalized experiences.
McKinsey reported that big data initiatives are the next step in gaining competitive advantage for businesses, citing new waves of productivity growth, innovation and consumer surplus as primary benefits of correctly executed programs. Unfortunately, many companies still struggle with how to interpret and apply customer data in a valuable, real-time way; contextualized video is one application of big data analytics that can provide measurable results.
Using customer profile, historical and situational data to engage the customer across in-store and digital channels, retailers can deliver a smart video advertisement at the customer’s nearest touchpoint. Leveraging available inventory data from their nearest physical store, retailers can encourage the customer to make a purchase online and pick it up in-store.
With this methodology, retailers can combat showrooming – browsing products in-store and buying later online – by delivering a relevant video experience based on store location and sending it directly to customers’ smartphones while they’re in the store. The videos can feature products customers viewed online, where in the store they are located and calls-to-action to buy in-store.
Smart video uses contextual big data from individual customers to determine special pricing, existing rewards points or free shipping. Brands such as Lenovo realize significant return on ad spend using smarter video advertising programs, improving customer experiences and delivering measurable financial impact.
Service industries also benefit from contextualized video experiences, as some companies like telecommunications providers suffer greatly from low net promoter scores (NPS). In fact, there is one element of customer experience that earns wireless carriers poor marks: the monthly billing statement.
To counter the negative NPS and billing experience trends, companies like AT&T educate customers using personalized real-time video for their billing statements. Personalized video billing statements receive more than 90 percent positive experience ratings on customer surveys and result in a greatly reduced billing inquiry strain on call centers – a direct benefit that has resulted in significant cost reductions and has paid for the value-added video bill services.
Engaging customers with contextual information enables brands to communicate the value they place on customer interactions, and this can be facilitated throughout the entire consumer lifecycle. Highly engaging videos with personalized text, images and audio make consumers feel both appreciated and justified in their brand choices. Brands, delivering on the promise of personalized offerings that is necessary to retain customers today, also save money through reduced call center and customer acquisition expenses.
Kelly Ford is vice president of marketing at SundaySky.