Personalized Video, Smart Targeting Create Irresistible Email Campaigns

Featuring Janet Rubio, CMO of True Influence.

Content personalization has become essential in B2B Marketing. So has smart list segmentation and timing – you must reach out to prospects at the exact moment they are ready to hear what you are saying.

Combine these two principals and you have what I like to call “Irresistible Marketing.” If you know enough about a prospect to give them exactly the information they want, when they want it, marketing becomes irresistible.

If you shoot blind, you’re just an intrusion.

I recently presented a perfect example of Irresistible Marketing with one of True Influence’s key customers, Bulldog Solutions, at the SiriusDecisions 2018 Summit in Las Vegas.

Bulldog, a B2B marketing firm based in Austin, Texas, used the hot tech of personalized video – along with Intent Data signal monitoring with True Influence’s InsightBASE account acceleration platform – to craft highly targeted, personalized and (I have to add) super-creative campaigns to promote its services.

The results? Bulldog saw e-mail click-through rates jump between 300 percent to an eye-popping 1000 percent across the various campaigns it tracked.

That’s irresistible.

Science Meets Art

As with all great marketing, Bulldog used some science and some art to get these incredible results.

Brian Maschler, the Chief Creative Officer at Bulldog, shared several details of these wildly successful campaigns during our lunch-and-learn session at the SiriusDecisions summit. The backbone of the effort was personalized video, which Bulldog distributed via the Vidyard platform, one of the recognized leaders in the booming space. This was right up Bulldog’s alley, since video production is one of its main B2B services – in fact, it was the service being promoted in the campaign that were so successful.

Personalized video is widely recognized as one of the hottest trends in B2B marketing. I’ve talked about this tech before, and how Account-Based Marketing (ABM) demands this level of personalization – consumer video platforms simply cannot compete. Of course, most marketers continue to overlook to power of video entirely – recent reports show that only about 20 percent of companies are using video of any sort, despite the fact that just including the word “video” in the subject line of an email increases opens by 19 percent and CTRs by 65 percent.

Personalized video takes email performance to a whole new level — Vidyard’s research suggests its customers see response jump by as much as 500 percent. Remember, only 18 percent of marketing mails even get opened. These are huge numbers.

Video for One

Personalized video distribution platforms, such as Vidyard, create inserts or overlays on video content, based on contact data you provide for your list segments. This typically that includes the recipient’s name, title, company logo, and other firmographic and contact info. These systems can insert content specific to the account you are targeting — think a slide showing earning trends for your prospect account to illustrate the challenge you propose to solve for them.

Video personalization platforms also create personalized thumbnails for inclusion in mails and other push communications, as well as clickable calls to action that target personalized conversion pages and assets.

For its campaigns, Bulldog included a photo culled from recipients’ LinkedIn profiles to further augment the personalization.

Then, the “art” of the campaign creative came into play. During our presentation, Maschler emphasized that video content must be scripted and choreographed so that the personalization fit seamlessly into the informational flow. You can’t just clumsily slap on the recipient’s name, like a bad voice dub on a Godzilla movie.

Bulldog’s creative included a smart “gotcha” subject line telling the prospect that they are NOT invited to huge marketing event. The recipient’s name was inserted into footage of folks who are being crossed off an attendee list, and that image was extracted as the thumbnail to be used in the email invite. There’s even a clever use of the #SorryNotSorry hashtag.

Who could resist?

The Right Message at the Right Time

Of course, no level of video personalization could result in a 1000 percent lift in email response if the mails were just sprayed to every contact in Bulldog’s database. That’s where careful segmentation and targeting, based on Intent signal monitoring from InsightBASE, came into play.

Todd Speicher, the VP of Sales & Marketing for Bulldog, said his team “listened” for spikes in activity on these terms relating to personalized video production:

• Online video marketing
• Personalized video
• Personalized marketing
• Video marketing
• Personalization technology

Speicher said that by monitoring for these terms across a wide range of industries, Bulldog extended the reach of its campaigns to industries, such as transportation, that it otherwise does not generally target.

“Also, we typically don’t market to the largest organization — IBM, HP, MS, Cisco — given their propensity to work with networked agencies versus independents,” he added. “Using TI, however, we’re able to pinpoint locations and spend less time finding interested prospects in an otherwise large organization.”

Personalized Video is the Future, Today

We’re obviously thrilled to have been a part of this success story at Bulldog – again, some campaigns saw as much a 10x improvement in response with the combination of video personalization and smart segmentation.

Other personalized video adopters are reporting some pretty great results, as well.

This post at Vidyard includes several mini-case studies, including:

• Lenovo saw a 5x open rate from recipients who had not previously responded to contact efforts
• Act-On saw 62 percent more time spent on landing pages that include personalized video
• Cetera Financial Group reported a 600 percent increase in overall CTR

And it goes beyond just initial mail response. A post from creative agency MediaOne says marketers see 20 percent increase in sales with a personalized video experience.

This post at MarTech Advisor offers some pointers on how to create powerful video for different stages of your Marketing and Sales efforts:

• At Awareness, focus on pain points in your market and general descriptions of how you can help the prospect get relief.
• At Consideration, share your brand story and begin integrating customized video content based on the prospect account’s specific circumstances. Be sure to help the prospect visualize outcomes. MarTech notes that this tactic is particularly vital for B2B, but often also gets employed by consumer marketers.
• At the Decision stage, include decision support, like detailed case studies and testimonials, to help the prospect build an internal business case. Explainer videos are also on the list here, but for B2B these often are most useful to convince tactical actors in the buying team, not the main decision-makers.

This advice largely falls in line with the flow Maschler and I presented at the SiriusDecisions Summit.

The initial step is building smart lists with Intent Data, then grabbing prospects’ attention with an email inviting them to see “their” personalized video. Once engaged, the prospect is ready to move on to a variety of nurturing programs.

Where is this all headed?

Personalized video has almost limitless potential. Any piece of data you know about a contact can be used to create a compelling experience, at any point in your relationship. Adidas grabbed headlines recently for an elaborate project that created personal highlight videos for more than 30,000 runners in the Boston Marathon.

At least for now, B2B Marketers can focus on using personalized video, coupled with Intent Data and other prospect intelligence, to improve email response by 300 percent or more, as Bulldog Solutions did. Intent can bring this powerful messaging platform to prospects who are ready to buy, and can provide additional account-level data you can use for even further personalization.

It’s a tremendous payoff for a smart investment.

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