To be competitive, retailers must have a strong digital marketing strategy to be seen and heard, attract new customers, and build stronger relationships with existing ones. Spending on digital advertising is on the rise. In 2017, U.S. digital advertising is on pace to surpass expenditures on TV ads. Globally, more than 40% of media advertising budgets in certain markets are devoted to digital marketing, according to media company Magna.
Supersizing digital marketing budgets, however, is not enough. Successful retailers need to move away from classic marketing techniques such as one-size-fits-all campaigns where all shoppers are reached with the same messages. Both traditional and online ads are essentially one-way communications that can’t really engage with consumers, even if they are highly compelling.
Delivering customized online experiences is a strategy that retailers are increasingly using to build connections with customers. A University of Texas research paper discovered several reasons why people seek a customized experience. It found that a personalized message is something that consumers can claim as their own. In a sense, the receiver controls the personalized content since it uses their personal details and draws on their experience. Examining internet purchasing trends, the study found that sales increased by 19% when the browsing experience was personalized.
Personalized Online Videos
Online videos have increasingly become part of people’s browsing experience. You only have to see the rise of video on Facebook and YouTube before that to understand their popularity. Videos can draw even further attention when they can be customized to provide a unique experience. These kinds of videos can connect with customers by drawing on their personal information such as their name, date of birth, gender, past online purchases and geographic location.
There are a number of ways retailers can use personalized videos to increase their sales. A client who is about to celebrate a birthday, for example, may receive a targeted video message enticing them back to the store where the jewelry was sold. The occasion for the video could be an anniversary, Valentine’s Day gift, or a Black Friday sale where the shopper is personally notified about bonuses and in-store promotional offers.
These videos can be particularly effective within email marketing by targeting customers who have already made a purchase, or shown an interest in products. Studies have shown that conversion rates increased at least 10% with videos in personalized emails with click-through rates increasing by 14% compared to emails with no video. Using email marketing, furniture retailer Habitat emailed videos to congratulate customers on their most recent purchase and suggested a complementary cross-sell matching their preferences. The campaign was successful because it built on the already existing relationship with the customer and the items that they already bought. By suggesting new items related to their preferences, sales greatly increased.
Making Traditional Ads More Effective
Personalized videos can also be created by consumers themselves to help make traditional ads more effective in connecting with shoppers. These are videos where visitors provide their personal information and use a template to insert a photo of themselves into an existing ad campaign. Shoppers upload an image of their face, adjust its size and line it up so their eyes and chin are in the right place. The newly created ad features the web visitor as the star who can watch it a few times, share it with friends and upload it to social media.
When people create their own personalized videos matching TV spots or outdoor billboards, they can connect to the traditional ads in more meaningful way. The engagement built from these videos is remembered every time they see the company’s ads. The videos build a closer connection to the brand, and it feels more like a relationship is created rather than a one-way communication from the advertiser.
This strategy was employed by eyewear company Carolina Lemke which markets its products across Europe. The company created TV, print and billboard ads featuring model Bar Rafaeli and rock icon Steven Tyler of Aerosmith. To further reach shoppers and build the effectiveness of these ads, the company put together a customized online video campaign where visitors could replace the face of Bar or Steven with their own.
After uploading their own photo and a few clicks, a new video was generated for online sharing. The online campaign generated great results with tens of thousands of views and shares. More importantly, the campaign help consumer more deeply connect to running TV, billboard and print advertising. (To watch a personalized video for furniture retailer Habitat, click here.)
Making the Connection with Customers
Given the attention economy we live in, retailers must do everything they can to connect with customers in a personal way beyond blasting out a one-size-fits-all message. With the rise of digital marketing and personalized videos in particular, this strategy can be implemented with relative ease by retailers. When consumers can create their own videos using their image and personal details, they can have an interactive experience resulting in a video that can be shared online. This experience can also help shopper build a stronger connection to ads on traditional platforms. For retailers looking to stand out in the crowded media landscape, personalized videos are a resource to consider in helping to build connections with new and returning customers.