I recall a symposium that I was giving on 1-to-1 marketing in Dallas to marketing executives from the Southwest. I asked them this question: “How many attributes [great definition here] can you identify in a customer where you are absolutely sure that if you make them variable – and extremely relevant to them – versus static – guarantees you an improved ROI on your campaign? I went down starting from ten with a show of hands. The most number of hands went up to the number 3. Three! That means that the majority of marketing executives (and it was practically the entire room) could only be sure of three attributes that should be personalized in a marketing campaign. Not surprisingly, when I asked a bank marketing director what the three were, she said, jokingly, “I would have to kill her before she revealed them.” In reality, knowing what drives a response in your prospects and customers is precisely what marketing execs get paid for.
But this story can provide much greater learning if we consider that what they were telling us is that the quantity of variable data means little in a campaign. The key is the quality of the data and with this in mind let’s explore a much more valuable metric than ROI. We’ll call it ROVI. And it becomes even more important when we see the meteoric growth of video – and those marketers “personalizing” it. It is also important for personalized video KPI.
Personalized video KPI and ROVI
Returning to my story for a moment, my question could have been stated as follows: If you were to send out a marketing campaign, what variable data used in the communication produces a measurable increase in response versus if the content were static? We know that MROI (Marketing Return on Investment) is defined as:
MROI = (Incremental Financial Value Gained as a Result of Marketing Investment – Cost of the Investment) / Cost of the Marketing Investment
So in keeping with this formula, we’ll define ROVI as:
ROVI = Incremental Increase in Response with Variables – Cost of Developing Variable Content / Cost of Developing Variable Content
To define terms:
Incremental increase in response = improvement from the expected rate or past response rate with the same or similar campaign.
Defining “response” is not clear-cut because it can be interpreted in many ways. It could be based on the total number of responders, the number of people who completed an inquiry form or any other action as a result of your solicitation.
Cost of developing variable content = total investment to create a customer-specific campaign. This may include: writing copy relevant to customer profiles; selecting imagery and graphics for tailored groups; sorting transactional data by customer (it is usually set up that way); programming the variable and static data as needed; delivering the content to each recipient, and processing the responses by each individual.
It is important to note that the cost of variable data versus static may be low in relation to other activities in the campaign and if this is the case as the formula shows, it will not negatively affect your success metric (we will explain why this matters in a moment) and your personalized video KPI.
Of course, getting a response does not guarantee more income (financial gain) but keeping all other factors constant and making an assumption that the campaign concept and offer is a strong one, an increase in numbers should indicate greater revenue opportunities.
At first, this would seem a daunting task. But we have to return to my initial story (very much, a true one). The fact is that you don’t need a lot of variable data to achieve a high ROVI. Why? Because the only variables that you should be changing are those you know will give you a better return in personalized video KPI. In fact, that content could also be identified as that which strengthens your overall message and offer. On a related note, Entrepreneur magazine has an excellent blog on how to create a successful offer, namely clarity, scarcity, and strong CTA.
In the past, variable data has focused on print communications. Sure, we use variables all the time in emails and on the web, but we seldom evaluate the cost of maintaining the data of each customer and altering the content. We should be doing that. After all, data storage is far from inexpensive as explained by StorageCraft.
But in the case of video – and what is now the personalization of movies (Doxee calls it Doxee Pvideo®) – the strategy needs to include the ROVI performance metric. The reason is that in some cases, changing the graphics and imagery for each recipient can be expensive and time-consuming– and as we have made clear, may or may not be worth the investment.
So when does variable data make the most sense for personalized video KPI?
Here are five places where variable content is probably worth the investment:
- Transactional-data driven personalized video. Perhaps the easiest variable data to manage in a video is text/numbers from a transactional database. Why? Because by definition it is already “by customer.” Also, there is nothing more powerful when presenting a product or offer than using highly relevant numbers in a video. In this example from Italy, the customer’ own statement is shown and explained in an instructional video. What could create more interest in the message than that?
- Digitized voiceover. This is not much different than the above. Digitized voice is now created by taking the transactional data and “merging” it with the script. It now is that simple and it can make a significant difference in the perception of the viewer and personalized video KPI. This eponymous blog will open your eyes to the power of using someone’s name.
- Colors. Colors are very personal. We choose them carefully – and often times don’t even know it. As explained in this blog, when we pick a car color, it says a lot about us. That is why car companies use the Reynolds and Reynolds database when sending us offers. They want the car color to reflect what we own- and probably want to buy.
- Gender (the concept of “gender marketing” goes way beyond sex, so for details check out this post)
- Offer. In this post, the value of tailoring the offer to the customer’s place in the buying cycle is identified as critical to a successful campaign
So when might the effort not be worth it in video and negatively affect personalized video KPI?
Some things to consider.
- Music (pick one track for all – something that reflects the brand
- Pictures – before making the investment in variable images, check to see if they meet the above criteria. If they don’t you may want to reconsider the expense (remember ROVI)
- Age – it may be worth it to change the text content based on age, but imagery? What if you are wrong? Young people positioned as anything more than “young” are very turned off.
Another example is shown in this sample personalized video for a power company interested in educating customers on the cost of their power usage – with the goal of lowering overall usage. This variable data used
Sometimes developing the variable content has little expense. But you still have to decide if the variable data will make a difference in response before spending hours and expense developing it for each recipient.