Timing Is Everything: When to Use Personalized Video

October 19, 2016

A few years back, my mom gave me a T-shirt for my birthday. It was one of those shirts that had my last name on it—a logo that said “Gray’s Tavern” on the front in really big letters. Not having much use for it but also not wanting to be wasteful, I recycled it into exercise wear. One day, I was wearing it on the Greenbelt when I passed Ted Koppel, the former anchor from Nightline. He looked right at me and said, “Mr. Gray, I presume?” He even arched his eyebrow when he said “Gray”! His greeting certainly left an impression with me—personalization for the win. Thanks, Mom!

Personalization also enhances the experience at one of my favorite local taco places. Everyone who works there knows my name, and even better, they know my order. When I walk in and sit down, they have my coffee ready in the special to-go cup that I like, my order has been placed (egg and sliced avocado on corn tortilla), and they even have the right amount of salsa poured and ready for me. It’s those little touches that keep me coming back. Once again, personalization success!

Using personalization in marketing is becoming vital to reaching your audience. With the introduction of social media, data mining and now predictive analytics, you’re behind if you’re not leveraging customer information (interests, behaviors, their name!) to grab their attention. That’s where personalized video comes in. Much like my Ted Koppel story, this marketing tactic uses a person’s name or other unique information to connect on a one-to-one level—to tell him or her that this was “made for you.” And, it works…if you do it right.

Over the past year, we’ve used personalized video to help our clients engage with their audiences at different points in the sales funnel, and we’ve seen a ton of success. As in real life, there are great and not so great times to deploy a personalized approach like this. Here are two examples that worked for us:

  • First Touch Engagement (Top of Funnel) – Our client, a medical malpractice (med mal) insurance company, partnered with a much larger national insurance company and offered incentives for the national agents to qualify physicians from their portfolio for med mal quotes. The recruitment campaign ran across five states, and for each state, a recognized executive from the national carrier invited agents from the region to register for the partner program.The first email came from the executive to the agents, so there was name recognition from the sender to the recipient. The email had a brief greeting and a thumbnail of the personalized video with the agent’s name clearly visible and a call to action to watch the video. The video was personalized with each agent’s name and regional details and offered them the ability to grow their portfolio, deepen the engagement with their existing clients and earn incentive payouts. At the end of the video, there was a click-thru to register and qualify for the program.

Touch 1 results were pretty amazing:

Sends 1000
Open Rate 75%
Click-Thru Rate 19.3%




And Touch 2 results were even better:

Sends 912
Open Rate 81.2%
Click-Thru Rate 23.2%




  • A Break in Routine (Holiday Campaign) – Another one of our clients, a large high-tech company with a series of nurtures running at any given time, was looking to create more engagement. The existing nurture, segmented by product and solution, invited prospects to learn about common challenges on leading IT topics. On average, each recipient had received about 12 touches, so we proposed switching up the content during the holidays.Seven days before Christmas, we launched a personalized holiday campaign. Once again, we used the video thumbnail to display a prominent image of the recipient’s name. The video itself featured a hapless main character struggling to pick out and deliver a series of silly, personalized gifts (stockings, gingerbread houses, etc.) before landing on a personalized card. At the end of the video, there was a call to action to view additional gifts on a landing page—thumbnails of wrapped packages that contained some of their best content for a variety of products and solutions.

    Of those who watched the video, 25% went on to download one or more asset later in the nurture. And, in post-campaign follow-up, the prospects communicated positive impressions. At the conclusion of the campaign, the client had generated as many leads from the holiday campaign as they had for the entire year using product/solution nurtures.

From these campaigns, we learned several things:

  • Video personalization works best when the recipient knows the sender from prior communications, whether that’s from an email or just plain name recognition. Makes sense, right? Because, random acts of marketing personalized video are still random acts of marketing.
  • If you’re going to be bold and use personalized video to push the envelope, know when to do it. Be certain your storyboard has a meaningful flow and logical stops for incorporating the personalization. Personalizing a video just to try something new takes away from the overall effect.
  • Don’t be afraid to be funny. Because, who doesn’t love a little humor?
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