Gilbane Conference 2016, Day Two: Forging a Human Connection

On day two of the Gilbane Conference in Boston, the overriding theme was creating human connections: Speakers discussed personalization and the rise of video marketing, and how the two can be used in tandem to foster valuable relationships with customers.

Karl Wirth, CEO and founder at Evergage, spoke on how businesses should be evolving their personalization efforts—efforts such as addressing customers by name via email are worthwhile, but they are just a start. "Generally, people who are thinking of personalization are thinking of one to many; where we actually want to get is real-time one-to-one," he says. Companies should aspire to this vision, where they utilize customer data to create experiences that are personalized on an individual level.

Nevertheless, businesses need to examine how they are pursuing personalization. "You want to do [personalization] without being considered a creep,” says Chris Hayes, director of UX strategy at R2integrated. While organizations should absolutely make use of the data that customers provide them, initiating interactions with individuals on platforms such as Twitter is unwarranted. Nonetheless, he goes on to say, "customers expect the websites and apps they use to have certain data. They expect them to offer a personalized experience.”

Video content is set to become a major component of personalization. "Video does what white papers and e-books cannot do—it can give us emotion, whether it's sadness, joy, anger, [etc.]," says Tim Lewis, producer of digital content at Continuum Managed Services. Moreover, he suggests, companies should use their own personnel in their videos, as actors can give a "robotic feel" to the content.

Personalizing video marketing efforts should be a priority for marketers going forward. Videos provide an immediate human connection, which can be enhanced by tailoring the content based on customer information. "Personalize the experience for each viewer—each person is bringing a different set of background information, a different set of knowledge to it," says Cass Sapir, customer success director at HapYak Interactive Video.

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