Newcomers Introduce Personal Video Platforms that Explain, Engage


Newcomers Introduce Personal Video Platforms that Explain, Engage

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  August 05, 2013

In the 1988 movie Big, Tom Hanks’ man-boy character gets a job at a toy company and comes up with the idea for a choose-your-own-adventure comic book. Now a company called Engajer is bringing a similar concept to corporate customers. Meanwhile, an outfit known as idomoo is offering businesses the ability to create large libraries of personalized videos and deliver them to customers based on their CRM profiles and history.

Both solutions are aimed at helping businesses break through the noise of e-mail, phone calls and Internet communications by leveraging video and personalization.

According to Michael Castellano, founder and CEO of Mountain View, Calif.-based Engajer, video has been proven to be more effective than text and images in terms of information retention and personal preference. If you present the same information with text as you do with video, he says, studies show that information retention will be 50 percent more effective with video. Castellano went on to reference a study by Wharton Research Center that found 90 percent of Internet surfers will leave a website within four seconds, but how that goes down to 60 percent if a video is on the homepage. Meanwhile, he says, Forbes has reported that 60 percent of business people said would watch a video before reading text on the same web page.

The numbers get even better when you add interactivity to the video, Castellano indicates. He says the average recipient of an Engajer will spend an average of more than 5 minutes (5.1 minutes) involved in the experience.

Engajer’s choose-your-own-adventure videos start with a 30-second introductory video, after which the viewer is presented with a question and various answers from which to choose. For example, a virtual person on the screen may ask in what industry the viewer works; based on that answer, the Engajer system serves up only videos that are relevant to that vertical.

Castellano says the Engajer solution is ideal for B2B companies with large inside sales teams selling products or services that require some explaining. Among Engajer’s customers are Fujitsu, Pure Storage, SugarCRM, and Symantec (News - Alert). In SugarCRM’s video based on the Engajer platform, SugarCRM CEO Larry Augustin talks about his company and then invites co-founder and CTO Clint Oram to discuss CRM. After explaining the benefits of CRM and why SugarCRM (News - Alert) is the best solution in this arena, Augustin asks the viewer: What would you like to explore next? At that point, the viewer can select between various options to get a deeper dive; beyond that is yet another tree of video options. The platform also has tie ins with social networking platforms Facebook (News - Alert), LinkedIn and Twitter, so those that receive Engajers can share those videos with others.

Engajer, whose small business package starts at $250 a month, also tracks how people interact with each Engajer they receive and ranks viewers based on their level of engagement. That way the sales staff at the business leveraging the Engajer platform can access that information from a unique URL and then prioritize their own selling schedules so they go for the low-hanging fruit first. To enable sales people to more easily use Engajer, the platform is also integrated with popular CRM solutions from Salesforce, SugarCRM and Zoho (News - Alert).

CRM integration is also an important component of Idomoo’s Personalized Video as a Service solution, which the company says is an ideal way to communicate with customers and prospects about bills, insurance options, loyalty programs, and more.

Idomoo’s technology is based on industry standard Adobe (News - Alert) After Effects and allows any creative studio (including Idomoo’s) to make the master video or template, which is later personalized. The organization using Idomoo then employs a pre-defined format to create a file containing data exported from its CRM system, and Idomoo then integrates that customer content into any number of personalized videos, which are delivered to customers via their preference of e-mail, mobile phone (via SMS, MMS or mobile application) or to any web destination. Idomoo also provides customers with such data as how many people opened or watched the videos, how long they watched, and how frequently. Idomoo can also do surveys to garner information about how its customers can improve their videos.

Israel's largest insurance group and largest bookstore chain, Harel Insurance Investments and Financial Services, and Steimatzky, are among Idomoo’s customers.

Harel worked with Idomoo for a customer outreach project that involved the creation and presentation of personalized video overviews of the quarterly and yearly statements it sends out to pension fund and life insurance customers. The project had a 40 percent open rate for e-mail; 32 percent overall click through rate; almost no viewing drop-outs during the video; and a yearly 100 percent rise in e-statement signups, according to Idomoo.

Steimatzky, meanwhile, leveraged Idomoo’s solution to do outreach for its loyalty club. The bookstore in the past has sent birthday cards to club members, but has now begun sending personalized video birthday greetings. This effort has seen e-mail open rates above 65 percent. And the companies report that within two weeks of receiving the video, 15 percent of recipients completed a transaction in the store.

“Our customer club is all about connecting with customers, creating a relationship that is win-win for the company and the reader,” says Carmela Rotman, head of the customer loyalty program at Steimatzky. “Personalized video birthday greetings are an excellent addition to our engagement toolbox because they enable us to deliver a powerful emotional impact that is still cost-effective. The results were nothing like we’ve seen before, and proved the ability of an online tool to initiate a reaction in the physical world. This is both unique and promising for us.”  

Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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