Instead of sending personalised emails for functions such as welcoming new customers or providing loyalty-point balances (along with upsell opportunities), imagine sending videos that call the person by name and incorporate other individual elements based on customer data. That's the promise held out by Smart Video, a new company launched this week in Sydney.
In basic terms, the company creates a master video and then merges personalised elements—video clips, text overlays, audio files—into that master on the fly when the customer watches their personal video through a customised URL. (See the example videos below.) The approach is efficient because it does not involve rendering a full video for each customer ahead of time, according to the company.
Smart Video is already working with Cash Passport Prepaid Travel Money Card (a MasterCard company) on a project involving 50,000 customers, and is in talks with a number of other companies with large customer databases, according to Rodd Martin, founder and CEO.
A former creative director who lists agencies in the US, Australia and New Zealand on his CV, Martin told Campaign Asia-Pacific that the company combines his own immersion in video over the last few years (he also runs a production company called Vital Signs) with the trend toward data-driven marketing.
The company's research indicates that whereas 20 to 30 per cent of people might look at a personalised email, a personalised video could attract 60 to 70 per cent, Martin said, although he admits the technology is so new that metrics are "yet to be discovered".
Many companies globally are working on dynamic video generation, incorporating varying degrees of personalisation. For example, we quickly found Dynamix, Clinch and Impossible Software, and we recently covered a related effort by Maxus Metalworks. Martin said his in-depth research shows no one else in Asia-Pacific doing anything similar to Smart Video, and he believes his effort developing in-house technology gives him a jump on would-be competitors.
"We are keen to break into Asian markets," he adds. "It's something that can easily be handled remotely. We can work with a company in Singapore or Hong Kong or Shanghai. it's just a matter of getting a good brief, and we create it from Australia. Once we generate the hundreds of thousands of URLs, we can give them instructions on getting it up and running, or even fly someone up."
The company will be looking to open an office in Asia, he added.