[Webinar] Supercharging Your Communication With Personalization

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Rationale and Emotions are the two most important components of everyday decision making. While the offering in terms of product or a service satisfies the rationale of a purchase, the emotion energizes the customer to hit the ‘Buy’ button.

We are bringing this webinar focused on the emotional aspect of a brand’s communication, the role it plays and also the tips to do it right.

What will this Webinar cover?

The webinar aims to cover the following broad areas:

  1. Importance of personalization.
  2. Why personalization works?
  3. How to implement personalization in your communication.

About the Presenter

jim-poage

Jim Poage is a published author and a well-known consultant. In his book FLAIR which he co-authored with his daughter Jennifer. The book shows you how to add meaning and joy to your products, services, and everyday work that draws in customers, colleagues, and audiences and creates a positive and lasting impression.

Jim became focused on technology, systems engineering, optimization, and patterns while studying at Stanford University and Harvard University. Today, his career has evolved to include processes, suppliers, employees, culture, external influences, storytelling, and other success factors. He has worked with major national, government, and international clients, including TheWorld Bank, NASA, and SAAB Sensis.

Video Transcription

Rohit: Hello, everybody. Welcome to the WebEngage webinar today. Today, we are talking about, “How to Supercharge Your Communication with Personalization.” So, this webinar is conducted by Jim Poage and I am Rohit Srivastav your Marketing Strategist of the WebEngage. So, Jim Poage is a Communication Consultant and a veteran in the personalization and communication industry and he has consulted many companies in the States about how to energize their customers using personalization and storytelling in their communication in their day-to-day coverage. And he has also co-authored a book named, “Flair,” with his daughter, Jennifer. And it talks about…it gives a structure to the whole process of using personalization, storytelling, entertaining, and the brand communication, so that your communication leads to a favorable action from the customers.

So, before I hand it over to Jim, I would just like to mention a few pointers. The PDF of this webinar is in the handout section of GoToWebinar. We’ll be having a poll later in this webinar. And I would appreciate your responses so that we can claim insights based on that. We’ll also welcome questions and you want to relay to punch in the questions in the GoToWebinar panel, whatever comes to your mind, we’ll take them an answer at the end. And I guess that’s…all about this. And I’ll…

Jim: Okay. This is Jim Poage. Thank you, Rohit, for that wonderful introduction. As he said, I work on how to get companies to engage with their customers emotionally, so that the customers are more likely to be energized and make purchases or follow up, and wrote the book “Flair” about how to do this, co-authored with my daughter, Jennifer. Mentioned Jennifer, works in fashion design industry. I’m more a techie so you have a book written by a teen, a creative type and people from two different generations. So hopefully, this book addresses people of all different ages and backgrounds. So, talking about how personalizing your messages, particularly messages you would do through the internet or emails, and using some of the capabilities of WebEngage. How to connect emotionally with your customers so that they’re energized to purchase from you?

We’ll start out with a couple very short one slide examples to give you an idea of what we’re talking about. Many service sites such as a food delivery company, they’ll send you a follow-up email telling you when your order will be delivered to your home or wherever you’ve asked it to come. And they might say something like your dinner order will be delivered in one hour. But, if you more personalized it, you could say mention what they ordered and say your chicken Kiev with rice and green beans for two will be on your table in one hour. So, we’ve personalized this and created a bit more of an experience for them. And since we put these slides together rather quickly, we have a generic picture here of a food delivery service.

You might also add a picture of the chicken Kiev dinner and you might even put it on a table with the place setting for two to create an enticing atmosphere for the people expecting their dinner. Another very short example is many online sales companies follow up or after you’ve made a purchase with another email suggesting other items they have for sale and they might do something you might be interested in the exercise pants we have in stock. Well, if the person has purchased an exercise top a few weeks ago, you might say instead, we have exercise pants in several colors that match the exercise top you purchased last month, and you could add pictures of the pants selections in colors and even a picture of somebody exercising in the pants. So, you kind of aroused their interest a bit more than a generic message and even if they don’t want exercise pants, you may intrigue them to ask themselves, “Well, you know, maybe I could use an exercise hoodie sweatshirt.”

Okay. Now, we’ll get into our message and why it’s important to address people emotionally in your internet, and email, and web applications. People buy on emotions. There’s an old marketing saying that people buy an emotion and justify their by decision rationally. Many people, many businesses when they’re selling or sending message it’s the customers state the facts and, you know, rationally, give people a reason to engage with them. But, if you put emotion into it also, you’re much more likely to engage people at a deeper level. So, you can energy…and you want to energize people because they’re more likely to buy from you, remember you, follow up, or adopt what you recommend. In short, energize people are more likely to act. Now, we did say in that old marketing saying that rationalization is important also and personalizing it also connects rationally, but makes the rational message more related to the person so they’re more likely to pay attention to it. So, you can explain a rational message with the benefits of your product and service, as well as explaining those benefits through some means we’ll talk about in a few moments, such as telling a story or creating experience. So, you can combine telling your people why they should buy with the way you present your message to energize them to follow through and actually buy.

Okay, why does this personalization work? Well, you’re connecting at a human level. People are not just rational creatures, they are also emotional creatures. So, if you engage them at both emotionally and rationally, they’re much more likely to interact, and purchase, and follow up with you. Personalization focuses on the individual customer and draws their attention. They don’t feel that they’re just one of a mass of people that you’re dealing with. It also allows the customer to relate that you’re offering to their particular situation, they’re much more likely to expand and think about your offering and how they could use it. And all these energizes the customers, and energizing them is important because they may have some inhibitions to following up with you or buying with you. But energy excites them so that you override these inhibitions they have. And also, energy gets your customers to spread your message and spread the popularity of whatever you are offering.

Okay, what are some ways to do this personalization? We’re gonna cover four different ways in this webinar. There are a few other ways to do it also, which we cover in the book, but we’re trying to make this short and get the message across to you, so hopefully you’ll follow up with web engage or with the “Flair” book. Okay, one of the ways to personalize is to tell a story about your offering, and we’ll be covering that. We’ll be covering how to create an experience for your customer that they’re having a pleasant even happy experience with your offering. We’ll explain how to make your messaging entertaining, so they’re more likely to pay attention to what you’re saying. And we’ll cover how to make your messaging concrete, so it appears real to the customer.

First, for storytelling. Well, people are just drawn into stories. Stories have been around for millenniums, most of the religions, their documents tell parables of stories illustrating the behavior that people should engender. Stories capture your attention and your emotions. So, here are some examples of things you might tell a story about to your customer and I’ll give you a concrete example here. I’m gonna take a hypothetical company that makes an programmable thermostat to control the temperature in your home. And also, that it’s connected to your smartphone, so when you’re away from your home, you can control the setting of the temperature in your house. So, you might tell a story of what this does.

You might tell a story of somebody who gets off work early, stops by day care to pick up their young child, and they’ve used their smartphone to turn on the heat because they’re arriving early, so, when they get home, it’s all toasty and the young kid could say, “Oh, daddy or mommy it’s so nice and warm in here after that cold drive.” You might tell a story about the value of what it does if you interview some of your customers, you could have some evidence of the amount of money they brought down their energy bill from the previous years and have them talk about how it’s so nice to get home when it’s warm, or on a hot day when the air-conditioning’s been on and the house has been cooled. And I list a few other things that you can tell stories about. And if you’re doing something like a series of emails, the customers you might do a different story in each email. And if you have a website or some other way to engage them, you know, you could put different stories in different sections.

Another way we mentioned was to create an experience for people. If you create a pleasant even happy experience, your audience is much more likely to be engaged and remember you. So, if you create a personalized experience for customers, they’re much more likely to relate and understand your offering. I’ll give you an example again here, is in my research work about using emotion, and “Flair”, and businesses we interviewed an accountant. Now, it’s very unlikely that an account…you wouldn’t normally think of an accountant as dealing with customers emotionally. But this accountant was very good at making his customers comfortable, but he did understand what he did.

What some of the things he would do is he realized that his service ultimately to the customer was not doing their accounting and filing their taxes. But his ultimate service to his customers was making them comfortable and not worrying about their taxes, and not worrying about are they doing their accounting properly. So, his thing was he was giving people a peace of mind and eliminating worries. So, he would explain to customers why he was doing things not just tell him what he was doing. He would send them reminder emails of when he expected some information from him. He would create forms that were easy for his customers to fill out with the financial information and easy for him to use. So, he very much personalized it. Now, when I say personalized, I don’t mean that he personalized each individual customer, but he viewed himself from the customer viewpoint and made it easy from the customers to use his offering.

Another way is entertaining people in your messaging. Because, we all get pay much more attention when we’re entertained, whether you’re using humor, good design like Apple does, or smile at something whimsical, we just are more likely to pay attention. In this case, I’m gonna tell a story about my own work in terms of using humor. I listen to satellite radio and they have some comedy stations that I listen to, and I try to remember some of the comedy routines of jokes and adapt to what I’m doing. There’s a comedian named Don Novello, who has a comedy routine what he calls, “The Five Minute University.” Because he says, “Five years after you graduate from University, all you remember is five minutes’ worth of what you studied at the University,” and he does a comedy routine about that. So I tell… I summarize at the end of a talk or end of a message, I summarized his routine. And then I say, “I’m now gonna give you a five minute University to summarize what I’ve been talking about and I put the key points.” Another thing is using props.

When I give talks in person about what I’m talking to you about in this webinar, I have several foot tall stuffed dolls that represent these points. I have one related to storytelling, which is a doll of Shakespeare, so people remember storytelling. For creating an experience, I have a doll of Frank Lloyd Wright, because he creates experiences in his buildings. And for entertainment, I show a doll of Charlie Chaplin. So, these are ways that people remember my message as well as being entertained by them, and I’ve listed a few other ways there to entertain your customers or audiences.

The final way I’m going to talk today about engaging your customers emotionally is when you’re telling a story, or creating experience, or giving a message, make that message concrete. Don’t state in terms of generalities. I’m gonna get back to one of the examples that we talked about at the very beginning of a clothing sales of business, following up with emails if somebody had bought an exercise top, they follow up with an email suggesting matching exercise pants that they now have on sale. Okay, that message is very concrete. It’s talking about exercise pants. Now, it may be, as I said before, that they’re not really interested in pants, but by making it concrete they’ll think, “Well, I don’t really need pants but I could use a new hoodie, or I could use some leg warmers.” So, you’re making it concrete.

You’re stimulating their thinking as opposed to just saying, we have other exercise clothing that fit and match that exercise top you bought. You’re not triggering them to think about what they really need. So, you want customers to imagine actually using your offer and you do this by making your messaging very concrete.

Okay, now, we’re coming to the end of our talk and we’re talking about how to personalize your message in the power of this. Our final slide here is following up with a saying that I discovered a couple months ago in Latin away talking about how to write. This is advice to Roman writers from 2,000 years ago. And the saying is, “Decere et Delectare,” This means, to instruct and delight.

Now, I like this saying because it covers the rational part, you’re trying to instruct or convey information to your audience, but you also want to delight them. Now, I like it in Latin better than saying to instruct and delight because with “Decere et Delectare” you have the alliteration of two Ds, the two hard Cs, and you have rhyming at the R-E’s, at the end of both words.

Now, you’re probably not going to remember these Latin words, but you’re probably going to remember, “Oh, there was this clever Latin saying that met I should instruct in delight. So, hopefully, now, you understand why it’s important, not to just tell your customers why they should buy, but energize them to buy with a personal emotional content. I’ll turn this over to, back to Rohit at this point. But, I just want to remind you that when you’re gonna use WebEngage or whatever means you use to engage with your customers, make your messaging being emotional as well as rational. Okay, Rohit, I’ll turn back to you now.

Rohit: Hi, Jim. So, thank you for the excellent presentation. So, the points that vividly would stay with me, what actually the five minutes University that you mentioned. So, the dolls that you use, I can’t imagine, if I’m sitting in person and we are having a talk and we are discussing this, I can’t imagine remembering every point that you mentioned through those dolls, especially the Shakespeare and the Charlie Chaplin part. So, we have had a few questions. So, I have picked a couple of them. So, I would like your opinion on both of them. So first one is, is spamming useful? Because they have an extremely low cost attached to them and even then they give a low conversion rate, i t proves to be a great ROI, for example, sending an email or SMS of our thoughts, to a 100,000 users. Even if 10 of them convert, I not only get back the amount that I spent on sending the message. I also, line up being positive in my panel. So, is it profitable to do mass spamming or something? So, what’s view on this?

Jim: Hello. Oh, are you asking me a question?

Rohit: Yeah, I wanted your opinion on this.

Jim: Okay. I’m sorry Rohit, I’m not clear if you were asking your audience to poll or you’re asking me a question.

Rohit: Okay, okay, I’ll repeat myself. And I was saying, okay, I was saying that since there are so many spamming, base to spam the users through different marketing channels such as emails, and texts, and SMS that have been overused again and again. So, the question, the point that I wanted your view upon is, since these spamming channels have such low cost attached to them and even if there is a very low conversion rate. For example, I send a email to across to 100,000 email to 200,000 users. And even 10 of them convert, I not only get my costs back but also make a profit on that particular campaign. So, when you talk about personalization, it’s very different when it comes to spamming is and getting the ROI out. So, what’s your view on this, which way should the marketing teams go.

Jim: Well, of course a lot of people are irritated by the email to begin, especially if they get regular follow-up emails. They say, “Well, I made a one-time purchase, I don’t wanna keep getting all these other emails.” But on the other hand, if you do get even a low conversion rate, you know, you’ve made some profit off that. So, I think the thing to do here is in your emails, make them as useful as possible to the audience or customers, so, they don’t get mad and just view with the Spam. But they view it as well, this could have been useful but it’s not useful to me, so, I’ll just ignore it. But some people will find it useful. So, if you personalize it, they’re less likely to get irritated by the menu because they can see why you’re trying to engage me and offer me something that it might be exciting for me. I’m just not interested in this particular thing. So, I think with personalizing, you’ll probably get a higher conversion rate, also, put people won’t be as irritated with your emails if they’re not interested in.

Rohit: Okay. That’s interesting because when I think of spams, I think of market is not caring about my privacy or my time either. So, I think personalization would reduce that negative caution attached to those spam emails. So, I think that’s useful. The second point I would like your insight is on, so when I think about personalization and especially that you will show to connect with us but the purchases. I usually think of purchases that are impulsive in nature, but what if they are not? If I’m buying something like a washing machine or a television. So, if I go for such a purchase it would be, once in five years or once in at least three years, and it would not be impulsive because I will be planning next for a couple of months at least before I actually go and purchase a washing machine. So, what’s your view on using personalization in brand messaging, especially in places where the purchase is not impulsive or emotional to it.

Jim: Okay, that’s a good point too. Again, it’s all about thinking of this from your customer’s viewpoint. Let me take this in two different ways. One is the, you’ve made a purchase of like a washing machine and you don’t need, you know, another matching outfit to come with your washing machine. So, you may not be interested in a follow-up purchase. But again, in personalizing and engaging emotionally with your customers, it’s not just about that one purchase, it’s about building an emotional relationship with them, so you could send follow-up emails of offering them some tips in using their washing machine. Many people don’t really bother to read the manuals, so you might have, you know, once every couple months you might send an email saying, “Well, here’s how to watch those delicate lingerie or here’s how to get the heavy grass stains out of the pants of your children.” That might be useful to the customers and personalizes it to them. You might ask them what’s their feeling about the machine, what thing do they like and not like, the danger of doing that is you shouldn’t do that unless you’re gonna follow up. You’re really gonna look at the data and tell them how you’re using it and looking at making a change in the next version.

Okay, the other case is, maybe it takes them several months to make up their mind on what to buy. So, if they’ve immediately made some engagement with your company, so you have their email information where they were looking for information about a washing machine, you might follow up with some emails again that are personalized and explaining a certain feature or benefit of what the washing machine does. Again, you might talk about, how it washes delicate lingerie or get stuff grass stains out. But there, your message would slightly be different. It would be, here’s some things that you could use it for and you’re not necessarily telling them how to use it, whereas the follow up after they purchase, you’d show them how they use it and actually show somebody up, show a kid with grass stains on their knees of their pants and showing somebody washing them and then holding them up afterwards. So, there’s still ways to do this personalization. And again, it’s remembering to make the information meaningful to your customers.

Rohit: Okay, so from what I understand you are mentioning that in different stages of a buyer bio cycle, there are different stages of awareness of interest of making a decision. So, all of those stages need communication and the personalization level, as well as the stories that from the part of that communication. Can vary, but still it is to be relevant as well as entertaining and I guess, it summarizes whatever you said is to, is maybe I want to write to instruct as well delight at the same time. So, I think that encapsulate whatever my point and whatever your insights we’re on that particular point. So, I think with that, and Jim do you have anything else to add to unknown this topic or to our listeners, to the people joining us in.

Jim: Well, I think you’ve done a good job, Rohit, of summarizing why it’s beneficial to companies to engage emotionally with their customers and use those techniques like story, and experience, and always think or what would instruct or be useful to the customer. And also, what would give them, light them, or give them some pleasure and reading your message. Again, that Latin expression. I’ll just add one other thing, for those of you in the companies that might use this idea of engaging customers emotionally in your messages, I think you will find your work more fun, if you’re not just listing the facts or benefits of what you’re doing but you’re trying to curate emotional messages and write some stories and create experiences and be whimsical. I’ve found in my own work when I do that with my clients, it’s much more fun for me. So, I think it’ll be more fun for you, the worker, as well as more fun for your customers.

Rohit: Well, that was great. And it was in fact a better somebody that were. And also an interesting addition to whatever there was not in the slides. So, the experience of doing, getting month’s job done and in the best possible way. That’s an experience that everybody wants. So, I guess that would to enhance personalization and communications to come. So, with that, on that point, I would like to thank you, Jim, for having us, to share your knowledge over this, the immense years of experience that you have with huge enterprises, and how you have helped them. And I think these words of wisdom will guide people in getting their communication or into the right minds in the right form. So, I thank you, Jim and all the attendees that have been there. And the slide will be available on our monthly website that’s blog.webengage.com.

All the previous webinars with different talk leaders in their own right are also available for viewing and downloading. You can go there and have a look at them. So, we’ll get back to all of you soon with the slides and a regarding of this webinar through an email. And will be coming up with similar and more enhancing webinars in the near future. Thank you, Jim. That’s me signing off and thank you for learning.

Jim: Thank you. Goodbye.

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