Lenovo Case Study: Personalized Emails to the Rescue!

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Michael Ballard, Senior Manager, Digital Marketing at Lenovo (pictured left), offers the company’s experience with personalized email and their recommendations on how to take advantage of the technology.

We are all bombarded with messages competing for our attention. It’s no surprise that this message saturation has given rise to personalization. Personalization trades the standard one-to-many approach to one-to-one and has proven to be more effective than the traditional method.

In the fall of 2016, we at Lenovo decided to reach IT professionals with a message tailored specifically to the individuals. Working with our creative agency, Traction, we created a music video depicting IT professionals’ pain as they deal with true-to-life scenarios like clueless coworkers, ridiculous situations and everyday frustrations that go along with the job.

“I fixed it, you’re welcome,” is the chorus of the rap video. As you might imagine, this message resonates with any IT worker who has ever uttered those words or has at least relates to the sentiment.

While the creative approach was on the mark, we wanted to take it a step further. We recruited the online video platform company Vidyard to make the videos speak to the recipients on a more personal level. We culled names from our database in order to customize the message and have the receiver’s name appear multiple times in the video and their company name on building signage.

We emailed the video to more than 600,000 individuals. And the great thing is that people really liked it. One person even watched his video 15 times! One of the best parts is that we were able to get a CTR that was three times better than any of our previous campaigns.

This effort was an obvious success, which means we knew it was important to reflect on what was gained to figure out what could be applied to future campaigns. What did we learn from this experiment with personalized video? Here are some takeaways:

Be Aware of Your Brand

When you use on-demand personalized video, you need to be extra sensitive. Be aware that someone can enter an anti-brand message and it will appear right next to your logo unless security/approval steps are put in place. Consider extra precautionary steps you might want to take to ensure you are looking out and safeguarding your good name.

Start Small and Test

Don’t shoot for the moon on your first try. It’s imperative to run a test first—both for engagement and operations—with a small contact group. That way, you can see how it looks and comes across. It will give you a chance to adjust your approach if need be before sending out to a large audience. You wouldn’t want to miss your chance to impress just because you were overly eager to send your message to the masses. Take your time to check how the experience comes across and refine it before going public with it in a major way.

Don’t Be Corny

The challenge with personalized messages, especially video, is that you can risk seeming hokey or contrived. This is the exact opposite of what you want to be going for. Do everything in your power to make the personalized elements fit into the storyline and not seem forced. You want people to feel excited that they are seeing their name in lights, not annoyed or creeped out. Go for authentic so your message resonates well with your audience.

Remember that everyone gets a lot of emails and a lot of bids for their attention. The last thing you want to do is bother them or leave them with a negative impression of your brand. Make sure that you have empathy for the recipient so that you create a campaign that entertains, delights and ultimately speaks to them. That way, you’ll win them over and ensure they have a soft spot in their heart for you.

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