How Marketing Teams Can Unleash Personalized Creative at Scale

Opinion: What can brands do to win in a new world where authenticity is king?

How can brands ensure reactions like this? Astarot/iStock

Marketers today face enormous challenges in trying to break through with meaningful creative on digital and social channels. Ad blindness is at an all-time high, and audiences have grown up with increasingly high expectations for authenticity that speaks to them and captures their attention across various channels.

Smart marketers know that they need to deliver a personalized, one-to-one experience for every audience they’re trying to reach. Gone are the days of the “one-size-fits-all” approach for creative in advertising.

However, it’s incredibly difficult for traditional creative teams to quickly and affordably deliver enough creative to drive true personalization, especially when it comes to video production and high-quality imagery.

As a result, many brands have discovered that community-driven content creation powered by influencers, if done effectively, can unleash impressive results in today’s digital battlefield.

Personalized creative will rule the world

Ever since Amazon’s rise to ecommerce dominance, personalization has been top-of-mind for brands and marketers. However, personalization focused specifically on creative content has been adopted more slowly.

Over the past year, technology leaders like Netflix have recognized the impact of personalizing visual creative to drive better product engagement. Using multiarmed bandit algorithms, Netflix hunts for the perfect piece of artwork that will play to any particular viewer across an enormous diversity of tastes and preferences. For example, someone who’s a fan of romantic movies will likely respond better to Good Will Hunting when artwork that includes Matt Damon and Minnie Driver is presented, while someone who’s a fan of comedies is more likely to click on and select that movie if artwork with Robin Williams is displayed.

Brands both large and small can learn a lot about Netflix’s use of personalization to help boost advertising engagement, customer retention and conversion rates. And when armed with a diverse community of influencers to drive creative production, brands can finally unlock similar results of their own.

Diversified creative with family appeal at Bitsbox

Bitsbox is an ecommerce brand focused on products that teach kids to code with monthly interactive projects. Its marketing team’s first priority was building a robust customer journey across Pinterest and Facebook ads, email marketing and its own website. This required producing new creative that was customized for each channel and relevant to each month’s projects—a daunting task for any startup.

Organizing professional studio shoots proved to be time-consuming and expensive, and the logistics involved with sourcing locations and subjects was overwhelming. Also, the resulting creative from a single studio shoot didn’t resonate well with its broad audience.

Instead of relying on a creative agency, Bitsbox turned to building a community of micro-influencers to power its content engine. The company began working with dozens of new creators each month to generate hundreds of images and video assets that could be repurposed across all of its customer touch points.

More important, because the Bitsbox creative community was highly diverse, the team was able to easily personalize the images and videos it delivered to each audience. By using creative that is authentic and customized to each demographic, geolocation and channel, Bitsbox has seen higher relevance scores and conversion rates across the board.

Ovation taps niche influencers to discover new audiences

By building diverse communities of creators, brands are using influencer storytelling to unlock new customer audiences in unique and authentic ways.

Ovation Hair has been a luxury haircare brand for years, but it had historically never focused on the benefits of its product for curly-haired audiences, which was particularly impactful for the African-American community. However, because its marketing strategy focused on assembling a diverse group of beauty gurus to generate creative and awareness across its product line, the brand was able to experiment with a wide range of influencer personas outside of its traditional audience.

Two of these influencers, @Thefindguru and @Sayriajade, created videos highlighting the benefits of Ovation for curly hair that were a wild success. In the first week, the videos drove more than 2,500 visits per day to Ovation’s community pages versus the usual 50. Using the learnings from those videos, the brand developed a new creative strategy for this new demographic to power its advertising push. Additionally, this success empowered the team to partner with even more influencers as a way of discovering new audiences.

By building creative communities powered by influencers, brands can generate a virtually unlimited amount of diverse, authentic content and solve one of the toughest challenges that marketers face: breaking through to each consumer in a personalized and meaningful way.

Eric Lam is co-founder and CEO of social marketing platform Revfluence. Follow him on Twitter: @ericllam.