Of Personalized Videos and Creative Planners

Sorab Ghaswalla
5 min readNov 9, 2019

Why this form of content has not become mainstream yet.

Imagine this: you walk into a restaurant you’ve never been to before, and the server greets you by name. Even before you can recover, the usher shows you a menu that only lists the food and desserts you like or have eaten before, not a roundup of random dishes. The tablecloth is of a color and design you love. When the check is served, you get a discount of 30%, something you realize the other guests have not got. Pleased (and surprised with all that personalized attention, won’t you say?

“Personalization” is what today’s marketers aim for to attract leads, prospects or customers…..to make them buy, or buy more of whatever it is they want them to buy. Upselling or cross-selling. Potential buyers are no longer treated as a coagulation of random people. Using data, their habits like buying pattern are now sliced and diced to “segmentize” them (put them in smaller groups), based on certain commonalities. Todays marketers are pushing the envelope by trying to personalize the experience for every customer.

It then boils down to content. While all of us are aware of personalized emails (where, for starters, each email addresses you by name), today, advertisers and marketers are putting out personalized ads and videos.

For two years now, personalized videos have been on the Top-10 marketing/content trends to watch out for. The 2020 trends lists are coming out just about now, and personalized video is once again on them.

Long way to go

Content providers and marketers though are struggling with their video personalization efforts, which explains why it’s not become mainstream yet. Cost is one of the contributory factors. In fact, unlike advances made in the personalization of email, marketing brochures and flyers, and other forms of “static” content, it’s been rather slow progress on the video front.

More than the cost, personalized videos face many technical challenges, still. One is how to scale up the production of personalized videos. Any moving picture content that is so customized to serve the interest of every persona is your personalized video. But you can’t produce one video for one customer at a time; that would be time and cost taxing.

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Creative planners, and we’ll talk of this new breed of content professionals later in this newsletter, are still trying to wrap their heads around how to get it down to being so granular. They’ve got the general picture, and have got going with the basics like addressing you in a video by name, but otherwise, it’s still an uphill task.

Of course, they have help in the form of technology. And, data. These two are the vital ingredients of a personalized brew, in addition to the creative human stewing it.

Before going ahead, here’s a good example of a personalized video by a bank. The Barclays Bank, specifically.


Compare the Barclays pitch with just another generic personal loan video ad. Then ask yourself — which one entices me to take a loan? The answer is obvious. That’s the power of personalized videos.

The good thing is generic messaging is on its way out. The bad thing is personalized messaging, especially the video kinds, are still not there.

They are trying to overcome the cost factor with, in layman’s terms, the introduction of cheaper, mass production video personalization machines. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms and Data Management Platforms (DMPs) are never really used by the creative content folks. For them, there’s now an addition to the tech stack that goes by the name — Creative Management Platform. The latter, in reality, is a mix of technologies to cater to the creative requirements of digital content teams for their campaigns.

But just working the CMP is not enough. Personalization requires dynamic content, and such dynamism will never happen unless the “team” gets a unified view of the customer or lead.

Unified customer view means ALL the data from ALL the touchpoints or contacts made by that lead or customer across ALL the channels like social media, emails and so on, are woven together for one complete profile of the potential prospect or customer.

Only when you get to know him or her as completely as possible will you be able to “get personal”. Can you perceive the difficulty now for the content provider?

Personalized messaging, including personalized videos is a team job, dependent not only on marketing but also on the data guys.

Which brings us to a new job profile that’s coming up out there called “creative planners”. Still nascent, creative planners are people who need to have two basic skills: communication and research. They also must have “ancillary” skills such as marketing and tech, too. This tribe tries to bridge the needs of the client with the skills of the agency.

Here’s a copy of a ‘Creative Planner Wanted’ job ad for clarity:


• 3 years plus working experience in event, exhibition, PR or other communications agencies.

• Degree in Marketing, Languages, Fine Arts.

• Creative thinker who can conceptualize ideas.

• Proficient writer able to craft attractive proposals.

• Software proficiency in PowerPoint.

A Creative Planner is different from a Creative Strategist. The former is more like a consumer researcher who tries and gets insights into people, and then writes a compelling narrative around them. A strategist, on the other hand, can be seen as a cross between the good old Media Planner and Creative Director.

The personalization array means not only humans understanding fellow beings, but machines, too, “making sense” of humans. On the video front, there still remains a lot of ground to be covered. Till that happens, you will continue to have personalized videos that still seem generic with a bit of customized tidbits added to the mix.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Video credit: YouTube/Barclays Bank



Sorab Ghaswalla

An AI Communicator, tech buff, futurist & marketing bro. Certified in artificial intelligence from the University of Oxford. Former old-world journalist.