Dreamforce 2017: Through the Video Lens

Last week, the spectacle that is Dreamforce engulfed the city of San Francisco bringing together tens of thousands of business professionals, app developers and members of the tech community. It was another impressive culmination of all things digital in modern customer experience, reminding us how far things have come, and how far we have yet to go, in the evolving worlds of marketing, sales and customer service.

If you’ve never experienced Dreamforce first-hand, here’s a taste of our experience at the event:

This year’s keynote by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff anchored the idea that we’re now entering the fourth industrial age, the age of Intelligence. For those not keeping track, this follows the industrial ages of Steam (transportation and heavy manufacturing), Electricity (the light bulb and a much better way to shave), and Information/Computing (you know – Buzzfeed, Pinterest, Netflix, Emoticons). This new age of Intelligence brings us deep learning algorithms, artificial intelligence (AI), and other innovations that help to ensure that autonomous driving vehicles stay on the right path.

But what does this have to do with video? Hold that thought.

Salesforce made many announcements around its Einstein platform, which is the backbone of its AI strategy. Einstein Bots to power automated chat services, Prediction Builder for predictive modeling and automated workflows within marketing and sales, and myEinstein to make all of this accessible to us mere mortals. At the heart of all this innovation is one core idea: to help businesses deliver more personalized and relevant digital experiences that create higher engagement, more sales opportunities, and increased customer satisfaction–and to do it at massive scale with hyper-efficiency. But how compelling will these services be if they don’t deliver experiences through the most engaging content medium?

Video must evolve to keep up with the machines.

As we march into the age of intelligence, video content, technologies and strategies will need to evolve to better align with how we do business. Whether you’re part of a production agency, a B2B business or a video technology provider, consider the following implications and predictions for video given what we saw at Dreamforce:

  1. Video will need to become tightly integrated with other business applications to make it easy to index, search and present in an automated way. Chatbots, automated nurtures, and triggered workflows will need to identify and surface the most relevant video content to answer specific questions or to engage potential buyers in a fully autonomous way. YouTube no longer cuts it as a video hosting platform for businesses.
  2. Video content libraries will need to expand quickly to support this degree of personalization. Whether for marketing, sales or customer service, businesses will need to accelerate video creation to build libraries of content that answer a broader set of questions. Without the necessary content to surface to the customers, automation and AI are all lights but no action. The good news is that most B2B companies are already ratcheting up their video libraries with a 30% increase in video production year-over-year and more than 90% now creating video content in-house.
  3. As an extension to the prior point, expect to see new solutions emerge for real-time customization and personalization of video. Perhaps we don’t need 1,000 new videos to address every question; maybe we only need 50 pieces of micro-content that can be merged, customized and personalized in automated ways to effectively give us an infinite bucket of content? When this technology shift happens, you can be sure it will impact what videos we produce and how we create them.
  4. Audio transcriptions and rich meta-data will become a critical part of video content management. This type of information is necessary to enable the machines to analyze libraries of videos to identify contextually relevant pieces of content (like surfacing a video on Product X for Industry Y and Company Size Z). Expect video platforms to offer more robust and more automated solutions for transcription, keyword analysis, and tagging.
  5. Video analytics will need to connect to customer relationship management (CRM) and other key applications. This connection will help surface additional insights about each video, like how audiences are responding to them (i.e., average engagement time) and how well each video is producing the desired conversion (i.e., new lead generation, influenced revenue, or impact on customer retention). Combining this data with the meta-data described above will help businesses quickly surface the videos that are not only the most contextually relevant, but are also most likely to produce the desired outcome.

Welcome to the age of intelligence. It’s time for businesses to get serious about how they manage their videos, how they connect back to systems of record, and what types of insights and analytics they can capture. Simply put, it’s time to build more intelligent video strategies. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is Dreamforce 2017 through the video lens.

Tyler Lessard