We’ve seen the statistics around the explosion of video in recent years. And we’ve tracked the metrics from our own campaigns that show reach, engagement and conversions increase whenever we use video.
There is little doubt that it’s how most of our audience prefers to consume the content we produce.
So what’s getting in the way?
In what may seem like a contradiction, I believe we’re all too focused on the video itself.
We see all of this activity going on all around us and we jump to the inevitable conclusion that we need to make a video.
But beware the random act of video!
It ticks the video box and we all feel great about how wonderful it made us look. But does this model really deliver the results that we need given the time and resource investment that it took to get the video made in the first place?
I would argue that it doesn’t.
It is a perfect example of putting the cart before the horse. What we need to do is take a long hard look at
1) How we’re currently buying video
2) How the suppliers in this space are set up to deliver video
3) What changes are required to make sure that this hugely important medium finds a place at the core of our marketing & communications plan?
Success with video is not a video production job. It’s a marketing job. The video is simply another marketing asset that needs to be promoted effectively, repurposed and put at the centre of integrated campaigns with clear objectives and metrics.
Video is not the silver bullet that will save us all, and the current delivery model sees the video itself as the final destination when it is really only the start of the journey.
I’ve had too many birthdays, and remember the bad old days of the corporate video that required a lottery win to finance, took months to produce and involved squads of people turning up at your offices with kit and trucks, boom mics, lighting rigs and art directors.
The end result of this was a premiere of a self-congratulatory video. Everyone felt very warm and fuzzy about their new video. Briefly.
The problem that we as marketers are faced with is that the delivery model for video was created on the basis that the above model was sustainable.
The landscape has shifted significantly, and to all of our benefit, in recent times. The kind of videos we now need to make have changed and the distribution channels for our video content are now much more diverse (farewell DVDs).
We’ve also experienced unimaginable technological developments that have seen films recorded on iPhones being launched at the Cannes Film Festival; check out this article for details of 11 movies shot on iPhones.
So how we can make video really work for us?
Success with video is built on solid marketing principles:
- Understanding the barriers to a sale and removing them.
- Understanding the problems that we’re solving and articulating these effectively.
- Understanding the opportunities that we’re trying to unlock.
- Understanding our unique point of difference.
- Understanding the channels that will allow us to communicate all of this to our target audience.
Once we’ve got all of this worked out, and have consensus around what the success metrics are, we can start to think about how we can use video to help move our prospects through the sales funnel.
In this landscape there are three questions to answer:
1) What should you look for when commissioning video content?
2) How do you go about placing video at the centre of your content strategy?
3) Can video really deliver all that it promises?
What should you look for when commissioning video content?
Once you’ve looked around at the options available, and satisfied yourself that a supplier can deliver content of the quality that you demand, there are a few other steps to go through before you can be sure that they are a good fit.
At this stage focus on the questions they are asking you about the video that you’re commissioning.
Are they asking you what the objective of the video is?
This will have a huge influence on the script, storyboard and ultimate structure of the end product. Do they care about what success looks like with this video?
Are they asking about your distribution channel for the video content?
This is a particular soapbox of mine – 85% of people watch videos on social media with the sound off. So without subtitles, a large proportion of the time and resource investment in the creation of video content for social media is wasted.
Are they asking the different uses for the video content that you’re producing?
If it’s for use at a trade show then it’s possible that the volume on the TV will be turned down for the duration of the event with the video on loop. This means the messaging all has to be visual with text appearing on screen to tell the story rather than a voiceover or interview contributions.
Are they asking you about the specific campaigns that you will be using the video content in?
Do they understand the customer journey and the specific information required by that customer at that particular stage of the sales process? Is it an awareness builder, is it to build trust and credibility, is it to outline your delivery process?
How do you place video at the centre of your content strategy?
Put the horse back in front of the cart.
Define your campaign objectives and customer requirements and then work out where video will provide the content type that will work best.
Develop a content calendar to maximise the opportunity for success.
A clear schedule allows you to build an audience in advance of the video release and then optimise the customer journey after the video to generate conversions.
Look at all your video options.
Live streaming, webinars, people profiles, product videos, case studies, testimonials, YouTube advertising, social media campaigns, website content, events.
Don’t underestimate the value of embedded knowledge.
Working consistently with a trusted provider builds shared knowledge and trust, creates a repeatable idea generation system and ultimately leads to better results for everyone involved.
Lose the focus on the hourly rate.
When we advertise a new role within our team we don’t take the person who will take the lowest salary. We take the person who can deliver us the best results for the package that we’re offering. We understand that this is what it takes to get a quality candidate. The same applies to video or whatever service you’re buying.
Check out our expanding series of articles on 10 ways you should be using video in your marketing.
Can video deliver all that it promises?
Yes – but you’d expect me to say that.
But only if we know what success looks like before we start. While reach and engagement are a reasonable top line indicator of whether your message is resonating with your audience, make sure the metrics go beyond that.
Being really clear about what the objective is when talking to your video provider leaves them with no excuse not to deliver. These conversations should inform every decision that is made about the script, the storyboard, the channel and what you want people to do next.
Whether it’s registrations for your event, sales of your product on an e-commerce store, new sales enquiries generated, white papers downloaded or webinar attendees. All of these can be traced back to your video campaign and allow you to see what works best and when.
The kind of video you make matters.
If you’re on an exhibition stand and you want to capture some quick contributions from your visitors then something filmed by your team on their phone and either streamed live to social media or published to your chosen channel is great because it deals with our requirement for immediacy – what’s happening now is interesting.
If, on the other hand, you’re selling a product or service that requires a large CapEx investment where trust, credibility and professionalism are important for your customer, then a selfie video filmed in your car probably isn’t the way to go.
As with any other communication medium that we use, success with video requires that we commit time and resource to the development of quality content that we know meets a specific requirement for our customers and prospects.
Let’s celebrate the role that we as marketers play in achieving this success and think again about how we go about getting the video content we need produced.
Then, and only then, will we realise the opportunity that video offers for us to transform our marketing strategy and campaign performance.