By Steve Hullfish
Successful marketing does two things: it reaches new people and it provides a compelling message to those people. Video is the surest way to deliver on both of these key points.
REACHING NEW PEOPLE
To market yourself successfully, you need to be visible to new customers, and some would argue correctly that you also need to remain visible to your current customers.
So, why do I think video is the way to reach those eyeballs? We could argue that Americans watch 142 hours of live TV a month. That’s almost the same amount of time those people are at work each month! But even more astounding is that time spent watching on-line video is increasing by 35% each year. Clearly, video is the medium of choice for nearly all Americans – it might be on-line, it might be mobile, it might be on a TV screen, but there is no other activity other than sleep and work that is engaging Americans more than video.
Maybe your company can’t afford expensive TV time. How do you reach potential customers without TV? Well, YouTube delivers an astounding billion unique viewers every month watching 6 billion hours of content each month. That’s almost an hour of YouTube each month for every man, woman and child on the planet! And even AC Nielsen acknowledges that YouTube reaches more viewers 18-34 than any cable network.
The truth is that video is convenient. It’s easy. It’s compelling. And now that video is mobile – thanks to smartphones and tablets – it’s omnipresent. Wherever your customers are and whenever you want to reach them, you can reach them with video.
THE KEY IS TO BE COMPELLING
The same thing that makes video so great at drawing new eyeballs means that there is a lot of content out there to draw those eyeballs away from your content. So how do you combat that? By creating content that people want, NOT content that you want to push to your customers.
When you make videos for your company, consider the video from the audience’s viewpoint, not your own. What do they want? What do they care about? How can I tie the passion of my audience into the message of my brand?
One of my personal passions is storytelling. Almost any video or film professional will tell you that it’s all about story. Story engages us. Story can act as a Trojan horse: delivering the content you want in a form that draws people in. Nobody wants to watch a powerpoint. Nobody wants to read a sales brochure. Nobody wants to watch a training video. But everybody loves a good story. How can you take your message and “storify” it? I once wrote a biology paper on artificial limbs by starting it with the story of a wooden legged pirate clunking down the deck of a sloop.
When considering a story to tell, think beyond your product. Some of the most successful video marketers on the web and TV tell stories that are only tangentially attached to their product. GoPro cameras, Mountain Dew, and Red Bull have all embraced the compelling stories of extreme sports that are now integrally entwined with their brands. They provide compelling content that rarely actually shows their product or even features their product. But their brand is along for the ride with some of the most compelling content on the web.
There’s a great Dove video that has nothing at all to do with bathing or getting clean, but it tells a great story and makes the men who relate to the story feel like heroes. And the brand goes along for the ride.
This video shows the power of video. This story could have been told in a blog… as a magazine story in text, but there’s no denying the impact this video has emotionally. The music, the honesty of the facial expressions, the genuine power of the story combine in a n emotional richness that couldn’t be expressed in any other medium.
The video had little to do with the brand. But the brand connection was loud and strong. The marketing genius of this is that it is very shareable. More than 300,000 views of this video so far. I’m sure that the video and the program it came from have delivered a great ROI for Dove, despite never once discussing the qualities and benefits of Dove soap.
Don’t get too wrapped up in your marketing message on every video. Remember that all of the “fine print” of a product description does not need to be in a video. Let the video do what the video is good at: create a simple engagement… open a door. Get the viewer in the mood for your product. Connect with them at a gut level that has nothing to do with product specifics, then let the sales team do their thing.
Video is – obviously – a visual medium. Remember that as you’re trying to create your content. Often times videos are just an additional medium to those that have already been generated – like sales brochures, websites, PDFs. But video should not be derivative of these other tools.
Video can do things that a brochure, website or print can’t do. Use each medium to do what it is good at. Use the PDF or print materials to deliver detail that needs to be carefully examined. Use the web for its interactivity and ability to create connections and links between ideas. And use video to tell an emotional and informative story that grabs a viewer, and has an immediate hook that keeps their finger off of the pause button.
Also remember that even though viewers on the web are much more forgiving of technical quality, you still want to deliver an experience that doesn’t pull the viewer out of the story because the technical quality is so poor. Remember that the video is representing your company and you want that experience to be one that is positive and powerful.
More articles by Steve Hullfish:
- How Multi-Camera Production Dramatically Improves Your Training and Company Meeting Videos
- Video — 3 Key Ways tp Drive Engagement, Leads, and Sales
- How Video Can Reduce Expenses and Improve ROI
- How To Create a Good Looking Skype Video Feed