Say a prayer for the modern marketer. It seems like only yesterday when a marketing campaign that combined print and radio was considered exotic; back then, a working knowledge of the Chicago Manual of Style was all we needed to succeed. Now, we're expected to be SEO experts maximizing PPC revenue.
What happened to our dreams of working on Madison Avenue and bringing our creative visions to life? Well, 2010 could be the year the average marketing manager, even at a technology company, finally gets to flex his or her creative muscles and launch his or her company's first video marketing campaign (even if he or she is still missing the $700 Herman Miller Aeron chair).
Welcome to video marketing in 2010. We're no longer tasked with compiling keyword search terms nor mining customer relationship management data—instead we actually get to produce phenomenal media that reinforce our company's brand and showcase our creative genius. In short, our kids can be proud of how we make our living again.
Web video is awesome. It allows us to explain the power of our company's widgets in ways we simply can't with words and static images. Video is fun and cheap to produce; when it's done well, our customers are entertained and want more. What would you rather be doing—carefully crafting an e-mail to clog up 100,000 in-boxes or putting together a 30-second movie that has a major shot at going viral among your target customer base?
Check out the world's top companies: They get video. To date, Google has uploaded 1,095 videos to its YouTube channel that includes everything from doodle cartoons to conference keynote speeches. The result: some 222 million views and 124,000 channel subscribers…somewhere along the line, that's translated into measurable revenue growth.
So let's take a look at the five laws of video marketing success based on what the team at Knowledge Screen has seen in the last 12 months.
1. Work For Those Eyeballs
While many of us will read through jargon-heavy product reports against our will, we're very selective about what we watch. Heck, we control the mighty TV networks every night, all with a click of the remote control. Our video marketing must give something back to our audience. Entertain me with real humor, show me how to do something useful in less than two minutes, let me see how my peers are achieving success. Video is a viewer-centric experience like no other as we fight to hold people's attention second by second. Our team loved this well-scripted and beautifully animated Web video for Google Goggles, and so did one million other viewers.
2. Be Cheap…But Not Too Cheap
The great news is that the studio equipment used by the CNN newsroom back in 1995, now can be yours for less than $20,000. Top-quality video is cheap to produce, but if you throw together a movie in an afternoon using a camcorder borrowed from your kids, don't expect your finished product to match IBM's latest online video campaign.
You should spend at least the same amount of time producing a Web video that you'd spend on a print or radio advertisement. Video production companies can add a huge amount of value to your project without breaking the bank, and just because you can "do-it-yourself for free" doesn't mean you should. TED (www.ted.com) is turning out to be one of the best video sites for business: The cost of recording these conference speeches by a professional videographer is probably less than $2,000—cheap, but it certainly isn't the work of an unpaid intern holding a consumer camcorder.
3. Cut the Smelly Stuff
People can sniff out misleading product claims whether they're plastered across a billboard or sung by dancing bears online. By contrast, Apple's commercials embody authenticity, they're the company's values visualized in a 30-second TV spot. Be genuine with your viewers, and your brand will soar no matter how geeky your products are. Check out Splunk, a specialist technology firm: www.splunk.com/videos. Its massive library of customer video testimonials would make you think these people are marketing classic cars rather than niche IT tools.
4. It's All About the Packaging
How people access your marketing videos is just as important as the messaging itself. Adobe Flash allows us to do some awesome things in terms of interaction and audio-visual design. So think about how you want your audience to experience your content before committing it to camera. The folks at iCIMS, one of America's fastest-growing software companies, are to be commended for this funky piano interaction that showcases a compelling library of video case studies: http://www.icims.com/flash/demo/index.htm. This is a great example of a unique interface that steers clear of being gimmicky while allowing potential buyers the freedom to explore the information, however they choose.
5. Don't Forget Dilbert, the IT Guy
Before you sit back in your director's chair sipping a Diet Coke, remember your buddies in IT. Luckily, you'll no longer be greeted with fear at the mention of online video—in fact, they're probably dying for your company to catch up with the rest of the IT world. And you don't even have to host your marketing videos yourself; there are some great companies that will manage your entire media library on your behalf, without your customers ever knowing you got a little outside help. The folks at Brightcove (www.brightcove.com) have established themselves as an early market leader and provide the video marketing platforms used by companies such as Time, American Express, and Staples.
To wrap up, remember that your customers want video, not some spam campaign clogging up in-boxes. According to TechTarget, a whopping 72 percent of IT buyers use video to research IT purchasing decisions. Web video is affordable, quick to produce, and will be a part of every industry leader's marketing mix in 2010. Whether you're introducing a startup to new markets or manning the helm of a global brand, Web video is becoming the definitive way to speak to your customers.
Mark Dorosz believes in smart video marketing. In 2009, he founded Knowledge Screen to help B2B firms showcase their capabilities to increasingly sophisticated, corporate decision makers. The company specializes in producing video tours that are equal parts education and marketing to best position new products and services to prospective buyers. Dorosz is based in New York and can be reached at 646.375.5176; www.knowledgescreen.com; or firstname.lastname@example.org.