Marketing with Video and Rich Media Blog

10 Reasons Why Your Marketing Video Isn’t Working?

You just spent $2,000, $20,000 or $200,000 on your most recent corporate video project and it didn’t move the dial. What happened?

The creation of your corporate video should follow a structured development process. When it doesn’t your chance of success is low. Here are ten common mistakes made by companies developing marketing videos:

1. Poorly defined objectives.
Can you easily fill in the following blanks?: This video will help ___{this audience}____  understand that our product or service solves ___{this problem}___  and provides ____ {these benefits)____ . We will measure the success of this video by ___{this rating mechanism}____.
If you can’t clearly and succinctly fill in the first three blanks chances are your video will fail to achieve any measurable results.  If you can’t fill in the last blank you’ll never know what was achieved.

2. No clear message(s).
“Expertocom is a world leader in the provisioning of leading edge solutions and robust, mission critical systems to it’s global client base.” Uh-huh. Even if you have a well defined audience, problem statement and benefit, you still need to communicate in clear and convincing manner. Some common mistakes:
- The video is all about you. No one cares about you, they only care about how you can solve their problem.
- B2N (Business to No one) If your message is so general that it applies to everyone it probably won’t resonate with anyone. Be specific. Pick one audience and deliver one really strong, concise message tailored to that specific audience’s needs.
- Jargon-loading. If you “utilize leading-edge best practices to incentivize and leverage your best-of-breed base through groundbreaking, synergistic and outside-the-box thinking” then… no one will understand you.
- Saying too much. “I’m sorry I wrote you such a long letter but I didn’t have time to write a short one” – Mark Twain. It’s really difficult to be succinct. It also seems risky. Script-by-committee is death to most video projects. In video, shorter is almost always better.

3. Your video doesn’t resonate with your audience.
The best messages work on a visceral level. They make you think, even better, they make you feel something.  If your video is dull (i.e. a talking head) and if you don’t use video effectively (show me, don’t tell me!) then you will quickly lose your audience. Facts are important but a good story is better. While it may be interesting to note that your lubricant is 27% more viscous than any other on the market it may be more interesting to show that your product is the one that your local fire department depends on. Translating the key benefits you are trying to illustrate into ideas and building that into a compelling visual story is done before any crew show up to start shooting.  This is the most important part of the video development process and it’s also the hardest to get right, yet it’s usually the piece that gets the least attention. How do you find a company with this type of experience? Look at their previous work. If it’s not engaging, yours won’t be either.

4. Loose, or no processes at all to develop and promote the video.
The most important part of the video production process is pre-production. Chances are that if you are either surprised or disappointed by the results of your video it is because the planning process was flawed. A well defined storyboard should tell everyone involved exactly what is being said and what visuals are being shown to support those messages. A shotlist tells you exactly what needs to be shot, with whom and when.  When the video is shot and edited a marketing plan tells you exactly what the video is supposed to accomplish, how you are going to get your video in front of your intended audience (…who may or may not ever show up at your website) and how the results of the video should be measured. Again, all of this happens before anyone shows up with a camera. If your video production company tells you what your video should look like with little or no input from you – it probably won’t help your business.

5. You started with creative.
“Our President has this really cool idea!” Just like graphic design is the last step in the pre-development phase of a website (often it is first),  ’creative’ is the last step in the development of a video script and storyboard. Again… too often it is first. Creativity is an essential part of the video production process but it should never be be the tail wagging the dog. Sure, if you have a budget to create a whack of branded entertainment, that’s a different story – but for most corporate video projects, branded entertainment is not the goal.

6. Your video doesn’t support your brand.
Too often, videos are created in isolation. Your brand is the sum total of all of the experiences people have with your company, that includes video. Your video has to support and complement the tone and key messages that you want associated with your brand. {Warning: Wacky viral videos often do more harm than good.)  Video production is not an isolated activity. Your video production company has to understand how you are marketing your business and has to be keen to engage with your marketing department and /or the marketing agency that is helping guide your brand.

7. Budget isn’t large enough.
We took a couple thousand out of our cleaning budget to do this video.” “Yep, that’s all we’ve got, but we still want it to look like Avatar.” “My cousin Eddy said it would only cost him $400 to make the same video.” The cost of video production has decreased dramatically over the last five years. That said, there is little point in developing a video if you haven’t allocated a reasonable budget for the project. What does a video cost: Here are 25 factors and their prices that go into the cost of developing a corporate video.

8. Wrong type of video.
There are many different styles, structures and purposes for corporate video. Here are 51 different types of video you can develop to promote your business.  A thirty second pre-roll promotion video is probably too long and a one minute recruitment video is probably too short. Hiring actors to speak to a technical audience isn’t a good idea.  Putting your President on camera may (or may not be) a good idea. A talking head is often a waste of time.  A detailed technical video won’t resonate with people in the awareness phase of the sales cycle but can work very well for people in the consideration phase. What type of video you develop and what structure you use for the video is just as important as what messages you chose.

9. No call to action.
What do you want people to do after they have watched your video? If you don’t know, your viewer won’t either.

10. No distribution, SEO or promotion plan.
Even if your video is great, if no one sees it you’ve wasted your money. Are you optimizing a webpage with keywords to help promote the video? Are you promoting the video on industry portals or other related sites where you intended audience might be? Have you developed an email campaign to promote the video to key audiences? Do you have a process to move prospective viewers through your sales cycle once they have viewed the video? Have you tested the video before widely launching it to make sure it accomplishes what you want it to? Do you have any budget for changes or do you assume that you’ll get it exactly right the first time through? Do you have a social media campaign, a PR campaign, a media campaign or some other promotional activity to build interest and awareness for the video?

The video production piece (shooting and editing) represents about 1/3 of the total value in the video development process. Planning (building the right messages for your audience) and promotion (making sure the video is seen) are both equally important.



{Note: regarding ‘Jargon -Loading’, thanks to Lindsey McCaffrey for inspiration on ‘Words and phrases I don’t want to see in your copy‘}

Marketing lessons from presidential candidacy videos.

Barring a political catastrophe, President Obama will likely be re-elected in 2012. So while discussions around the outcome of these videos are probably moot, it’s still instructive to see how the committed (or nearly committed) presidential candidates are using video (not just news interviews or TV spots) to position themselves. Companies large and small would benefit from both lessons learned and mistakes made in these videos.

Newt Gingrich {Grade: F}

As John Stewart pointed out last week – it looks like Newt’s video was shot in a Sears portrait studio. This video is all Newt. Nothing to see but Newt’s ample cranium for over two minutes. Talking heads are one the most common and least valuable uses of video.  Most are dull and forgettable – like this one. The message, if you listened to it, is pretty much a litany of cliches and generic promises. Video is a visual medium. Show people what you are talking about. Better yet, get other people to talk about what is important to them. No one wants to hear your company president blather on for two minutes about your product or service either. Show people the benefits of the product. Appeal to the buyers emotions. Get satisfied customers to gush about how your product changed their lives. Sure, if your candidate (or CEO) looks like JFK or Ronald Reagan then a bit of camera time is probably a good thing. This video is old school, it’s dull and there is absolutely no reason to share it with anyone.

Mitt Romney {Grade: D+}

This video has a number of things going for it that Newt’s doesn’t: 1. Mitt took the time to shoot the video somewhere (no doubt this video will solidify the New Hampshire High School football vote), 2. Let’s face it – Mitt looks like he was pulled out of central casting (“hey, we need a presidential looking guy… and not Martin Sheen”), 3. Mitt makes reference to conversations with people and speaks about their concerns. 4. It didn’t looked too staged. (Of course it’s staged – all of these things are staged. There is no ‘real’ in reality TV) but at least he made the effort to be seen in a fairly natural setting. The video felt comfortable – that’s a good thing. But in the end it is was still dull and there were very few messages or ideas that really stick with you in this video. People understand and remember if you tell them and show them what you are talking about. If you sell fertilizer (a purely coincidental choice of analogy…) it would make some sense to get your spokesperson out on a farm delivering your message – so kudos to team Mitt for that. But wouldn’t it be better hearing a farmer describe how and why your fertilizer is the best stuff around.

Tim Pawlenty  {Grade B}

I give this video a lot of credit, it has it all: Epic soundtrack – check. Lots of special effects (especially ‘lens flare’) – check. Lot’s of quick cuts and shaky camera – check. This would have made a good movie trailer or John Mellancamp video. No question it’s slick, maybe too slick, but there is no denying it gets and keeps your attention, it delivers well on a few key messages and it is something you would share, or at least want to watch all the way through. Problem is Tim is going to find it difficult to live up to the hype of this video. I’m not sure he’s really that cool in real life.

President Obama {Grade B}

I really like this video because it focuses on real people saying real things (sure it’s staged… this is marketing we’re talking about) but it does what the Obama campaign team do so well and what few republican teams seem to grasp – it seems to relate to people on a human level. It makes a real connection. (Those connections drive involvement which wins elections.) Obama isn’t even in this video (he’s got a day job that precludes him from appearing too ‘campaigny’) but that doesn’t really matter. People talking about Obama on a personal level resonates with many people – it’ll stick and it’ll get people thinking. Most of the other videos don’t make you think – they don’t try very hard to engage you – they just talk about what they think you want to hear.  Whether you are promoting a new cleaning solvent or your presidential candidacy the message has to resonate – it has to appeal emotionally or you’re wasting your time.


Bonus Video:

Congressman Paul Ryan’s Pathway to Prosperity {Grade A-}

Ryan won’t be running in 2012 but this is still a great video that shows how to effectively promote an idea. (Isn’t that what the elections should be about…) I’m not going to comment on the oversimplification of some very complicated issues being shown in this video but I do believe the style and approach are very effective. Probably the best of the lot. It’s well produced, interesting to watch and more importantly, it communicates something of lasting value. It gives you a clear (at least in Ryan’s mind) view of where he sees the specific problems and discusses how these problems should be addresses. The biggest issue with most political videos is that they are usually forgettable, have little lasting value and most importantly, they never make a convincing point. Ryan has taken a stand and also taken the time to clearly and effectively communicate his position on a very specific issue.  Any company would benefit from taking this type of approach: Clearly identifying a specific pain, addressing the specific solution(s) to stop that pain, and most important - clearly demonstrating the benefits of fixing that pain. Marketing 101. Kudos to Ryan for this. See you in 2016.

{Follow-up note: Time magazine just named Ryan as a runner-up for their ‘Time, Man of the Year“.  And while Ryan claims in this article he doesn’t have the fire in his belly to be President, I’d be willing to bet that  will change in the near future.}

Even more bonus videos

Go to Ron Paul’s site and watch some of his older videos – they’re the most fun to watch.  He’s the only guy who you believe isn’t just saying whatever is needed to get elected. You actually feel that he believes what he says and probably won’t change his mind once elected. (He doesn’t stand a chance.)


Web video best practices? – chooses YouTube

Salesforce provides cloud-based CRM tools and is a global leader in web-based services.  With over 1500 videos it’s safe to say that Salesforce is fully committed to web video as a means of reaching their customers and driving new business. If the internet is important to your business the above Saleforce video case study will show you how web-based video can support your ongoing business objectives. Saleforce presented this video at a recent Google B2B Think conference.

The video shows why Saleforce has chosen YouTube to manage their video assets,  promote awareness and drive new leads to the company. Some highlights from the video:

- YouTube is now one of Salesforce’s most important online marketing tactics.
- Saleforce equates their YouTube effort to adding 46 sales reps.
- Interestingly, one of the reasons Saleforce chose YouTube as their video delivery platform was that it was one of the most trusted by users.
- They have seen much greater success with video SEO since using YouTube to host their video.
- They have also tested YouTube Display Ads, Promoted Videos and on video Calls to action.

Many businesses today are considering what is the best option for hosting their marketing video. Obviously Salesforce isn’t concerned about issues such as YouTube being blocked by some sites or the possibility of other videos being shown around your video if you happen to click through to the YouTube site itself.  Should they be?

Video is becoming a critical information source for senior executives

Work-related videos are driving senior executives to take action.

Forbes Insights, in association with Google, surveyed more than 300 C-level and senior executives at large U.S. companies ($500 million-plus in annual revenues) to learn more about how they are approaching Web video as a source of business-related information. The results are both surprising and important for anyone who’s job it is to communicate with and influence senior executives in any sized company.

The graphic above (created by eMarketer) illustrates post video-viewing intent. Clearly video’s influence is growing and will only continue to grow in the coming years. The following is a summary of some of the findings of the Forbes/Google research:

1. In some cases executives prefer video to text. When asked “If video and text covering the same topic are on the same Web page, which would you watch first,” 59% chose video and 37% chose text.

2. The top 3 objectives when watching business-related YouTube videos are: 1. Testimonials (29%), 2. Product demonstrations (28%) and 3. Product reviews (29%).

3. Video is social. 54% of senior executives share work related videos with colleagues at least once a week.

4. “Longer” videos are preferred. Conventional wisdom (it is usually neither…) has it that 2 minutes is the “absolute limit” for business related video. When asked, 47% of executives preferred a length of 3-5 minutes, followed by 36% preferring 1-3 minutes and 9% preferring over five minutes.

5. Video causes executive to take action. Overall, 65% have visited a vendor’s website after watching a video. Younger executives, however, may be more fully engaged with this type of media, and appear more likely to make a purchase, call a vendor, or respond to an ad.

Forbes summarizes these trends well – “While the Web itself is in the midst of a video makeover, executives are transforming their habits to be more open to video—the non-text Web—as a highly reliable and trusted source for gathering and filtering business information.”

51 ways to use web video to help your business grow

video wall

As bandwidth increases and video production costs continue to decrease businesses are beginning to adopt video as a primary method of communicating with their customers and prospects. In-house or outsourced, video is quickly becoming a marketer’s media tool of choice for two reasons: video is engaging and, more importantly, video is persuasive. Here are some of the ways that businesses are using video to help improve their bottom line:

Customer Reference Videos

1.  Customer Testimonials (Popularity: Moderate  | Growth Potential: High)
Nothing is more compelling than seeing and hearing your customer (ideally in their own environment) extol the virtues of your products and services or explaining how your company helped them to achieve their business goals. These videos usually run from fifteen second snippets to a minute and are typically combined with or used to support other marketing material.

2. Success Stories (Popularity: Moderate  | Growth Potential: High)
Similar to a customer testimonial these videos run between one and two minutes and follow an interview format where the person on screen answers questions posed by an interviewer just off-camera. These videos are usually delivered as stand-alone marketing support materials and are often grouped with other customer success stories.

3. Video Case Study (Popularity: Low  | Growth Potential: Moderate)
A video case study combines customer testimonials with more a more in-depth explanation of how your company’s products and services helped your customer be successful. These case studies usually incorporate two voices – a narrator and the voice of your customer and can run anywhere from two to five minutes. The video structure follows the same “Problem, Solution, Benefit” format found in a printed case study and usually include b-roll or other supporting text and video.

4. Man-in-the-street Interviews (Popularity: Low  | Growth Potential: Moderate)
These videos are typically done to promote events and to build buzz around coming events but can also be employed to capture ‘spontaneous’ responses to targeted questions that help promote your product or service or to help differentiate the benefits of your brand compared to the real or imagined problems associated with your competitors. Consumer focused companies such as soft drink manufacturers, phone companies and fast food companies often use this video format in advertising but you are starting to see this type of video appear as a stand-alone promotion on business websites or YouTube business channels.  Sometimes these videos are genuine. Sometimes they are completely staged. ‘Authenticity’ is, in some sense, becoming a style…

5. Customer Presentations. (Popularity: Low  | Growth Potential: Low)
If one of your customers is presenting at a conference, trade show or event or even in your offices and is talking about your products or services either directly with you or indirectly as part of a larger discussion this may be a perfect opportunity to capture the presentation of video (with permission, of course) to re-purpose on your website and intranet.

Product and Service Promotion

6. Product Presentations (Popularity: Moderate  | Growth Potential: High)
Product (or service) presentation videos are typically employed early in the buying cycle. Product or service presentations focus on benefits and talk from your customer’s perspective. They should speak clearly to how your product solves a specific business, personal or economic problem that your prospect is experiencing. They are used to help your customers and prospects differentiate between the benefits of your products and services to those of your competitors.

7. Product Demonstrations (Popularity: Moderate  | Growth Potential: High)
Product demos show how your product works and highlight the features that differentiate it from that of your competitors. Software screen captures, a 3D cut-away, or a high impact demo by a presenter are all excellent ways of showing how your product or service works. These videos are typically used to influence a prospect who is relatively far along in the sales cycle. In technology marketing these videos would be targeted at the technical approvers who need to understand how something works. In consumer marketing these would be targeted at the economic buyers of larger ticket items who may be further along the sales process.

8. Product Reviews (Popularity: Low  | Growth Potential: Moderate)
The best product reviews are trusted third party reviews. Video reviews can be found anywhere from YouTube to various business portals. To the extent they are positive and promote your brand, they should be referenced. You can also partner with trusted third parties to create product reviews for your own products.

9. Visual Stories (Popularity: Moderate  | Growth Potential: High)
Quickly rising in popularity, visual stories employ illustrations, animations and motion graphics with a voice-over to explain complex products or services in a simple and compelling manner. These are sometime referred to as ‘explainers’ and are usually between one and three minutes in length. A new version of this tool, used primarily for entertainment, are websites that offer predefined characters and backgrounds that you can both animate and add an automated voice to (sort of like building your own Second Life commercials). You will begin to see many new hosted services offering customizable cloud-based animation modeling options – some good and some quite awful.

Corporate Video

10. Corporate Overview (Popularity: High  | Growth Potential: moderate)
These videos are the video equivalent of the ‘company brochure’ for small companies – intended to give new visitors to a website a better idea of the company. Corporate overview videos typically company history, key products, executives/owners and other top level business info. As the cost of video production continues to decrease and the popularity of video increases you will start to see these videos being replaced by multiple, more targeted video.

11. Executive Presentations (Popularity: Low  | Growth Potential: Moderate)
Whether you are preparing for a quarterly update, responding to a major event in your industry or making a regularly scheduled presentation there is great value in presenting the “face” and “voice” of your leadership team to all of your constituents.

12. Staff Presentations (Popularity: Low  | Growth Potential: Moderate)
Social media and other Web 2.0 trends have caused companies to reconsider how they communicate with external audiences. Your senior leadership team should not be the first and only consideration to represent your company. It is becoming more imperative to consider showcasing the people that drive the day-to-day operations of your company. Customer service representatives, technical experts and legacy workers are all valuable considerations for this new category of corporate video. Surveys show that there is more trust associated with these employees than with senior management. When you are selling to influencers in organizations (versus economic buyers or decision makers) it is especially important you represent your company with people that your customers and prospects can relate to.

13. Corporate facilities or equipment tour (Popularity: Low  | Growth Potential: Low)
Ten years ago corporate facility videos and equipment tours were popular. Down-sizing, off-shoring, outsourcing, a couple of recessions and a hollowing out of North America’s manufacturing base has change the priorities placed on these videos. Uniqueness is key to success here. That said, it’s really not about you and your stuff any more – it’s about how you can solve your customers problems.

14. Annual Report / Review (Popularity: Low  | Growth Potential: Low)
Public companies are legally obliged to create annual and quarterly reviews. As well, larger privately held companies also create their own quarterly and annual reviews. As print continues to fall out of favor video will either supplement or replace these materials.

15. Video Signature and Video Introduction (Popularity: Low  | Growth Potential: Moderate)
Social media sites like LinkedIn and Facebook are just starting to enter into the corporate culture even though they have been part of the social culture for years. Other social sites like web-based dating services are now commonplace. Video is becoming a key component in how you ‘sell’ yourself, in your private life… and in business. A video signature is a video (either embedded or direct link to video) that is in the signature portion of your email. Introductory videos serve the same purpose – to give people who don’t know you a better idea about who your are.


16. Training (Popularity: Moderate  | Growth Potential: High)
Corporate video first gained prominence with training (service, support, sales, personal development etc.) and continues to be one of the best uses of video. Online Video is a cost effective substitute for in-class training. You can also easily integrate video into online training management tools.

17. Overnight expert videos (Sales Support)  (Popularity: Low  | Growth Potential: Moderate)
If you serve a large geographic area or sell through channels then it is well worth the effort to put together short ‘overnight expert’ sales support videos that highlight the key selling points, features, benefits, objection handling and follow-up issues to consider by your direct or channel sales force.

18. Just-in-time learning (‘How-to’ Videos)  (Popularity:Moderate  | Growth Potential: High)
Contextual training videos are becoming very popular on the web. ‘How-to’ videos, video manuals, on-site video reference, quick assembly demos, and other types of video are being used to supplement or replace traditional training. Mobile video will increase the popularity of this type of video.

Customer Support

19. Post sale support and maintenance videos (Popularity: Low  | Growth Potential: Moderate)
No one reads manuals. You can save thousands of dollars of post sale support by creating informative assembly, installation and maintenance videos for your products and services.

20. Website FAQ Video (Popularity: Low  | Growth Potential: Moderate)
In certain formats video can be a suitable replacement for text where an authoritative voice, support materials or other visual references are required. A list of FAQ’s answered by a company expert is an example.

21. Live, two-way video (i.e. Apple’s FaceTime or Skype)
I believe an interesting application for mobile computing and video is going to evolve around the ability to incorporate live and recorded video into the customer support process. Imagine being able to show someone the problem you are having with their product rather than trying to describe it or send them a photo. Showing someone the problem is just the beginning. Getting a step-by-step video response with someone talking you through the solution – live… that’s the holy grail of customer support. Most companies will dismiss this as too expensive. Other companies, like Apple, will integrate these types of services into their entire brand experience.

Internal Communications

22. Internal Communications (Popularity: Low  | Growth Potential: Moderate)
In larger companies few people have the time or interest to understand what other groups or functions within the company do or even why they exist. Internal videos that highlight business plans, new business activities and achievements can improve knowledge transfer and lead to more effective communications. They are also a great way to show off your local heroes. These videos can be either live or recorded and are typically used in larger more geographically dispersed companies. As employees continue to work from home these videos will become more important.

23. Event/Conference and Trade Show Communications. (Popularity: Low  | Growth Potential: Low)
Most companies spend a disproportionate amount of their marketing budget on attending and participating in a variety of industry events and yet only a very small percentage of employees ever benefit from these activities. Share the knowledge gained at these events by capturing the presentations, demos, interviews, commentaries etc. on video.

24. Employee orientation (Popularity: Low  | Growth Potential: Moderate)
Once your new recruits are on board employee orientation videos are a great way to get new staff up to speed. Company history, structure, procedures, policies and codes of behavior can all be communicated effectively with video.

25. Health, Legal & Safety (Popularity: Low  | Growth Potential: Moderate)
The cost of dealing with health and safety related issues within organizations continues to grow. Video is one of the most effective means of minimizing these costs.

Advertising , Marketing  and Promotion

26. Commercials (Popularity: High  | Growth Potential: High)
While advertisers are becoming more selective in how they chose to spend their promotional dollars with broadcast television, other venues for commercials such as online video pre-roll, online sponsorships, in-game advertising, event sponsorships and in-theatre advertising are starting to take the place of broadcast / cable commercials. A proliferation of video screens cropping up on every building, device and structure will create an even more diverse set of advertising opportunities. The challenge will be to create specialized content targeted to ever- shrinking niche audiences.

27. Viral Video (Popularity: High  | Growth Potential: High)
A video is viral if it is so compelling that people want to share it. (Calling a video ‘Viral’ doesn’t make it so). Viral videos have to be extremely engaging, entertaining, shocking or meaningful to be successful. Unfortunately some of the most successful viral videos have little connection (and therefore value) to any brand. Everyone references ‘Will it Blend’ but very few viral videos are remotely this successful in actually driving sales. Viral video is very difficult to do well.

28. Email Video (Popularity: Moderate  | Growth Potential: High)
Testing has shown that open rates can double if you include video in your email marketing activities. To be effective the video should be purpose-built to elicit a specific conversion activity such as requesting a demo, more info, etc. E-mail is seeing a resurgence with marketers and embedded video in emails (like gmail supports) or links to video in email is becoming very popular.

29. Infomercials (Popularity: High  | Growth Potential: Moderate)
Infomercials have been around forever. While they continue to be the primary focus of web-based parody videos they have remained remarkably resilient over time. The shopping channel is, in effect, a 24 hour infomercial. If done well, Infomercials can be very effective at selling certain consumer products.

30.  Content Marketing (Popularity: Low  | Growth Potential: Huge)
This is a broad category that will become very important over the next months and years. Much of the content (video or otherwise) being created today by companies is focused on selling and focused on the brand. Focusing on solving your customers problems first and then associating your brand with those solutions will be increasingly more important and effective. (i.e. Home Depot has developed branded ‘how-to’ series that sits on their website and shows their customers how-to fix various things around the house. ) What knowledge do you have that can help your customers and prospects. People don’t go to your website to see your sales pitch. They go to see if you can solve their problem.

31. Landing pages and micro sites (Popularity: Moderate  | Growth Potential: High)
Video is beginning to replace or supplement text and graphics as a content element on many corporate websites. Landing pages can offer a more compelling call to action with video. Some micro sites on larger web properties are self contained, purpose-built conversion machines that have the singular purpose of generating a conversion activity (sign-up for more info, attend event, order something etc.). Video is becoming an important part of the conversion process.

32. Interactive Video (Popularity: Low  | Growth Potential: High)
The promise of interactive video has been around for years but we’re just starting to see companies build in interactivity into their videos. You can build in calls to action, form fields, multiple scenarios and any number of engaging content that get people to not just passively watch your video but actually gets them to start to interact with your video. Technology will play a huge role in interactive video over the next few years. You can already see the foundations of this with YouTube allowing you to add annotations and links to videos.

33. Branded Entertainment and Sponsored Video (Popularity:Moderate  | Growth Potential:Moderate)
Viral Video in many ways is just branded entertainment. There are many ways companies can benefit from having their names attached to content. In the ’50 the ‘soaps’ were a great way for P&G and other consumer companies to promote their brand. Everyday there is a new format for sponsored video being created for delivery on the web. Many will fail but some will become hugely popular. Associating your brand with the right entertainment and informational content on the web is a very interesting opportunity.

PR Support and Community Relations

34. Video Press Releases (Popularity: Low  | Growth Potential: High)
The standard four paragraph press release is now being supplemented with video and rich media to tell a more engaging story. Video is now being purpose-built to directly support the important company announcements. The new challenge for press releases is to change the focus from the company to the customer.

35.  PR Support Materials (Popularity: Low  | Growth Potential: Moderate)

Make it easy for networks, bloggers, news gathers and others to promote your business and also to talk about your industry. Smart companies are developing video support catalogs of company and industry related materials (b-roll, industry footage, sound bites etc) and offering them to news and business portals. The demand for video is everywhere. If a news agency (online or broadcast) is looking for stock footage to use in a story it might as well be yours. (assuming the story is positive, of course)

36. Community Relations Video (Popularity: Low  | Growth Potential: Moderate)
If your company is out working in the community, being good corporate citizens, helping the environment or contributing to important causes you should be capturing those efforts on video. Show the world what you are doing, don’t just talk about it.

37. Corporate Talk Show / Interviews (Popularity: Low  | Growth Potential: Moderate)
Weekly newsletters require a lot of effort and the ‘open’ rate on most of these is quite low. Companies of all sizes are now starting to develop talk-show format video where a host interviews various people (either internal or external to their company) to discuss things that are important to your audience. Think of it as the long tail of interviews where very specific interviews are being delivered to very specific audiences.

38. EPK (electronic press kit)  (Popularity: Low  | Growth Potential: Moderate)
While EPK’s are still being delivered on DVD, web based video and text are quickly replacing this electronic version of the press kit which became popular in the mid 90′s.

Event Video

39. Event Presentation video (Popularity: Low  | Growth Potential: Moderate)
Events represent a unique confluence of expertise and opportunity – often under-leveraged. Trade Shows, meeting and conferences are usually attended by your top sales people, your corporate executives, industry experts and other influential business people. If you are speaking at an event or someone is referencing your company you should be capturing this valuable content on video.

40. Round table Sessions (Popularity: Low  | Growth Potential: Moderate)
Take the opportunity at an event to corral four to six of your best customers and other industry experts, put them in room and video tape them talking about industry trends, business issues and the future of your industry. This content will be the most valuable content you could ever capture.

41. Q&A Expert sessions. (Popularity: Low  | Growth Potential: Moderate)
There are many opportunities to take specific event participants to the side and take them through informal Q&A sessions on various topics that matter to your customers. This content is valuable lead generation content.

Other Uses of Video

42. Recruitment Videos (Popularity: Low  | Growth Potential: Moderate)
Finding the best employees is the single most important function of any company and yet comparatively small amounts of time and money are allocated to this critical task. Recruitment videos that feature company employees, highlight corporate culture and promote the direction of the company can be very influential.

43. VLOG (Popularity: Moderate  | Growth Potential:Moderate)
There are many levels and types of Vloggers today but for the sake of brevity I will identify two: 1. Pro Vloggers who have engaging styles, rich content and a growing list of followers who promote their vlog on their site and through various syndicated channels and 2. Regular Vloggers who have chosen, for whatever reason, to speak into a camera instead of typing on a keyboard. The problem today is that, unlike onscreen text, you can’t scan a vlog – you have to watch the whole thing to see whether it is worth your time. The other problem is that most people just aren’t that compelling on camera so there is little, to no value of a talking head – and often it’s a distraction. Of course everyone references Gary Vaynerchuck (from Wine Library TV) as the rule (rather than the exception) for video blogging in the same way that everyone references the success of Will It Blend as being what to expect when you launch your first viral video project. For individuals looking to gain notoriety from their passions vlogging can be a good option if you have a good on-camera presence and great content.

44. In Store Video (Popularity: Low  | Growth Potential: High)
Wal-Mart has its own profitable in-store TV network that makes shoppers aware of new promotions. LCD screens are ubiquitous. In store LCD’s will be networked and customizable offering you the ability to promote your own goods and services or make money by promoting other complimentary services.

45. Company Lobby / Waiting Room Video (Popularity: Low  | Growth Potential: Moderate)
HD video screens are popping up everywhere – why not in your lobby or reception where you can get a jump start on first impressions and also take advantage of a captive audience.

46. Mobile Video (Popularity: Low  | Growth Potential: Huge)
Yep, ‘there’s an Ap for that’. Mobile video will soon be the largest video category outside of broadcast. In the short-run, mobile video will consist of hastily re-purposed video made to fit on a mobile device. It will quickly evolve into a much more specific format – i.e.  five to fifteen second hyper targeted messages that are part of geo-located (‘location aware’) and micro-niched promotions. Adding mobility (true context) to video will generate many new uses and formats for video.

47. Market research, focus groups and polling (Popularity: Low  | Growth Potential: Moderate)
Market research firms are now capturing the anecdotal feedback along with the raw statistics of their research. If a picture is worth a thousand words then a video of your customer describing her likes and dislikes of your new product is priceless. Go to YouTube to see how people are describing your products and services.

48. Video White paper (Popularity: Low  | Growth Potential: Low)
Video white papers have evolved over the last years from basically a person reading a white paper on camera (what’s the point) to a professional delivery that is accompanied by charts, graphs and other visual references to make the presentation more valuable.

49. Video Magazine (Popularity: Low  | Growth Potential: Low)
Some video production companies specialize in helping companies deliver serialized video content to their customers. Like the name implies video content is created on a regular basis (usually monthly) that customers and prospects can view through a subscription service. While it makes sense to apply tradition formats to new technology and ideas, not all ideas transfer as elegantly as others.

50. Customer UCG Campaigns (Popularity: Low  | Growth Potential:Moderate)
User Generated Content Campaigns- where customers are encouraged to upload videos showing how they use your products are becoming quite popular. Contests are usually the driver but sometimes just giving customers a forum to express themselves is enough.

51. Behind the Scenes Video (Popularity: Low  | Growth Potential:Low)
Personalize your brand. Open up the cultural veil and let customers and products understand who you are – a group of humans rather than a ‘brand’. Authenticity is important.

Have I left any out? Let me know.


Bonus Applications:

52. Projection Mapping. Like everything else related to video, the costs of projecting video is dropping quickly. As a result you are starting to see innovative applications of projected video. Here are some great examples:

The implications of Yogi Bear’s shocking death


Warner Brothers has to be impressed, very angry and a little nervous, most likely in that order.

Edmund Earle, a recent animation graduate from the Rhode Island School of Design, developed his own ‘alternate ending’ to the current Yogi Bear movie based on the ending of the movie ‘The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.’ Earle’s video is impressive (especially considering he did it himself) and will no doubt help to launch a successful animation career.  Earle refers to the video as a parody hoping to fall into ‘fair use‘ protection and avoid litigation. YouTube, like Hollywood is rife with ‘Parody’, ‘Inspiration’ ,’Homage’ , and people otherwise copying the style, themes or ideas of others.

This issue isn’t new but because the video is so well done, I believe it could start a much larger debate over ‘fair use.’ The simple claim would be that Earle is not directly making money off of a copyrighted brand, it was intended as a ‘parody,’ so – no harm no foul. WB on the other hand could claim harm and they might have a point. This video might also generate a huge amount of buzz for a movie that is still in theaters. (Wouldn’t it be brilliant if WB was actually behind this as a publicity stunt…)

Regardless of the legal issues or what side of the ‘fair use’ argument you happen to fall on, the implications of this video are significant to your company:

1. How much control do you have over your brand?
Is it okay for anyone to do anything they want with your brand, your copyrighted material and your intellectual property as long as they call it a parody? Most industry observers concede that social media is causing companies to lose control of their brands.

2. How should you react when this happens?
The easy and correct answer is – it depends. How much harm was caused? What are the short and long term implications? Will reacting or not reacting cause greater harm in the future? What are the PR implications to how you react? Do you scream like a petulant child or do you embrace (and therefore co-opt) the transgressor?

3. How does this ‘new reality’ affect your business and your brand in the future?
I believe this is the important consideration in this matter – the question all companies should be considering right now.  A few years ago the technology didn’t exist to allow one talented individual to develop and share something like this. Today it does. All bets are off. This is going to happen again and again, in many different ways with many different consequences.  Companies may or may not be protected by the law (just ask the recording industry), so what should you do to anticipate and embrace this change? Do you build this new reality into your future brand and business planning or do you fight kicking and screaming? Should WB start hiring more lawyers or should they be encouraging animators to develop alternate endings to some of their movies – like this one, while they are still in theaters?

Should you be steadfastly protecting your brand or sharing it with the masses?

Is ‘Will it Grill’ effective marketing?

Will this viral video generate revenue? My guess is yes.

Borrowing heavily from the Blentec marketing playbook (see Will it Blend ), the good folks at EZ Grill developed this ‘What Grills Faster?’ viral video to promote their portable/disposable grills.  This video was developed by an agency and there was likely some type of seeding activity to support the video, so while the cost to develop the video was much higher than just the cost of the phones you have to imagine the budget was still relatively low.  At 350,000 YouTube views to date and growing, there are a lot of people out their (myself included) who are now aware of a product they had never heard of, or considered before.

There are also a number of people upset with the blatant waste associated with this promotion – you can sense the palpable anger in some of the YouTube comments.

Why I believe this viral video is noteworthy is that it accomplishes two very important things that most viral videos do not:
1. It makes you clearly aware of the specific product – EZ Grill and,
2.  It highlights one of the key benefits of that product – in this case a portable/disposable grill that obviously throws off a tremendous amount of heat.

Will this viral have the same success as Blendtech’s ‘Will it Blend’? I doubt it.

Will it cost effectively drive awareness of their product and therefore net new sales? …probably.

Have they set themselves up for a series of new virals (like Blendtec did) where they set ablaze any number of interesting items (there’s no end of stuff that people would like to see torched)? Perhaps.

Is this effective marketing? What do you think?

{Note:  EZ Grill is also encouraging customers to send in photos and videos of themselves using the EZ Grill product in exchange for free products. This more ‘tradional’ social media marketing technique is a good engagement technique to supplement the awareness being generated by this viral video}

T-Mobile’s next installment in the “Life’s for sharing” viral video series.

Back in early 2009, T-Mobile developed their hugely successful ‘T-Mobile Dance video in Liverpool station‘ (23 million views on YouTube). Then, three months later they delivered the T-Mobile Sing-a-long at Trafaulgar Square video. (4 millions views). A year and a half  later T-mobile has introduced their most recent video developed to support their ‘Life’s for Sharing’ brand message. With this new entry, T-Mobile has delivered yet another clever video featuring great music in public places that captures both inspired performances by participants as well as great reactions from onlookers.

Creating a hit viral video is like creating a hit record – it’s really tough to do. I’m not sure if T-Mobile will ever be able to repeat the magic of the original T-Mobile Dance video, but any video that captures millions of views, as this one surely will, has to be considered a success. All of these videos are uplifting, fun to watch and very well done. I can’t think of a better way to continue to support the ‘Life’s for Sharing’ brand positioning.

7 things you won’t hear from your video production company (even if you should).

All video production is the same right?

Video production is growing in it’s importance as part of the overall corporate marketing mix. With that growth comes specialization, complexity and a host of issues that many video production customers may or may not be aware of.

Here are 7 things that you wouldn’t want to hear from your video production company:

1. “We don’t have general liability or errors and omissions insurance.”
What could possibly go wrong? One of the crew drives over a customer, they forget to get a permission form signed, they use licensed material that you don’t have a license for, a light falls on someone… etc. Chances are things won’t go wrong, but if they do you had better be working with a company that is well insured. Standard insurance coverage for a video production company is $2,000,000 for errors and omissions and general liability.

2. “We do a bit of everything – websites, PR, SEO, graphic design, print, advertising… and video.”
The market will always support a range of generalists and specialists that service the same business audience. That said, a good rule of thumb is that if the number of services offered by a company is greater than the number of employees you might want to consider getting a second quote.

3. “We don’t really understand the web, or social media, or marketing .”
The vast majority of corporate video today is being delivered either exclusively or predominantly on the web. Creating video for the web is not the same as creating video for broadcast, or for entertainment, or for presentation at an event. Viewing behaviors are very different online. You also have to consider delivery platforms, hosting options,  interactivity,  conversion techniques, social media aspects of your video and many other factors that are unique to the web.

4. “We just do corporate video to pay the bills, we’d much rather be doing television.”
Very few people go into video because they want to help businesses sell more products or services (marketing and sales stuff). Film or television is usually the goal, doing corporate work is just what pays the bills. While there are a number of great companies that do both very well, unless your video production company is working under the direction of an ad agency or marketing firm, or they specialize in marketing video you shouldn’t be surprised if your video is wonderfully irrelevant.

5. “We didn’t really focus on business results per se, but we think this video might win an award.”
Creative work is wonderful if it serves a business objective. If it doesn’t you’ve wasted your money. Very few industry awards consider business results in their selection criteria – which is unfortunate because business results are the only thing that matter.

6. “There will  be many different people working on your video project.”
You met the president of the company and his senior team. Are they all going to be working on your project? Every services organization operates with some form of distributed work model. It’s up to you as a client to ensure you get the best people working directly on your video project. If you’re not sure, ask.

7. “We’ve been using the same equipment for the last five years.
Considering that video technology (hardware, software, delivery systems) is changing literally every month it’s hard to imagine any company not taking advantage of so many cost saving and output quality advances in video production.

Video in email just got easy.

The “show me, don’t tell me” world of video is moving to email.

While many companies are already offering video email ‘platforms’ and Apple is promising video in email support for the new iPad, Google is the first company to make it simple (elegant will come some time in the future) and free. If you are a gmail user, when you place a YouTube link (the url, not the embed code) in your email,  gmail plays the video directly in the email (under the message). It’s not perfect and it only applies to gmail/YouTube users at this point but it’s a start and like Google’s constant upgrading of YouTube, you know this service will just get better over time.

Some of the reasons marketers and businesses should find this exciting:

1. It’s really easy to do (if you use gmail and YouTube).
2. You don’t have to worry about file compatibility, spam filters and technical issues around displaying video in your email.
3. Viewing rates will increase as more people are inclined to click on a video if they don’t have to go to a new page to view it.
4. New built-in interactivity in YouTube will allow you to do even more with videos contained in an email.
5. Email is still the principle web-based business communication tool. This is just another way to get your message out rather than relying on people coming to your website.

And the main reason some businesses won’t like this new capability – even more crap in your inbox.