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.

 

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

Note: This post is also found in the Top Ten Posts for this blog.