October 16, 2013
As bandwidth increases and video production methods become more efficient, businesses are using video as a primary method of communicating with their customers and prospects. Video is 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:
Advertising, Marketing and Promotion:
1. TV Commercials
TV commercials are still the best marketing investment. TV's ROI has increased by 22% in the last five years and is 2.5 times more effective at creating sales uplift per equivalent exposure than the next best performing medium (print advertising). Humans make decisions based on emotions, and the ability of TV to form deep, long-held emotional brand associations is one of its unique benefits.
2. Environmental advertising
Video billboards, video screens on buildings and structures create an even more diverse set of advertising opportunities.
3. Online commercials
Mobile devices, tablets, and social media provide a platform for content targeted to ever- shrinking niche audiences. But don't rely on online advertising—studies show that college-age people are more likely to skip over or tune out an online ad. TV is still the best way to reach customers.
4. Email Video
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 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 are popular.
Infomercials or paid programming have been around almost as long as television. 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 consumer products.
6. Content Marketing
Focusing on solving your customer's problems first and then associating your brand with those solutions is becoming increasingly more important and effective. For example, Home Depot has developed a branded how-to video series that shows their customers how-to do various projects 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.
7. Landing pages and micro sites
Video is replacing supplement text and graphics as a content element on 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 online, etc.) Video is an important part of the conversion process.
8. Interactive Video
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 interact with your video. You can already see this with YouTube allowing you to add annotations and links to videos.
9. Branded Entertainment and Sponsored Video
There are many ways companies can benefit from having their names attached to content. In the 1950s 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. Associating your brand with the right entertainment and informational content on the web is an interesting opportunity.
10. Viral Video
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 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. But done right, a viral video can create a lot of buzz in a short amount of time for your brand.
PR Support and Community Relations:
11. Video Press Releases
The standard four paragraph press release is now being supplemented with video to tell a more engaging story. Video is being purpose-built to directly support important company announcements.
12. PR Support Materials
Make it easy for networks, bloggers and others to promote your business and 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)
13. Community Relations Video
If your company is working in the community and being good corporate citizens, you should be capturing those efforts on video. Show the world what you are doing, don't just talk about it.
14. Corporate Interviews / Video Newsletters
Weekly newsletters require a lot of effort and the open rate on most of these is quite low. Companies of all sizes are developing talk-show format videos where people are interviewed (either internal or external to their company) to discuss things that are important to your audience.
15. EPK (electronic press kit)
Web based video and text are quickly replacing the DVD version of the press kit which became popular in the mid 90's.
16. Event/Convention videos
Video is the best way to convey emotion. Trade Shows, meetings and conferences are usually attended by top sales people, executives, industry experts and other influential business people. Pre-produced videos help you to better control the message and engages the audience more than a parade of speeches behind a podium. Video from a live event can also be shared with employees that were not able to attend, extending the usefulness of the event.
17. Round table Sessions
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 valuable content that can be leveraged in a number of ways.
18. Q&A Expert sessions.
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
19. Recruitment Videos
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.
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. 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.
21. In Store Video
LCD screens are popping up in retailers everywhere. In-store LCD's can be networked and customized giving you the ability to promote your own goods and services, demonstrate a product or make money by promoting other complimentary services.
22. Company Lobby / Waiting Room Video
Your lobby or reception provides an opportunity to manage the first impression of your business to a captive audience. It's a chance to educate, promote and inform your customers.
23. Mobile Video
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.
24. Market research, focus groups and polling
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.
25. Video White paper
Video white papers have evolved over the last few years from basically a person reading a white paper on camera to a professional delivery that is accompanied by charts, graphs and other visual references to make the presentation more valuable.
26. Video Magazine
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.
27. Customer UCG Campaigns
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.
28. Behind the Scenes Video
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.
Customer Reference Videos
29. Customer Testimonials
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.
30. Success Stories
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.
31. Video Case Study
A video case study combines customer testimonials with more a more in-depth explanation of how your companys 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.
32. Man-on-the-street Interviews
These videos 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…
33. Customer Presentations.
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
34. Product Presentations
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.
35. Product Demonstrations
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 process. 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 buyers of larger ticket items who may be further along the sales process.
36. Product Reviews
The best product reviews are trusted third party reviews. Video reviews can be found anywhere from YouTube to various business portals. Positive reviews that and promote your brand can be very effective.
37. Visual Stories
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 usually between one and three minutes in length.
38. Corporate Overview
These videos are the video equivalent of the company brochure, and are intended to give new visitors to a website a better idea of the company. Corporate overview videos typically include 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 these videos being replaced by multiple, more targeted videos.
39. Executive Presentations
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.
40. Staff Presentations
Social media and other web 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.
41. Corporate facilities or equipment tour
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 changed 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.
42. Annual Report / Review
Public companies are legally obliged to create annual and quarterly reviews. 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.
43. Video Signature and Video Introduction
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 you are.
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.
45. Overnight expert videos
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.
46. How-to Videos
Contextual training videos are becoming very popular on the web. How-to videos, video manuals, on-site video reference, and quick assembly demos are being used to supplement or replace traditional training.
47. Post sale support and maintenance videos
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.
48. Website FAQ Video
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 FAQs answered by a company expert is an example.
49. Live, two-way video
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.
50. Internal Communications
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.
51. Event/Conference and Trade Show Communications.
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.
52. Employee orientation
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.
53. Health, Legal & Safety
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, and if done well, can have a long shelf life.