Video Marketing – Why Every Business Must Now Be in The Movie Business
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. From Snake Oil to YouTube: The Power of the Personal Pitch
- Make It Personal
- In-Person to Online
- But Wait! There's More!
- YouTube Democracy: Free But Not Easy
2. Viral Video: Powerful Marketing for Pennies a View
- Social Media: Electronic Word-of-Mouth
- Secrets to Viral Video Marketing
3. Marketing in Moving Pictures: How to Use Video Marketing
4. Is Video Marketing Right for You?
5. Movie Making for Video Marketing: What You Need to Know Before You Start
- 5 Questions/5 Answers - Save Money, Save Face
- Budget: What's a Must
- Script: Framework for Success
- How Long: Teaser or Epic
- Images on a Budget: Photography and Stock
- Production Value: Polished or Plain - and Why
- Music: Necessary or Nuisance
- DIY v Production Company
- Buy One - Get Three "Free"
6. Big Screen, Small Screen - In Between
- Digital Video Screens
- Digital Video Billboards
- Cable/Internet TV
7. Video Marketing: Capturing Point of View
8. Resources and Guidelines
- Hiring a Production Company
From Snake Oil to YouTube:
The Power of the Personal Pitch
"It's a degreaser. It's a window cleaner. It kills athlete's foot. Oh, and you can drink it."1 Sounds like a snake oil salesman's claim from a Wild West traveling medicine show. It's not. But, like the days of old, it hooks you with intriguing, outrageously provocative and irresistible claims.
The original "live" infomercial, the medicine show mixed a little musical and comedic entertainment with hyperbolic demonstrations of, and testimonials for, miracle elixirs to cure a variety of ailments. Admission to the show was free, so performers made their money selling the cure-alls.
And it still works, today. Direct-selling on television, via infomercials and shopping channels, generates billions - and YouTube exposure worldwide is in the millions. Communications technologies are dynamic and mobile - people seek moving images instead of static ones - making video marketing an indispensable modern sales tool.
That degreaser, window cleaner, athlete's foot cure: a mixture of table salt and tap water whose ions have been mixed up by an electric current - powerful enough to kill anthrax spores without hurting people, according to the research. In a demonstration to the hospitality industry for an effective, non-toxic cleaning alternative, the salesman took a swig of the treated water before mopping the floor with it.
Make it Personal
The formula is simple: a unique, easy-to-demonstrate product, an engaging pitch, and a high-visibility venue. It generated a weekly cash income, double the average monthly income in the 1950's, for an enterprising young man selling kitchen gadgets in front of Woolworth's. Face-to-face with customers, he learned what they liked - and didn't - about his products, so he could sell more effectively.
Using what he learned on the street, he paved the way to immense wealth for himself - and others - using an innovative technology to reach a wider audience, the video marketing precursor: television. 3.
Ron Popeil, one of television's most memorable pitch men, developed and refined his sales technique on Chicago city sidewalks and at county fairs in his teens. At the age of 21, Popeil made his selling debut in the intriguing new medium of television.
TV sales of his father's invention - Chop-O-Matic - had the company scrambling to keep up with demand. But, it was as the in-person pitch man for the Veg-O-Matic, sold on television in the 1960's, that he became famous - and rich. Over the last 40 years, Popeil has single-handedly retailed almost $1 billion worth of product. Currently, the Showtime Rotisserie and BBQ - which he invented - is selling in the thousands every week.
In-Person to Online
Popeil's time-tested formula has been making millions for others, too. From the 20-second spot, to 60-minute infomercials, to 24-hour shopping channels, direct sales marketing is big business. But not by itself.
While more ad dollars are going to Direct Marketing TV (DRTV), instead of traditional TV2, "as many as a third of DRTV product sales happen online, not through the 800 number."3
But Wait! There's More!
The new medium capturing television viewers: the internet. Thanks to broadband, the quality of the internet's free, "on-demand" entertainment - including television and original programming, music and gaming - provides options that suit a viewer's schedule and interests.
According to IDC, a subsidiary of IDG, the largest technology media company in the world, people spend twice as much time surfing the web as watching TV. That means over 250 million in America and over 1.7 billion worldwide.3
In a medium that is still virtually "free" - capturing the attention of just 1/100th of American internet viewers via video marketing could mean exposure to over a quarter of a million potential customers - for a fraction of the cost of traditional media or DRTV.
YouTube Democracy: Free But Not Easy
A billion visitors to the largest online video community in the world watch hundreds of millions of videos, and upload hundreds of thousands of videos every day - and it's all free. Eye-popping potential - but the challenge is: how do you get your video marketing seen?
Marrying the success model of the personal sale with the anytime-accessibility and reach of the internet makes video marketing an important, cost-effective, strategic tool - worth the investment of learning to use well.
Viral Video: Powerful Marketing for Pennies a View
"Can viral video clips drive traffic?"5 That's what MarketingExperimentsTM, a research laboratory in Jacksonville Beach, FL - whose mission is to find out what really works in optimization - wanted to know.
Here's what they did:
- Created a series of amateur videos, from 15 seconds to 8 minutes long, which any individual could shoot and edit himself.
- Made the videos humorous, without a sales pitch and, when possible, provided a link on the video back to the website.
- Posted them via YouTube and Google Video to the categories
- Personal Blogs
- Ran videos in August/September 2007 and counted views, click-throughs to site and sign-up.
The result: In 60 days the videos had 324,000 views and 1.49% conversion rate at no cost.
AUGUST SEPTEMBER 60 DAYS
Views 88,589 235,601 324,000
Click-Throughs to Site 732 3,430 4,162
Click-Through Rate .88% 1.46% 1.28%
Conversion Rate 1.49%
A projected rate of views for October was 382,444, with no additional effort or cost.
In the context of the cost to achieve the same results with Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising, the cost would have been about $20 per subscriber.
60 DAYS VIDEO PPC HYPOTHETICAL
Views 324,000 324,000
Click-Throughs 4,162 4,162
Estimated Cost NA .30
Click-Through Rate 1.28% 1.28%
Conversion Rate 1.49% 1.49%
Advertising Cost $0 $1,248.60
Cost Per Subscriber $0
Viral video marketing can deliver a huge audience cheaply, instantly and residually. Large advertisers like Coca-Cola, T-Mobile, and Nike love it. They can afford to stage costly productions, because getting the message out costs nothing.
BUT - just because you produce a video - even good video marketing - doesn't guarantee it will go viral. The biggest "cost" of viral video marketing is not in dollars and cents to make it available to viewers - it's in time spent working to get it seen: know how, connections and hard work.
Social Media Optimization: Electronic Word-of-Mouth
Ever notice how the juiciest rumors spread the fastest? Likewise, electronic gossip travels around the world instantaneously via blogs and forums, on Facebook and MySpace pages, in emails and Twitter. That's the world wide wave that helps take video marketing viral.
It's the cyber-schmooze: initiate dialogue, invite interaction, make your video easy to find and share among targeted online social networks by adding links to your video site, to look something like this:
Add to: YouTube | blinklist | del.cio.us | digg | yahoo! | furl
You want prompt, proper placement - where it will catch on fast - to propel your video onto YouTube's Most Viewed Page. There, you have a chance of capturing 1/20th of the clicks on that page. (remember, YouTube gets 1 billion visitors a day)
Secrets to Viral Video Marketing
Once you've made it onto YouTube's Most Viewed Page - how do you get visitors to click on your video to keep up the count - and defend your position?
- Catchy Title - make it sensational, exclusive and relevant; change the title every couple of days to keep it fresh and interesting for returning visitors
- Provocative Thumbnail - use alluring images in your video. YouTube gives three choices for thumbnails, one of which is always taken from the middle of the video (keep that in mind when editing); thumbnails with people or faces draw attention; again, stay fresh in viewer's eye by changing the images frequently
- Controversial Commentary - give them drama. Create a comments dialogue, a little verbal sparring, that makes viewers curious to watch the video to find out what all the fuss is about ... and, hopefully, make their own contributions to the debate
Launching a viral video marketing effort doesn't happen naturally - it's engineered. There are companies who specialize in making video marketing go viral. However, anyone who takes the time to understand how social networks and social media technologies function can make a well-executed video marketing campaign accomplish a lot on a relatively small budget.
Marketing in Moving Pictures:
How to Use Video Marketing
Not all video marketing is meant to be viral. If one picture speaks a thousand words, then moving pictures convey volumes. People want to see moving pictures. Google, always ahead of the curve, recognized that - and bought one-year-old, not-yet-profitable YouTube for $1.65 billion dollars. It is now the leader in online video.
Give them what they want. With one billion viewers seeking out videos online everyday - video marketing makes sense. In video, you can personalize, entertain and demonstrate your product and services in ways that cannot be achieved in print alone (Some people would rather be "read to" than read, and this expands opportunities to appeal to non-readers.).
Remember kids saying, "take a picture, it lasts longer"? - that's what video marketing is all about. Marketing messages especially well-suited to video include:
Before-and-after is the most effective video marketing demonstration. Side-by-side images yield visible "proof" that a product really works, and make compelling advertising. Cosmetics, skin care, beauty and cleaning supplies have sold millions of units using this technique. It's why being "demonstrable" is required for infomercial products, and an important feature of shopping channel presentations.
Easy-to-use is another demonstration technique that works well in video marketing. No more drudgery, hauling floor cleaning appliances on stairs or around furniture. Lightweight, powerful new appliances show how you can do better, faster cleaning - without breaking a sweat. Same goes for pet grooming: trimming their nails, combing thick coats; or people grooming: smoothing feet, getting rid of toxins. Show and tell delivers a powerful video marketing message.
Never-before-seen products or technologies are best introduced in audio/video presentations. These can be "how-to" video marketing tools, with step-by-step instructions and images that make a concept easy to grasp. Fitness machines, workouts and diet programs are explained through staged talk show formats, man-on-the-street product testing and testimonials, or groups of students in a class setting. Question-and-answer exchanges between show host and guests, or teacher and student, reveal the product's features and benefits in a soft-sell format.
Possibly the best video marketing tool is the testimonial. Couple it with before-and-after photos, when possible, and the result is almost irresistible. A series of satisfied customers, enthusiastically sharing how your goods or services solved a problem for them, makes compelling pick-up-the-phone-and-call advertising. Dramatic, life-changing results affecting health and well-being are especially effective narratives.
Entertainment is the supreme realm of viral video marketing. Typically, there is no marketing message within the video itself - only a brand-identifying tag at the end, with a link to a company website.
T-Mobile - the fourth place mobile communications provider in the UK (and outspent by the top 3 competitors: 02, Vodaphone, Orange) - demonstrated the power of viral video marketing to gain worldwide attention, on a relatively small budget, in January 2009.
On a busy weekday in London's Liverpool Street station, three hundred dancers broke out into a choreographed performance. The surprised reactions of the public - with some joining in to dance - were filmed, perfectly capturing the essence of the T-Mobile tag line: "Life's for sharing."
Within one week, the two-and-a-half minute film generated 7 million views on YouTube, with 11,500 people giving it an average rating of 5 stars. In a David & Goliath triumph, compared to the last ad released by brand leader 02, which got 14,000 views, T-Mobile's video marketing effort generated 500% more views.7
Nine months later, it had garnered a total of almost 19.5 million views, 3980 blog posts, 18,433 comments, 980 tweets - and 6 more videos were produced in different public venues.8
Whether it's a Ron Popeil/Billy Mays-type spokesperson or celebrity endorser, a video marketing campaign built on a personality, to present and promote your product, can win customer trust. Via personal charisma or professional credibility - this video marketing approach engages your audience in a kind of dialogue with the spokesperson, who is talking directly to your customer: including and encouraging them to discover the benefits of your product - just like the spokesperson already has.
Can't afford a movie star, celebrity stylist or Oprah? Look for local, high-profile personalities (newscaster, socialite, popular leader) or someone within your company who embodies the character and qualities you want to project in your video marketing message. Make sure they are comfortable on camera and in the public eye; credible, enthusiastic and likable.
Perhaps the least glamorous, yet the most functional, use of video marketing is the training tool. Used as an audio/visual User's Manual, a video shows how to accomplish complex processes, assemblies, repairs, and how to find specific parts of a machine. Available online 24/7, it is easy to update and it eliminates the expense of printed instructions and manuals.
Training remote and telecommuting staff, with 24/7 online access, removes time zone restrictions, eliminates travel and associated expenses, and reduces labor costs paid to trainers conducting multiple trainings - while providing complete, consistent and standardized instruction. Again, there is no printing expense.
Is Video Marketing Right for You?
In light of new media trends and technologies, video marketing makes sense for a lot of businesses. Affordable, dynamic, interesting - and relatively new - video marketing is a trend that may become a must-have marketing standard. Are you ready?
You could benefit from video marketing if:
- You can demonstrate your product's benefits:
- How it works
- How it's different
- How it's better
- You have customer testimonials - especially with
- Before-and-after images
- Dramatic results
- Moving, life-changing stories
- You want to personalize your marketing message
- Feature a celebrity spokesperson
- Feature a company owner or spokesperson
- Your product or service is entertaining - or you can show different ways to use it
- Decorating ideas
- Craft demonstrations
- In-the-field applications
- You can simplify instructions or parts identification with a demonstration
- User's manual assembly or troubleshooting
- Remote personnel training
- You want to make your website
- More interesting to attract potential and existing customers
- Rank higher on browser searches filtering for video
- You want to expand brand awareness via
- New digital video marketing media: advertising screens and billboards
- Viral video campaigns
- Cable or internet TV advertising
Movie Making for Video Marketing: What You Need to Know Before You Start
How hard can it be? Today's video cameras are engineered with auto irises, zoom features and pretty good optics, to produce nice images for amateurs with simple point-and-click skills. True. That's great for capturing memories - baby's first step, 50th anniversary, surprise birthday - but not necessarily for video marketing.
Video production is a complex process. You're dealing with moving pictures, audio (scripted voice talent, music, sound effects), a narrative message with a beginning-middle-end, maybe graphics. Are you familiar with continuity, time coding, lighting, microphones, color balancing? If not, you'll need a professional who does.
The better you plan, the fewer mistakes you make, the more money you save.
5 Questions/5 Answers - Save Money, Save Face
Whether you're using a professional production company or renting equipment to shoot your own video, the most expensive part of shooting a video marketing piece is the assembly of hired labor and equipment. Imagine you've got a 3-man crew, an actor, lights, camera and sound at a combined cost of $1,000 per hour. You'll want to work efficiently and quickly, and that means being prepared: preproduction is the key to a well-executed video marketing campaign. Expect the unexpected - that's why you'll have a "contingency" line item in your budget. Make a check list, starting with the basics:
- Who. Who is the audience for this video? Think about basic demographics: gender, age, education, lifestyle, income. Be very specific. To whom are you targeting your video marketing - it will influence the language you use, the actors you cast, the location you choose. Is it for prospective customers, existing customers, sales reps, staff? Knowing to whom you are communicating gives shape and tone to your message.
- What. What will you tell your audience about your goods, services, company? Video is a visual medium - if you can't convey your message in pictures (supported by audio and graphics), then choose another medium - or another message.
- When. When is your video marketing message relevant - a project which is "time-sensitive" (e.g., a holiday promotion or event) makes lead time for media purchases and production critical: does it require a year's advance notice or is two weeks enough? Scheduling early will protect your investment.
- Where. Where will your video marketing be seen - television, home computer, digital billboards? Knowing the delivery medium is vital to understanding technical requirements: for production and the final piece. A low-resolution video that plays all right on YouTube is useless for cable television. A costly special effect is wasted when viewed via a slow speed internet signal. Knowing where you will display your video marketing - now and in the future - helps you make cost-effective choices before the cameras start rolling.
- Why. Why video marketing - why not print advertising? Is your product or service better understood when it's seen in action, rather than talked about? Are your customers mobile, on-the-go types who may not sit still long enough to read? Know why you are choosing video to know how to make the best use of it.
- How. In "How to Use Video Marketing", above, you learned different approaches to presenting your marketing message. Will you demonstrate, entertain or offer testimonials?
Take the time to answer these questions for yourself. Knowing what you want from your video marketing project will help focus on realistic expectations. If you decide to hire a production company, you will already be prepared to provide the information they'll need to give you an accurate estimate of the costs.
Budget: What's a Must
What's it going to cost? There are two ways to approach the budget issue:
1) Spend what you have - know how much can you afford to spend
2) Spend what it takes - know what you want to do, then learn the cost
Spend What You Have
What you can - or are willing to - spend on your video marketing, determines what you can - and cannot - do. A video can be cheap (and look it), affordable, or breathtakingly expensive. Like Goldilocks, stumbling upon the Three Bears' belongings, you'll want to find out what's "just right" for you. This manuscript is written for the absolute beginner, so let's start with budget basics: what will be in every video budget.
A no-frills video budget should always include:
Equipment & Labor
- Video camera & video tape
- Audio - cheapest solution is the microphone in the video camera
- Camera operator
Equipment & Labor
- Editing suite or software
As you can see, all it takes is a video camera with a built-in microphone to capture image and sound. Unless you shoot in sequence, you will need a way to edit - you can rent equipment, buy software, or hire someone who has the skills and equipment you lack. Much of what you see on YouTube is shot and produced this way. Is this how you want to present your company, goods and services?
Spend What It Takes
Video production is involved. An experienced video marketing producer can make the most of a modest budget, working with his proven team and reliable equipment. A professional looking video can be very affordable, so request bids from local production companies to get a realistic range of costs for your project.
All the details, like permits and releases, should be included. Be sure to look for that in your contract or ask to have it included. A package typically includes script, crew, equipment and editing. What you "save" on a production package, you can now spend on "frills" - the extras that give your video marketing message oomph.
- Professional Scriptwriter - make your video marketing investment meaningful: start with a good script - it's worth it
- Talent - the script may call for actors or voice over talent to give your production a polished, credible look. This means a casting session. Non-union talent may negotiate fees by hourly or day rates. If they're still building a portfolio of work, you can offer a copy of the final video as part of their compensation. Union talent - like all union labor - has set fees and expectations. Be sure to get a signed release, if you're attempting to produce your video marketing in-house.
- Location - indoors/outdoors, private/public space. Where you shoot your video influences other decisions and possible expenses to consider.
- Indoors - you'll need lighting, attention to acoustics in the space
- Outdoors - what's the weather forecast, extension cords and access to electrical power, possibly fill lights, noise control
- Private/Public - permission to shoot, signed releases from passers-by whose face may be on your video, signed releases from owners if their storefronts are shown
Camera, audio, lighting, power supplies/cords, transportation, videotape, props, set pieces
Camera operator, audio technician, lighting technician, grips (helpers); actors
Regardless of the budget, you have to start with a message: a story to tell in moving pictures. You need a script.
Script: Framework for Success
At first glance, the final script looks deceptively simple. A minute-long script averages about 120 words. Some scripts may have no words at all - except, perhaps, a tag line at the end. Mostly, the video script relies on a sequence of images.
Unless you are confident in writing for moving pictures, it is recommended you hire a professional to prepare a script. Either way, you will need to provide answers to the five questions, above, and an approach: to entertain, to demonstrate, to train, or a combination. A viral video takes a distinctly different tack than a straightforward video marketing approach. Know which direction you are going.
A new study by Dynamic Logic, a Web market research firm, offers some guidelines for creating effective online ads9, to factor into your script.
- Make every frame count - even as a standalone - to deliver the brand's image and benefits. It has to work in the blink of an eye - that's all the time you may get.
- Cut to the chase - don't be too clever or coy: show your product at the beginning of your video. Capture "your" audience immediately, by showing them something that interests them. If they don't know what you're selling from the start, you may lose their attention completely. The only time a "delayed reveal" can work, is if your video is entertaining enough to keep a viewer engaged until the end.
- Say it simply - limit your video marketing message to two ideas - tops. If you've got more to say, produce a series of videos. If you do it right, viewers will look forward to every one.
- Show people - appeal to the voyeur in viewers - people are people-watchers; include people images.
How Long: Teaser or Epic
Budget and placement will help you answer the question of how long to make your video. The longer it is, the more it costs - both in production and air time. Television advertising is sold in 10-, 15-, 30- and 60-second increments - unless you are doing a mini infomercial. What you can afford, can dictate how long your video will be.
Quick & Easy
Video marketing displayed on the internet - either on a company website, YouTube or email - is best kept under two minutes ... unless the content is very engaging. While you're not paying for air time (in this scenario), what you paid to produce your video marketing is wasted - unless your video is viewed all the way through, by a lot of people. Most people will give you a minute of their time, so give them something worth watching.
Train Without Travel
Training videos are a smart, cost-effective way to teach a remote sales staff how to demonstrate and sell your products. This is especially useful for independent consultants in network - or multilevel marketing - sales. Even though your audience wants - and needs - the information, make your video concise (one to two topics) and under five minutes.
The epic form of video marketing is the infomercial, typically 30-60 minutes long, and extremely costly to produce. The formula often includes a celebrity host, "live" demonstrations, and scientific or market statistics. Companies specializing in this form of video marketing, already have a sophisticated team of writers, researchers, producers and media outlets to create an infomercial video marketing campaign. They accept submissions from manufacturers who want to sell their products in a venue that can sell millions of units - if the price is right.
Images on a Budget: Flash Animation and Stock
Movement without moving pictures - that's what flash animation offers when your video marketing budget can't cover the cost of a video production crew. Flash animation applies camera moves - zoom in, zoom out, pan right or left - to a still photograph, to give a sense of movement.
Integrate flash animation with video footage to stretch a video marketing budget. Need an exterior shot of your storefront - but you're making your video in the dead of winter? Get out the still photograph you took of your building exterior last May (when you put in new landscaping), apply a little flash animation, and voila!
Can't afford a video crew, models or custom professional photography? Invest in a good script, well-chosen royalty-free stock photography, flash/graphic artist, and an excellent editor to assemble a video marketing piece for your website or email distribution.
Production Value: Polished or Plain - and Why
Dress up or dress down? Production value refers to the quality of the details that contribute to your video marketing piece's finished look. It is revealed by choices in lighting, voice-over talent, sound quality, composition, scripting, editing, graphics.
Naturally, businesses prefer to present themselves with the professional polish that gets them taken seriously. Good production values need not be extravagant or necessarily costly. Experienced technicians and solid preproduction planning are key factors to producing a well-executed video - on time and on budget.
Sometimes stark simplicity makes more sense than a full blown production. A short, personal communication, regularly updated, can be effective and practical with minimal production. It can be a weekly, sixty-second motivational thought by the company president, or a daily Tip-of-the-Day by a spokesperson. The focus, then, is on the person speaking directly to the viewer with a useful piece of information - no selling. It's a one-camera shot, a short message, and a personal delivery.
Music: Necessary or Nuisance
What do you hear when you think of music for "Star Wars", "Jaws", "The Godfather", "The Big Chill". What comes to mind musically for California raisins or Burger King? A video soundtrack sets a mood, targets a demographic, and creates an emotional association with your message. It is powerful when properly used, and highly recommended.
Using popular published music requires a licensing fee, determined by how much and where it is used. Producers often own a "needle drop" library - royalty-free music they make available to you as part of a production package - with different music styles, tempos and instruments to suit a variety of moods. Or, if you are musical or know someone who is - you can personalize your video soundtrack - fee free.
If you can't find suitable music - do without.
Do It Yourself vs. Production Company
Doing it yourself is not necessarily cheaper than hiring a professional. Ask any plumber who's been called out to "rescue" a homeowner from his weekend DIY fix-it disaster. Mathematically, buying a $50 part and installing it yourself looks like a savings - compared to the plumber's $200 estimate - until you strip the threads, drill into a pipe, or find out too late that wasn't the problem, after all. Now you've lost your weekend, your patience and use of your plumbing. The cost to repair your mistakes: $500.
But some DIY'ers aren't trying to save money: they like noodling around the house and learning how to fix things. A mistake represents an increased challenge, and eventually they do figure it out. It might cost more now, but it pays off for them in the long run.
When it comes to video marketing, which is right for you? The chart, below, addresses some simple things to take into account:
DIY PRODUCTION CO.
1. You have a deadline x
2. You have a budget x x
3. You're making only one video x
4. You're not interested in "getting into" video x
Video Marketing: Maybe
Everyone says you should do it - video marketing, that is. You're open to the idea, and somewhat skeptical, but you're willing to give it a try. If your video will be placed in paid media, or you need it for a time-sensitive (or holiday) promotion, it's best to hire experienced help. If you're paying for air time, you can't afford to miss your deadline or err on technicalities that render your piece useless.
Video Marketing: Definitely
You've seen it work and you're ready to try something new. While you're enthusiastic about video marketing, you have no idea where or how to start. You want someone to help you, guide you, and make a video. Start by hiring experienced help. They've done it before, so you'll learn the process start-to-finish.
A couple of things can happen: 1) you find you like the results, and are glad someone else knows what they're doing, so you can rely on them to produce your videos, while you concentrate on your business, or 2) you really like the results, see the potential in making video marketing the cornerstone of your marketing strategy, and consider "doing it yourself".
Video Marketing: DIY Considerations
Video equipment is not cheap. Producing your own quality videos requires an investment in other equipment: lighting, audio, editing software - and knowledgeable operators. It can make sense to create an in-house production office if:
- Money is no object - if your company can afford the investment without hardship, and you will be generating a lot of video marketing materials - training, instructional manual, and promotional series videos
- You have good, stable talent - you have a family member or someone who comes highly recommended, that you trust to build the department, including writers/producers, able technicians and managers
- You have short lead times - if you're using videos associated with product development or processes that require quick turnaround, you will need reliable, responsive services. Using an outside vendor puts you at risk for needing something when their schedule is already booked.
Perhaps you will be generating a lot of video marketing materials, but you have neither the resources nor the manpower to support an in-house production facility - talk to production companies to contract their time and facilities for x-number of hours a year. This can yield preferential pricing and scheduling priority, plus the perks of a consistent look and quality to your video marketing campaign.
Buy One - Get Three "Free"
Pay for the first business card, get the next 999 free. In the printing industry, the primary cost of a job is set-up. It is also valid for video production. If you already have a crew, equipment, and talent assembled on location - depending on how well you have scripted and planned your video marketing campaign - you could shoot multiple videos in one production package.
Maybe, at this time, you can only afford a 15-second cable TV ad. If you can afford to spend a little more now on production, plan to shoot the extra footage needed to make a 30- and 60-second version, which you can use later - when your video marketing campaign is generating more business. Meanwhile, you can post the longer version on your website, where you're not paying for media time.
Shooting extra footage is an economical way to get material to remix several versions of your marketing message. The key to making the most of your budget: solid preproduction planning based on a series of well thought-out scripts.
Big Screen, Small Screen - In Between
According to a 2007 Dynamic Logic study, "television, magazines and online work best when used together", with television and online driving brand awareness and magazines contributing to brand favorability and purchase intent.10
Video marketing placement can be free or paid, accessible at home (computer and television) or in public (digital display screens and billboards). Here is a mix of opportunities for every budget.
Website - FREE
Naturally, your website should be home to all your video marketing. But there's a bonus to having video on your site: soon, video will factor into search engine results pages (Google has already begun), ranking your website higher in a search results.11 Get ahead of your competition - post your web video sooner, rank higher.
YouTube - FREE
YouTube represents an opportunity to be "found". If you're not attempting a viral video marketing campaign, try smart tags or captions to attract viewers and - hopefully - get them to your site.
Digital Video Screens - PAID
They're everywhere - malls, waiting rooms, delis, sports bars, gyms - and spreading. High foot-traffic venues are sprouting flat screen displays with a series of 10-15 second digital video marketing messages, alongside information of general interest (news-traffic-weather) or relevant to the location (health tips in doctor's waiting room; daily specials in restaurants; gift ideas in retail stores).
To be non-intrusive, typically these are flash messages without audio - and practically irresistible to a viewer in waiting or browsing mode. Ideal for point-of-sale advertising, brand-building exposure, geographic targeting, and tight budgets, a single-location placement - with 10,000+ monthly visitors - can cost as little as $60 month.
Digital Video Billboards - PAID
Targeting a younger, more affluent demographic for brand awareness - an emerging venue for video marketing is the digital billboard. Giant LCD screens display a 6-10 second message, in rotation with 6-10 other advertisers. Because it is still relatively new - there are about 900 across the U.S., with a projected addition of about 200 each year - costs are higher than traditional billboards. But, keep an eye on this video marketing opportunity - here's why:
- Lower Production Costs - compared with pricey printing on vinyl at $1.50-$2.00 per square foot, the only production cost for video billboards is design, layout and PhotoShop. Some outdoor companies offer the service for free.
- Dynamic Placement - schedule ads to appear during certain time slots or rotate different messages; if something's not working, it's quick and easy to replace.
- Immediacy - capitalize on sudden changes: sold out a concert and adding a late-night show? Create an ad, email it to the outdoor company, and get it on the schedule to run immediately.
Cable/Internet TV - PAID
Less costly than traditional network television advertising, cable and internet TV video marketing is - more importantly - cost effective for local and web-based advertisers. Cable advertising is geographically segmented, so a regional retailer or service provider can buy viewership specifically targeted to their service area.
Capture an internet TV viewer with your video ad, and they can easily click to your site in a separate tab after the show.
Both require broadcast quality production, so plan to hire professionals.
Video Marketing: Capturing Point of View
The written word leaves much to a reader's imagination: tone, rhythm, pace ... nuance. A skilled reader finds pleasure in reading (and rereading) every word.
However, the readers lacking attention, vocabulary or reading comprehension skills may totally miss the meaning of, or information contained in, a written piece - or skip it altogether. This reader puts down the book, scrolls past your message, or simply clicks to another page.
A movie, on the other hand, is captivating. Like getting on a roller coaster, once the ride starts, you cannot get off until it stops. If your video is well-done, this is its effect. You create an experience that a viewer wants to watch to the very end - then watch again and again ... and, hopefully, share (for that "viral" effect).
Using a vocabulary of images and sounds, you control rhythm, pace, tone - and point of view. Transcend language barriers and reading disabilities with universal images and evocative music, to stir emotions - a powerful influence on purchasing decisions.
Ultimately, this is the true power of video marketing - its appeal to an international and universal audience, speaking the language of human nature and the heart. Video marketing's "mini movies" make people laugh, be amazed, spur curiosity, and let them feel good - about themselves ... and your company brand.
Thanks to broadband, electronic technologies, emerging digital media, and the internet, more businesses can now use the power of video marketing to reach a broader audience in more venues than just television advertising.
If you're not yet using video marketing ... you will be. Good luck and enjoy!
Resources and Guidelines
A step-by-step guideline for hiring a production company prepares you to interview and evaluate prospective video production vendors. The resource directory puts you on track to deepen your understanding of the various aspects of video marketing.
HIRING A PRODUCTION COMPANY
First, know what you want to do. Review the "5 Questions/5 Answers", above; have a ballpark figure in mind of what you know you can afford, and an idea of what kind of video you'd like to make: demonstration, testimonial, entertainment, etc.
- Put your plan in writing.
Write down the "5 Answers" and the kind of video you want to make. Indicate if there's a timeframe - it could be due to weather (shooting your landscaping before it snows), a seasonal promotion you want to feature, or a scheduling conflict, because your facility shuts down for a month of inventory. When you ask for proposals, make sure all estimates are based on the same specifications.
- Prepare a script or outline.
Your video will be based on a shooting script. If you don't have one, be very specific about the elements you want included (e.g., an on camera spokesperson or a voice-over, moving or static shots, etc.). Include a script fee in your specification list, or hire a writer directly. To be fair, you want to get apples-to-apples pricing.
- Ask for referrals to reputable production companies. Do your research.
Start with people you know personally. Find out their experiences, so you know what to expect - or learn who to avoid - and why.
If you don't know anyone who has done any video production, do your research. Google "video production" with your zip code. Visit company websites to learn more about the companies that interest you. Google them to see if there are any complaints against them. Check with the Better Business Bureau. When you have a list of at least 3, and not more than 5, candidates, you're ready to interview.
- Conduct in-person interviews.
You can either have producers come to your office, or you can go to theirs. If they come to you, assuming you'll do some shooting at your place of business, they can survey the space and logistics of your location to figure into their estimate.
- Ask them to bring a reel of their work. You want to see the quality of work they do. Ask for references. Call them.
- Make note of the questions they ask you. Not only will it help you anticipate the questions you can expect in successive interviews with other producers, it will give you an idea how they are thinking about approaching your project. Good questions are a good thing.
- If they ask you what your budget is, give them a range, rather than a set number.
- How do they communicate with you? Do they answer your questions thoroughly and graciously? Are they helpful in offering guidance or do they only speak their industry lingo? Chemistry is key to any working relationship - especially if you'll be paying hundreds of dollars an hour.
- If you learn a service you'll need, that was not on your original plan, add it - again, so estimates will all be based on the same specifications.
If you choose to visit a company at its office, you gain an insight into their "housekeeping" - is the space well-kept, organized, inviting? It can reveal their work habits and the condition of the equipment they'll be using.
Some companies will not have a formal office. That's ok, too. If the majority of their work is done on location, there's no need to carry the overhead of an office - that can mean a better price for you.
- Review the estimates all together.
Have the estimates arrive at your office on the same day or within 24 hours of each other. If they stagger in - since it's your first time doing this - you could spend more time reviewing the early arrivals. Rightly or wrongly, whichever one you look at first may set the standard for what you will expect to see from the rest.
If the first comes in low, by comparison, the next one may seem too high. If the first one comes in high, you'll start to sweat the decision to pursue video marketing ... until you see a price that falls within the budget for which you were prepared.
Ideally, the estimates should be very close - within hundreds of dollars. If not, look at the line items to find out why. Look at how many crew members, lights, microphones and other equipment are in their package. Even though you gave each company the same specs for what you want to accomplish, the proposals show how each company proposes to fulfill your requirements.
- Compare Terms and Conditions.
In particular, look for how your price is affected, if you run over time or want to make any editing changes. There is often flexibility, with a couple of changes included. You want to know the tolerance - and the charges - for change, just in case.
Know how many days after shooting you can expect your edited video to be delivered, the cost for extra copies, and what your recourse is if you are unhappy with the final product. You want your edited masters and raw footage, in case you want to re-edit your video.
- Sign the contract.
If there is one company with whom you feel most comfortable, and their price is acceptable, then that is probably the company you should choose. If they have won your confidence, it is worth something to feel at ease throughout the process.
If, however, you like the companies equally well and there are big discrepancies in price, find out why. Is one low-balling the price on a slim set of services? Is the other padding their pricing, because you're new to the video game and they're building in a cushion for mistakes?
In the end, make sure everything is in writing - to protect both parties.
Online video marketing guide - News, Tips & Trends
Marketing effectiveness research
YouTube Report 2009
Find Local Talent
Always try to find a referral to copywriters, video producers and technicians. Copywriting services, available online, provide professional writers at reasonable fees. Failing these, or other Google resources, check out nearby colleges and universities with programs in marketing, video production and information technologies programs. Professors can recommend senior students who are knowledgeable and accomplished in the skills you seek - at an affordable rate.
DIRECT RESPONSE TELEVISION (DRTV) - Infomercials
Learn about DRTV best practices from industry trade professionals to know what to expect, what to ask, and how to know if this marketing path is right for you. Google "DRTV companies" or "DRTV productions" to find companies who can help you make an infomercial.
201 Sandpointe Ave., Suite 500
Santa Ana, CA 92707
714.338.6700 or 800.371.6897
DRTV Best Practices Primer: Choosing a Marketing Partner: Consultants and Agencies
DRTV Resources Online http://www.google.com/adwords/tvads/index.html#subid=general-unbranded
Direct Response Academy
Direct Response Marketing & Management: Boot Camp
Google TV Ads
TELEVISION SHOPPING NETWORKS
Direct submissions are accepted by the individual shopping channels. Research their shows and guidelines to find out which venue is the best match for your product. The costs, terms and conditions vary. This can be a price-sensitive distribution channel.
QVC Product Search
1200 Wilson Drive
Mail Code: 128
West Chester, PA 19380
Home Shopping Network (HSN)
41-550 Eclectic Street, Suite 200
Palm Desert, CA 92260
Houston Inventors Association
Companies Looking for New Products
1 Los Angeles Times; "Simple Elixir Called Miracle Fluid", Marla Dickerson, February 23, 2009 http://18.104.22.168/search?q=cache:i0BQ5CVrLeEJ:articles.latimes.com/2009/feb/23/business/fi-magicwater23+miracle+elixir&cd=5&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us
2 Adweek; "New Clients Embrace DRTV as Sales Soar", Steve McClellan, August 25, 2008 http://www.adweek.com/aw/content_display/news/media/e3i67f2ad037eba0dd65ebe4d10ef0c476a
3 DRTV Media Buying; "People Switching From TVs to PCs", Peter Koeppel, September 4, 2009 http://drtvbuyer.blogspot.com/
4 Internet World Stats; http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats2.htm
5 Marketing Experiments; "Can Viral Video Clips Drive Traffic?"; Nick Usborne, November 14, 2006 http://www.marketingexperiments.com/improving-website-conversion/viral-video-clips-targeted-traffic.html
6 TechCrunch; "The Secret Strategies Behind Many ‘Viral' Videos", Dan Greenberg, November 22, 2007 http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/11/22/the-secret-strategies-behind-many-viral-videos/
7 BrandGymBlog; http://wheresthesausage.typepad.com/my_weblog/2009/01/httpwwwt-mobilecoukhttpukyoutubecomuserlifesforsharingfilmhttpukyoutubecomwatchvvq3d3kigpqmnr1object-w.html
8 Viral Video Chart; http://viralvideochart.unrulymedia.com/youtube/the_tmobile_dance?id=VQ3d3KigPQM
9 Media Post News; "Dynamic Logic Study Offers Ad Creative Rules", Mark Walsh, October 21, 2009 http://www.mediapost.com/publications/?art_aid=115891&fa=Articles.showArticle
10 DynamicLogic.com; "Media Work Best Together, Playing Different Roles in Driving Consumer Purchase Process", October 2007 http://dynamiclogic.com/na/research/WhatsInTheMix/Oct2007.html
11 Professional.getlegal.com; "5 Advantages of Using Video on Your Website", Stan Black http://professional.getlegal.com/marketing/video-services/advantages-of-video