Video

What Does It Really Mean Series: Video Marketing

video-1606945_1280.pngIn the last of our “What Does It Really Mean?” series, I’d like to explore the term Video Marketing. Although you may not be familiar with the term Video Marketing, you’ve no doubt come across video while interacting on social media platforms, using mobile apps or watching television. Video is everywhere and becoming more popular by the day! A Cisco study predicts that by 2019 video will represent 80% of all Internet traffic.

What is video marketing and what can it be used for?

Of all the terms we’ve delved into in this series, Video Marketing is the simplest to explain. It means using video to promote or market your brand, product or service. Video Marketing is incredibly versatile and it can be used very effectively on your website, social media channels and YouTube for many things including:

  • Promoting your brand
  • Product demonstrations/information
  • Testimonials
  • How- to videos
  • Corporate training
  • Live stream events
  • Entertainment
  • And more

What are the benefits of Video Marketing?

There is an abundance of data proving that Video Marketing can raise awareness of your brand/products/services, promote your company, drive sales and/or engage your customers.

  • Video is an SEO gold mine, helping build backlinks to your site, boosting likes and shares (which can affect search rankings), and driving traffic to your site (Content Marketing Institute)
  • Adding a video to your website can increase the chance of a front page Google result by 53 times (Comscore)
  • Almost 75% of marketers agreed that video is key to driving conversions (Demand Metric survey)
  • After watching a video, customers are 64%-85% more likely to make a purchase
  • Some statistics indicate that on Facebook, a video post offers a whopping 135% greater reach than a post with a photo (Demand Metric survey)
  • Email subject lines that include the word “video” see a 19% increase in openrates, and a 65% boost in click-throughs (Content Marketing Institute)
  • Marketers who are using video are seeing 49% faster growth in revenue (Aberdeen Research)

Are major brands using Video Marketing?

Absolutely! Major brands worldwide have jumped on the video bandwagon. A well-planned, well-executed Video Marketing campaign is a great way to showcase your brand, differentiate you from your competition and help you build an emotional connection with your audience in 60 seconds or less.

Brands including Nike, Hotels.com, Airbnb, Under Armour, Coca Cola and Toyota are just a few that have embraced Video Marketing with a passion. In fact, major brands are not only creating their own YouTube channels but 61 of the top 100 brands now embed YouTube videos on their websites (Content Marketing Institute). Some brands are combining professionally produced content with user-generated content like candid reaction videos. The results both engage and entertain, and that’s the goal.

Should you be using Video Marketing?

Video marketing is so effective that I recommend that every marketing campaign incorporates video into the mix. However, this is not as simple as point and shoot. A badly done video is worse than no video at all. Although user-generated video can be used with professional video in a campaign, it should not be used on its own. Producing a video requires a professional expertise that’s not typically found in-house.

Our production arm, CreativeWorks Productions, is a full-service video production company with well-seasoned producers, and a highly skilled crew with decades of experience working on video productions for private companies to public ones such as the CBC, CTV, Rogers, and Alliance Atlantis. Contact the professionals at CreativeWorks Marketing today to discuss how we can integrate Video Marketing into your marketing and deliver professional results.

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Top 10 Marketing Mishaps – A Play Back

This week I’d like to share with you this entertaining short video from WatchMojo that counts down their top 10 worst marketing mistakes in history.

I hope that this video provides a humourous look back and serves as a reminder that we don’t always get it “right” and that even the “big guys,” “the untouchables” and “the big kahunas” like McDonalds, Coke and Ford get it wrong sometimes, too!

Consider that when you’re a big brand like these guys and you get it wrong… everyone is watching!

How many of these mishaps do you remember? Does it help bring perspective to your own mistakes? I look forward to hearing from you in the comments below.

Video Production – Are You Getting What You Paid For?

Doug&Roy3With a combined visual and verbal message, your message is 70% more memorable on video than it is in print alone.  With an influx of demand, there has been an increase in individuals with basic camera and editing skills, and possibly even some college or university training, who call themselves “video production companies”. Like any industry without regulations, it is up to the consumer to do their due diligence before deciding to hire a video production company.

As the owner of a marketing agency and full service video production company with over 14 international video awards and 20 years of production experience, I’d like to outline a few tips to help you make sure you get quality and value from the video production company you hire.

Video is a Marketing Tool

As with any marketing tool, you’ll need to consult with your marketing department or agency to ensure you set the video’s objectives, position its message, and determine the measurement and ROI you hope to achieve.  If your video production company simply shoots video without understanding the broader context, your audience may not understand your message and your video objectives and ROI will not be met. The result: a poor investment and a mixed brand message in the marketplace.

Hiring Professionals

Look at their past work to make sure it is compatible with what you want.  Ask them to give you details of their involvement in the video.  E.g. Did they just show up on a certain date to shoot it or were they involved in the planning, offer insights and provide advice.  Make sure they know your industry and understand your marketing goals.  Ask them about the crew, equipment and editing experience.  E.g. To simply ask if they shoot HD is not enough, as even hand held devices are able to shoot HD.  It is the shooter’s experience and their professional equipment that will give you the high quality work you want.  Ask them to share insight with you as to how your video will help you accomplish your specific marketing goals and objectives.  Note: You are looking for a concrete answer here, not a broad “it will increase brand awareness” type of answer.

Asking Questions

Part of hiring professionals is making sure they ask you the right questions. When you contact a video production company inquiring about a video you’d like to have produced they should ask you a million and one questions about your company, such as your goals and objectives, and then be able to recommend what type of video will best help you reach those goals. E.g. They should be able to tell you what they recommend and why, again highlighting their expertise.

Beware of Sticker Price
If you are only thinking about costs when planning your video, then perhaps video is the wrong medium for your message. When done right, professional videos are not cheap, but can be extremely successful in increasing your ROI. If cost is a huge factor, a professional video production company should be able to advise you as to what, if anything, can be done for your budget.

I hope I have helped increase your understanding in how to prepare and gauge the quality of the video production company you are considering hiring.  Remember, video production (non-union) is not regulated and it has never been truer than in this industry that “you get what you pay for”.

Have you used, or are you considering using video?  Please share your questions and stories about your video production in the comments below.

Online Video: Costs to Consider

(A follow-up to It’s Not Only Video Production – It’s Marketing)

In last week’s blog, I discussed the advantages of using video in your marketing efforts, including outlining the video process, and how long a production may take to create.  As a follow up to that blog, I have dedicated this week’s blog to answering questions regarding budget-related costs associated with video production.

As the owner of a marketing agency with a full service video production company, and over 13 international video awards, my clients often ask me how much producing video costs, and how these costs are determined. I’ve shared my answers to those questions below.

How much does it cost to make a video?

Costs are very much dependent on your needs. Every video is customized and unique, and as such, production costs vary widely according to the video style, and the time spent writing, shooting, and editing the final product.

If you plan to buy TV airtime, or buy online advertising to showcase your video, this will also add to your costs.

Have a budget in mind, and then discuss it with your agency to see what type of video can be produced based on this budget.  You should be able to reduce your budget if you can share some of the responsibilities, like writing the scripts, or providing images.

Be realistic about your expectations.  Do not expect to pay a semi-pro rate and get a professional product. Cheaper is usually not better.

What Drives the Cost of Video?

Understandably, I get this question all the time. There are three basic factors that drive productions costs.  These factors eventually get reflected in dozens of budget decisions that impact the quality of the final product.

  • Time.  Time spent increases costs. The more time that is spent in pre-production, scripting, location scouting, camera and equipment used, number of locations, days shooting, size of crew required, special effects, and editing, the better the final product will be.   Reduce the number of locations, for example, and this is reflected in the cost.
  • Talent.  The greater the talent of the people working on the project (crew, director, producer, editor and on screen talent), the better it will be.  In online video production, as with most things in life, talented and experienced people tend to cost more. Use in-house talent, for example, and this will be reflected in the cost.
  • Tools.  Understand what type of camera is best for your shoot requirements. Small DSLR cameras make beautiful footage, but they fall short in many areas, and therefore may not be right for your shoot.  High-end cameras with professional lighting kits, sophisticated post-production motion graphics, and animation will also add to your cost.

If I only want a 30 second video, is that cheaper?

The truth is that the final length of the video is not directly proportionate to the cost of the production.  Consider TV commercials, which are usually created in 30 second time blocks: the production cost alone may be well over $25,000, even though it is only 30 seconds long. Why? Because the project still required planning, scripting, a talented team, professional tools, etc.  So even if you reduce the final video time to 30 seconds, it does not mean the costs will be lower. That being said, you would be able to save costs in the “time” side of things as outlined above.

What is included in the production costs?

Production costs will be itemized in any video proposal sent to you, but they can include everything from initial research and concept development to scriptwriting, shooting, editing, graphics, music and narration. Duplication of CDs, DVDs or USBs is usually not included. Again, discuss what items you will be responsible for and what you need your agency for and then they can send you the itemized costs and responsibilities in their proposal.

I have outlined for you what you can expect from a professional and experienced video production company. Although you can produce videos from an iPhone, or use free editing software on your computer, please be aware that you do get what you pay for.

As a business professional, consider video to be yet another professional service, as you would your accountant.  Video is a powerful medium, as I have said many times: it has the power to influence clients by going viral and driving your brand and ROI. However, if done unprofessionally, it also has the power to leave a negative impression in the minds of your potential clients.

Do you have any questions about using video in your marketing? Do you have any other costing questions for me?  Please share your questions and stories about producing video in the comments below.

Online Video: It’s Not Only Video Production – It’s Marketing

As our plugged-in business world is becoming far more receptive to video messages, and online video is entering marketing’s mainstream, it’s natural to feel a little daunted about using video for the first time.

As the owner of a marketing agency with a full service video production company, and over 13 international video awards, I receive a daily deluge of questions from my clients who are thinking about using video in their marketing, but have concerns about jumping into this medium.

From low-cost do-it-yourself video blogs, to polished corporate overviews, there are certainly more options available today, but beware: The notion “you get what you pay for” still applies. Businesses today would benefit from understanding more about what they are paying for, and the value it brings to their business.

Below, I’ve provided you with answers to the questions that many of my clients are asking, in the hopes that they will allay your trepidations about using video in your marketing plans.

How can a video help my company?

Video is a powerful tool for reaching your audience, whether you’re selling a product, a service or a new concept. With a combined visual and verbal message, your message is 70% more memorable on video than it is in print alone.

Can I produce the video myself, or do I need professional help?

You could certainly apply the do-it-yourself approach, using basic consumer video equipment and self-taught talent.  (Think YouTube.) The benefits are speed and low costs, but the risks could be huge, as the results often look amateurish. This may erode credibility and brand messaging.

When it comes to video, particularly online video, I strongly recommend hiring a video production company, ideally one attached to a marketing agency. No, this is not shameless self-promotion; it is the truth.  Video is a marketing tool and so you’ll need to consult with a marketing agency.  Most video production companies are focused on producing videos, but not on helping you set the video’s objectives, position its message, and ultimately achieve your marketing ROI.

If your video production company simply shoots video without understanding the broader context, your video message may miss the point, and your video will not give meet your marketing objectives and ROI.  See next question for more details on the process.

When hiring a professional marketing agency with a video production arm, look at their past work to make sure it is compatible with what you want.  Ask them to give you details of their involvement in the video.  Make sure they know your industry, and understand marketing.  Ask them to share with you how your video will help you accomplish your specific marketing goals and objectives. Note: You are looking for a concrete answer here, not a broad stroke “it will increase brand awareness” type of answer.

What is the process for creating a video?

First, be sure you know what you are trying to accomplish.  One of the biggest reasons a project falls short of expectations is that the client can’t decide what they want, and keeps moving the target during production.  This adds cost, and erodes quality.

Before you can produce the video, you’ll need to clarify what you want to accomplish, and determine what resources you have available to you. You’ll also need to know your unique selling proposition, your target audience, your marketing goals and objectives, how and where your audience will view this video, and how you will measure the ROI.

Some questions to consider might include: do you want to increase credibility, build your brand, attract new clients or recruit new staff?  What marker decides success? Who should be profiled in the video? Do they need media training?

Once the marketing purpose has been established, and you have a general direction, there are three basic stages to completing your video:

  1. Pre-production: Deciding on the locations and on camera talent, writing scripts, creating a shot list, arranging for the appropriate equipment, camera, and site logistics and clearances
  2. Production: This is actually shooting the video.
  3. Post-production: This involves the editing of the video, including motion graphics, special FX, onscreen text, adding in other visuals images or footage and a soundtrack.

How long does it take to produce a video?

In general, the process can take anywhere from 2 to 12 weeks, depending on the complexity of your production.

Should you use video as a method to support your marketing? Absolutely, but make sure you consult with a marketing professional who actually produces video. You only have one chance to make a lasting, first impression. This has never been as true as it is today, with online video.

So… how much will a video cost? And how are these costs determined? I have dedicated next week’s blog to answering those questions regarding budget-related costs associated with video production.

Do you have any questions about using video in your marketing?  Have you used, or are you considering using video in your online marketing campaigns?  Please share your questions and stories about producing video in the comments below.

Should You Use Video in Your Marketing?

Video is one of the most powerful tools we have in our marketing arsenal today to effectively engage and communicate with our targeted audiences.  In fact, according to recent studies, online video is growing exponentially.

With demand growing, so too does your opportunity to reach this audience.

Here are some stats on that growth:

  • 144.1 million viewers watched 14.6 billion videos on YouTube.com (101.2 videos per viewer) in May 2010.
  • According to a comScore study released in February 2011, 82.5% of the U.S. Internet audience viewed a video online.
  • Viewers watched 75% more videos online in December 2010 than December 2008.
  • In a 2010 report from Cisco, 30% of Internet traffic is currently video. By 2013, 90% of Internet traffic will be video.
  • In the same time frame, online video ad spending will swell from $1.97 billion to $5.71 billion.
  • According to comScore Video Metrix, in February 2011 the total U.S. unique video viewers on the Internet was 169,646 with an average of 816.4 minutes per viewer.
  • Roughly 66% of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video by 2014.

With 13 international video awards to our name, I’d like to share with you a few tips on what you might want to consider before deciding if this medium is right for your business.  If you do decide to create a video or video series, that is fantastic, but I can’t express to you how important it is to make sure you hire a professional to work with you.  In addition to first impressions are lasting ones – there are now literally billions of videos on the Internet, a professional video company knows how to make yours stand out from the rest:

  1. Outline your aims and objectives for the video e.g. you hope to introduce your company to potential consumers in Toronto and have them call your office for more information.  Don’t use video for the sake of it.  Always ask ‘why use video?‘ and whether your aims will be better met with other formats.
  2. What type of video will this be?  Do you want to shoot a testimonial video, or will you have the owner or CEO of the company speaking?  Do you want to show your office, staff, interaction, etc.?  Do you want to use a video animation (motion graphics with a voiceover and soundtrack) instead of traditional video?
  3. Make all content relevant. No one will click on a video and watch it unless there’s something important in it that they will gain from watching it. It doesn’t matter how well it’s filmed, scripted or delivered, if it hasn’t got relevant content it won’t get watched. Always put your audience needs first. In fact, according to a study by Visible Measures, 20% of online video viewers click away from a video in the first 10 seconds or less.  So make it relevant quickly.
  4. When you launch the video, engage known clients and then use targeted messaging or pull technology such as RSS.  I’ll say it again, always put your audience needs first. According to recent research, video email messages generate 2-3 times higher click-through rates compared to static emails.
  5. Decide upon the frequency and make sure content is up-to-date. If it is time- sensitive information, make sure you create a critical path, so your video is ready for distribution in time.  Decide on a maximum frequency for sending out videos and stick to it. If you have lots of videos, consider sending them out on a regular basis.
  6. Keep your video short.  All the evidence suggests that the online attention span is short, especially for video.  If people get bored, they will switch it off. We found that between 1 and 2 minutes is best.  If you have a longer video think about breaking it up into bite-sized chunks.
    1. According to a study by Visible Measures, 20% of online video viewers click away from a video in the first 10 seconds or less.
    2. By 30 seconds into an online video, up to 33% of viewers have moved on; after 1 minute, 44% have left (regardless of the clip’s length) and almost 60% have abandoned it by the 2-minute mark.
  7. Script it/structure it. Even if the video is informal and very short, have a script if at all possible. A speaker may be very good delivering live ad hoc talks, but that isn’t necessarily going to work on an online video.  Scripts will keep both the presenter and your video relevant and focused on your stated aims and objectives.
  8. Add tangible pointers to next steps – links to your site, email addresses, and phone numbers of how to get in touch with you.  Always provide easy feedback links!
  9. Measure it. See how many people watched the video. Ask people what they thought of the video.  Ask them via feedback rating stars, online polls or simply by asking them. Look at what works and what doesn’t. Look at what your audience decides to watch rather than what you send them.
  10. Compare your results to your aims and objectives (#1) and adjust your message; don’t rest on your laurels and keep it fresh by trying new approaches and ways of delivering it.

Do you have any video questions I can help you with?  Please share your video questions or share some of your stories of how this medium is working for you.