Of all the ideas trending in marketing today, it is hard to ignore the magnetism of video. Whether you are contemplating ways to support sales growth or relationship management or improve engagement with plan sponsors or participants, video becomes a creative focal point. We see this every day—the invitation to “watch now” that comes via email, social post, or website advertisement. It is clear that marketers have become savvy to the metrics surrounding video.
Consider a few recent statistics:
Using the word “video” in an email subject line boost open rates by 19% and clickthrough rates by 65%.
Website visitors spend 2.6 times more time on pages with videos on them.
Where both text and video are available on the same webpage, 69% of users prefer to watch video to learn about a product or service.
People retain 80% of what they see and only 20% of what they read.
54% of executives say they share videos with colleagues on at least a weekly basis.
You get the idea. Video content has simply become the way many people in your audience prefer to get information, and this underscores its general business case. Note though, that the point is not to abandon text, especially on topical matters. If half of your audience prefers video, the other half still prefers an article to read or scan. The opportunity and challenge is to appeal to both preferences and maximize engagement.
The return on investment (ROI) case for marketing is often challenging to quantify as a myriad of strategies and tactics combine over time to create awareness, influence perception, and lead to new or stronger relationships that ultimately result in more business. The case for video is that it has the unique potential to achieve this desired awareness, more strongly influence perception, and, perhaps most importantly, convey your tone as a caring, expert organization. In business-to-business marketing, “talk to us” is a primary call to action rather than “buy now.” Video can help establish credibility and, just as importantly, it can create comfort that we are an approachable, desirable partner in whom a buyer may confide her company’s needs and goals. If marketing “sets the table” for growth, then video is the centerpiece.
That said, there can be an ocean between creating something that has the potential to help you realize real ROI and something that, at best, seems to be an expensive novelty that siphons away essential budget. Another way of saying this is to assert what “effective” means when it comes to delivering marketing content. Consider this definition: to be effective, video content must, like all other marketing content, present the right message to the right audience delivered at the right time and in the
right way. Otherwise, it has limited (if any) potential to succeed. The upside is that, if these conditions are met, it means you understand your audience and are giving them what they need to know, when they need to know it, in the way they prefer to get it.
Nimble, portable gear — particularly when operated by capable professionals — can produce excellent results for a fraction of Hollywood budgets.
The rub is that video is not necessarily easy to “do it well,” and you will be sharing it with an audience who is accustomed to high-quality, well-produced video. That sets the bar high. The good news is that quality video is not only achievable, but it is possible to accomplish on a budget. The key is to be realistic about your purpose and your resources.
If the business case for producing video is clear, the question of how to approach your next (or first) project may be less so. It is not uncommon to hear business leaders lament that it can be expensive to produce, hard to script, and daunting to get on camera. All true, but they need not be if you approach it rationally and with good resources.
Yes, high quality video production can be expensive, but because this is often the first impression of your company, brand, and message, it does need to be good! The good news is that most projects produced for the Web do not require super high-end equipment. More nimble, portable gear, particularly when operated by capable professionals, can produce excellent results at a tiny fraction of Hollywood budgets.
Quality video is not only achievable, it’s possible to accomplish on a budget.
Be sure to factor in the quality you desire when deciding whether to source video in-house versus with a content/creative partner.
Equipment matters to some extent, as does location (your office or a studio, perhaps), but your message matters most. It could be an introduction to your firm and its philosophy. It could be a quick overview of how you onboard new clients. It could be a Q&A video that covers pre-sale topics. Or it could be an educational topic to create awareness and suggest follow-up one-on-one consulting. Ideally, video explains not just what you do, but why you do it, and how you solve problems. Done well, it can be a highly persuasive differentiator.
We know instantly when someone is reading to us rather than talking to us.
There is a lot to be said for a good script. Best advice is, do not wing it! Professionals use scripts. A good script is a conversation, not an article. We know instantly when someone is reading to us rather than talking to us, and the best way to assure comfort here is to practice reading aloud everything you write for the camera.
A good script is a conversation, not an article.
For some companies and some projects, having a company leader on camera is important. To others, the consistency of a professional brand spokesperson is more comfortable, easier to schedule, and can actually be less costly.
Video delivers more than your words.
Video is already pervasive on the web and it presents an unparalleled opportunity to be compelling—if you do it well. This speaks to the latter half of this column’s title: that you should pursue it. If the axiom “a picture is worth a thousand words” holds true, then video is exponentially more interesting. Video delivers more than your words; it delivers your personality, your enthusiasm, your passion and, indeed, your brand. It can help you persuasively differentiate your offering and answer “why us.” Therein lies its true power. (And, by the way, no video script should ever include the word “therein” or anything like it!)
This article was first published by Wolters Kluwer in the Journal of Pension Benefits, Spring 2018