Cutting Edge Video Marketing

by Michael Lomb, MG Lomb Advertising, Inc.

The Buzz
Many professionals today are fond of hyping-up the term “video marketing”. This hype has resulted in both good and bad results. On the good, more companies are taking advantage of impressive interactive web based tools that save them money and improve sales. On the bad, the term video marketing has been slung around so much it’s difficult to know what it really is or how to use it. As a long time developer of interactive web based content, I see video marketing as much more than just “video”. As return on investment goes, this is an important fact.

Definition
Video marketing represents a broad spectrum of customer oriented content, typically web based, usually motion oriented (video, animation, other), potentially interactive, and frequently inclusive of sound (music and/or voice). Video marketing is most commonly thought of as being “advertising or marketing” oriented, but it may also serve instructional and training needs. Video marketing is said to offer improved search engine optimization (SEO) benefits. Places video marketing is typically found include: YouTube.com, company websites, trade websites (as advertisements), tradeshows, as well as CD and DVD presentations.

Types of Video Marketing
Video marketing isn’t just video. It takes many forms and there are important choices you’ll need to consider. If you’re adding video marketing to your program, you’ll want to think about how Flash interactive, motion graphics, animated features, and other user-focused tools can be leveraged to your advantage. These options can vastly improve the look and effectiveness of your new video marketing tool, increasing your website traffic and sales. With these impressive options available, you should understand that traditional video (although obvious) is a “basic” and limited option, which lowers your potential for return on investment.

You should also be thinking about how your new video marketing tool will be used. Potential uses include: a 24/7 tirelessly dependable website sales person, for interactive product demos, sales and tradeshow presentations, interactive marketing, training & documentation tools, and more. Finally, you’ll want to consider how it will be produced. To achieve sophisticated results, a professional developer will typically employ a combination of software programs like Adobe Flash, After Effects, 3D Studio Max, Maya, Adobe Premier, PhotoShop and a music editing application, to add flavor and style, thus making your new video marketing tool professional and effective.

Who & What is Video Marketing Good for?
First and foremost … it’s great for increasing sales. Most businesses can and will benefit from video marketing. It can generate new channels for brand awareness and improve customer consideration. Developed correctly, video marketing will provide outstanding results by providing an ROI that is significantly higher than the cost to produce it.

Examples of how companies are using video marketing.

Large Companies
Companies like Fisher-Price utilize video marketing that features “big screen” movie-like 3D animation (sometimes coupled with traditional video, and using real people) to promote and sell their toys online. Eastman Kodak Company uses 3D animation, Flash, and Adobe After Effects to promote the exciting features of their products on their website. Getinge USA (a leading international manufacturer of pharmaceutical washing & sterilization equipment) uses video marketing that features high-end 3D animation at their largest tradeshows on large HD screens. They are able to show every imaginable configuration of their products and to virtually run product demonstrations that could not be run using the real machinery on a tradeshow floor.

Small Companies
Smaller companies use video marketing by creating simple videos which can be produced for a low and reasonable cost. These might resemble a local TV commercial that is web based. They can be as long or short as you like, and run free on your website, or at YouTube. Simple videos commonly use low-end video, still images, motion oriented text, and sometimes music and/or a human voice. Although less expensive and somewhat limited, simple video is still an excellent way to get “free” exposure, improve SEO, and acquire new business.

Return On Investment
How is ROI achieved with video marketing? When a prospective customer does a Google search for a product, they may find and watch your video. If they purchase “your” product because of viewing your video then your video marketing effort is paying off. Everyone can agree that ROI is achieved by increasing sales. Video marketing is accomplishing this task by vastly improving a prospective customer’s consideration experience. Experiencing a product or service is intrinsically tied to ROI. Studies clearly show that people are “more likely to buy” what they’ve experienced. This is where video marketing comes in, by providing that experience.

How much ROI is needed?
Your video marketing piece should deliver a return on investment that is greater than was the cost to produce it. If it only holds potential to generate a few thousand dollars in sales, then you shouldn’t spend more than a few hundred dollars to produce it. But if hundreds of thousands of dollars (or millions) are at stake and your competitors are offering impressive interactive videos, then an expenditure commensurate with higher potential gains is appropriate.

What Does Video Marketing Cost?
Cost of development is dependent upon your business, service or product, and your personal interest in the sophistication of your video.

A regionally oriented retail business may require only a simple inexpensive video clip, costing just a few hundred dollars. But that same business could also produce something unique, and spend a few thousand, adding professional voice over, music and unique effects.

Conversely, a large manufacturing company might require a large, sophisticated, interactive product experience. Today, fully interactive product demos adorn the websites of most retail oriented manufacturers. Business-to-business manufacturers are also realizing the indisputable results achievable using video marketing tools, in the form of web based product demos and tradeshow presentations. Programs such as these cost more (from a few thousand dollars, into the tens of thousands), but the return-on-investment in these situations is usually well worth the upfront costs.

Choosing a Developer
As in every line of business, there are both low and high cost solution providers. Selection of a video marketing developer should first be tied to the complexity and scale of your task.

Low cost developers (freelancers and job shops) can be useful if your budget is low, and project simple. With these options cost is the control factor. The drawbacks are typically a “one size fits all” solution and a developer who doesn’t have the time or budget to know your line of business very well. Agencies are an excellent fit when a sophisticated outcome is required. Local, well-established agencies are typically staffed to handle most projects, and the ROI you’ll get is worth the price you’ll pay them. Large international agencies are an excellent fit when your program requirement is so large that it requires dozens of people working simultaneously.

With any solution provider, it should be noted that video marketing is ideally supported by a variety of expertise; copy writer, creative talent, marketing specialist, multimedia specialist, etc. Theoretically, one person “could” do it all, but you’ll need to temper your expectations for “greatness” if you elect for a low cost approach.

Today’s Best Interactive – My Picks
For me, a couple of great Video Marketing approaches really stand out. I’ve selected these because they focus on improving my client’s sales, while also providing viewers engaging interactivity that inspires interest in the clients’ business, products and services.

BEST PICK #1: Simple Video
I like this option because the bang-for-the-buck is excellent. The Sears Craftsman website runs many of these. A great example is for their Craftsman Professional 10 inch Contractor Saw (Sears#21833). Visit www.craftsman.com, search this product number, and select “See this product in action” under the product name to see the video. Whether for a small business with a limited budget or large manufacturer, this is a great way to get your foot in the door and get results. The best part is you can run it for free on YouTube and in other places, to generate new leads and sales. For the cost, Simple Video is a “no-brainer”.

BEST PICK #2: Interactive Product Video
Although more costly, I highly recommend this option to manufacturers, because it’s amazing and so effective. Apple and Motorola agree and have mastered this form of video marketing. See Apple’s iPhone videos, at www.apple.com. Another cutting edge example is Motorola’s Droid interactive video, found at www.droiddoes.com. Even though the cost to produce this type of content is considerably higher than simple video, the return-on-investment can be significant. As mentioned, experiencing a product or service greatly increases the likeliness that prospects will make a purchase. Interactive product videos provide that experience, in an incomparable way. And they can be used “everywhere” … on your website, at tradeshows, on your trade websites, on YouTube – you name it.

An additional advantage of interactive product videos is that the virtual experience can be so good it reduces or eliminates the need to see the real product. Some of our clients have elected to leave their large equipment behind, bringing only an interactive product video to their tradeshows. This eliminates shipping, set up, tear down, floor space, and operator costs – factors that should be considered when deciding scope and budget.

In conclusion, if you take the hype out of video marketing, and look at it as an investment that can yield ROI, video marketing is an extremely valuable tool that should be incorporated into every marketing and advertising program.

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