Jimm Fox published a list of ways to use video to grow your business (reposted by Mark Robertson on OneMarket Media). His list takes 42 methods and breaks them down into nine categories (Customer reference, Product and Service Promotion, Corporate based, Training and Support, Internal Comms, Marketing and Advertising, Public Relations (PR), Events and a miscellaneous category). Here are some of the highest in Growth Potential and Popularity.
• Video Customer testimonials (Moderate popularity, high growth potential): While this type of video is a staple of Microsoft’s Windows 7 material (who can resist the cute kid making it look so easy?), ideally, it should be real customers in their own settings. As authentically “normal” and “in the customer’s perspective” it is, the better. Depending on what you’re trying to do, authenticity and “rough-around-the-edges” a video is, is worth more gold than the money spent for a polished look. Would we have given the same credit to the dancing “Numa Numa” guy if it looked like it was shot from a studio? A spinoff of this is the Video success stories, where a customer recounts a problem that they had, and how said product helped them.
• Man in the street interviews (Moderate popularity, high growth potential): A known tactic in the Jay Leno Show (“Jaywalking”), news stations and sometimes on the Jimmy Kimmel Show (“Kids Voice out on what they know about Tiger Woods”), these movies find individuals and show them answering questions or reactions from the host. Again, authenticity is a big thing here. The more “fake” it looks, the worse it is. (Conversely, if you are a student of “The Dirty Little Secrets of Buzz“, making it looks ridiculous may cause enough buzz that you can disregard any consequences.)
• Product Presentations, demonstrations, reviews (Moderate popularity, high growth potential): While these are self explanatory, the perspective changes in each. Presentations should be from the customer’s perspective, demonstrations should be from the parent company and detail the benefits (If you are a student of Meerman’s “The New Rules of Marketing and PR“, avoid such terms as, “New and Improved”, “Ground-breaking” and other typical “fluff”. A good exercise from Meerman is as such: take the script from your movie, remove all direct references of your company and product. If you can’t tell who the company is or what the product is, your script is too convoluted with “fluff”.) Reviews should be from “trusted third parties”. Try to find reviews that you didn’t sponsor (who trusts a study saying that cigarettes are no more dangerous than automobiles when the study was funded by a tobacco company?).
• Visual stories (Moderate popularity, high growth potential): Tap into the cornerstones of marketing: Cute sells. Why are such stories as Where the Wild Things Are and If you Give a Mouse a Cookie such evergreen children’s books? Because they are visual stories (clever wordplay never hurts, either).
• Corporate Overview: (High popularity, moderate growth potential): Who is “XYZ Company”, and why do only Accounting and Economic professors reference it? They obviously don’t have a corporate overview video. Take into account what your company is and what you’d like to show. If you look at any product review from ThinkGeek.com, you’ll get a large sense of how the company works. Also pay attention to what is more attention getting.
• Training (High, High), Webinars, Just in Time (JIT) learning Videos (Low, High): Why clog up your forums, tech support lines and other forms of communication when you can show how to fix common problems? Video, as stated by Fox, is, “a cost effective substitute for in-class training”.
• Tackling tough-to-explain issues (such as legal matters, health and safety, [Low, High]: A funny example of such is Jon Stewart’s video of Ted Stevens’ explanation of the internet. Using audio and visual ties connects to more senses than plain text, and has the ability to provide compact and cheap primers.
• Content Marketing (Low, Huge): You have a business, obviously are experts in your area, spread some goodwill! Fox gives an example of Home Depot doing a Do-it-yourself series; another example is Best Buy doing a primer on High Definition or Blu-Ray. Barnes & Noble does this to a bit with their “Tagged” series, in which authors talk about their latest books (Link).
• Mobile Videos (Low, Huge): While half the world is running to have the “biggest-and-bestest”, the other half wants the same things, only much smaller. Even some Japanese researchers have done studies on screen size and retention rates (As expected, there isn’t a “best size”, but a range depending on the topic). The future, according to Fox, will hyper-target individuals based on geo-and-demographic traits, as well as very small niche audiences.
• “Viral” videos (High, High): The old standby. Everyone can name at least one viral video. There are a few challenges with this. First, you can call anything viral (even the most boring of commercials), but it isn’t viral until it becomes so completely desirable that it makes people want to share it. Secondly, viral videos usually aren’t about the product at all ( Sunsilk’s [hair care company] viral video depicted an extremely nervous bride, chopping her hair off before the big day. There was no mention of the product or company, and the movie was shot with a regular camera in a hotel room, prone to dark screens and unbalanced volume).
As always, think about these things when creating a video:
- What do I want to say?
- What do I want to show?
- What does my video actually show?
- Will my video keep attention?
- If I do Meerman’s trick, and take out all references to my company and specific product, will the viewer know who I am and what I’m selling?
Happy Middle-December from ShopWatchBuy!
(Full Disclosure: Mitch, the writer of this post, is an internet junkie, moonlights at Barnes & Noble, and has as much fun with his coworkers as Maddie and David do.)