Before we get into the data about video marketing, let’s consider the basic question.
How can firms use video to successfully influence buyers in the Hidden Sales Cycle that defines the new buyer’s journey?
The answer may be found in that old expression: “facts tell, but stories sell.” Perhaps more than any other media in the modern content marketer’s arsenal, video is inherently a story-telling medium (at least when done well).
Video helps both marketing and sales cut through the clutter with a differentiated voice, thereby increasing both information retention and the perception of the quality of the message it delivers. With so many companies now adopting content marketing, competition for buyers’ attention may be more important than competition for their capital.
Video Marketing Evolution
It’s the height of irony that unlike other “media sensations,” video marketing actually “started out big,” downsized in scope and now has come to incorporate a full range of possibilities, both in terms of length and placement.
This reality makes perfect sense when you realize that social media was in its embryonic stages 10 years ago. (Facebook was launched in 2004, YouTube in 2005 and Instagram in 2010.) Even websites were still a novelty.
Businesses that moved to build digital storefronts were understandably focused on the basics. Video was a luxury — consigned to a “wish list” for another day (or year).
If a business turned to video marketing to augment its traditional marketing efforts, it was most likely a 30-minute promotional video – for all intents and purposes, a costly “infomercial.”
In retrospect, it’s little surprise that so many businesses that offered strictly video marketing services floundered and eventually failed. With such a limited – and usually expensive – product offering, they had unwittingly created an overly-tight niche. These businesses were literally ahead of their time. But the time would come for their vindication.
Video Marketing in Myriad Ways
Today, marketers face a bevy of choices to incorporate video marketing, for the term has come to include everything from “bite-sized” videos to feature-film-length videos. And that “bite” can be small indeed. Look no further than YouTube’s bumper ads, which it launched in April 2016.
Billed as “little haikus of video ads,” bumper ads are only 6 seconds long (and require a strategy unto themselves to be used effectively). Since videos are an inherently visual medium, they are best used to tell a story, though in the case of bumper ads, the story cannot always be told in one video alone; marketers often create a series of videos to tell a story over time.
Videos Are A Form Of Content
And they should not just co-exist but complement all the other content a marketer produces, including blogs, articles, ebooks, newsletters, podcasts, webinars and white papers. Put another way, videos should – and must
– be integrated into a comprehensive inbound marketing strategy. After a long period of estrangement, videos have finally assumed their rightful place in a marketer’s arsenal. Of course, this need for content places a heavy responsibility on marketers, who must produce all this content
– and not just any content, but high-quality content, too. If it’s any consolation, consumers more than want content; they actually crave it. A survey from Hubspot revealed four key insights:
• Most consumers (or 84 percent) expect companies to have a social media presence on Facebook, followed by Twitter (64 percent).
• Consumers expect companies to have a presence on about three platforms.
• Consumers dislike “parroted” content (or content that is duplicated across platforms). They will notice a marketer who posts the same video on YouTube and on a company website – and they don’t like it one bit. They want originality – everywhere.
• Consumers want to engage with a company on a personal level. They don’t mind a little self-promotion; in fact, they expect it. But they want marketers to raise the bar and provide another reason to “tune in.”