Video has been around for decades. How can it be the newest tool?
Thank the technology from the likes of Canon and Nikon. You see, video is 'new' because now it's inexpensive (relatively speaking), easier to produce and has an almost unlimited number of media outlets.
Think about it: just a few years ago a video shoot meant a huge camera and a team of professionals to work the camera, do the sound and set the lights. But today's high definition cameras, the ones they're shooting feature length films with, are hand held. Their sensors are so responsive that lighting is less critical and the same applies to sound. The 10-person crew is now two or three. Consequently, prices have dropped; even the most modest B2B marketing budget can include video.
But cost isn't the most important change. Consider this fact: the second most popular search engine (behind Google) is YouTube! People are getting their pre-buying information from videos. That alone is reason enough to justify getting in front of the camera.
Here's what we know:
Here's the key. Integrate video into what you do and make it work for your business objectives. It makes sense to create videos that are geared to individual markets rather than generic videos. You can even 'flavour' content specifically for major accounts.
Channel partners and suppliers can use your video. Most importantly, video is a conversation starter… a way to share your company's personality, people, products, services, capabilities and successes.
From our B2B perspective… video is essential because it positively impacts the sales/procurement cycle.
"Video: the best B2B marketing tool you're not using" was the title of a recent blog… one that capsulises the value of video.
It started by posing this question: Why do you suppose schools and institutes of higher learning have employed audio/visual tools since the 1950s?
The answer is simple. People learn faster and better via video. This rule applies to prospective customers. And isn't the goal of B2B marketing to educate customers about your products and services?
Plus, videos are inherently multi-functional. One video can be used on a website, a YouTube channel and a corporate presentation, sent via email or placed on a DVD. Few other media have the multi-purpose capabilities of video. Even better, Google considers video production in its search algorithm; adding new video content to your site can improve your rankings.
As iPads proliferate, people will be carrying your videos with them, to watch whenever and wherever they like. We live in an age of multi-media… younger generations, in particular, expect sound and pictures and action and interaction… that is, video.
There has been much reluctance on the part of B2B companies to use video, mainly down to cost. Video production companies have been charging outrageous fees for their services. And to be fair, there was a large up-front equipment cost to get into the game, costs that had to be amortized.
Not anymore. Today's video cameras are smaller, lighter, cheaper and better. The same can be said for lighting. New video technologies have gone a long way to making video production point and shoot. You do need some skills, however, but you no longer need a big, expensive crew to make HD-quality videos.
Since YouTube and the rise of reality TV, viewers no longer expect blockbuster-style quality. In fact, videos are better received, are judged as more believable by prospects, if they are un-staged and somewhat under-produced.
One note of caution: to produce a compelling video you still need a story to tell. Boring video, like boring advertising, is a waste of time and resources.
When reaching across cultures and language barriers, few media are more effective than video. Need proof? Hollywood blockbusters are successful in just about every country in the world, regardless of religion, language, moral values, and economic status. B2B marketers understand that a video presentation of a product, for example, can easily be made global by simple overdubbing or classic subtitles.
For companies selling through channel partners and/or distributors, video is perhaps the best way to control your message, your brand and your style everywhere in the world. Unlike brochures and advertising that get translated, redesigned and reprinted at the whim of the local partner or distributor, video can be easily controlled in-house and quickly distributed to energise local markets.
Video is rapidly becoming the chosen medium for web applications and presentations. It's entertaining, grabs attention and can be viewed continually.
It's a medium that is cost effective where scripting, filming and editing can be similar to the cost of producing a printed brochure.
The moving image can provide much more than just still images and words… it gives life to a product, it demonstrates size, form, environment and reality.
With a highly technical subject matter, video also transcends cultural and language barriers, although the addition of an inexpensive voice-over commentary adds clarification and allows for multi-language use.