Business leaders and marketers face continuously evolving technologies and fickle clients. It can be exhausting. Modes and methods of reaching target markets have come and gone the way of Crystal Pepsi, but one means of reaching target markets has experienced an upward slope for the better part of the century – video. Where you have video, you have video marketing. You might be asking yourself, “What is the definition of video marketing?”
Well, video marketing is a relatively new term – so new, in fact, that Merriam-Webster has yet to add it as a word. We define it as: the use of video to promote an idea, brand or offering.
Since its inception, video has been used to sway the hearts and minds of individuals. Until recently, it was considered a medium rather than an industry in and of itself. You’re probably thinking, “but video is a medium.” You aren’t wrong. However, video is so much more than a vessel for content. It is a highly strategic method of delivering a message with a multitude of marketing layers.
Our definition makes it sound so much simpler than it really is, though. So let’s take a look at the four layers behind the definition of video marketing – strategy, production, distribution, and testing and optimization.
A solid strategy should be the core of every marketing campaign. In the case of video marketing, there also needs to be many sub strategies (we’ll get to those later) but let’s start with the over-arching campaign strategy. The first two questions you need to ask are:
- Who is the video intended to reach?
- What action do we want them to take?
Every other video marketing decision should support the answers to those two questions.
From there, you will need to develop the following sub-strategies (in the following order):
- Distribution strategy
- Creative strategy
- Production strategy
Production should never begin before the above-mentioned strategies have been developed, because the elements of production need to support the creative as well as the channels in which the video will be delivered.
For instance: Imagine the goal of the video is to drive sales through your e-commerce store. Knowing YouTube offers INTERACTIVE CARDS to prompt viewers to take a specific action (such as clicking through to your store), your creative team has included a verbal CTA at a specific point of the video and has the talent pointing in the direction of where the card will be. Great! You move on to production. After the final product is delivered, your manager tells you they can’t wait to put the video up on the product page of your online store. Now you have a video with a CTA that doesn’t quite fit and an actor pointing at the upper right corner of your page when the link to the store is located elsewhere on the page. Oops. This all could have been avoided if the distribution plan had been in place before getting started.
Now that I’ve scared you into developing a firm plan of attack, It’s time to get started with Production. For simplicity sake, there are three phases of production.
- Pre-production – This is where creative development takes place, usually in the form of scripting and storyboards. Coordinators will also work out other essential details like shoot location, casting, wardrobe, and even craft services.
- Production – This is where the magic happens – the process of actually capturing the footage that will appear in the video. There are many elements of production beyond the camera that will need to be worked out in this phase, such as lighting and framing. Its probably smart to capture B-roll footage at this time as well.
- Post-production – The final phase of production is where the video really comes alive. This is where graphics, music, voice-overs, and special effects are added. The footage is finessed with calculated edits and color correction. The production team will likely ask for multiple rounds of feedback during this phase before delivering the final product.
What’s that old adage? “If a tree falls in the forest when nobody is there to hear it, does it really make a sound”?
The same could be asked about video. If a video is made and nobody sees it, was it ever really made?
It certainly can be debated. A good video is nothing but wasted resources if it isn’t seen. A solid distribution strategy will make or break a video—not to mention provide a return on your video investment.
Where your video is distributed can be just as much of a catalyst of video marketing success as the content itself. So, ensure careful consideration is put into every distribution decision. At the very least, ponder the following questions:
- Where will the video be hosted?
- Should I promote it on social media?
- If so, which platforms?
- Should I pay to get more views?
- Will it perform better online or as a broadcast spot?
Testing and Optimization:
A good strategy is nothing without the inclusion of a plan for testing and optimization.
Face it: things don’t always go as planned. Maybe you researched absolutely every aspect of your target audience — from geographical local and demographics to slang used and favorite activities —only to discover that a brand-new social platform went live around the time you were in production and your entire market flocked to the virtual hangout.
There is no way you could have predicted a new social media platform would take off and the unfortunate result was your video didn’t get seen by the audience it was crafted for.
Or maybe it wasn’t the platform on which you distributed on, but the target market itself. Imagine, you thought your primary audience was teenage girls, but when you went live, there was an overwhelming interest among new moms in their late 20’s.
The point is, there isn’t always a way around random events. So, you make room for testing and improvement throughout the entire campaign.
It comes down to five simple steps:
- 1. Start with a performance goal.
- 2. Set your metrics based on your goal.
- 3. Test against those metrics.
- 4. Develop insights based on results.
- 5. Optimize both the video and distribution plan.