Video: What Marketers Need to Know

With one-third of the time people spend online spent watching video, it’s no surprise that marketers want to know how to leverage this valuable format. At the Mid-Atlantic Marketing Summit, a panel of video consultants and users talked about the core issues and costs facing companies as they look to dip their toes into video.

The moderator was Jim Lansbury from RP3 who did a great job trying to nail down panlists on specific costs and the true need for high quality video among other issues. The panel was made up of two producers, Heather Garrett Flores from Parkwood Creative and Jeff Trussell from Lot 7 Media, and one end user/producer, Chad Sisneros from The Humane Society, which sees so much value in video that it produces its own.

When it comes to quality, the panelists generally advocated for high quality at all times. However, throughout the discussion, they gave many examples of projects where lower-end video performed just fine at a fraction of the cost. High-end shoots give the company more flexibility in using that video including the ability to parse it into multiple end pieces and edit it more easily.

While every marketing person was experimenting with on-the-fly video from their cell phones a few years ago, apparently many users now expect higher quality, making it important to know what your audience expects. Chad emphasized that pointed, saying that The Humane Society has done lower quality shoots in the field and users don’t mind that the shots are not all perfect when you are following wildlife in real-time.

Cost was a key consideration of the discussion. Jeff shared that if you have a budget of between $5,000 to $12,000 you should be able to get a decent video done start to finish. It may not meet all your needs over time, but you can make do with a smaller budget. He also pointed out that you can use existing collateral and graphics to keep your costs below the $5,000 mark with short snippets of video running in between. In the DC market, a single day shoot with a four-person crew will run, at a minimum, $2,500.

Chad pointed out that making the investment in all the equipment helped them control costs dramatically. This is important to note if an organization sees video as an underpinning to all they do. Heather suggested that clients with smaller budgets should share their budgets up front and allow their partners to design something that works within it.

An overwhelming theme to the discussion was to make sure that you put equal, if not more, emphasis on the pre-production side of the project. Each panelist had seen projects fail or go into cost overruns simply because they were not well-scripted or well-planned from the beginning. Jeff likened the scripting of a video to being more similar to a Haiku than journalism. Make sure you have a scriptwriter who knows what they are doing.

Companies should also think through all the video needs they can foresee over the next 12-18 months before they do a shoot. This can include recruiting, product launches, customer and employee events, board meetings, etc. Making the best use of having the crew on-site keeps costs lower and make videos more versatile. Additionally, know what formats you want to wind up with at the end. Do you need both a 30- and a 60-second version of a video? Do you need something for Snapchat and for YouTube? Do you need another version with an intro to run on a big screen at your user conference? Make a list and work with the crew to get the shots they need the first time. It’s much cheaper to pay for more post-production work than to send a crew out again.

For those who use employees in their videos, give thought to having more employees than you think you might need. Employees leave and you don’t want a video to be obsolete because a critical piece shows a former employee. Getting usage rights for celebrities in your video is also critical for the same reason.

Any company using executive spokespeople in their videos must invest in training, an important and often overlooked element. So many executives see video as something to endure, rather than a channel in which they feel comfortable. If video is important to your marketing strategy, you need to make the investment to get your spokespeople trained and trained well.

This session did not cover everything you needed to know to get into video, but it touched on many of the first questions companies have when it comes to video and offered sound advice for ensuring your project is successful. If you are thinking about expanding your use of video, these points will help as you design your project.

Let’s talk.