Happy 2010Since this is the first post for 2010 let me start by wishing you the very best for a great New Year. I hope your 2009 Holidays were filled with many memorable moments. Hopefully, you were able to enjoy a little respite with family and friends, from the hectic fast paced business environment. Let's face it, 2009 was a challenge for most businesses both large and small. 2009 is history. Yes, it's a new year but the reality is that we're still faced with many of the same challenges we had on December 31, 2009.
ChallengesThe sagging economy just added fuel to the fire in what was already a drastically changing business world, characterized by hyper-competition and non-stop innovation. I agree with the authors of the best selling business book Mavericks At Work , William Taylor and Polly LaBarre, in their discussion of the needs of new business strategy- "Business as usual is a bust." I believe it mandates the need, more than ever, to get different, if you plan on being around tomorrow. Incremental improvement- doing things a little bit better, is just not going to be enough. Long term business success for most will require rethinking the business of business. Redefining the work we do as providers of goods or services and most importantly redefining the relationships we have with customers.
Marketing is a New BallgameSpeaking of customers, most would also agree that the old ways of marketing just don't cut it anymore. When's the last time a TV. commercial engaged you or attracted you to a company's offerings? I say, thank God for my DVR. Do you read newspaper ads? I don't. I check out the web. Simply stated the advertising industry has been turned upside down. While a poor economy has certainly had an impact , the real change in the fabric of marketing is being driven by technology. Arguably one of the industries most effected by new technology the past few years is video production.
A New PerspectiveI'd like to share some thinking with you on Web Video Marketing. I'm committed to providing information and ideas on video production and marketing that offers a different perspective than most production companies and many marketing professionals . As always, I welcome your comments, questions and suggestions for my thinking. So let's start the discussion on video.
Web Video is Big !
According to comScore on-line video continued its monumental growth during November of 2009 with 31 BILLION Videos being watched by U.S. residents. That equates to 182 videos per person ! I think its safe to say that Web video is now mainstream in business marketing. On-line video will only continue to grow in importance supported by recent research which indicates that incorporating on-line video in marketing efforts, is a top priority for business management for fiscal 2010. That growth in importance mandates a change from past use of online video. It necessitates some new thinking and yes, new strategies on how to use this powerful tool in your marketing efforts. Most importantly it requires greater consideration and attention to the actual content being developed. (I'll discuss later) More Details On-Line Video
Web Video - Where Do I Begin ?There are many aspects of web video that must be considered to develop a strategy that results in a positive ROI. Included are such areas as content development, technology & service providers, content distribution (where it will be available for viewing), measurement of media's results and obviously, the actual financial investment of your organization. Let me suggest a little different starting point. It has absolutely nothing to do with lights, camera and action or technology. I call it "Getting It" , part of our methodology used to produce On-Line Video- understanding the fundamental role web video should play in marketing. Simply stated that role is to help deliver a more engaging virtual experience, an experience that captures customers attention, resonates with them, and makes them want to spend more time learning about you. Ah that word EXPERIENCE again, the overused new buzz word and promise of many marketing & advertising campaigns.( one unfortunately that far many too businesses fail to deliver on) Video, more than most technologies, has the power to help improve the overall web experience by engaging people emotionally.
The Social ExperienceAn intentionally designed experience or series of experiences fosters the development of a deeper connection between your business and its customers. A critically important component necessary in the design of any engaging experience, is the emotions evoked during it. I don't want to get sidetracked on a lengthy discussion of how emotions drive brand value, but an important consideration is that over 50% of all purchase decisions are driven by emotions. Building long term customer relationships with old marketing practices that emphasize rational persuasion over emotion and inspiration, do not work in today's business world. I don't mean to offend left brainers out there but its true. Why do people buy Harleys? I love my Mac ! Zappos rocks ! "Experiences both virtual and physical not only build brands but make or break them."
If you cut through the volumes and volumes of books, articles and research on the changing landscape of business, one of the themes that emerges loud and clear is the emergence of a new and drastically changed customer. That customer is more connected and enlightened than ever before in the history of business. That development enabled by technology, has led to sweeping and ongoing changes in the very fabric of their relationship with businesses. Business survival, arguably depends on the ability to look at your customer relationship with a pair of Fresh Eyes, a perspective that considers the new realities faced by all marketing professionals today. The following is a top line look at three basic challenges, ones directly connected to the most important aspect of any business- Its Customers.
Realities & Challenges
1. Your Customers are Overloaded with Information
The Internet has been the greatest force of commoditization (competing on price) ever, in the history of business enterprise. Let's face it what ever it is your business sells be it a product or service can be found on the Net, probably at a cheaper price. Paralleling the over supply of goods and services is a total overload of information that is available as fast as you can click a mouse. Your customers are exposed to an average of 3000 to 5000 marketing messages daily. The age old business question of how to differentiate your business and marketing communications has become an even greater challenge. This same challenge applies to the use of on-line video in your marketing strategy. What will make your videos different from the 30+ billion videos that were viewed on-line during November of 2009? The key to business differentiation today is the experience your business offers across all points of customer contact -virtual and physical and that includes communications and marketing. Successful communications resonate with people in a personal way. The key is to transform your business communications into high touch interactions that deliver emotional impact and meaning.
2. Your Customers Expect More Original Ideas-More Creativity
To successfully capture a customers share of mind in our new world of YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and other Social Media Spaces, requires more creativity in marketing efforts. Consumers are exposed to more information than ever before. There is so much information available that by itself each piece has become less valuable. To illustrate the point of information being less valuable think for a moment about the number of businesses that offer free webinars or free research. I must get 10-15 FREE information offers on a daily basis in e-mails. So what does this have to do with creativity and originality? Information (business communications) is made more valuable when it is placed into context and delivers emotional impact. The best way to accomplish this is through story. Using story to turn ordinary mundane business communications into compelling narrative requires right brain creative thinking and emotional intelligence. While video by its very nature is the best way to tell stories that have emotional impact, all businesses should consider storytelling in all formats to deliver engaging communications. I'll have much more to say on storytelling & business in future post. You'll be surprised at how important this emerging discipline is to the future of business.
3. Customers Do Not Trust Businesses
In ConclusionAs always, I do hope my words have provoked some new thinking and ultimately help you develop more compelling business stories. I really do appreciate the time you spend with me. Thank You. Until next time.......
Best to You & Rock Your Customers !Bill