Reinventing Video For Today's Buyer-Led World

Marketers generally agree that video is an incredible engagement medium.  For the better part of 60 years, we've watched in awe as consumer marketers built incredible brand awareness on television by tapping the senses of sight and sound to create an emotional connection with buyers. 

Now, thanks to Internet technologies and plummeting costs of video equipment, production and distribution, that same power of video engagement is available to all marketers.  But should we use video in exactly the same way as we've seen to be so effective in the past? Should we start recording and posting lots of video clips in hopes that it will drive the same level of emotional engagement? Should we invest heavily in creating a YouTube channel to drive awareness and leads into the top of the funnel?  I would argue, not necessarily -- and here's why.

The world has changed around us. We've moved from a marketing driven world to a buyer-led one. Our prospects are no longer captured audiences, easily swooned by flexing our creative muscle with emotionally-driven campaigns. 



Instead, prospects are smarter, more sophisticated, and better informed about our products and services and even those of our competitors. They have the ultimate resources on their side in Google, Facebook and Twitter, which they use wisely to investigate 80% of what they need before engaging in conversations with sellers.

Video alone isn't enough to convince prospects to give you 30 minutes, let alone 30 seconds of their time. So how can a medium like video play into this new buyer-led world? To engage today's buyers, we must forget nearly everything we've learned about video of the past and reinvent it as an interactive marketing medium. Here's how:

Focus on the ROI - Think of video not as optional Web site eye-candy, but a way to add rocket fuel to your current lead generation, lead nurturing and sales enablement programs.  Recent studies show that adding video to e-mail campaigns can increase conversion rates by 2 to 3 times. That's an ROI that's hard to beat.

Keep it short and sweet - In the buyer-led world, time is precious -- so don't assume just by capturing your company presentation on video that someone will sit through a 30 minute on-demand version.  Find the juicy, bite-sized bits of video content and make them available in a format that's easy to digest.

Make video personal - In digital marketing, we've seen the benefits of identifying and targeting messages to buyer personas -- and video is no exception. With interactive technologies, we can now assemble a personal video story on the fly that maps directly to each persona's needs. How cool is that?

Integrate calls-to-action - Strike while the iron's hot. If you have prospects engaged in a video, provide the next step directly within the experience, rather than sending them off to another Web site.

Find your rock stars - Use your own employees rather than actors to create effective and authentic video content.   Look for individuals in your company who connect with people and can tell your story the best way. Use LinkedIn and Twitter to enable direct connections between your rock stars and prospects.

Become "video-active" - Thanks to technology innovation, we no longer need an army of well-trained people to shoot, edit and produce video content. Sure, it's not entirely easy just yet, but Cisco's Flip cameras are a great way to quickly capture that customer testimonial you've been waiting for.

Video is Google Juice - According to Forrester Research, optimizing video content is one of the easiest ways to get a first-page organic ranking on Google. Submitting video content to YouTube and other video portals will help you raise awareness, but driving prospects to your door is the ultimate goal.

8 comments about "Reinventing Video For Today's Buyer-Led World".
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  1. Lorraine Grula from Video Production Tips, November 25, 2009 at 1:28 p.m.

    Hi Matt.
    GREAT article, I agree with you completely.
    To use video effectively online, it is important to remember that the viewer now has so many options it essentially leaves them in total control. So as video producers, we can no longer do things the same old way. As a lifelong video producer, I actually find the result is that effective online video production is actually easier. I believe a simple talking head video with interactivity is the most effective format for the vast majority. The interactivity can lead interested persons down whatever path you lay out for them. It is really quite straightforward.
    Thanks for your great insights.
    Lorraine Grula

  2. Jonathan Mirow from BroadbandVideo, Inc., November 25, 2009 at 3:20 p.m.

    Almost left out two key aspects of the new video marketplace: 1) Niche, baby. Nobody gives a damn about general topics like "business" or "sports" - they want drill-down specifics like "bigfoot-run businesses" or "nude underwater sports", 2) Interactive, baby. If I can't talk to the guy on the screen or at least register my opinion, I'm outta there. Oh, a few more chestnuts - that whole "keep is short" thing is soooo 2007, if you've got niche content that people are interested in, let it run (we had a request last night that one of our live webcasts be allowed to run to an hour and a half as opposed to it's normal hour) AND (now this is key) throw that FLIP Cam in the garbage - bad video is bad video PERIOD and people can now tell the difference between a 4 camera switch and a cat-barf video on YouTube.

  3. Vaughan Denny from vaughan denny, November 25, 2009 at 6:27 p.m.

    A great post Matt. Advertisers need to remember that an online video viewer has a mouse and isn't scared to use it. In turn that offers a great opportunity.
    Referenced your blog post here

  4. Allein Moore from Publisher, November 28, 2009 at 5:35 a.m.

    Little one would diagree with here. I would, however, be cautious about using staff. While it seems more authentic to use George from Stores, an uncomfortable shifty-eyed (in front of the camera) staff member may come over less well than an actor. There are plenty of good actors who really look as if they work downstairs.

    Allein Moore Publisher of AdAsia and ex Creative Director

  5. David H. Deans, November 29, 2009 at 9:33 a.m.

    I would agree with earlier comments about the need to narrowly target the interests and needs of a clearly defined group of people. IMHO, therefore, having a mass-media mindset is a liability. That said, I disagree with the notion that your video productions should include multi-camera content and other "professional" effects to succeed. Lots of online video fails to engage it's intended audience -- regardless, of the "broadcast quality" tools that were applied. In contrast, IP Video content needs good ideas and creative execution above all else. The democratization of digital media distribution is the ultimate talentocracy -- each effort is judged based on its apparent merits. So, it helps if your content is remarkable -- people feel compelled to share it with their friends and family >>

  6. Steve Noble from, November 30, 2009 at 12:10 a.m.

    This is a great article with some good solid points. I have been offering video services to SMB's for the last 6 months and I think your article validates what I have been saying to my customers too. I'm still confused about what works best with email and video and would love to hear more of your thoughts in future articles on that subject. Thanks Matt.

  7. Dennis Lundin from GizmoVideo, December 1, 2009 at 2:30 a.m.

    Regarding: Become "video-active" -
    I must disagree, just because you can buy and drive a car, do not make your a professional race car driver. You definitely need well-trained people to shoot, edit and produce video content. To produce a good video you need skills, just look at YouTube and even some White-Label Platforms and tell me if you think that is great content.
    I like to see real numbers of conversion rates by 2 to 3 times, not just "believe me' statements.

  8. Ray Welling from Zazoo, December 13, 2009 at 7:07 p.m.

    I agree with your point on how easy it is to become video-active. The Internet has reallly changed the paradigm and made it easy for small and medium-sized businesses to have the same marketing power and large multi-nationals.

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