YouTube Is The Fun Choice, Not The Smart One

We've all seen the stampede to incorporate online video into marketing programs of all sizes. Think recent campaigns from Apple, GM, Coca-Cola or Hyundai. However, many marketers, brand managers and media professionals continue to overlook a crucial component when tackling online video. The primary goal when deploying this kind of programming is to provide compelling online content for key audiences that garners and maintains consumer's attention and trust, not simply to copy what people are doing online for fun (see MySpace and YouTube) in a grandiose hope that it goes viral.

Despite the rise in popularity of new media, there are still a number of marketing pros who still need to be convinced that the use of these programs will not only provide a return on their investment, but will help them extend their brands to new audiences. This confusion between consumer and business tactics contributes to professionals' hesitance to jump fully on board with Web video. But the real problem is not with content, as marketing clips should (and must) be every bit as creative as popular clips on YouTube; instead, it lies in the delivery of this content. Only a handful are approaching video with the same care as one would any other medium.

Regardless of whether your company is looking to outsource a specific campaign or bring video creation in-house, serious businesses need to proceed with a certain level of control over the content they present to the masses. This means the clips should be fully branded, the content should be trackable and it should be shared on the company's terms.

Webcasts can be sent to an email list or delivered on-demand from a link on the company home page. Podcasts can be pushed through an RSS feed or available for download off a brand's site. Either way, a company needs to link itself directly with the content and keep viewers coming back for more. Otherwise, there's a good chance that an entertaining clip on YouTube will do more to promote YouTube than it will to sell your product.

As video is increasingly deployed, more and more brands will benefit from a smart, creative approach to selling and marketing a company, product or philosophy. Only then will the line truly separate the innovative from those unwilling to make the true leap -- to a smarter, cost-effective way of marketing their business.

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