With the proliferation of hand-held cameras, everybody and their brother is a director. That’s fine. We’re all entitled to indulge our inner Scorsese (whether the final cut should be for public consumption is another story). However, producing online video to push product can be tricky, especially when sales reps on the front line are conditioned to selling through more traditional means.
For most mid-size companies (privately held) in the $5 million to $100 million range, the use of online video remains on the margins, according to Russell Riendeau, Ph.D., senior partner of The East Wing Group, an executive search firm, whose clients include GE Plastics, Getty Images and Pella Windows.
“They’re not doing it because of budgeting dollars, but haven’t explored the power of online video and haven’t been repurposing their marketing dollars,” Riendeau said, adding that roughly 70% of his b-to-b clients are not currently using online video as a sales and marketing vehicle.
“When you show [online] video of services you see a plant, it’s noisy, people are walking around, products are getting out the door and by seeing this the customer starts to feel like part of the process,” he said. The cost of a five-minute video ranges from $5,000 to $10,000, according to Riendeau. “It’s cheaper than brochures that get tossed.”
With an increasingly visual culture, online video embedded throughout a company’s Web site is starting to become a given. But there are several other ways to harness online video. For example, sales rep can integrate video (that is related to their products and services) with their e-mail messages; include a DVD version of the video in direct marketing materials and PowerPoint presentations and set up their own YouTube channel. If a video running on YouTube strikes a positive chord with customers, it can ostensibly go viral.
“Sales reps can pull up a video to show what the company makes and what the company can deliver,” Riendeau said. “The action of a video ties into the underlying emotion of the buyer, which gives sales reps more times to ask questions, demonstrate the value of the product and build trust.”
Earlier this year 72% of U.S. Internet users watched video clips monthly—making video bigger than blogging or social networking, according to a report published by eMarketer. Online ad spending on video is expected to grow to $1.9 billion in 2011, from $1 billion in 2009, eMarketer said. In a similar vein, here is an update of the “Shift Happens” video, with facts and stats focusing on the dramatically changing media landscape.
“A lot of companies still associate video with entertainment,” said Adrian Dinu, co-owner of Post Meridian, a post production company specializing in corporate video, who has worked with Riendeau and whose clients include Insight Media, Navistar and Sara Lee. “They haven’t yet made the jump of using video as a form and a message in the same way they do static photography.” (In this video piece, Dinu and Riendeau discuss how businesses can benefit from using online video as a marketing vehicle.)
Although there is a growing number of chieftains and business managers who embrace online video, there is an equal number of executives who are reluctant to put themselves (or their employees) in front of the camera. “Executives sometimes say, ‘What if someone doesn’t like it?’ Well, if so you may have to rejigger your products or services,” Dinu said. “In today’s world, video is a valuable way for you to get your products and services out there and find out if you’re selling or not selling.”