Mike Connell

The Big Question: How Important is Video Marketing?

By: Mike Connell | August 3, 2018 | 
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Video MarketingI love video content.

Let me rephrase that.

I love consuming video content, but I despise making it.

Let me rephrase again: I love video content, but I hate being IN it…

That’s not a huge impediment to what I do because, well, #writing, but ultimately I do recognize the value of video… as long as I’m not in it.

Why would I video myself saying things into my phone? Won’t that just distract people from my amazing words?

When you ask the question like that, it kind of answers itself, no?

Still, that got us thinking. How important is video to our overall content mix?

It’s important, to be sure, but how important?

How about you? If it’s absent from your content strategy, do you absolutely need to add it? How much should you layer in?

So, the next Big Question focuses on video:

How important is video marketing in your content strategy? Is there such a thing as too much? Too little?

Does it depend?

Video Marketing: You’re Asking the Wrong Question

We received a huge number of answers to this one. Overwhelmingly, the answer was “very important,” along with the suggestion that we were asking the wrong question!

From Rachel Kay Albers:

Video content is where it’s at—why be scrambling to play catch up later?

Experts predict that video will drive 80 percent of online traffic within the next year, so companies need to include video NOW to stay relevant, as opposed to scrambling to make up for lost time in 2019.

The question isn’t, “Do I absolutely HAVE to add video to my strategy now?” but “What and who am I losing from failing to connect with my audience with video?”

While text-based content is still king in terms of driving search engine traffic, video is king for the “know, like, trust” factor.

Video builds intimacy and trust with your audience faster. NOT using video in content marketing means you have to work harder to gain your audience’s confidence; this means pumping more time and resources into research, content writing, and promotion.

For an example of video marketing that is as funny as it is relevant, check out the Awkward Marketing web show.

Video Marketing: Hooked on a Feeling

We asked about different forms of storytelling last week, and the prevailing opinion was that emotion is key to telling a good story.

Guy Bauer agrees, although he feels (you’ll see what I did there in a few) that video doesn’t need to be as in your face as it used to.

Now, the channel/format is used to stir up those initial feelings and get the viewer into the funnel.

A few years ago videos were used to explain a product or service in detail, ie. the rise of animated explainer videos.

Now I see brands wanting to merely agitate an issue with their key audience using video, and then softly offer up their product or service.

They will then use more personal means like phone calls or meetings to close the sale.

The videos we’re making now are more creative and really only have to imbue a *feeling* to audiences (which is a welcome change!).

Dell EMC Scale gives the viewer the *feeling* of scale, but doesn’t explain their solution in its entirety.

Edward-Elmhurst Health/The Veteran is meant to get their employees to care about the patient experience.

Instead of talking heads of VPs and b-roll of happy smiley employees, we told a simple story that gives people the *feeling* of patient care.

Video Marketing: Up the Ante

Again, this week’s question didn’t elicit the same kind of polarity many of our other queries have received.

Without exception, everyone agrees that video marketing is important, but their rationale behind that agreement varied slightly.

Rachel and Guy acknowledged the inevitable need for video marketing but focused on what it was good at.

Jessica McCune agrees, arguing that the goal, as ever, should be quality content.

But she also notes that video is often viewed as that next step. An upping of the ante in order to satisfy our near-insatiable desire for content of any kind.

Video marketing is a vital piece of content marketing you should absolutely be utilizing.

People are no longer satisfied with reading blog posts or articles, they would rather watch a video covering the topic that they can consume in a couple of minutes or less.

A perfect example is your Facebook newsfeed. For most people, it’s filled with mostly videos from pages they like.

Making videos doesn’t have to be time-consuming or difficult. Talk about what you know, give highlights from your blog posts, do demos of your products, interview your happiest customers.

The goal is the same as all of your other content: provide high quality, valuable content that benefits your target customer in some way.

Video Marketing: You Need to Sizzle

We try to keep the Big Question promotion free.

What does that mean? Well, we try to keep it about the question, and the answers.

We provide a link back to the person providing the response, but we try to avoid including too much self- or brand-promotional content in the responses themselves.

For example, Mitch Goldstone submitted his company’s pitch video to illustrate why video marketing is so important.

At first blush, I admit I rejected the submission. It was just too self-promotional to add value to the conversation.

And then I watched the video, and I changed my mind.

The production value isn’t amazing (no offense, Mitch… I love it. It’s effective and it sounds like it does wonders for you and your brand), but that’s kind of the point.

Video is important, assuredly, but is production quality a barrier to entry?  Clearly not.

From Mitch:

This single 18-second video is our entire marketing campaign.

Remember the adage “a picture is worth a thousand words?” In today’s social media world, you have seconds to grab attention.

Businesses need to showcase their differentiating sizzle in seconds. We use this video in most of our social media messages to explain what we do.

As noted, the video production quality isn’t the highest level, but it truly does communicate in seconds what would be difficult to relay in words in the same amount of time.

Yes, There is Such a Thing as Too Much Video

Lisa Shepherd also agrees that video marketing is very important, but she does advise caution:

We’ve all seen the news that video will represent 114 percent of all content consumed online by 2019. (Yes, I’m being facetious with that statistic.)

But the headlines about how much video is being consumed are misleading and might make marketing managers feel that they need to switch all their content to video, as of yesterday. That isn’t the case.

Yes, video is important and I do recommend that it is included in every company’s marketing, even if it’s just a 60-second explainer video.

But no, video need not be everything you do in your content strategy.

Yes, there is such a thing as too much video.

In B2B marketing, it’s essential to have a mix of channels and media in order to appeal to the many different buyers involved in any purchase decision (on average, there are more than 4 people involved in a B2B purchase).

What appeals to a CFO might not be the same thing as appeals to the head of HR or the head of engineering. Video might help in some cases, but it won’t work in all cases.

Video Marketing: One is Enough

As ever, the Spin Sucks community was eager to weigh in on the video marketing issue.

From Alex Yong:

Zero = too little. Even doing one shows you care or at least that you give a fig, or that you’re at the very least pretending to care.

Zero video sometimes means a brand doesn’t care about refining their messaging or they’re too scared to appear imperfect or worried about real costs and time costs.

So when a brand has zero videos, people will impute any number of things based on that—things which may or may not be true. People will infer things anyway and even more so if you have no videos.

Lots of hand-wringing comes from whether to invest huge for ultra-polished videos created with pro help or to do tons of free DIY “authentic” daily video.

For the last three-to-five years, the latter has without a doubt become trendy.

Often to the point of excessive. As with many things, a middle ground is often a beautiful place—this is probably true in video strategy too.

Video creation on the cheap in 2018 is available to everyone, and some types require barely any time, so when you don’t have any videos you’re inviting judgment, and that judgment might be inaccurate or unfair.

Video Marketing and Personal Branding

Katie Robbert made an interesting comment on video marketing and how it could apply to a job search:

Because video is such a valuable way to do storytelling, job seekers should be creating videos about themselves, or their work, just as a professional brand would.

To not word-for-word quote Chris [Penn], you’re selling your most valuable asset—yourself.

Video Marketing: Keep it Simple

At the outset of our Spin Sucks Community discussion, I explained how bad I thought I was at video in general, and Betsy Decillis (in all seriousness, I think) said:

I purposely don’t put on makeup and I wear a t-shirt I pulled out of a pile of tees. Does that make me good at video?

To which I responded: Yes. Yes, it does.

Betsy elaborated (proving my point. Mike = Right):

People get into the headspace that video is too complicated.

I used my iPhone the other day and just recorded a steel drum concert. Fans went nuts.

Another time, I just chatted with a chef about how excited he was to join my client. By far one of our best posts, and all I used was the iPhone again and a mic for sound quality.

It doesn’t have to be big. It doesn’t have to be an event. It doesn’t have to be complicated.

Just something you and your fans are passionate about (like that one time I did a live video of Fiona the Hippo). Just point your phone and go.

Video Marketing: Relatability

From Sandra Stahl:

I find video most effective when it really relatable for the target audience, and strikes some kind emotional chord. It surprises, or makes the intended audience laugh, cry, think and then take action. Here is my favorite: ‘Leakers Anonymous‘ for a brand called PeriCoach ticks every box—targeted to women dealing with urinary incontinence.

Emily Binder agrees:

Miki Agrawal is doing great stuff in femtech as well. She founded THINX. Her company Tushy has really fun content (bidets).

This is her incontinence product, Icon. A different approach (more feature/benefit, less entertaining), but overall videos for all Miki’s products are very good, fresh.

Video Marketing: The Last Word

This week, we’ll give the last word to Christopher Penn. Chris is all about video.

If you ask him a question, he’ll often pull you into a live video chat.

If you are discussing a Spin Sucks guest contribution, he will push for a recorded submission (with, of course, an AI-compiled transcript).

From Chris himself:

Video is ESSENTIAL today. It’s the root of all rich content marketing and the key to content marketing at scale. One video becomes a dozen pieces of content.

Chris was also kind enough to provide some video marketing tips, along with his very own process for creating a new video every weekday (recorded on video, of course). You’re welcome (from Chris).

Up Next: Is the Medium the Message?

In the 1960s, Canadian communications theorist and philosopher, Marshall McLuhan, surmised: no matter how powerful or persuasive the message, it’s ultimately the media that have changed our patterns of thought and behavior.

The medium is the message.

Now, in a world dominated by the internet and social media, McLuhan’s postulations are, perhaps, even more relevant.

What say you? In a world where we communicate with emoji, text, live video, long- and short-form written content is the medium, itself, the driving force?

Or, is the message—the story—the main point, regardless of how it is told?

We know stories are important. Storytelling is huge. But how those stories are told is constantly evolving.

The next Big Question asks:

Is the medium the message, or is the message, itself, paramount?

You can answer here, in our free Spin Sucks Community, or on the socials (use #SpinSucksQuestion so we can find you).

About Mike Connell


Mike Connell is the director of client services at Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. He is also a contributor to the award-winning PR blog, Spin Sucks, the leading source for modern PR training, trends, and insights. Find more of Mike's musings on his blog, Communative. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

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