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February 11, 2010

Seven Deadly Video Marketing Sins

So you want to develop a Web video campaign to put on your website and add to YouTube and all the other Web video directories. Maybe you even want to create a new video micro site to promote that hot new product or service you’re about to launch. You want it done right, professional, slick, and you want it to be effective. Well of course you do.

You know you need to hire a firm that has the creative staff capable of not just shooting video but professionals who can write, direct, edit, and add all the post production elements you need, including signature music, sound design and on screen text. But are there other things you need to be aware of in order to maximize the return on your investment? You bet there are.

There are lots of production companies that just want to crank out the work at the lowest cost without providing any marketing guidance as to what works and what doesn’t. Perhaps these firms don’t know the difference or perhaps they just don’t care. The company you hire should be willing to provide some advice as to the best way to present your message so that it delivers the best return on your investment. Too many Web videos are technically proficient but lack any marketing impact. The last thing you want is a bland, boring, lifeless presentation that goes in one ear and out the other.

When you’re ready to add video to your marketing and sales tool kit make sure you avoid the following seven deadly video development sins.

Doing It Wrong – 7 Web Video Mistakes To Avoid

1. The need to get it all in.

Everyone wants his or her money’s worth. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that as a general principle, but getting your money’s worth means more than hiring the cheapest bidder or cramming every possible product, service, benefit and feature into a single video.

You’re better off creating a series of shorter videos each about two to three minutes in length, and each focusing on a particular aspect or sales point. Ten minutes is generally the maximum you can hold someone’s attention, but it will be more effective if you break that ten-minute presentation into a series of shorter segments. By creating a presentation that flows from one focused video to the next, you lead your audience logically through a voyage of discovery that is far more interesting and memorable than a single over-stuffed information-onslaught that overwhelms the audience. Each video becomes an opportunity to re-enforce your marketing image and embed your brand personality by consistent use of color, style, format, and message.

2. The desire to appeal to everyone.

Whatever you sell, not everyone is going to buy it. No matter how good your offering is there are people that you are never going to convince. We believe a properly implemented video presentation is the most effective method of delivering a marketing message, but no matter what the evidence, there are some people who just won’t buy into the idea. If you try to appeal to everyone you will end-up appealing to no one and you will waste a lot of time, money and effort in the process. Trying to appeal to everyone merely dilutes your message.

By concentrating on the most appropriate market segments allows you to fine-tune your message. And if you create a series of videos each highlighting a different aspect of your offering as described earlier, people will be able to pick and choose what they are interested in and what they want to watch. In this way your audience won’t get bored or frustrated by listening to things they may already know, or are just not interested in hearing.

3. The fear of commitment.

Marketing is all about creating an identifiable, unique identity, a personality that people will recognize and remember: a brand. It’s what will set you apart from your rivals and give you a competitive edge; if done right, it’s the one thing your competitors can try to copy but will never be able to duplicate.

Success requires a commitment to your brand image and to the marketing strategy from which it flows. Strategy is the big idea that guides everything related to your business, and it should not be confused with tactics. Tactics are the ways you implement strategy. If you confuse strategy and tactics, you will find yourself running in circles never accomplishing anything.

If you commit to and successfully target one market segment, you not only establish and enhance your brand image but you also create a ‘drag effect.’ For example, the success of Apple’s iTunes and iPods dragged their computer sales along with it. Once people became Apple customers for one product they were more likely to buy another; and even though iPod advertising was originally aimed at a youth-oriented market, it’s success dragged both younger and older consumers along for the sales ride.

4. The need to accommodate everybody’s agenda.

As companies grow they hire new people, and wherever there are groups of people there are opposing opinions, and opinions can very easily turn into agendas. Your sales people want lower prices, your accountant wants higher prices, and your advertising people want something new; everyone has an agenda and they all conflict with each other. The result is compromise. And compromise kills brand personality and corporate identity.

Even big companies with deep pockets and access to any and every expert in the world are susceptible to agenda creep. Take the fast food giant McDonald’s for example. Their television advertising is all over the place. They use different themes, different approaches, and even different music in almost every commercial, each aimed at a different market with a different product offering. The only thing that seems to be consistent is the logo and signature jingle that is slapped on to the end of each spot. As individual commercials they my stand up, obviously they have high production qualities but as a marketing message strategy they become mere advertising noise rather than building on each other to form a coherent approach and brand message. What they seem to want to say is that McDonald’s is for everyone no matter what age or food preference, and that kind of approach only leads to a muddled message. McDonald’s may get away with it in the short term because they are McDonald’s and have a long history of effective advertising. Whether McDonald’s simultaneous multiple campaign approach is the result of a desire to accommodate different agendas, or just designed to appeal to everybody doesn’t matter, the result is the same – muddled messaging.

5. The lack of vision.

And speaking of corporate identity, do you have one? Do you have a vision, a point-of-view, an attitude; a perspective on how you can best serve your clients. The idea of a corporate vision is something that is easy to ignore, after all, how much is a corporate vision worth? It’s not like you can go on eBay or Amazon and download one for a few bucks.

I recall seeing a documentary on a very successful clothing manufacturer. The founder of the company was reviewing the company’s latest line of running shoes. He looked at the shoes, looked at the product manager, and said, “Where’s the logo?” to which the product manager answered, “We can add it anywhere.” The company CEO in no uncertain terms told the executive that that wasn’t good enough. The logo represented the company and the company represented a particular lifestyle. The shoe being presented was just another shoe and that was not acceptable. The shoe needed to fit the ideal for which the company stood. The CEO had a vision and everything the company did had to conform to that vision. Developing and presenting a unified corporate vision is how you create a brand and how you build a business.

6. The fear of failure.

No matter how good you are, you are bound to have some failures. These are learning experiences from which you can develop new and improved initiatives. Building a brand identity is a slow and continuous process and it doesn’t always move forward without some bumps in the road. Sometimes what initially appears to be a failure is not a failure at all, but rather the foundation for future more successful efforts. As long as your company has a vision of who it is, what it does, and why your audience should care, and as long as you stick to that vision, you will ultimately find a way to get your message across as long as you keep trying.

Like any kind of advertising program, whether it’s video, print, or anything else, one-shot efforts almost never show results.

7. It’s all about the features.

The insistence on promoting features without tying them to an emotional benefit is one of the most common marketing mistakes made. You may be offering your customers the most features available but unless you also offer them an emotional value proposition, you will never get beyond the whose-the-cheapest kind of sale.

No matter what features you add to your product or service, you know your competitors will follow with something better, and probably at a lower price. It’s a game no smart marketing executive should play. Discovering the emotional value in your product or service is not always easy when viewed from an internal perspective. If you haven’t discovered what that underlying subliminal value is and how to communicate it then your producer needs to help you find it. It’s the most important element in building long-term marketing success.


There you have it, the seven deadly video marketing development sins. No one said this stuff is easy. It would be nice if you could just look at your analytics, and eureka, a marketing solution would appear, but that’s not the way it works. Marketing is a psychological marathon that takes time, commitment, practice, and a good coach you can call on to move you in the right direction.

Jerry Bader is Senior Partner at MRPwebmedia, a website design and marketing firm that specializes in Web-video Marketing Campaigns and Video Websites. Visit,, and Contact at or telephone (905) 764-1246.