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September 2, 2010

Web Video Content Considerations

You’ve got this hot new product that you’re sure will take the market by storm, all you have to do is get the word out, and you know the best way to make the biggest, most memorable impact is with a knock-your-socks-off viral video campaign published on your website and repurposed on YouTube.

If for some reason you doubt the value of video or its increasing impact on commercial presentation, and you need some statistical evidence to satisfy your skepticism, consult Paul Verna’s article “Companies Throw Their Weight Behind Online Video”.

You know you’ll need to support the video with a public relations blitz, and you’re investigating companies like Viral Ad Network and AlphaBird for seeding your videos so that they go viral. But how (there’s always a but) do you present your product or service so that viewers won’t dismiss your video campaign as just another sales pitch from a company that’s claiming to sell the greatest thing since Ron Popeil’s spray-on hair. The answer is both simple and difficult: simple to understand but hard to execute, and for most small and medium enterprises even harder to accept.

Start At The Beginning

Once you’ve made the decision to use Web video as a means to promote your company you have to decide if this is a project you are going to take-on in-house or outsource to professionals. Decisions. Decisions. Producing an in-house video campaign would, of course, be the cheapest solution assuming you have all the hardware and software, plus the technical, production, and marketing communication expertise to complete the task. If you don’t have all these assets at your disposal you’ll probably need to hire someone to help produce what you need, assuming that is, you actually know what you need.

Often the most critical issue in producing a Web video campaign is not how or even who produces the video but rather what you present. If you’ve already started to list the dozens of features you offer – stop! The most important element of your presentation is defining what makes you special. To determine what makes you special you need to answer the question why should anybody care; in more marketing lingo, what is your emotional value proposition? Once you have a handle on your EVP, you need to develop an affordable conceptual framework in order to present it.

These are not easy questions to answer even for people who are in the video production business. Knowing what to do is not the same as knowing how to do it. It is the main reason you should hire a professional Web video marketing communication company to produce your video campaign and not a wedding videographer or one of those cookie-cutter operations with all the interchangeable pretty people ready to spout inane platitudes. The presentation solution requires more than mere technical expertise, it requires extensive business experience, and a
grasp of what makes people tick.

Of Course This Article is Self-Serving

Being in the Web video production business, we of course would like every company interested in Web video to hire someone like us, mostly us, but whether you hire a professional or do it yourself, it is important to understand how to connect to an audience in order to make an impression and hopefully increase your customer base.

The Customer Is Not Always Right

Most customers are desperate for help but fear being taken for a financial ride by some fast-talking charlatan, or more likely today, some anonymous website that lacks any human component. As a consequence customers rely on what they think they know. Not knowing what you need to know can create a false sense of confidence leading to poor decision-making: a cognitive bias known as the Dunning-Kruger effect. This is not some ivory tower notion only useful to academics; it is one of the main reasons consumers are so cynical about everything from advertisements to politics. Unhappy consumers are a direct result of poor decision-making based on false expectations created by a lack of understanding, and frustration caused by the illusion that they know more than they do. The prime culprit is the universally accepted sales technique of telling people what they want, or expect, to hear rather than what they need to hear.

Telling people what they want to hear may get you some one-off sales but those sales will be at the expense of long-term customer loyalty. This notion applies to you as a buyer of media services and as a seller of whatever it is you sell. If you don’t understand the emotional value inherent in your offering then you will never develop a Web video campaign that will connect to your audience and establish appropriate customer expectations that result in customer loyalty and long-term sales relationships.

You know what you sell, you may even have the best features on the market, and you may actually provide quality service, but do you actually know the emotional benefit you deliver. Successful Web video depends on a producer’s ability to use the communication tools available to delivery that emotional benefit backed-up by an appropriate marketing and public relations campaign.

Presenting Your Emotional Value

Once you’ve defined the emotional benefit you provide to customers, you then must figure out how you’re going to present it to an interested audience.

Peter Marshall, film director and publisher of the ezine, “The Director’s Chair” suggests that film development, in our case Web video marketing, begins with understanding what the audience is going to SEE, HEAR, and DO. From an advertising perspective I would add a fourth requirement: what is the audience going to REMEMBER. Pretty simple stuff, isn’t it? What will your audience see, hear, do, and remember after they’ve viewed your video(s)?

What Will Your Audience See, Hear, Do, & Remember?

This is what we call the Brand Story development stage; what kind of presentation framework are you going to use? What story are you going to tell and how are you going to tell it? What is your video going to look like, sound like, and feel like; what kind of emotional response are we aiming to create? It is this emotional response that triggers action and promotes memory retention.

Web Competition: Survival of the Smartest

As video communication presentation technology becomes more and more affordable, it filters its way down to smaller enterprises, and a lot of homemade junk marketing is produced.

The thing that makes the Web so vital to small and medium enterprises is that it is a communication platform that puts smaller companies on a level competitive playing field with the big boys; but companies can only take advantage of the Web’s democratic nature if they are prepared to delivery professional presentations that connect to their audiences on an emotional level. The bar has been raised, so if you are not prepared to compete on that level, you risk putting your business at a competitive disadvantage.

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.