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November 29, 2012

Promotional Videos and Net Etiquette

If you are a business owner who traffics in e-commerce, no doubt you’ve overheard a colleague – perhaps an IT person, or a web guru – tell you, “Don’t do that on the web page. Nobody likes advertising videos. It’s poor form.”

It doesn’t matter that the worker is looking at the World Wide Web from a potential customer’s viewpoint rather than a business establishment’s perspective. Much too frequently, the harried business owner, insecure about his own grasp of Internet commerce, will succumb to these types of outcries. He is terrified of turning off and repelling potential customers. But, how is that different from a network executive determining to pull all of their advertising campaigns because “folks hate marketing?”

In one critical regard, Internet commerce is no different from face-to-face purchases that have definitely run human economies for millennia. It’s this: nothing sells like a real man or woman talking to another real person. The notion that a business may be managed based on the wishes and inclinations of the customer, surfing the Web at 3 a.m., is a myth. But wait, you say. What about Amazon? iTunes?

Fair enough, but these websites are exceptions, not the rule. Besides, Amazon didn’t turn a profit until 10 years after it kicked off.

And Apple, frankly, could afford to take the numerous risks it has made over its substantially lengthier existence.

Unsuccessful online companies think that it is much easier to generate profits on the Web rather than in a brick and mortar store. The truth is, it’s not much different. Business has not changed that much. It’s the means of communication at our fingertips that has streamlined, or alternatively amended the methods we employ to communicate with one another. Of these, video promotion is the most powerful, but may be overused. Business is a push-pull partnership. It relies on interaction, and it relies on getting a person to give something up (cash, momentary convenience, time), to obtain what you’re selling. Picture if companies looked at everything from the consumer’s point of view? Precisely where would we be then?

Let’s look at some examples:

• YouTube pulls all ads from its videos, because site viewers do not like to see them. YouTube soon cannot afford to give site visitors the experience they have come to enjoy because revenue dwindles.

• A car lot gets rid of its whole entire floor sales team, because no one likes to be bothered by pushy salesmen. Fewer vehicles are sold, which affects the car dealership’s bottom line. They may have to shut their doors permanently.

• Safeway declares every Sunday an “everything’s free day.”

Do we need to go on with this?

It turns out online marketing is no different. No right-minded bricks-and-mortar small business owner would let the consumers determine the company’s marketing plans.

Nor should a small business owner whose presence is mostly online, allow customers on the Internet to establish the business’ level of success. The point? Leave the marketing to the online marketers (including video marketers). They are the ones that have your profits as their key interest. Does that mean undertaking things that some individuals find annoying or undesirable is always advantageous for you, the business owner? Certainly not. But never forget that your needs are the opposite of the consumer’s needs. They might want your services or product, but they would rather not sacrifice their money. You want the consumer’s money, but it would be cheaper and easier for you not to have to sacrifice your services or product.

Your task is to convince the customer he or she is receiving the better end of the deal, while you know that you are – and you have the annual report to confirm it.

Mike Sneed produces summaries on various facets of marketing video on the net.