So you need help with your video marketing…

With today being the fourth Tuesday of the month, it was time once again for a Strategic Marketing Peer-to-Peer session down at Communitech. This morning’s presenter was Michael Litt, the co-founder and CEO of Vidyard, and the room could barely contain the crowd that showed up to learn about video marketing.

If this video strategy sounds familiar, then you might want to read about what Michael had to say.

From what I’ve seen, there’s been a transition in the recent past from skepticism about the effectiveness and necessity of video marketing to a realization that it’s an important part of a communications strategy. For me, the clincher is that prospects (even in a B2B environment) want to get information and content through video. Sure, they might come to your company’s website, but many would rather watch or listen to a clip than read through pages of content. In marketing, you should go where your customers are and you should speak to them using the medium they prefer. Buuuut, for any remaining skeptics, Michael began his presentation with a number of statistics¹.

In marketing, you should go where your customers are and you should speak to them using the medium they prefer.

So how did Michael get his start? Well, he and some pals originally had a video content company, and they differentiated themselves by offering a guarantee backing their videos: 60% of viewers would watch until the end, and if they didn’t, then you’d get a new video until the 60% figure was achieved. In practice, they found out that nine times out of 10, the 60% mark wasn’t achieved. To study the reasons for people bailing out, they built a platform to provide metrics for the videos. Upon realizing that they had built the world’s first video marketing platform, they switched from being a content company to being a platform company. Metaphorically, they stopped digging for gold and started selling shovels…really smart shovels.

Upon realizing that they had built the world’s first video marketing platform, they switched from being a content company to being a platform company.

Michael describes the metrics that Vidyard provides as being “digital body language”, because they give you a tremendous understanding of how your video content is being consumed and experienced.

  • What parts get replayed?
  • What triggers someone to bail? Here’s one thing: a logo in the first few frames is an express ticket to bail-out city. As a marketer, you might know this already, but can you prove it to your CEO with metrics?
  • What devices are they using? Answer: phones in the morning, laptops/desktops during the day, and tablets at night. Here’s a related tidbit from my own job: 20% of Internet traffic from households is caused by mobile devices.
  • How many of your videos has the same person watched?

Couple this insight with marketing automation platforms (MAPs) and customer relationship management (CRM) software, and you’ve got yourself a pretty powerful collection of interconnected tools with which to launch your global marketing campaigns.

Being an engaging speaker, Michael asked the audience how many people are using video as part of their marketing tactics today? 25-30 hands went up. Next, he asked how many were proud of their video marketing? 4 or 5 hands stayed in the air. Now, it could just be that marketers, as a whole, are incredibly humble; more likely, it’s that we really think our video execution stinks.

Now, it could just be that marketers, as a whole, are incredibly humble; more likely, it’s that we really think our video execution stinks.

Michael believes that your videos should aim to achieve, at a minimum, 60% attention from your target audience; that is, 60% of each video should be watched, on average, either contiguously or in chunks. His advice if your videos are failing to achieve that mark? Take them down and do it again.

In the past, the mantra was to make your videos as short as possible while still managing to convey your message, but in Michael’s opinion size no longer matters; it’s engagement that counts.

…size no longer matters; it’s engagement that counts.

When you find individuals who watch 80% of your videos, stick them in your nurturing campaign. Michael also suggests that your marketing funnel should have a fairly linear relationship to your video engagement. That is:

  • Your top of funnel content should aim for 60% engagement
  • Your bottom of funnel (conversion) should aim for 100%
  • In the middle, you should aim for 80%

Another key message Michael conveyed was that “the riches are in the niches”². Translated, this means that you don’t need a Super Bowl budget or ad to get a spectacular ROI – you can effectively target only your buyers for a fraction of the cost of a traditional campaign and can turn that targeting into a solid pipeline (Michael shared several case studies to support this assertion). Metaphorically, and Orwell himself would be proud of this one, this approach is the difference between trying to drive in a nail with a nuke, or doing so with a hammer.

But how exactly do you set up your video funnel? Here’s Michael’s advice:

  • Interest: 15% of your video content
  • Learning: 25%
  • Evaluation: 40%
  • Justification: 20%
  • …purchase!

In his model, a lead goes from being a marketing qualified lead (MQL) to a sales qualified lead (SQL) when they cross from learning to evaluating. Additionally, you should encourage the advancement with calls to action, and you can increase the length of the videos (and target increased engagement) the deeper you go.

In his denouement, Michael hit us with a handful of points:

  • There’s no excuse nowadays for not making good quality videos: your smartphone can probably shoot 1080p and there is high-quality, free, video editing software out there
  • There are good ways and bad ways of using YouTube: you probably want your own channel, and your best conversion might be to bring people back to your webpage; enabling comments can backfire badly, and without a channel YouTube might recommend to users related videos that actually trash your product³
  • Vidyard makes extensive use of A/B testing: they never show a video on the site without testing at least three thumbnails, and are increasingly using animated GIFs as the thumbnail
  • The future of video marketing is short clips on the web: cord-cutting is on the rise, and with streaming boxes people are just flicking your web video onto their big-screen TV…never before has a fresh-faced marketer been on the same playing field as a company with a $100 million marketing budget

…then he closed things off with four final points:

  1. Optimize for reengagement
  2. Video everywhere…that’s how your audience wants to hear your message
  3. Build content for the buyer…target!
  4. Test, test, test

So there you have it!

My thanks to Michael for sharing his experience and insights with us, and as always to Communitech for setting things up.

¹Yes, yes, I know that lying with statistics is very easy

²Is there a word for something that “rhymes” visually but not phonetically?

³Michael’s example of what not to do on YouTube was BlackBerry. The top comment on their main Playbook video was “This is the crappiest tablet I’ve ever seen”, and YouTube recommendation engine was for videos like “Comparing the Playbook to an iPad” and “Why the iPad is better than the Playbook”. Who’s using YouTube well? The Home Depot, as evidenced by this.


Lee Brooks is the founder of Cromulent Marketing, a boutique marketing agency specializing in crafting messaging, creating content, and managing public relations for B2B technology companies.

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Posted in Advertising, Marketing
One comment on “So you need help with your video marketing…
  1. […] and their advocacy for and involvement in the local community. I’d seen their CEO, Michael Litt, speak at a previous P2P, so I was looking forward to this […]

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