The 6 Reasons Why Your Corporate Video Production Fails
Like many businesses, you’ve probably bought into the notion that corporate video production is a “must have” tool for your marketing toolbox. You’ve heard that video is a great way to engage consumers, establish authority and trust, nurture leads and drive traffic. Video can accomplish those things when done well, but most local (read “small”) corporations’ videos are not done well. What does this mean?
Corporations, are well, corporate, and think in terms of return on investment (not a bad thing in business), but too often want immediate ROI. This narrow “results now” thinking is what leads many marketing video productions to fail.
Here’s are 6 reasons why your corporate video may not succeed:
1) You Don’t See the Value in Valuable Content
Yes, sales is at the heart of your business, whether you sell a product or a service, and certainly some of your videos will and should feature services and products. You will produce sales oriented video, but, if you are focused on sales alone, you are missing the point of corporate video content marketing.
What is content marketing? Joe Pulizi, sage content marketing expert defines it well in his article What is Content Marketing.
Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.
In a nutshell, “give and you shall receive”.
To accept that it works is not easy, you have to invest now for later, not today. If your content marketing is a continuous cycle of valuable material, it will pay off for a bunch of “nows” that exist in the future. Eventually, some of those “future nows” will become “Now nows”. Confused?
Let This Example of Content Marketing “Make Up” for Any Confusion
Consider Lauren Luke, a working class Geordie lass from South Shields, England, who went from taxi dispatcher to running what is perhaps the most watched YouTube cosmetics channel, having her own book, making TV appearances, and launching a cosmetics line. Ms. Luke began selling wholesale cosmetics on eBay in her spare time to help make ends meet, then began her own YouTube channel providing makeup tips, makeup tutorials and celebrity-inspired makeover videos.
Lauren did it because she knew people wanted and needed this valuable content. Her YouTube channel views slowly grew, then buzzed, then exploded. Currently, Lauren’s channel, panacea81, (named by combining the name of the Greek goddess with the year of Lauren’s birth) has 135 million views and over a half million subscribers. Mary Kay and Estee Lauder could learn a thing or two about content marketing from Lauren. These two international brands have approximately 60,000 subscribers combined.
Lauren’s channel was valuable, shareable content. It grew by word of mouth until the buzz caught the media’s attention. Lauren appeared on talk shows, gave interviews, was the subject of a documentary and was invited by the Guardian to write her own makeup article. Now, Lauren sells her own line of makeup in Sephora stores in North America and has published a book entitled “Looks by Lauren”. Lauren’s life as a taxi company dispatcher is in a fast-fading past. Why? She gave. Her videos were “customer-centric” not “sales-centric”. Her goal was not to become famous, or generate leads. Her goal was to provide valuable, useful, engaging material to fulfill a need and solve a problem she knew existed.
What’s the lesson here? Give and you shall receive. Lauren gave, selflessly, and has said that she is bewildered by the outcome of her selfless action.
We know what you might be thinking. The chances of a corporate video going viral like Lauren Luke’s channel are slim to none. Yes, this is true, but, the fact is that great content was the driving factor behind Lauren’s success. THAT is the point. She didn’t try to become a YouTube sensation. She thought more about what she gave people than what was in it for her. What great craft did she create? How-to videos. Her example is the perfect illustration of how small corporations and businesses can create valuable content without a huge budget if they give, contribute value, and understand the needs of their audience (or customers). Lauren did it with a laptop camera and a simple idea.
Lauren Luke is trusted, has established herself as the “go-to girl” for makeup tips, and that trust and authority is helping her succeed in business. Your business may not be cosmetics, but, if you run a company you do have expertise, and that expertise can be given freely without fear of “giving away the store”. Give…and you shall receive. Giving attracts attention. Remember AIDA from marketing 101? “Attention” (as in “get the customer’s attention”) is the first word in that well-worn advertising acronym.
2) You are “Sell”fish
We’ve all seen the late-night “Slap Chop” or “ShamWow” type of videos on TV. You can learn something about selling from watching them, but they are a very different animal than most corporate video productions. Why? The infomercial has two advantages: a huge budget for the production and an equally massive (and immediate) audience. The sheer volume of viewers generates sales. Even if SlapChop was “CrapChop” it would sell.
SlapChop doesn’t care about nurturing leads or earning consumer trust over time. SlapChop guy Vince Shlomi is in your face selling from start to finish. Infomercials can afford to be sales-centric (something we like to call “sell-fish”) because they are all about converting RIGHT NOW. But, most Vancouver area corporations are not SlapChop. You probably don’t have an infomercial budget, so, if you employ similar techniques (extolling the virtues of your products or services) in corporate video production, you will not produce similar results.
SlapChop guy can and must, in the words of Alec Baldwin’s character Blake in Glengarry Glen Ross, “Always Be Closing”.
“Only one thing counts in this life”, Blake rants at his beleaguered sales team. “Get them to sign on the line which is dotted!” But for your business, there is a second thing that counts: lead nurturing.
3) You Need to Re-learn Your ABCs
The tired sales acronym for “Always be Closing” is “ABC”. For video content marketing purposes, it should stand for “Always Be Contributing”, or, “Always be Nurturing” (though ABN just doesn’t have the same ring to it). By “contributing” we mean giving something. A valuable something. That is the nature of relationship building, and creating a relationship should be central to your corporate video production efforts. You give something of value: solve a problem, teach a skill, inform and possibly entertain, and, sometimes you sell.
Why should you care about contributing? When you give something valuable to people, freely, you build trust. Your otherwise faceless, nameless company becomes a personality, a likable, trustworthy authority – like Lauren Luke in our example above. If this theme is central to your video marketing, you will succeed, over time. You, as Copyblogger‘s Sonia Simone wrote (and we’re paraphrasing) will attract customers by “casting a net” rather than by “harpooning” them. As Simone’s article points out, the harpoon is a one-shot deal. The net Simone describes, on the other hand, attracts and encourages prospects, creating a relationship by offering useful and relevant content.
Does Copyblogger’s content marketing vision translate to video? Yes. Video is content. Video can inform, educate, give, foster trust, solve problems, and certainly has the potential to be much more entertaining than written copy which requires an audience’s active attention.
You don’t always have to sell.
4) You Don’t Know Your Customer
Hi, I’m John Smith from Widget Corp, the most trusted name in Widgets since 1999. We are the widget experts for all of your widget needs. Our widgets are cheaper, faster and built to last.
Sound familiar? Many corporate videos quickly lapse into obvious, sledge-hammer marketing pitches. Do you really think your potential customers will be convinced by this? Anyone can say anything. So why should we take Widget Corp’s word over Widget Ltd’s word? They both sell widgets. They both say they’re cheap. They both say they sell quality, long lasting widgets. So who gets the sale or referral? The company that attracts attention, is seen as an authority, is likeable and earns trust.
If you know your customer, you can give them what they want. Sometimes that will be “sales-centric” (a promotional offer for example), but what other problems do they have that you might solve? You have to know your customers to answer that question.
5) Your Customers Don’t Trust You
Bob Burg, business expert, leadership teacher, business influencer and author is often quoted for what he calls his Golden Rule of Networking:
All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.
“The Go-Giver”, a best-selling book by Burg, is a parable about an ambitious salesman whose sales are faltering, who goes on a journey and learns Five Laws of Stratospheric Success, which are:
The Law of Value:Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.
The Law of Compensation:Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.
The Law of Influence:Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first.
The Law of Authenticity:The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself.
The Law of Receptivity:The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving.
There is no law in the five steps that reads: “Put the sale or your needs first and convince people with empty words and self-congratulatory superlatives that they should buy from you.”
6) You Aren’t Solving a Problem
Half of what we need in life are solutions to problems: some big, some small. Sometimes solutions come from within and sometimes they come from kind and trustworthy people who share their knowledge freely so that you need not suffer the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”. They take the hit for you, and you get the solution without suffering battle scars in the process. That is the soul of content marketing. Who earns your trust more than someone who helps you without asking for something in return? In business, you may not be solving life’s bigger problems, but you, as an expert at something, can give your expertise, freely, and earn the trust of your customers.
When creating a video, think about the problems you might solve for current or potential customers. Is your video really providing an answer, or is it merely selling?
Earn trust by providing valuable content to your customers. If they know, like and trust you, they are more likely to purchase your products or services. Think about their needs, not yours. Sell sometimes, but solve some problems freely. Remember that you are an expert with knowledge that people need to solve their problems. Give, and you shall receive.
If you have questions about creating valuable video content for your customers, contact Backlot Media for a free consultation and estimate. We’re always happy to answer questions about corporate video production.
About the Author
John Durrant is Executive Producer and founder of Backlot Media – a Vancouver video production company providing website video production, video marketing and advertising creative services to growing BC businesses.