Video: Now a Must and no longer a Maybe

YouTube_crazy.jpgAs a marketer, of course, I believe in video and integrating it into my overall marketing strategy. But as a project manager with a budget to manage, whenever something had to go, it would also be the video topic that would be postponed or assigned to later ”when we have more money”.

Although video is a must in any content strategy, it is also difficult to startup and even more, to maintain. Yes, you will read many blogs, especially these days, that state: Video is a MUST! 2015 was even proclamed as the year of video with 50% of online videos accounting for 50% of all mobile traffic.

Here are my top 3 tips on how to do video the right way and for the right reasons…Not only because you read a blog about it or because you want your company to be YouTube famous!


Tip 1: Be Authentic

No matter what you do, remain true to your brand. Yes, video can be your way to do something different, test the waters or think outside the box but whatever the strategy, remember your brand. No need to be boring if you are the head of marketing at a stuffy and conservative company but also no need to be making a dance video and having your staff make a lipdub to look cool. Take the time to think about your message and the goal of your video project:

– What is your message?
– Who is your audience?
– What emotions or values do you want to express in your videos? And how can you do that?
– What do you want to put forth? Your Customers? Your Product? Your Service? Your Staff?


Tip 2: Be Proud

Invest the money and produce good quality. It is that simple. I have recently gone through the experience of searching for an agency and realized that depending on the quality you want, prices can vary. But remember to keep it simple and be proud of what you produce.

If you don’t yet have a Hollywood budget than don’t look for a Hollywood storyboard!

Sometimes, we get overly excited by what is being proposed and forget what is the purpose of the video project or, other times, we are so focused on costs that we start producing shaky and cheap  videos with no intro or exit animations although we want to communicate our company’s professionalism. Can you see the confusion or possible misinterpretation?

– Take the time to go through the thought process in tip #1 and look carefully at the proposals you receive.
– Call and talk to agencies to invite the right ones to your bid and avoid being disappointed or
– Start with a good freelancer and test him out to see what he is capable of…you might be surprised and it might be enough for year 1.

To learn more about content marketing and how to keep up with the ever increasing speed of content generation, read up on the Marketing Process with my colleague Scott Vetter.

Tip 3: Be a Game-Changer

What I mean here is not to want to go viral over night or make an impact in the YouTube world but more to make a difference for your customers. Are you adding value to their overall experience? And remember to centre their needs in the goals of your project.

– Your customers are asking how to use your product? Create clear and concise tutorials that look professional, are helpful and clear.
– You want to become a reference in your market? Get your customers in front of a camera and share their best experiences with your new potential audience. It will also reinforce your business relations and add credibility amongst your partners.
– Your want to put show your great service? Share the spotlight with your staff and talk about all the great work they do in a day for your customers.
– You want to become a thought leader in your market? Interview your CEO and discuss important topics in your industry. Create content that will be shared and that can be used for years to come, by anyone.


The only way you will make a difference is by being transparent, honest and real. Produce content that you would also be proud to share and promote and remember to stay true to your brand.

Can’t see the fundamentals for the trends?

Creating a meaningful website

Natural photos and bold colours. Hero sliders and parallax feature strips. Material Design and micro-interactions. These were among the trends to watch in 2015 and the predictions for 2016. Trends are ever-changing – otherwise, they wouldn’t be trends! – and it’s important to keep up with current design and navigation preferences to give your website visitors the user experience they are seeking. However, in our rush to keep up with the online Jones’, it’s important that we don’t get lost in the trends and forget about the basic principles of a good website.  If you fail to deliver meaningful, relevant content and a welcoming, accessible user experience, you’ll end up with a pretty-looking website that still fails to engage your target audience.

Giant redwood trees, Felton, California
Photo credit: Jupiterimages / Creatas / Thinkstock / 86532049

So, what are the fundamentals?

  • Above all, identify your business objectives: What does success look like for your business? What does your website need to offer to help make that happen? What do you want visitors to accomplish on your site? What unique value do you offer them?
  • Next, define your target audiences: Who are you ideal customers? What do they want to achieve when they come to your website? What sort of content are they looking for?
  • Develop a strategy and stay focused: How will your website help your leads, qualified prospects, and customers achieve their goals? What web elements will complement your customer engagement efforts and facilitate your sales process? How can you make your site inviting and useful without being cluttered?
  • Develop your site structure with the user in mind: How does your target audience want to interact with you? How should your site menus be set up so that your valuable content is easy to find? Does your site navigation enable your visitors to achieve their objectives each time they visit?
  • Invest in the creation of compelling, intelligent content: Is your content written specifically for the web to ensure easy scanning and readability?  Have you added engaging graphics, video, and audio to augment the text? Is your content truly relevant and valuable to your target audience?
  • Make it easy for your audience to communicate with you and share your content: Do you have easy-to-use contact and feedback forms? Sharing buttons? Links to your social media channels?
  • Incorporate SEO: Did you consider Search Engine Optimization, with relevant and on-trend keywords, tags, and messaging throughout your website? Have you identified where you can provide links to external content and expert resources, and which of those expert sources are willing to provide links back to your content?
  • Foster ongoing lead generation and nurturing: Do you have Calls to Action (CTAs)that drive visitors to your website in all your promotional campaigns, social media activities, and events? Have you published blogs or articles that establish your expertise and set you apart from your competition? Have you implemented workflows that nurture leads through your sales funnel?
  • Evaluate and respond to your website traffic– Have you set up analytics tools to assess site traffic, performance and achievement of goals? Have you asked your audience for feedback on whether your site is meeting their needs? Do you have a process in place to follow up on that feedback and the results of your analysis?


Whatever the current trends or the “next big thing” may be, these essential building blocks for a successful website never change. So go ahead and add that widget or wiz-bang feature that you heard about on Twitter, but make sure they are building on, not taking the place of, your strategic, content-driven foundation.

One last thought worth mentioning: In some cases, the lines between trends and fundamentals are blurred. Case in point: Responsive Web Design has held a prominent spot in “Top 10” lists of trends for the last few years, but this has moved beyond trendy to become a design imperative – a fundamental – given the predominance of smartphone and table browsing today. Similarly, well-implemented micro-experiences promise to make a user’s interaction with your site simple, streamlined and personal. For example, “web applications where, instead of transferring to a new screen to enter some data or complete a task, the cell simply adapts to allow the task to be completed right there on the spot.”[i] Think also “of funny images, expressions, hidden functionality, smart personalized data and more.” [ii] But as appealing and user-friendly as these elements are, they will still fall short if the proper groundwork isn’t laid first.

A shrewd strategy, well-crafted content that delivers real value to your prospects and customers, and carefully considered measurement and follow-up are the roots of an effective website that will convert leads, close business, and delight customers. Make sure you can see the forest despite the trees.


[i] Source: “Web design trend predictions for 2016 – 2017” by Matthew Mombrea for Bytestream, IT World.

[ii] Source: “Top Web Design Trends To Watch In 2016” by Tomas Laurinavicius  for Forbes.I


The Marketing Process Has Changed – Has Your Content Kept Pace?

Illustration of the buyer's journey

It’s old news that customers have changed how they shop and buy. Thanks to the Internet, customers have a massive amount of information, reviews and feedback on virtually anything they want to buy, and they seek it out prior to making a buying a decision. Consumers are more in control of their purchasing behaviour than ever before. This changing dynamic has developed a new approach towards the marketing and sales process.

Companies like SharpSpring realized this discrepancy and created software tools to help create, manage and analyse inbound marketing tactics. A new perspective has evolved out of necessity to better address consumers needs. Sales and marketing are starting to work in harmony to provide a seamless experience along the prospect – consumer – brand ambassador journey.

This never-ending process is aptly depicted by Altimeter’s Dynamic Customer Journey (shown below). It’s not so much a marketing funnel or sales cycle, but an ongoing experience controlled by the customer as to how and when they choose to seek information and buy.


So what does this shift mean for your organization? How do you attract, convert, close and delight new customers? Radical inbound marketers will tell you that the old ways of marketing (e.g. broadcast media, such as newspapers, television, direct mail, cold calling) are falling on deaf ears and a waste of time. Obviously, that isn’t totally true. But, it is true that consumers are less likely to listen to uninvited messages that tell them why they need something. Consumers are now motivated to seek out the information they want, whenever they feel they need it. The intent and tone of what they seek will be to inform and enlighten, not to sell them.

Your target market may be more interested in a blog, review or rating, than a corporate brochure online. In fact, prospects often seek out information provided by anyone other than the manufacturer/seller of the product/service. They are seeking seemingly unbiased opinion (yes, I realize that is an oxymoron) to help clarify their buying decision.

For this reason, content generation has become one of the primary marketing efforts to inform, educate and subtly persuade. (Yes, marketing is still about persuading.) A mind-numbing plenitude of content is poured into the ether every day in the form of web pages, blogs, reviews, whitepapers, posts, comments, ratings, videos, presentations, animated graphics, photos, emails, texts, podcasts… Realizing that you need a content strategy to help position your information with your target market is the easy part — how do you effectively get your message to the right people at the right time?

There is no quick fix or easy means of successfully reaching out to your desired audience. Being noticed among the clamour of content relies on several skills (strategic marketing, product/service/industry knowledge, editorial strength, creative prowess, online media familiarity, SEO expertise), time (it is largely an organic process) and money (unless you are capable of doing it all yourself). Hence the growth in content marketers, strategists and experts. Taking advantage of such a professional or competent agency is probably a smart marketing investment. Certainly, including content as a central component of your marketing plan will help you to successfully reach your target audience and maintain a relationship with them.