1. Business Video — it doesn’t have to be this way

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    Your colleague walks through your office door and announces, “let’s make a video!” Quick, what images come to mind? What feelings hit your gut? “We need: cameras, lights, production people, someone to shoot, where, when is it needed, how long will it take, what will it cost, how will we use it, …? This feels daunting, are we up to this, can we succeed, is it worth it, does this even make sense …? It would be nice, but ….” Now ask yourself: what if it doesn’t have to be this way? Video is one of the fastest growing content formats that interest both audiences and marketers. So a lot is at stake to figuring this out. Change Your Mindset Paul Ritter of Interactive Media Strategies is a seasoned analyst of the video marketplace. I asked him what he thought was holding people back from making greater use of video....
  2. I Need a Plan for 200 Videos for the Channel, Chapter Three

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    How to Produce 200 Videos For the Channel Chapter Three Max Wilson, Director of Marketing at WE-CAN Technologies, is responding to a request by the executive team to develop a plan to make 200 videos to use with the channel, (Chapter One). They had five questions for Max to answer. What is the right number of videos and why? Knowing that we need volume production, how do we do it? How do we make decisions about the value versus the cost of 200 videos? How will we collaborate with our channel partners to use the videos? What does an operating plan look like, including a budget? Max already sent an email explaining the logical volume drivers, (Chapter Two), and how he estimated that 200 videos is pretty close to the right number. Max sent the following email to Jim Everett, VP of Marketing at WE-CAN to explain how volume production will work....
  3. Who’s going to stock the (content) pond?

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      I love to look for paradox in life. Take content, for example. Content creation is undergoing a major shift from a few, centrally managed professionals, to many people, through out the organization, with varying skills, process understanding and techniques, who aren’t often managed in this process at all. And yet, we wonder why this content “sucks.” (I’ve come to appreciate this is a technical content term when used in this context, not vulgar slang use of the term.) It’s one thing to ask domain experts or writers to write short form blogs, and maybe try to find a relevant supporting image for a post. And a poor blog that takes someone a couple of hours to write, and few people read, has a relatively minimal impact on the business.   Think “Stock the Pond” In New England, if you want a good fishing experience, you look for lakes and...
  4. The Role of Content in the B2B IT Buying Process

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    Forgive the redundancy, but Ardath Albee has another good post talking about the role of content in the b2b IT buying process. She is referencing the recently released IDG 2012 Customer Engagement Study report. One major finding is enterprise IT Decision Makers engage with an average of 10 content assets during their buying process. Of course all assets won’t come from one company. But the implications for both quality and quantity of content required is important to note. Four Active Buying Personas Ardath also points out that this is for a single buyer role. In complex sales, there are often well over 4 “personas” who are active in the buying process. In fact, often, discovery of a key idea or vendor may be made by someone not even on a vendor’s “people map.” Someone is conducting research or crosses an interesting article that is forwarded to the people involved. But...
  5. I Need 200 Videos for the Channel, Chapter Two

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    How Many Videos Do We Really Need? Max Wilson, Director of Marketing at WE-CAN Technologies sent the following email to Jim Everett, VP of Marketing at WE-CAN. Jim, This is my first follow up to your previous email outlining the executive teams request for 200 videos, (Chapter One), to support our channel partners.  Their strategy for using videos to leverage our channel partners had eight objectives but also came with five questions.  The first question I will answer in this email.  It addresses the realistic number of videos required to support the channel program objectives.  I will send answers to the other four questions as soon as they are developed.  They include: How will we produce the videos? How will we make decisions about what to spend to meet our goals? How will our partners engage with us on this? What would a start-up operating plan look like for creating this...
  6. I Need a Plan for 200 Videos for the Channel

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    Chapter One Max Wilson, Director of Marketing for WE-CAN Technologies, received the following email from his boss on Monday morning. October 1, 2012 Max, Our executive team has been visiting customers and partners for the past two weeks to identify sources for our next phase of growth.  The consensus is we need to redouble our efforts to support our channel partners.  Our efforts to enhance their capabilities to sell WE-CAN solutions will be a win/win scenario.  Our executive team believes our partners can outsell the competition with our help.  They also believe, with our partners, we can lower the total cost of sales.  The executive team wants to leverage your experience and knowledge with emerging trends in content marketing, social media, and especially the use of video in revenue generation.  They have asked for a plan on how we can support the channel with an estimated 200 high impact, co-branded...
  7. But it is so easy to Buy Technology

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    The message has been the same for more than two decades.  It is easy to buy technology.  All you have to do is write a check.  Getting the technology to deliver results depends on the strategy, the vision of how a new process will be enabled, and an understanding of the skills required.  The technology industry is littered with sad stories where technology got ahead of strategy.  It appears marketers are still learning this lesson. In the past month I have been in two conversations with marketers from Fortune 100 companies about the increased demands for content by their organizations.  In both cases demand for video content had become a priority as well as a concern because of the cost.   The first thing these marketers wanted to talk about was new technology platforms that support video production.  They spoke as if the technology platform was the most important capability.  They...
  8. New Thinking About Video Opens New Video Usecases

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    Demand by your audiences for video formats is escalating precipitously. Social and mobile marketing favor video content. The high desire for video by selling organizations has never been well fulfilled. Video is a critical content format for marketers to leverage. But video has been inherently difficult to produce. It requires expertise, time and costs that have limited when and where it could be used, as well as the volume of productions. If these factors are keeping you from pursuing an aggressive video strategy, this post will challenge your current thinking and provide an alternative perspective. New Technology Lifecycle When new technology arrives it has typically been applied to common use cases and methods. The technology provided value through marginal improvements. In his classic book Brain of the Firm, Stafford Beer made the observation (paraphrasing): “the question that asks, given my business, how can I use this new technology?” is fundamentally...
  9. Rethinking Video

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    When you think about video, do you consider it predominately a visual or audio medium? I suspect most people would say visual. When we think video, we think camera. We think motion (video). But I have come to think of it as predominately an audio medium, albeit with important visual support. Indeed it is the effective combination of pictures and words together that create interesting and persuasive messages. Many years ago Al Ries and Jack Trout, acknowledged experts at the art of persuasion, wrote an article in Ad Age titled A Picture is NOT Worth a Thousand Words (sorry, no link, way before digital and web content.) In it, they debunked the myth. Historically, the written word developed because pictures could not tell the full story. A richer way of communicating was needed. Audio is the verbal delivery of words. Ries suggested a simple test. When you view television advertisements,...
  10. Theory of Postponement and Content Marketing

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    The theory of postponement is well understood in the supply chain and manufacturing world.  With solutions that have several variants, or that require customization, the process is designed to postpone adding variant features or customizations until the last possible moment.  Common sub-assemblies may be built to stock, but variants are built to order, and are assembled just before they ship.  Think of the genius in the Dell custom PC supply chain. Content creation in this era, where buyer relevance is a core principle, should leverage that same postponement philosophy.  The “new producers” on the front line of business – marketing campaign developers, bloggers, inside sales, presales, direct sales and channel partners should be able to custom assemble content just as it is needed.  They should be able to do this every day without consuming their day. To do this requires content that is pre-produced in a modular fashion that anticipates...
  11. Talking head video

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    Talking head video is the lowest form of video. It should be minimized as much as possible. It is certainly boring, and generally not very effective. It’s also a poor use of the video medium. Let’s look at why. Talking head is completely dependent on the attractiveness and delivery expertise of the talking head. Television news professionals, arguably some of the best on camera talent that exists, long ago learned the importance of “b-roll” because of the difficulty of on camera delivery. They know talking head loses attention somewhere between 15 and 30 seconds. Most business people barely communicate effectively in live conversations. On camera, amateurs really struggle to combine an effective on camera presence, a non-irritating narrative delivery, and interesting content. We have learned talking head video adds very little substantive, or even credibility value. The interest in, and credential of the speaker can be accomplished in simple ways...
  12. 7 reasons an internal slide library is an imperative

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    PowerPoint management isn’t sexy, but it is a productivity and effectiveness enhancer. In many organizations PowerPoint is a lingua franca. It is a primary way knowledge is captured and shared. Where are slides created in your company? Marketing (marcom, product marketing, field marketing), multiple vendors or contractors, training, field sales and pre-sales, executives — almost everyone creates slides. How well are they shared? How easily can you find the slide(s) you need. Everyone manages PowerPoint. Most manage it poorly. PowerPoint is typically managed as a document. But we are often looking for specific SLIDES. We want the most up-to-date slide version. We also want shows that closely fit our specific presentation situation. Custom assembly, while necessary, requires time, effort and knowledge. What if we can access and leverage the best versions for each situation? In repeated buyer surveys, purchasers want more visual content. They prefer whitepapers with more visuals. Content...
  13. To lower video costs while volume grows, change your process

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    Over the past year we have had the privilege of working with two large software companies: SAP and PTC. I’ve heard a common refrain from each that is applicable to organizations that want to lower their cost of video, even as their requirements scale. The refrain is: true value and productivity gains come from redesigning the workflow processes that software enables. Consider the alphabet soup of video assembly and production tools available to us all: Adobe, Brainshark, Camtasia, KnowledgeVision, Visible Gains and many, many others. We’ve realized value and some productivity gains from applying these software tools. Yet, we still haven’t solved the cost/volume dilemma. For this, we’ll need process change. Traditional Video Production Process So let’s look at the underlying process of traditional video production. Say to anyone, “we need to make a video,” and what images come to mind? Cameras (of course), lights, video editing software, maybe a...
  14. Four Lessons You Should Learn from Publishers

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    Content marketing would be easy if it didn’t require a steady stream of fresh, engaging, relevant content.  It’s not that developing great content is new.  It’s creating the volume and continuous development required that is new. A number of companies confront this problem by hiring a staff of writers.  As their salary line goes up they may find that it is still difficult to keep up with content needs.   Skilled story tellers still need a story.  They look to subject matter experts, some of the most knowledgeable and busy people in the company, to provide stories or knowledge.  After resolving availability issues, subject matter experts often feel the need to explain their world to a writer so that the writer can tell a story.  This requires a lot of time for SMEs who have incredibly limited availability to begin with. Unfortunately, this also doesn’t always work well.  What often happens...
  15. Content Curation in Practice

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    My day started like most days. I opened and read email, a few blogs and checked out Twitter streams. An article about recent research results on content marketing spend caught my eye. As I glanced at it (how seldom we really read things these days) data about the surge in video use and planned growth caught my eye. So, what did I do? I copied the URL and forwarded it to colleagues with a note, “this is interesting, you should read this.” We all do this, don’t we? Then my brain fired off a content marketing principle: acquire.  Always be acquiring ideas and inputs for new content. We call this content curation when content originates from a third party source (this link is an example of one use of curation). I copied the link into our content inventory (you have one of these, right?). I added the requisite information about...

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