Risk of User-Generated Video Content

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I’m really interested in John Jantsch’s new book The Referral Engine. But I’m not sure I’ll be reading it.

I have a full reading list and limited time. I primarily read material referred to me from a trusted source. It’s a new book, so I’m waiting for reviews to emerge.

That’s why today I jumped on the Twitter link to this “review” by Jim Kukral.

Warning: there is some negativity in this blog, delivered in the spirit of feedback and insight, born of disappointment and frustration.

A Review IS a Referral

Think about it. A “review” is a referral. I would hope that a book about referrals would teach someone how to provide a referral. This glaring omission in this particular review has me questioning whether it’s missing from the book as well.

I’m making these criticism because we’re dealing with professionals here. Not some geek … oops, after writing that I went back to Jim Kukral’s website bio only to read (his words) “I’m a geek marketer.” NO, really?

But he is a professional marketer, writer and speak. He’s important enough that John forwarded a free, pre-release copy of his book for the review.

My primary point is not the poor quality of the review or video production. Although the poor content, production and delivery quality is relevant to my main point.

Organizational Risk

This video is a terrific example of what companies should fear when they think of user generated video content. And this was from a professional reviewing a high profile marketing and selling book.

Just because we can turn on a webcam, record a talking head and throw it up on YouTube doesn’t mean we should. John Chambers of Cisco has bought the company that makes the Flip camera. He’s advocating that sales people record their own customer video testimonials.

Is your organization ready for this? What about the adverse and unintended consequences?

Are you ready to address the issues and impact on quality and brand, perceptions about your company, best practices, standards, “costs” (more than but including monetary costs), legal, and wasted time, to name just a few?

Sales people and marketers do find video content especially compelling. Imagine “arming” your sales channel with PowerPoint, print brochures or PDFs when your competition is delivering relevant, compelling video. Reminds me of the old sales cartoon where the Indians are storming the fort and the general doesn’t have time to meet with the salesman selling the brand new gatling gun!

What’s a marketing function to do?

Think Like a Publisher

This is a fantastic opportunity to “think like a publisher.”

Publishers have specialists that perform different duties to publish the finished product. Some acquire source content, others edit, manage, editorialize, write, layout, etc.

The potential of video communications is so compelling it won’t be stopped. The question is will you get out ahead with an effective strategy, plan and support program?

Remember the old adage: “Give me a fish and I’ll eat for today, teach me to fish and I’ll eat for the rest of my life.” I like to add my coda: “Yes, but who’s going to stock the pond?”

Marketing should be stocking the pond. Creating content like publishers. Writing the obituary before the person dies.

When a sales person needs to send a video it must be ready. When your marketing automation system needs to send nurturing, educational, video content it must be relevant. When your social media strategy requires people on your business front line to be engaging using compelling, relevant content, with what will you arm them?