How to Use Web and Internet Video to Market and Communicate

IBM Uses “Do It Yourself” Video to Communicate and Market

“No more long, cumbersome marketing documents – no more boring presentations. Video is how companies and business should communicate,” says Mark Leaser, Worldwide Offerings Manager, IBM Software Services for Lotus. “You can do it yourself and save thousands of dollars.

IBM Software Services for Lotus is using video in a wide variety of ways – for internal education and communications as well as for external marketing and customer relations.

Internally, Mr. Leaser and his department are using video for sales training, communication where they want to propose a particular course of action, and to provide training of their technical solution architects and solution specialists. They also are doing internal case studies – talking head interviews and lots of screen capture using their own LotusLive web conference solution and mixing it with live video.

IBM is also using video externally to promote and market their assets and solutions worldwide. The video messages are designed to help customers select, purchase and use the appropriate business solutions.

To speed up the production process, and to ensure a consistent look and feel, Mr. Leaser has developed an effective standardized format to deliver these external messages. These external communication videos usually start with a short teaser – essentially a one to two minute video introduction to a business solution then followed by an action step that is designed to steer viewers to specific online IBM landing pages with much more detail.

Combining the best practices from successful eCommerce and eTailing sites, these landing pages use even more video to further educate and market products and services. A typical video landing page will include links to additional content including additional video and product information. The landing page can also include “infomercial” type videos, as well as videos on how the products work and where to go for more info.

IBM uses video as a means of attracting interest in something that they are doing. The video segments have to be more than a commercial – they have to offer content with value, information of how their solutions will help their customers’ business, and tips for using particular solutions.

IBM Saves Money by Producing In House

Currently IBM uses outside production services as well as internal teams to create their videos. The customer case studies and/or reference videos are usually produced by an external company but increasingly, a larger percentage of the videos are being produced internally. Many of the videos are shot at tradeshows and events where IBM’s various technical and product experts are in attendance. Rather than hiring an outsider who charges $10K to $15K to produce a video, IBM found that they can do it ourselves, single camera, for a small fraction of the price, and it is just as effective. Over a year, they save hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Some case study videos are shot multi-camera but 90% of all productions are single camera. Most of the videos are captured using standard HD prosumer camcorders (recording onto 16 gigabyte SD cards) with flat lighting from a single large lightbox. For capturing audio, Mark uses professional Sony lavaliere microphones and Audio Technica shotgun microphones. Mark says, “Simple works. One of the most important technical details is to make sure we have clean audio.”

To improve the efficiency of the video editing and production process, the video is captured in a native Quicktime format and then inputted into Mac computers running Final Cut Studio. Mark has settled on h.264 and DVKitchen for compression and distribution over the company’s intranet as well as over the Internet. Mark usually compresses at the standard Apple TV settings (h.264 at 1280×720 with a 4800 kbps data rate) but DV Kitchen makes it simple to provide a variety of compression templates for various viewing and distribution options.

In many ways, their video production process is just like producing a document using Microsoft word. They use standardized formats and templates, and standardized technical specifications that allow a “producer” to easily cut and assemble a video without having to know a lot of technical details.

Once the video is done, the IBM team can share it in a variety of ways. For internal videos, they often use their own internal media servers or YouTube where the videos can be viewed using the standard YouTube video player.

However, for their external marketing videos, they were not satisfied with embedding YouTube in their public facing pages because there was too much clutter and not enough brand control. To give them more control and present a more professional look, they use outside video hosting companies and video platforms that can be customized.

Authoring video in house works for IBM because their current generation of IT decision makers understand the video language and often don’t have the patience to wade through a white paper or technical presentation. To properly reach them, information needs to be presented in a lively, colorful and high-energy mode that can only be conveyed via video.

SIDEBAR

Three reasons your business should use video to communicate

1. Use video – it works. The impact is phenomenal. Following the lead of the direct marketing industry which claims a 4x improvement in response in video versus text, Mark says that short videos with links is the most effective way for establishing powerful outward bound communications and building brand equity. Your audience expects video and you need to give it to them. An effective business presents information in a manner that is most receptive by their target audience.

2. Learn how to do it yourself. Modern video technology and solutions are easy to learn and very affordable. In many ways similar to cut and paste word processing, DIY video production has become the baseline for business communications and marketing. It is similar to the past evolution to word processing from executives relying on secretaries. The stratified and inefficient business architecture of the “Mad Men” TV show is long gone. Similarly, a new business communication paradigm is occurring now with video. Word processing is being supplanted by video. Long documents and boring powerpoint presentations are being replaced by video. Because DIY video is so efficient as a communications tool, it should be an integral part of your business.

3. Video is easier than people think. It is no longer some mystical technology. Yes, 20 years ago, video was complicated, expensive and required an advanced degree. However, with the advent of simple to use video nonlinear “cut and paste” editing programs and affordable high definition digital camcorders, high quality production is now attainable by almost anyone. You can hire someone out of high school who has all the skills. Remember – for business, simple works best. It is all about communicating ideas and information, not fancy effects or 3D explosions.

3 Reasons to Have a Mobile Application for Your eCommerce Customer and Business Needs

eCommerce is enjoying unbridled success due to the many conveniences it offers such as shopping without having to visit a store, indulging in impulse purchases, fabulous offers and doorstep delivery! We bring you 3 reasons to have a mobile application for your eCommerce customer and business needs.

Mobile Feature Integration

As mobile technology is maturing towards the minimalistic and sixth sense programming, its features and instruments like wearable device, GPS tracking, beacon technology etc. can be leveraged for completely automated and informed business approach. From the customer end, GPS tracker on the customer’s device can be used to find their current location and make a spot delivery to ensure you don’t miss them when they are not at home when the agent is out-on-delivery. Further, the in-built NFC technology can be used for cashless payments in cash-on-delivery transactions. Beacon technology can be used to streamline warehouse activities and the GPS tracker to ensure seamless supply chain management.

Regular Updates via push notifications

SMSes and emails can be intrusive or overlooked or spammed based on the receiver’s mood. Mobile applications have in-built technologies to send push notifications that can be glimpsed at for further details in the drop-down before being pursued or discarded. These are unobtrusive yet attractive messages to catch the device owner’s eyes and spur them to explore offers further. Internally, they can be used as reminders, chats and instant messaging tools to communicate with team members or even stakeholders, suppliers and business partners.

Building brand loyalty with Indigenous Experience

A mobile application can be arranged to suit the customer’s preferences by showing them similar products and new offerings based on their lifestyle and interests. With personalised messages pushed onto their device regularly, it gives the shopper a personalised shopping experience. The company may consider integrating a voice navigation tool that will verbally communicate with the prospective buyer and act as their style guide to give a live shopping experience. Further, with features such as 4-D images customers can try out the product before deciding to make the purchase. Within the company, with employees, partners and suppliers, a loyalty towards the company can be established by facilitating them with the right technologies to perform their tasks easily, in a timely manner and with greater transparency.

Mobile application keeps people connected with the business all the time and it makes activities such as marketing and communication more noticeable. Hence, along with a full-fledged responsive website, a mobile application for the business is equally essential.

A cross-platform mobile application that works well on all major mobile platforms will ensure the eCommerce business gets greater visibility among prospective customers.

Internet Marketing and the Reinfusion of Humanity

Selling on the Internet has often removed a very crucial element from the buying experience – humanity. It is easy to log on, peruse an ecommerce site and escape unnoticed. That is, in fact, the appeal of most online stores. Consumers like the opportunity to look without buying or buy without the long speeches and quality assurances offered from slick haired salesmen.

That being said, the consumer still misses some kind of interaction especially when it comes to a product or service they are most interested in. They may still buy online, but they may feel that something is missing and never fully be able to explain what that missing element may be.

This brings me to social media. We gravitate toward those who share similar beliefs, similar interests or shared pasts. Every day people are finding connections with those they haven’t heard from or about in decades. Others are mobilizing for a cause or a leader in expressing their ideas and dreams.

Why not access the same technology to mobilize your customers and infuse some humanity into the buying process.

Consider some of the following ideas that may make your marketing strategy more human.

Blogs – These can allow you to provide direct input for consumers. They can read a well-defined post from you by visiting your site or using an RSS (Real Simple Syndication) reader. Your expertise adds a human face to your product.

Customer Feedback – This can allow customers to inform others about the service and value they receive from your company. Even if you have a negative comment from time to time it demonstrates the honest to goodness humanity of your business.

Forums – This allows consumers to have direct interaction with other consumers. Many will come to your forum because of genuine interest while others may come to cause trouble. Make sure you have moderators that can help keep the troublemakers to a minimum.

Ezines – This is a tool you can use to help lead your consumer base in a direction that will be mutually beneficial. This should be packed with information and resources that remains a valuable tool in human relations.

This may sound as if it is an endorsement for niche marketing. I suppose in a sense it is. You see, when it comes to an online business you can afford to fill a very specific niche. The reason this is true is there are many more potential consumers that are online as opposed to those only found in your immediate vicinity.

If you can come up with solutions and information for your niche audience you may find that your humanity and their motivation can make a more successful online business than a more general interest retail store located in a storefront on your local Main Street.

When you are viewed as a cutting edge niche marketer you may find that you gain the trust of those who have always wanted the kinship of others who share their passion for the product or service you sell.

Accept their trust in good faith and lead wisely.