Tag Archives: youtube

We’re All Marketers Now

Courtesy of McKinsey Quarterly

For the past decade, marketers have been adjusting to a new era of deep customer engagement. They’ve tacked on new functions, such as social-media management; altered processes to better integrate advertising campaigns online, on television, and in print; and added staff with Web expertise to manage the explosion of digital customer data. Yet in our experience, that’s not enough. To truly engage customers for whom “push” advertising is increasingly irrelevant, companies must do more outside the confines of the traditional marketing organization. At the end of the day, customers no longer separate marketing from the product—it is the product. They don’t separate marketing from their in-store or online experience—it is the experience. In the era of engagement, marketing is the company.

This shift presents an obvious challenge: if everyone’s responsible for marketing, who’s accountable? And what does this new reality imply for the structure and charter of the marketing organization? It’s a problem that parallels the one that emerged in the early days of the quality movement, before it became embedded in the fabric of general management. In a memorable anecdote, one of former Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca’s key hires, Hal Sperlich, arrived at the automaker in 1977 as the new vice president of product planning. His first question: “Who is in charge of quality?”

“Everybody,” a confident executive replied.

“But who do you hold responsible when there are problems in quality?” Sperlich pressed.

“Nobody.”

“Oh, shoot,” Sperlich thought. “We are in for it now.”1

To avoid being “in for it,” companies of all stripes must not only recognize that everyone is responsible for marketing but also impose accountability by establishing a new set of relationships between the function and the rest of the organization. In essence, companies need to become marketing vehicles, and the marketing organization itself needs to become the customer-engagement engine, responsible for establishing priorities and stimulating dialogue throughout the enterprise as it seeks to design, build, operate, and renew cutting-edge customer-engagement approaches.

As that transformation happens, the marketing organization will look different: there will be a greater distribution of existing marketing tasks to other functions; more councils and informal alliances that coordinate marketing activities across the company; deeper partnerships with external vendors, customers, and perhaps even competitors; and a bigger role for data-driven customer insights. This article provides some real-life examples of these kinds of changes.

Marketing’s cutting edge is being redefined every day. While there’s no definitive map showing how companies can successfully navigate the era of engagement, we hope to help senior executives—not just marketers—start to draw one.

The evolution of engagement
More than two years ago, our colleagues David Court, Dave Elzinga, Susan Mulder, and Ole Jørgen Vetvik unveiled the results of a research effort involving 20,000 customers across five industries and three continents.2 Their work showed how collaborative the buying process has become and how difficult it is to influence customers by relying solely on one-way, push advertising. In the words of American Express chief marketing officer John Hayes, “We went from a monologue to a dialogue. Mass media will continue to play a role. But its role has changed.”

Over the past two years, that evolution has only accelerated. More and more consumers are using digital video recorders to fast-forward through TV commercials and are consuming video content on Web sites such as YouTube and on mobile devices. Billboards alongside train lines and bus routes struggle to capture the attention of people absorbed by the screens of their smartphones. Meanwhile, today’s more empowered, critical, demanding, and price-sensitive customers are turning in ever-growing numbers to social networks, blogs, online review forums, and other channels to quench their thirst for objective advice about products and to identify brands that seem to care about forming relationships with them. Individuals even are posting their own commercials on YouTube. In short, the avenues (or touch points) customers use to interact with companies have continued to multiply.

The problem for many companies is that the very things that make push marketing effective—tight, relatively centralized operational control over a well-defined set of channels and touch points—hold it back in the era of engagement. Many touch points, such as calls to customer service centers and interactions between the sales force and customers, sit outside the traditional marketing organization, which has little or no permission to reach into other business functions or units. Companies have traditionally divided responsibility for touch points among functions. But a comprehensive strategy for engaging customers across them rarely emerges and, if one does, there’s often no system for executing it or measuring its performance.

More pervasive marketing
To engage customers whenever and wherever they interact with a company—in a store; on the phone; responding to an e-mail, a blog post, or an online review—marketing must pervade the entire organization. Companies such as Starbucks and Zappos, for which superior engagement has been a critical source of competitive advantage from the beginning, already exhibit some of these traits. But these companies aren’t our focus, which instead is the kinds of actions everyone else can take as they strive for world-class customer engagement.

The starting point is a mind-set shift around customer interaction touch points. Companies typically think of them as being “owned” by a given function: for instance, marketing owns brand management; sales owns customer relationships; merchandising or retail operations own the in-store experience. In today’s marketing environment, companies will be better off if they stop viewing customer engagement as a series of discrete interactions and instead think about it as customers do: a set of related interactions that, added together, make up the customer experience. That perspective should stimulate fresh dialogue among members of the senior team about who should design the overall system of touch points to create compelling customer engagement, and who then builds, operates, and renews each touch point consistent with that overall vision. There’s no need to worry about traditional functional or business unit ownership: whoever is best placed to tackle an activity should do so.

Design
Designing a great customer-engagement strategy and experience depends on understanding exactly how people interact with a company throughout their decision journey. That interaction could be with the product itself or with service, marketing, sales, public relations, or any other element of the business.

When the hotel group Starwood sought to enhance its engagement with customers, for example, the company pored through data about them and identified clear demographic groups staying at its more than 1,000 properties. In 2006, the company unveiled a specific new positioning for each part of its brand portfolio, ranging in affordability from Four Points by Sheraton to its Luxury Collection and St. Regis properties.

Each brand seeks to deliver a different customer experience, on dimensions ranging from how guests are greeted by staff to the kind of toiletries offered in rooms. Crucially, for each type of property, Starwood sought to design not only the desired experience but also how it would actually be delivered. It therefore had to decide what coordination would be necessary across functions, who would operationally control different touch points, and even what content customers wanted in the company’s Web site, in loyalty program mailings, and other forms of communication.

Starwood’s experience underscores the fact that, despite the growing impact of digital touch points such as social media, effective customer engagement must go beyond pure communication to include the product or service experience itself. “At the end of the day,” says Virgin Atlantic Airways chief executive Steve Ridgway, “we fly exactly the same planes as everybody else. If we get our customers off the plane happy, and they go on to talk about that and get others to come and then come back again themselves—that’s a huge marketing tool.”

Build
Once a company designs how it will engage with customers, it needs the organizational capabilities to deliver: adding staff, building a social-media network infrastructure, retooling customer care operations, or altering reporting structures. Functions far removed from marketing often have important roles to play, so one or more marketing teams at the center may have to build skills in other parts of a company. A global energy company took that approach and then largely dissolved the group when those capabilities were in place.

Allocating responsibility for building touch points is increasingly important because of the degree to which Web-based engagement is requiring companies to create “broadcast” media.3 Some have built publishing divisions to feed the ever-increasing demand for content required by company Web sites, social media, internal and external publications, multimedia sites, and coupons and other promotions. Many luxury-goods companies, for example, have built editorial teams to “socialize” their brands: they are transforming the customer relationship by producing blogs, digital magazines, and other content that can dramatically intensify both the frequency and depth of interactions.

Last year, LVMH Moët Hennessy–Louis Vuitton, for example, launched an online magazine, NOWNESS, that offers what the company calls “information reference” about its luxury brands. The site presents a daily multimedia story with little pure advertising and (in conjunction with LVMH’s efforts on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube) seeks to deepen the engagement customers have with the company’s brands. British luxury brand Burberry has undertaken a similar venture with its Art of the Trench site. France’s Chanel has for years used its own creative and artistic directors to develop content, without any need for help from external agencies.

Content-oriented strategies like these require creative employees who can feed the customer’s ever-increasing need for timely, relevant, and compelling content across a variety of media. They also provide an opportunity for productive dialogue within companies about the role of marketing versus other functions in building critical touch points that drive engagement.

Operate and renew
For companies in industries as diverse as consumer packaged goods and financial services, digital technology has upended the engagement expectations of customers, who, for example, want one Web site to visit and a relationship seamlessly integrated across touch points. Meeting such expectations requires extraordinary operational coordination and responsiveness in activities ranging from providing on-the-ground service delivery to generating online content to staying on top of a customer care issue blowing up on YouTube.

Behind the scenes, that new reality creates a need for coordination and conflict resolution mechanisms within and across functions, as well as budget procedures that allow flexibility and rapid action should the need arise. PepsiCo, for example, has sought to provide a single point of contact for its digital-marketing efforts by creating the role of chief digital officer: an executive without line responsibility who drives the application of best practices across the beverage group’s global digital efforts.

Companies also need a clear approach for monitoring touch points and renewing them as needed. At one major hotel chain, for example, a single group circumnavigates the globe acting as a “monitor and fix” SWAT team. It meets with hotel licensees, educates them about the company’s customer-engagement approach and management of key touch points, demonstrates new behavior, and trains the staff in new operational processes. Given the speed of information sharing today, constant monitoring and adaptation—indeed, continuous improvement of the sort that came to the operations world long ago—is bound to infiltrate marketing and grow in importance.

The marketing organization’s new look
As the chief marketing officer collaborates with the chief executive and other senior-team members to nail down a shared approach for designing, building, operating, and renewing customer touch points, he or she also will require a new kind of marketing organization. For marketing to truly become the customer-engagement engine that orchestrates the delivery of the end-to-end customer experience, it must evolve along four critical dimensions.

Distribute more activities
As marketing becomes more pervasive, the marketing organization will increasingly be defined by a core set of tightly held responsibilities, such as branding and agency relationships, and a set of responsibilities distributed among the functions and groups best placed to manage and use the information generated by customer interactions. Procter & Gamble, for instance, has created a group within the purchasing function to buy digital-media advertising space. The group spans geographic boundaries, reflecting the global nature of the medium, and while it sits within purchasing, it is staffed by people with marketing experience.

At companies where the marketing organization’s responsibilities will be split between core and distributed activities, CMOs will increasingly be held accountable for the performance of groups that don’t report solely to them. When CEOs ask for the marketing-org chart, they will see a complex web of solid- and dotted-line relationships showing the roles that marketing plays in designing, building, or operating touch points across the whole organization.

The chart will also show where marketing activities have been embedded in other functions. One major logistics company, for example, puts marketing resources within each sales district to adapt corporate-level marketing initiatives to local circumstances. This approach mutes complaints from sales reps who feel bombarded with marketing pushes from the head office by giving them simple, customized ideas for driving sales within their regions.

More councils and partnerships
While leading companies have long used marketing councils to boost management coordination, the new marketing organization will require many more of them, with greater representation from other functions. One global financial institution, for example, has created a digital-governance council with representatives from all customer-facing business units. The company’s goal was to ensure that data and analytics are shared, that customers receive the same experience regardless of channel (such as Web sites, branches, call centers, or automated teller machines), and that IT systems meet the customer’s digital-engagement needs.

More robust formal and informal external partnerships will be critical too. Customer forums, such as the one Virgin Atlantic Airways used to create a taxi-sharing app for smartphones, are one example. More structured relationships with distribution partners also can enhance engagement. The consumer-packaged-goods company Nestlé, for example, manages its relationship with retailer Wal-Mart Stores via what it calls the Nestlé–Wal-Mart Team. This unified cross-business, cross-functional group is responsible for everything from in-store activity to promotion, logistics, innovation, and product design. As a result, Wal-Mart has a single point of contact with one of its largest suppliers, Nestlé enjoys a stronger relationship with the retailer, and, critically, both companies gain a better understanding of, and engagement with, packaged-goods consumers.

Elevate the role of customer insights
Generating rich customer insights, always central to effective marketing efforts, is more challenging and important in today’s environment. Companies must listen constantly to consumers across all touch points, analyze and deduce patterns from their behavior, and respond quickly to signs of changing needs.

One implication is that the types of talent required to derive such insights will change. A premium will be placed on problem-solving and strategic-marketing skills, rather than on traditional market research capabilities such as designing surveys and commissioning focus groups. Some organizations also may need help from external partners, a pattern that’s already apparent at several insurers and health care payers that have neither the time nor the budgets to build the necessary data-gathering and -analysis capabilities in-house and at scale.

The insights group’s position in a company could even change. At one high-end hospitality business, for example, responsibility for generating customer insights has moved out of the marketing function entirely. The group now reports directly to the head of strategy, who uses information from it to redesign core business elements such as pricing, sales targeting, and the selection of properties for development.

More data rich and analytically intense
Reinforcing the importance of all these changes is an exponential increase in the volume of customer data and the intensity of the analysis required to process and act on it effectively. Without cross-functional collaboration and a clear delineation of roles, it will be impossible to gather, collate, gain insights from, and disseminate data that streams in from every customer interaction. The sheer volume of data is extraordinary: social-media gaming company Zynga, for example, generates five terabytes (the equivalent of about 1.5 million song files) of data on customer clicks every day.4 What’s more, “Marketing is going to become a much more science-driven activity,” says Duncan Watts of Yahoo! Research. In the trenches, this change suggests a shift toward sophisticated data analytics similar to the revolution that has already taken place in industries such as financial services, as well as in airlines and other industries where yield management is important. Some marketing organizations are already making their moves: to send targeted e-mails to customers, retailer Williams-Sonoma, for example, analyzes an integrated database that tracks some 60 million households on metrics including income, housing values, and number of children. These e-mails obtain response rates 10 to 18 times as high as those sent randomly.5 Such capabilities don’t necessarily have to be built in-house: many companies will enter into creative arrangements with outside parties to exchange data and run joint tests of alternative marketing tactics.

The major barrier to engagement is organizational rather than conceptual: given the growing number of touch points where customers now interact with companies, marketing often can’t do what’s needed all on its own. CMOs and their C-suite colleagues must collaborate intensively to adapt their organizations to the way customers now behave and, in the process, redefine the traditional marketing organization. If companies don’t make the transition, they run the risk of being overtaken by competitors that have mastered the new era of engagement

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Brand, Tell Me a Story, Please

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Courtesy of MediaPost.

These are challenging times to work in marketing communications. The “big advertising idea” is no longer the be-all or end-all. Instead, designing stories around brands is crucial to “social selling” to customers who are media-savvy and increasingly suspicious of traditional marketing techniques.

Social media requires compelling storytelling to thrive. As businesses struggle to break through the marketing noise, brand stewards are finding it effective to craft stories that focus on achieving brand goals while giving customers a sense of what a brand stands for. Brand storytellers who embrace social media recognize that emotion is the currency their communities trade-in. For a brand to connect with its communities, it must tell captivating stories that allow fans to become emotionally invested.

A brand must define itself clearly, articulate its core values, and communicate consistently, but that can happen only when a brand defines its narrative. Content strategy doesn’t just apply to copy but to visual media as well. Storytelling is an important part of the user experience and, at the end of the day, if a brand’s stories are not tailored to audience needs and organizational goals, you are wasting time and money.

Commitment Comes First

To implement successful campaigns, senior management must commit to building storytelling into its overall communications strategy. This sounds obvious, but is too often the missing link. Storytelling can help organizations stand out by fostering emotional connections that provide the building blocks of long-lasting relationships. Hearing stories about your company’s work gives your audiences another reason to care about the brand, and why they should support its initiatives.

Once a storytelling plan is green-lighted, a strategic approach to content development tactics is required. Enter content strategy, which provides a framework to plan content, its delivery and management. So let’s get started:

Prioritize target audiences, concentrating messaging around groups with the most influence. Learn what those audiences want (research and analytics), then focus brand stories around the content that delivers the most hits. Deliver content in the form that your audiences want, whether it’s YouTube, Facebook or Twitter, etc. And, don’t forget to consider traditional media, which are always looking for the next great story. Plan your stories to supplement content on your Web site, then create an editorial calendar to manage the campaign over time.

Develop stories that emotionally convey your message, compel action, and have viral potential. Empower your audiences to support the relationship by giving them something to do! Provide the means to donate, volunteer, share stories, etc. Make it worth their while by showing how they will personally gain by leveraging incentives that benefit your organization and brand community.

Stories are formulaic, so try techniques that journalists use. The 5Ws: who, what, when, where and why/how remain the basic building blocks of any good story. Try to fit in as many as possible when building your marketing materials.

1. Meaning Why is this important? Why should customers care?

2. Importance What’s the big picture? How does your product/service fit in?

3. Human Interest What are the customer goals, achievements

4. Prominence Add credibility – name partners/experts

5. Timeliness Is this a product launch or an thought leadership campaign?

6. Proximity What does the campaign target?

Always keep in mind the key elements of what it means to be human. In every campaign, design the elements to elicit an emotional response, to share knowledge or address a customer need. Your brand community should feel they are getting something of value from the time they spend interacting with your marketing campaign.

Finally, be honest in everything your brand says. There are countless examples of fudged facts, outright lies and omissions that have damaged brand reputations from Enron to Walmart, J&J to BP, and require substantial expenditures of corporate capital and energy to repair.

Winning brands tell great stories that connect emotionally to key stakeholders. To develop your storytelling skills, study the classics, strive to understand their structure, form and the ingredients that make a great story.

Host Your Own Radio Show

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Every business we talk to today asks the same question, “Is there any Social Medium that has real and immediate return on investment”?  Every business executive and owner has a blog, Twitter and Facebook account and few of them see the benefit to any of them.  “Total waste of time”, is what I too often hear.

Well here’s one social medium that works:  hosting your own Internet Radio show.  For just a couple hundred dollars per month (depending upon the service you use) you can:

1.  Instantly brand yourself as “the expert on some subject”.  Who else hosts a weekly radio show on this subject? The fact that you do instantly suggests you must be an authority on the subject.

2.  Instantly differentiate yourself from all your competitors.  “Hey, remember me?  I’m the one with the radio show on this subject”.  The novelty alone will make people remember you.  And if they check out your website, they can listen to all your past shows, archived as Mp3 files (or “podcasts” as they are popularly called).  What better way to get to know someone than to listen to a sample of WHAT they know and WHO they know.

On the Internet Highway, no one wants to stop and read the billboards anymore.  They either want to watch something (like a video) or listen to it instead.  And live or downloadable audio files have the added benefit of being something you can listen to while doing something else.  You can’t multi-task watching a You Tube video, but you can listen to a show while working out or working on something else.

3.  Start conversations with anyone you want to meet. “Hey, can I take you to lunch and tell you about my professional service?” CLICK….I’d love to invite you to my free seminar…FORGET IT.  But try cold calling any business owner or executive and asking them “I’d love to interview you on my local radio show” and watch their eyes light up.  “Sure!  When would you like to do it?”

Who wouldn’t want to talk about their company to your audience or network?  It’s flattering and it’s free publicity.  And with so many newspapers going out of business or downsizing down to nothing, there simply aren’t many (or any!) other outlets to tell their business story.  And if you’re smart, you won’t just talk to them on air.  You’ll set up a meeting at their office first (as a pre-interview to learn more about them so you can ask better questions).

Suddenly, you’re in the door and talking one-on-one to the main owner or executive (whom you couldn’t otherwise meet in a million years).  And what’s more, he or she isn’t looking at their watch and asking “why are you here again?” and “how long is this going to take?”  They’re much more likely to tell their secretary “hold all my calls…the guy from the radio show is here to talk to me!” as they walk you enthusiastically throughout their business and tell you everything you ever wanted to know.   Unparalleled access and information, just because you host your own radio show.

Then, after the show airs, send your guest a link to where the archived copy resides (or links to where it can be heard, like ITunes and other places) and suggest that the guest put it on his or her site as well. And you’ve not only got an introduction to a new prospect or networking partner, but a free ad on their website forever.  Viral marketing at its best.

That’ s why we tell all our clients “hosting your own internet radio show” may be the most powerful and effective “social medium” yet imagined.  For if the purpose of social media in general is to get people to start a conversation with you, what easier or more effective way could there be to accomplish this goal then just getting them on the phone, streaming that live to the world and then recording and archiving that conversation for everyone in your network (and theirs) to reference and enjoy.

For more information check out the few Internet Talk Radio stations in business across the country such as http://www.voiceamerica.com, http://www.wsradio.com or our own http://www.OCTalkRadio.net.

Don’t Make These Social Media Blunders

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Courtesy of SignOnSanDiego.com

Social Media is hot these days. No matter what the size of your business, you should be using Facebook, Twitter, blogging, YouTube and LinkedIn daily to get your content online, so you can be easily found and “shared.” Social Media should be considered another marketing tool, and it involves planning, strategic thinking and tracking metrics just as any another element in your marketing mix.

The mistake comes when a business jumps too quickly to get its social sites up. Starting a social media marketing campaign without prior thought and planning cannot yield the results you are looking for. If you don’t start with a goal, how will you know when it has been met?

Here are the top five social media mistakes that businesses make:

No social media marketing plan

Once you determine your goal for your social sites, it’s much easier to determine who in the company should manage it: marketing or customer service or both. Don’t be afraid to have multiple people at your company responsible for different aspects of your social media voice. There are many reasons a business wants to have a social media presence:

• Build a loyal community

• Allow its customers a way to provide instant feedback

• Be a valuable resource for information in your niche

• Offer limited time coupons

• Provide faster customer service

Lack of posting frequency to social sites

Once you create the sites, how often should you post to them? It depends on how quickly you want to improve your search engine optimization (SEO) and grow your network. Here are some best practices:

• Blog: Once a week minimum. Once per day is best.

• Twitter: Once a day minimum. Three to six times per day is best, spread out throughout the day.

• Facebook: Once a day minimum. Three times per day is best, morning, afternoon and evening.

• LinkedIn: Personal profiles should have status updates daily. Groups should post a weekly discussion topic.

• YouTube: Post three times per week if it’s a short update (three minutes or less). Once a week if longer Q&A or “Product Review” type format.

Not using keywords

Social media is so much bigger than building a community of loyal “followers.” The smart business knows that keywords are the way to be found online. To improve your SEO, you must use your keywords often. Many businesses don’t realize that Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn can all be used as search tools, and if you conduct a keyword search while you are logged in to one of your social sites, you’ll get results within that site, based on your query. All business social sites are public and 100 percent indexed by Google, so tweets and posts can come up in natural search results.

Lack of engagement

Your social sites won’t yield the results you are looking for unless people are participating. Participation includes:

• “Liking,” sharing or adding comments to your Facebook posts

• “Retweeting” your Twitter tweets

• Subscribing and commenting on your blog or YouTube videos

Your posts should tell people what you want them to do. Always reply back when they have taken the time to comment. Be personal and add value.

No call to action

When people find your content online be sure to tell them what to do next, e.g., call you, fill out your online form, subscribe to an e-newsletter or download a free report. How will you entice and capture them to get them into your sales funnel? Make sure your offer “adds value” and tells your visitor “what’s in it for them” so they will be more likely to respond. Provide valuable content, build relationships and don’t always sell.


26 Ways to Use Online Video

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Courtesy of OneMarketMedia.com

“Online video”, “web video” and “Internet video” are terms that will soon fade from our lexicon. They will simply be shortened to “Video”. While the portable bandwidth of DVD’s and now Blu-ray will continue to be used for some time, faster broadband and wireless speeds will result in all media moving “online”. Broadcast television will become just one piece of the Internet. Video will be the dominant marketing media format for business. Throw rich media and social media into the mix and the result is a profound transformation to the way that companies promote themselves.

Your company website will soon house a variety of different video and rich media assets that will be used to differentiate your offering, educate your customers and influence your influencers. Here are 26 examples of how video is being used by companies today to help move their businesses forward:

1. Customer Testimonials
Nothing is more compelling than seeing and hearing your customer (in their own environment) extol the virtues of your products and services and explaining how you helped them achieve their business goals.

2. Video Success Story
It is often challenging to get customers to agree (especially larger customers) to go on camera to talk about your company. You can still present the customer success with your own presenters speaking specifically about the customer win or talking more generically about a company win in that industry.

3. Video Case Study
A video case study combines customer testimonials with more a more in-depth explanation of how your company’s products and services helped your customer be successful. These case studies usually incorporate two voices – a narrator and the voice of your customer. These usually follow the “Problem, Solution, Benefit” format – very similar to their print equivalent.

4. Product Demonstrations
Show how your product works – highlight the features that differentiate it from your competitors. A software walk-through, a 3D cut-away, a high impact demo by a presenter are all excellent ways of showing how your product or service works.

5. Product Presentations
Product demos shows the details of how your products work. These are best used in helping your customers and prospects differentiate between your products and services and those of your competitors. Early on in the sales cycle you need to talk more about benefits – from the customer”s perspective. Product presentations explain how your product can help your customers solve their business problems. Determining where your customers are in their buying cycle is just as important as segmenting your audiences.

6. Corporate Overview
Corporate overviews are often the starting point for companies using video to promote their services. Corporate overviews are usually brief (2-3 minutes) and can include a short history, some location/facilities shots and introductions from your senior management team.

7. Executive Presentations
Whether you are preparing for a quarterly update, responding to a major event in your industry or making a regularly scheduled presentation there is great value in presenting the “face” and “voice” of your leadership team to all of your constituents.

8. Staff Presentations
Social media and other Web 2.0 trends have caused companies to reconsider how they communicate with their external audiences. Your senior leadership team should not be the first and only consideration for representing your company. It is becoming more important to consider showcasing the people that drive the day-to-day operations of your company. Customer service representatives, technical experts and legacy workers are all valuable considerations for this new category of corporate video. Surveys show that there is more trust associated with these employees than with senior management. When you are selling to influencers in organizations – versus economic buyers or the decsion makers it is especially important you represent your company with people that your customers and prospects can relate to.

9. VLOG
Video blogging has been gaining popularity on personal and expert blog sites and is now carrying over to corporate blogging as well.

10. Corporate facilities or equipment tour
While corporate overviews serve many purposes a corporate facilities or equipment tour can be used to highlight the unique characteristics of your building, and infrastructure, to show the breadth of your operations and reach or to highlight special equipment that sets you apart from your competitors. (Uniqueness is certainly a key to success here)

11. Post sale support and maintenance videos
No one reads manuals. You can save thousands of dollars of post sale support by creating informative assembly, installation and maintenance videos for your products and services.

12. Overnight expert videos
If you serve a large geographic area or sell through channels then it is well worth the effort to put together short overnight expert sales support videos that highlight the key selling points, features, benefits, objection handling and follow-up issues to consider by your direct or channel sales force.

13. Training
Corporate video first gained prominence with training (service, support, sales, personal development etc.) and continues to be one of the best uses of video. Online Video is a cost effective substitute to in-class training. You can also integrate video into online training management tools.

14. Health & Safety
The cost of dealing with health and safety related issues within organizations continues to grow. Video is one of the most effective means of minimizing these costs.

15. Internal Communications
In larger companies no one has the time or interest to understand what other groups or functions within the company do or why they exist. Internal videos that highlight activities, procedures and best practices can save money and lead to more effective communications. They are also a great way to show off your local hero’s.

16. Recruitment Videos
Finding the best employees is the single most important function of any company and yet comparatively small amounts of time and money are allocated to this critical task. Recruitment videos that feature company employees, highlight corporate culture and promote the direction of the company can be very influential.

17. Employee orientation
Once your new recruits are on board employee orientation videos are a great way to get new staff up to speed. Company history , structure, procedures, policies and codes of behaviour can all be communicated effectively with video.

18. Marketing
Outbound programs like email marketing and direct mail are taking advantage of video and rich media as a more engaging way to capture and keep the attention of customers and prospects.

19. Landing pages and other web pages
Video is beginning to replace or supplement text and graphics as a content element on many corporate websites. Landing pages can offer a more compelling call to action with video.

20. Event Video
There are many ways to leverage the considerable amount of time and money spent on events and trade shows with video: Capture demos on camera while you have your experts assembled in one location. Capture speaking opportunities from your execs and re-purpose them on your website. Use the opportunity to video short testimonials from your customers while they are at your booth. Capture the event or trade show activities and share with the employees back at the office.

21. Video Press Releases
The standard four paragraph press release is now being supplemented with video and rich media to tell a more engaging story.

22. Viral Video
Many companies are testing viral video as a means of promoting their brand. Striking the balance between maximizing entertainment (pass along) value and minimizing blatant brand promotion is the challenge.

23. Commercials
While advertisers are becoming more selective in how they chose to spend their promotional dollars with broadcast television, other venues for commercials such as online entertainment, online sponsorships, games, event sponsorships and in-theatre are starting to take the place of broadcast and cable commercials. Expect more and more video screens to crop up on every building, device and structure offering an even more diverse set of advertising opportunities.

24. Company Lobby Video
HD video screens are popping up everywhere – why not in your lobby or reception where you can get a jump start on first impressions.

25. Market research, focus groups and polling
Market research firms are now capturing the anecdotal feedback along with the raw statistics of their research. If a picture is worth a thousand words then a video of your customer describing her likes and dislikes of your new product is priceless. Go to YouTube to see how people are describing your products and services.

26. Community relations
If your company is out working in the community, being good corporate citizens, helping the environment, contributing to valuable causes – you should be capturing those efforts on video.

Problems Emailing PowerPoint Presentations

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Courtesy of SLIDEROCKET

Emailing a PowerPoint presentation seems like it should be a simple thing. But all the slide design stock images, video and audio that can make a PowerPoint compelling are the very things that make emailing PowerPoint slideshows so clumsy. Those assets quickly balloon a PowerPoint’s file size, which is where the trouble begins.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have the presentation online? This way when you email the presentation you’re just sending a link. How easy is that? Try SlideRocket for free and find out.

Emailing a PowerPoint – What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
Emailing anything but a basic PowerPoint requires a fair amount of preparation, communication and wizardry. But everything should go as planned so long as the following criteria are met:

1.Your recipient has PowerPoint or PowerPoint Viewer
2.You properly embedded any audio files in the correct folder
3.You properly embedded any video files in the correct folder4.You made sure the file size doesn’t exceed your email service provider limit
5.You know what file size your recipient’s email provider will accept
6.You ensured your recipient has a matching version of PowerPoint, or the proper compatibility pack
7.You didn’t zip the file using self-unzipping executables which can set off alarms on your recipient’s computer
8.Your recipient isn’t trying to view the PowerPoint on an iPad
And have you ever emailed your PowerPoint slides and then immediately wish you hadn’t? You forgot to update the pricing on a quote. Or forgot to delete a slide from your last client presentation? Online presentations let you make those changes, even after the slides are emailed. Heck, they even tell you when your recipient views the slides so you know if you still have time to make changes.

Bring on the PowerPoint Email Widgets
I suspect there’s a PowerPoint plug-in, widget, zipper, converter or drop-box out there that tries to resolve the challenge of emailing a large PowerPoint file. To try and compress the file size, while at the same time hoping it looks the way it’s supposed to when it gets to the other side.

You may run into the same kind of problems when looking into how to embed a YouTube video in PowerPoint. It can be done, but usually requires help. An entire industry has emerged designed to try and stretch PowerPoint’s capabilities to match how people use presentations today.

Presentations rarely just sit on a computer waiting to be presented to an audience anymore. People share, email, upload and collaborate presentations. They want to use video and audio, the ability to make presentations available to broad audiences, and view them anywhere, including presenting from an iPad.

The State of Video In E-Commerce

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Courtesy of WEBSITE magazine.

Online video solutions provider SundaySky recently released a telling report about how the Web’s biggest retailers utilize the power of video. Or, more to the point, how they are failing to do so.

According to SundaySky’s The State of Video in E-Commerce, released last month and citing data from the fourth quarter of 2010, nearly half of the world’s top 50 online merchants have no significant video presence. While many of them may have begun to add video on their websites – which the study concludes was the focus for many retailers in 2010 – few of them are taking proper advantage of the opportunities the medium affords them, which should be a primary focus of 2011.

In terms of conversion rates, online videos can lead merchants to higher sales on a wider range of products, increase their websites’ stickiness and reduce return rates, to name just a few advantages. For SEO purposes, video results rank higher in searches than other content and drives more traffic to retail sites. Finally, YouTube has been the world’s second-leading search engine since 2008 and is currently the fourth overall property on the entire Web.

Using YouTube as the primary barometer, 16 percent of the top 50 had fewer than 10 videos on YouTube, 42 percent had between 10 and 100, 34 percent had between 100 and 1,000, and 8 percent had greater than 1,000. If a YouTube presence is defined as more than 100 videos, that means that less than half of the top 50 retailers are taking full advantage of YouTube.

Three companies praised in the study for their use of video are Overstock, Newegg and Buy.com. All three are considered pioneers in the space for launching video portals alongside their main websites, and Buy.com ranked third behind the Home Shopping Network (72,556) and Systemax (3,537) with 2,731 videos on YouTube at the time of the study. Newegg, meanwhile, saw its views on YouTube jump 133 percent from the third quarter of 2010 to the fourth.

Some of the suggestions for retailers offered by SundaySky include scaling product videos to include everything in one’s catalog; applying even simple video SEO methods such as proper embedding and a video sitemap, and syndicating videos to not only YouTube but also to other channels such as Facebook fan pages.