The phrase “Marketing is Dead” shows up about 328,000 times in a Google search.
It’s actually no longer a headline, and everyone in the Marketing industry knows it’s true. If they don’t, they ought to retire and fight for the jobs being grabbed by the folks fired from the mail room, who got their raison d’être zapped a decade ago as email replaced the paper memo.
In case you’ve been locked in your cubicle for a few years too long, there’s a terrific write-up in the Harvard Business Review here.
Consumers curious about products (B2C and B2B — doesn’t matter…) aren’t asking for the official pitch. They aren’t believing companies’ statements or trusting their spokespeople. Because they no longer need to. Why? Because they have friends, family, colleagues and, hell — people they don’t know and never will. It’s easier than ever to get feedback from people who have “been there.”
Naturally, social media in its various flavors is at the hub of this revolution, as the meta-platform for sharing opinions with minimal effort, whether or not you’re asked for it.
But where does this leave websites? And our specific area of concern, the explainer videos you find there?
Well, there are three ways to share the excitement about a product or service, each with a different level of ease for the “speaker” and the “listener.” Here’s a simple graph to illustrate:
Testimonials take the most effort — you need to decide to write it, sum up your experience, and publish it to the world. The audience needs to spend some time hunting down the reviews, reviewing them, sorting through the good and bad…a good chunk of work for both of you.
Another option is to just post a link to the website, telling a friend (or 500 of them on Facebook or Twitter) “I just tried this thing. Love it.” Readers then might begin a conversation, asking you about your experience, pricing, what alternatives you considered – and then often spend time sifting through the site, looking for “How It Works”, maybe FAQs, and all the other good stuff. So the effort there’s pretty significant on their end.
Finally, there’s the link to a video. It’s a portable version of the website, it’s entertaining, and in Gmail, Facebook, or the ever so clever Activemail, you can have the video show up right there in the note so you never even leave the page. Doesn’t get much easier than that.
So yeah, the video business is alive and well, riding the wave of social media. And the messages in those videos? If it’s a stuffy “Here’s what we do…” script, it’s part of the old generation making its way to the Marketing Old Age Home with their shoeboxes full of Powerpoints. A terrific video has to relate to the customer, not focus completely on the company. It’s got to get you engaged, curious, smiling, and eager to move to the next level…