Video Marketing Services: Meet the Demand

By | January 27, 2012
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Do you “do” video? Chances are your clients have asked this, or will soon.

Or maybe clients are starting to produce video for themselves – and it’s your job to bring the eyeballs. 

For hybrid marketing agencies, video is an essential piece of integrated campaigns, to drive traffic, convert leads and build the brand.

Video is everywhere, and if you’ve ever quoted a project, you know that so are your options.

From an agency perspective, there are major considerations:

  1. Who will take ownership of the projects.
  2. Whether to bring on expert video partners, invest in building in-house capabilities, or a combination.
  3. How to price the video services.
  4. Delivering the highest quality planning, creative, production, technology, hosting, distribution, search optimization and marketing campaign integration.
  5. Educating yourself and clients on expectations.

I recently spoke with Drew Davis (@tpldrew), the co-founder of Tippingpoint Labs, a digital and content marketing agency. Drew has worked in video from all sides of the production business, and in addition to his agency work, is also a frequent guest speaker in the industry. A fun fact: Tippingpoint is home to Boston area’s only full-service test kitchen studio (very cool).

Here are some key takeaways from that conversation:

Getting Started and Taking Ownership

Drew discussed two general types of clients that are embracing video. The first are those that are sold on video, interested in large-scale, long-term engagements, taking an authentic approach, and may invest in building some in-house video capabilities.

The other type has a keen interest in using video, and while they might have ideas, they are just testing the waters, and seeking guidance from the ground up on where to go.

In both cases, ownership and accountability is important from both the agency and client side, to see it through overtime, and make sure it integrates with other campaigns. “Agencies need to seriously analyze how it works with and impacts other marketing activities, to build on opportunities and demonstrate results,” said Drew.

When it comes to expectations, clients have high hopes on audience interest. Drew shared that fewer people today come and ask for a viral video, but they still have high expectations for video views on the channel, and can easily become frustrated or disappointed if there’s not an immediate impact. These are challenges that should be addressed upfront, and as a team, work to set reasonable goals that can expand over time.

Partnering vs. In-house Production

According to Drew, technical video skills are a commodity today, as nearly anyone can learn how to capture and edit video. “Production has been made accessible to everyone but that doesn’t mean that the end product will be successful,” said Drew.

When you’re just getting started, you can turn to established firms, with experience managing the full strategy and production process, and that have produced videos in your specific product or services categories.

Before trying to build in-house, and investing in training, equipment and talent, consider contracting with a partner that offers the full-range of services. Even if you can make the business case for taking components in-house in the future, chances are you’ll still count on this partner for certain projects.

Drew also shared that if you want to build video partners for the long-term, look beyond technical skills, and partner with producers who see the big picture, have specialized skills and experience in your niche area, and will oversee the creative process, budgets, logistics and talent management.

With video’s popularity, clients can get hooked on the idea of creating videos for themselves, diving in quickly, and employing inexperienced personnel to showcase their company to the world.

Understand that as an agency, or in consulting with your clients, the first step should not be to build your own studio, because it is also a commodity that can be rented when needed. You might find yourself shooting more outside the studio and on-location. Trust the experts first as you build your service offerings to meet the needs of your client base, and evolve your capabilities as opportunities present themselves.

Pricing and Scalability

Just like any creative services product, the pricing of video is challenging because you are working with different visions and perspectives, and bridging the gaps between expectations and outputs.

Drew’s philosophy is in long-term creation, not one-off videos, where he can actually create efficiencies of scale in client costs. “It takes money every time you need to assemble a full production team, reserve your location or studio, lighting, talent and time to shoot,” said Drew.

Clients that consolidate multiple videos into production blocks can save time and money. For example, if a client commits to 20 videos over six months, the major production can be done on a few occasions early, and the footage can be edited and released during the weeks of the campaign.

To properly price video services, keep any partner costs in mind, and provide value-based pricing for your agency’s role in the project, and time you’d forecast in serving in that role.

Depending on your client’s past experiences and perceptions of video, your introductory pricing may seem incredibly reasonable, or out-of-range. That’s always a risk you take offering a new service, so be open and flexible until you have a few projects under your belt, along with the data to make a more strategic pricing decision.

As far as educating clients, there are tons of resources and articles out there (like ReelSEO.com), which provide solid support for video marketing, especially the impact on search.

Agencies Can Should Work Together

Drew’s agency works with many partner agencies, including larger firms, to ensure the content they create is part of a larger marketing portfolio. An example of frustration is found if a great video strategy is launched, and the PR team wasn’t made aware, and couldn’t integrate it into their plans.

Also, because video technologies, digital media and distribution channels are always moving, it pays to contract with a specialized agency that keeps on top of trends. If your not planning to make video a core competency, than you might not make the time to stay updated on all the opportunities available to your clients.

Lastly, know that video partners will travel for opportunities so don’t feel limited to your geographic market. Instead seek partners that share your philosophies, have a pricing model that works for your business, and also have experience with your subject matter.

Making the Video is Just the Beginning

Time is a video campaign’s best friend.

“Making the video is 10% of the battle, and getting people to watch is 90% of the battle,” said Drew. “Strategies should be based on frequency and time, formatted specifically for the actual audience that would be interested in watching.”

For example, Drew is a professional speaker and uses the tool Prezi to deliver his presentations. With his video background, he decided to create weekly, five-minute videos on using Prezi. His first video didn’t garner many views, but through cross-promotions, calls-to-action and simply sticking with it, his newer videos get more views, and it’s helped to grow the older ones. Check out one of Drew's videos below.

 

Press Play

As you’re moving on video capabilities for your clients, don’t forget to consider the opportunities available to your agency. Don’t be afraid to use yourself as a testing ground and have some fun experimenting with video.

We’d love to hear your experiences in offering video services, major barriers to getting started, or experiences building in-house capabilities.

And a special thanks to Drew for his time and insight! You can learn more about Drew here.