Lost at Sea, the value of planning

Always have a backup plan and consider the possible outcomes.

So why am I talking about this? Well, because I didn’t during a recent shoot and almost lost video footage and a camera. Let me bring you up to speed.

I was filming a documentary project in Scotland. The project required 2 weeks of filming in the magical land of kilted men, painted blue warriors and William Wallace (Braveheart is the movie if you want to learn more about him). We filmed 1 week in the Lowlands, primarily in Edinburgh and surrounding cities, and 1 week in the Highlands, the landscapes you see in Braveheart. Anyways, it was the second to last day of filming. We were on the island of Iona in Mull on a beach on the north end of the island (here is a link to view the beach https://goo.gl/maps/5kNhw1z8aYn). To make the best use of the time I set up a GoPro, that we had been using throughout the day to film B and C camera angles, to capture a timelapse of the tide coming in and eventually washing over the camera. Don’t worry, the camera was in a very waterproof case.

After setting up the GoPro I continued filming b-roll with the director, Colin Gunn. After about 5-10 minutes I turned back around to see that the gopro was gone. I looked frantically where I had put it and couldn’t find it. Thinking perhaps it had washed into the ever rising tide Colin and I waded out into the water and began searching through the waist and chest deep water to find it. After 45 minutes of wading, getting very wet, cold, offering silent prayers and Colin getting knocked over by a particularly vicious wave we gave up. Walking back to the primary camera which had been placed a very safe distance from the waves I looked down and saw the handle to the GoPro sticking out of the sand. Pulling it out of the sand I let loose a few yells and screams worthy of a war movie.

Lost GoPro

So why tell you this? In business and marketing you always need to have a backup plan for the important things from a physical backup of business files to an alternative ad idea in case the one you spent hours on isn’t well received by the target market. Also, consider what might happen if not everything goes according to plan. Basically do what I didn’t do, consider as many of the possible outcomes as you can, have a backup plan and don’t think that everything will go according to plan. Like I learned, almost the hard way, the sea does what it will no matter our plans.

Cheers, Corey
Provident Media Group
Creative video production is the new show and tell.
providentmediagroup.com

Marketing trends and strategies to be aware of

Trends and strategies

Those are wonderful and terrifying words for marketing. With marketing things change and sometimes they happen quickly and other times slowly. When looking at marketing trends and strategies you have to be careful and thoughtful about what you use and where you take it. Certain businesses can benefit more from one marketing strategy than another business and in some cases they can be harmed by a strategy that helps another.

Take for example refrigerator magnets. Which do you think will have more success (based on ROI) with using refrigerator magnets in their marketing campaign, your local HVAC/plumbing company or a facial tissue manufacturer? Probably the plumbing company, since they are in their customers homes and businesses and can leave the magnet right where the customer will see it, when a problem or need arises in the future. That is a very focused and time appropriate strategy, since they will be in front of a customer when their service is needed. Tissue company, not so much. When you buy tissues, you probably buy the brand with the best price, the brand you always buy or the brand with packaging you like the most.

So with this talk about trends and strategies what should you consider for the coming year? Here are my picks for the most important, in no particular order, that I compiled from multiple sources (Forbes, INC.com, HuffPost and Vidooly).

Transparency and relatable brands

Brands, in order to touch the cords, are drumming the emotional connect with elan. Realising the importance of emotional connect they revive the sentimentalist aspect of a brand by humanising it. Remember the overwhelming ads by coca-cola and back home we had a successful campaign in ‘Ghar-wali Diwali’ last year by pepsiIndia.

-Vidooly.com

I have been told more times than I can count that people buy from those that they know, like, and trust, KLT for short. Basically the steps for KLT are become an acquaintance, then a friend and finally a confidant or trusted advisor. When you become trusted you have reached the last step where a customer turns to you for advice and eventually for a solution, whether a product or service.

Mobile

When you visit a webpage that isn’t mobile optimized you know that it can be a hassle. While it isn’t a huge inconvenience for most people it is enough to make you think about clicking away and that happens before you ever consume the content that YOU clicked on. Now if most of the content your clients and followers receive from your business isn’t mobile optimized then you can imagine their frustration when they click to consume it.

A majority of your followers and subscribers are likely to be accessing your content via mobile, and yet many businesses still aren’t creating and distributing their content with these users in mind. Considering how and where your mobile users will be reading your emails and social media posts is key…

-Kim Garst, Huffington Post

Keep it brief and simple

“It’s not OK to simply push out anything that contains a relevant keyword,” she says. “As the content landscape continues to experience exponential growth, the future will be about piecing together solutions for time-starved individuals and helping them consume and apply the insights.”

-Nadine Dietz, creator of The CMO Solutions Clubhouse

While keeping campaigns and copy short and to the point isn’t anything new, attention spans are shorter now more than ever and campaigns that are aware of that and cater to it will win. Vine and twitter are great examples of short attention spans becoming mainstream.

A widespread trend observed worldwide was to make content shorter and durable. This seems to be the need of the hour for crafting videos. For people consuming data/video on the go, mostly on mobile devices, need content which is quick and catchy in as we always playfully complain.

-Vidooly

Storymonials/testimonials

“With the continued evolution of technology, like wearables, companies including Chambers of Commerce need to adapt our content marketing so we can better tell our story, engage customers, and create a unique experience for them.”

-Oscar Garcia, CEO of Chamber of Commerce Mountain View

I have written on the impact and power of video testimonials before so please visit there to find out more.

Content creators are needed and user created content is more powerful than ever

“[Next year] will bring decentralized content creation programs with participants across the company (not just marketing), as well as content initiatives that rely on user-generated content in expanded and highly strategic ways,” he says. “The best source of content in most companies may be right under your nose: your employees and customers.”

-Jay Baer, president of Convince & Convert

This is where small companies can make big gains just like the large companies. Earlier this year I wrote about Shoedazzle which leveraged user generated content with great results. As a result they saw dramatic increases in website traffic and more sales.

With the young and happening lot, high on creativity brands are looking to capitalise on this chunk and encourage them by providing them forums to shoot videos and enter many such video contests to promote their brand by enticing the amateur film-makers. The recent campaign by Pepsi India on the theme of Crash the Pepsi IPL, are gaining a lot of momentum these days.

-Vidooly

Search algorithms will change and never stop changing

Google is their own company that serves their customers (users of their search engine) and in an effort to serve up more accurate results to their users they update their search engine algorithm multiple times per year. In fact in 2014 Google made 15 major updates to their search algorithm and at the time of writing this article they have already rolled out 3 updates. As a result businesses need to update their website and SEO strategy on a consistent basis which, needless to say, can be frustrating. Moz.com has a great timeline showing the history of Google’s algorithm updates.

Smarter email marketing

Businesses who have been investing heavily in digital marketing over the past 5 years are already figuring this one out. In the past, offering a company newsletter via email was often enough to build and grow your list. But with website visitors becoming increasingly wary of handing over their email addresses, businesses need to become extremely smart about what types of email content they provide and how they promote it.

Using free eBooks or white papers that offer true value are great lead magnets that work well to entice people to join your list. As you continue to send highly relevant content to your subscribers, they recognize that you truly ‘know your stuff’, and are more likely to purchase your products or services.

-Kim Garst, Huffington Post

In some ways smarter email marketing ties back into the trends of mobile, transparency and keeping it brief and simple.

At the end of the day most of these are timeless principles that if followed, will result in increased customer engagement and eventually sales whether it is 2015 or 1950.

Thanks for reading and subscribe for more posts in the future!

Testimonials Study Results and Gift Card Winner

The Results are in!

Two weeks ago I posted a study on effective testimonials and asked for your response on which of four testimonials you liked the best. If you want to read the original post click here. If you voted in the study, thank you so much for contributing! I asked voters to rank a testimonial on a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being the best) on how likely they are to work with the company who the testimonial was for. Without further delay, here are the results, which might surprise you. They surprised me for sure!

Company A (Average vote 5.7)

“I probably spoke to about 5 different companies before deciding on Company A. It’s challenging finding skilled reliable people to do this service so I wanted to be confident that I found the right team. As expected, they delivered everything I was looking for and on time. We definitely plan on using them again in the future!”

– Happy Customer

Company B (Average vote 6.35)

 

 

 

 

Company C (Average Vote 6.8)

“Company C took on the task of pulling together a product for an upcoming event and did it with integrity. When (my) travel plans got messed up, they readily took over the whole process for me. My clients gave very positive feedback from their experience talking with them and I saw the same too as we talked through our plans. The resulting product was something we were all proud of. I’ll hire Company C again next time I need similar services, I didn’t have to worry about a thing through the whole process.”

– Happy Customer

Company D (Average 7.2)

Company D did an amazing job bringing to life my vision for the product.  Company D and their team carefully listened to my ideas and gently suggested alternatives.  They was very responsive to alterations and patient during the creation process.  The synergy created a fantastic and powerful product that exceeded my original vision.  I highly recommend that you consider working with Company D on your next project.

-Happy Customer

Here are the results for the overall top pick:

  1. Company D
  2. Company B
  3. Company C
  4. Company A

My Takeaway?

In all honesty I expected the video testimonial to win the overall top choice. It almost did, but Company D and Company B were one vote away from a tie in the overall top choice. By the way, I didn’t vote in this study. So what did I learn? Well something I have heard many times before, content is king. Whether your content is presented in video or text form, what is being said and how it is said matters. Also, the structure of the testimony seems to matter as well (see company D).  Here is my short analysis of each of the testimonials and why I think they placed where they did.

  • Company A: The testimonial spoke of Company A being selected against 5 competitors. Also, they delivered on time and the customer plans on using them again.
    • The first part of the testimonial talks about the client talking with 5 companies before deciding on Company A. However, the process of working with Company A and the client’s desire to work with them in the future is last.
  • Company B: The client spoke about their favorite part being working together with the company. Also, they loved the end product.
    • The process of working with the company is at the forefront and the end product is at the very last portion of the video.  It is interesting to me that Company B & C both mention the process first and both scored higher than Company A, which mentioned the process last.
  • Company C: The company delivered even when things didn’t work out as planned on the client’s side of things. The client’s customers were pleased with the process, they were proud of the end product and the client will hire them again.
    • The process of working with the company is mentioned at the beginning of the testimony, then the problem that was solved followed by the client’s customer’s response and finally the client’s satisfaction with the end result. It is interesting to me that Company B & C both mention the process first and both scored higher than Company A, which mentioned the process last.
  • Company D: The testimonial spoke of the product exceeding their original vision and the recommendation of the company came at the end. By the way, it had a spelling/grammatical error as well.
    • The interesting thing here is that this testimonial is the only one were the product is mentioned from the start. The process is described in detail (carefully listening, gently suggesting alternatives, being patient with the client and the resulting synergy that yielded a product better than they had envisioned). It is interesting that on all the other testimonials the product was at the end of the testimonials. This might be something to look at.

I saved the best for last…

The winner of the $25 starbucks gift card is (drumroll): Brian P. from Colorado!

Thanks for reading, please share this post and leave your comments below!