Video marketing: Don’t fail before you turn the camera on!

Written by Matt Smith

28 May 2019


I want video marketing to deliver for your business.

So to help your next video marketing project, I’ve compiled some of the common video pitfalls I’ve observed in my career.

These are the entirely avoidable things that set content on a path to failure before it’s even been created.

Taking a little time to nail your brief with these things in mind and you can nip them in the bud before they become an issue.

  1. Your creative has overtaken your objectives

Video marketing – stay focused on the objective

Video is a really exciting medium and it can yield incredible results.

It’s a brilliant platform for brand storytelling, for bringing a brand purpose to life and engaging an audience.

It’s also ripe for creativity, and many people love the idea of being able to create their own little slice of film history.

But you have to keep the creative idea in check against the outcome you need to achieve. That’s far easier said than done.

Base your content not on gut feel for creative, but on solid insight. Market research, competitor intelligence or direct customer feedback are invaluable here.

Don’t create something because you’ve got a great idea. Create it because it’s relevant to the people you need to reach.

And don’t wed yourself to a creative execution before you’ve had the benefit of expert advice.

A three minute video might be what you’re imagining, but it night not be the way to maximise your ROI.  Any video producer worth their salt will provide recommendations to maximise your investment and impact.

TAKE OUT: Be objective focused first and foremost. Great ideas mean nothing without a clear purpose.

  1. Your product shout is the hook

Video marketing – your audience is key. Don’t lose them!

In the world of B2B marketing, the target audience rarely has as much interest in your next product video as you do.

Therefore, the success of any video is down to the amount of value it delivers to the user. If it’s not immediately useful to them, they will move on in seconds and your video will fall short.

There is a tendency to focus on a sales pitch but think about that from your own perspective as a consumer.

When did you last CHOOSE to watch a video from a brand talking exclusively about themselves and how wonderful they are?

People rarely seek out adverts proactively, but they do want to see good content.

If you’re making video content for a guaranteed audience – an event presentation, for example – the circumstances might be slightly different.

But if your content needs to earn and engage an audience keep in mind the onus is on you to keep them interested. If you don’t, they’ll skip it as soon as they can.

TAKE OUT: You (specifically the business you work for) is not the hero. Understand what your audience needs and deliver it in a relevant way.

  1. Your branding is out of balance

Video marketing – get the branding balance right

You need to be mindful of pushing your brand, product or service too hard, but don’t let take a back seat to the content.

You might think that, for fear of alienating the audience, you should tell a great story before revealing it’s come from your business. At that point, viewers will be so impressed by the quality of the film they will think really positively about your brand.

But this is not how it works.

Your audiences are so focused on what they need they will make a decision about your content’s relevance to them in seconds.

It means landing the brand and ‘hook’ of the video in the opening few seconds (literally three!) is critical.

Info on the performance of your previous videos is available in the admin panel of your social media channels.

Use it to understand just how quickly even some of your “best performing” videos lose the majority of their viewers. It can be quite eye opening.

TAKE OUT: Use performance data to underpin branding and structural decisions in video. Test and learn across platforms and formats over time to optimise it for your audiences.

  1. You’re only thinking of one version

Video marketing – multiple cuts make for choice and flexibility

Don’t assume a single cut of the video is the answer.

You’re creating video to drive some form of business outcome. The video itself is not the goal, but the start or mid-point of the audience interaction.

Because people often forget this it’s not uncommon for one video to be created and published in its entirety across multiple channels.

This approach hinders the effectiveness of your content.

Decide whether your video is a step in the customer journey or an endpoint in and of itself. Think about what you need people to do after watching it.

It gives you a different perspective on how it can be used, the edits and formats you need to maximise the opportunity.

Make the most of your shoot and post-production time to capture and create multiple edits and it will increase the chances of success.

TAKE OUT: Focus on the outcome you want to drive, not the creation of the video itself. Plan for optimised edits of your content for each distribution platform you use.

  1. You’re building a one-off film

Video marketing – one offs are much less effective than a series

The volume of video content you’re competing against makes it incredibly hard for a single film to have any notable impact.

Bad video is forgotten in seconds. Good video is watched all the way through and compels people to share it authentically.

Successful content marketing stems not just from delivering value to the viewer, but doing so consistently.

Setting an expectation of the kinds of content people will see brings in new followers or subscribers, allows you to understand more about what makes them tick and to continue to optimise future content to meet this need.

It means you become increasingly relevant and valuable to the audience you need to reach.

This doesn’t deliver quick wins, but it’s a much more valuable path to tread than, say, attempting to achieve viral success. It’s also within your gift to influence the success and underpins your content pipeline.

TAKE OUT: Think about the long game for video and you will reap the benefits. Build context over time.

A way to address these pitfalls

These will be addressed by nailing the brief in the first place.

There are many factors and pressures that will influence the briefing process, but investing time will enable your creative partner to develop interesting, relevant ideas for the audience you want to reach and achieve the kind of results you need to see.

It also means you can iron out potential problems BEFORE the shoot begins. Use this to cover more ground in pre-production and risk less budget wastage because of avoidable issues.