As a product marketer, you’ll understand and know that video is integral to what we do as both marketers and PMMs and while a lot of big companies with big budgets use video to great success, how do smaller businesses, or PMMs not well connected with the production team approach video marketing?
In this article, I’ll cover the basics, video marketing 101, split into five main buckets you need to focus on as a PMM for video marketing success.
My name's Vitaly, I run Product Marketing at Vimeo, and in this article, I'm going to talk about video marketing - pretty predictable for a person who works at a video company.
This is the greatest CTA of all time, the video play button, and that's what I'm going to be talking about.
A disclaimer, I've never created a video professionally and never ran any production of a video. But through my experience at Vimeo and other companies, there are a few lessons and best practices I'm hoping to pass to you today.
I'm sure a lot of you reading have been involved in video creation, hopefully, there are some insights here you can take away.
I came to Vimeo three years ago. The video still you see above is called the story of Vimeo. It describes how Vimeo is this community of explosive creativity of filmmakers. When I saw this video about three years ago, that was my 'why' moment for Vimeo.
The reason for that is because Vimeo, unlike any other company that I worked on, at least, it's not just a technology company. It's where technology meets creativity and arts and community, the best community of filmmakers around the world. That was my 'why' moment.
Since then I've been at Vimeo, working in product marketing, building the product marketing team. This is not a motivational article, but I hope each one of you reading has the 'why' for yourself.
Vimeo is not just a place where you go to see these really creative, awesome, adorably weird films. It's also a place where people actually use the tools to either drive their production or drive their marketing.
We launched recently, and you may have seen our recent campaign across the country highlighting how Vimeo can help assist with your video campaign. The idea there was to point out that Vimeo is not just a video destination for awesome videos, but we also have actual tools that help you do your work.
The top message is, "Vimeo can help" but that's being followed up with middle of the funnel messages around specific tools and features we have. I'll mention some of them throughout the article.
Product marketing at Vimeo
We work on inbound product marketing with the product team looking at the market, assessing the needs, and understanding the user. Then with the marketing team on actually creating the go-to-market strategy, and the different campaigns that go into that.
I define it for our team as the team that drives demand, usage, and business impact of new and existing products. That goes hand in hand with collaboration with the product team, marketing team, and sales team.
Really what's unique to product marketing is we're the most knowledgable in the company on everything that comes to the user, the competition, and the products as it pertains to the user and competition.
There's some conversation around how product marketing and product teams overlap but don't overlap in some areas. It's always going to be a tricky area because you have to be a little bit sensitive around how other teams are perceiving you.
We define very clear areas where there's, by design, an overlap between the teams and different areas that are uniquely owned by product marketing or product.
The overlap areas are:
- Market validation,
- User research, looking at what markets are regarding and assessing them.
- The strategic and business case that we're presenting to leadership when we're approaching new markets, or expanding existing ones, and
- The whole idea of growth, whether it's user onboarding or driving adoption in various ways although we do have a separate growth team that's responsible for the growth across the entire website or the entire offering.
The growth that product marketing and product teams are responsible for is specific to products, things like onboarding and driving adoption for features.
It's pretty standard in terms of the things that product marketing actually owns uniquely:
- The messaging and positioning,
- The pricing and tiering, and
- The whole go-to-market launch and competitive analysis.
That's product marketing at Vimeo.
The importance of Video
I'm sure you've seen enough quotes to understand and to know that video is integral to what we do as marketers/product marketers so I'm only going to include these three quotes.
The most interesting one I thought is from Brian Halligan, the HubSpot CEO. He is basically saying you need to be looking more into hiring video people than copywriters, or blog writers because video has better ROI than text.
I don't fully agree with that because the two have to live together. Video makes your blogs and other content more effective. But the point is that video is the most engaging medium today. Companies, if you have not invested in it yet, video has to become a priority for you.
Who does video well?
Plenty of companies like the brands that see in this image, they all use Vimeo.
But a lot of these companies have great budgets, they've been through trial and error of creating videos. They got the lessons, they've got big teams, both internally and external agencies.
But what about the long-tail, the smaller businesses, or marketers at companies that are working on specific things that are not too well connected with the production team or different startups? How do those people approach video and specifically video marketing?
For me, working for a video company in a marketing role, I feel like I have this unique vantage point of seeing how the art of storytelling is colliding with the science of marketing. That's essentially what video marketing is to me.
Video marketing: the basics
As you're thinking through your video marketing strategy, I would bucket the things you have to think about into these main areas.
One is aligning your video strategy with your general marketing goals. You don't want to be that person who's at a meeting and says "Let's make a video". That's not a strategy. The strategy is how to use that video, more holistically with the other marketing activities you do to drive specific goals.
The second thing is the almost impossible balance between budget, speed, and quality when it comes to creating video. It's almost impossible to reach that sweet spot. You're always going to sacrifice either speed, quality, or budget when it comes to that. I'm going to talk more about that in this article.
Thirdly, there are specific storytelling best practices that everyone who has been creating video for the past few decades, already knows about. It's important to keep those in mind as you decide what videos to create, to what purpose, and what kind of storytelling to use in those videos.
Next, is the marketing within video marketing. How do you use that video holistically? Where's the video going to live? How's it going to drive action? How's it going to drive results for you?
Speaking of results, getting actionable insight in terms of how you're going to measure the impact of the video you created, and what can you learn next.
I'm going to dive into each of those areas.
Align video strategy with marketing objectives
I'm sure you've all seen plenty of marketing funnels, but video, in that sense, is not very different than other content you create, especially in B2B.
That's because when you create a video, it has to live in a specific part of the funnel for a specific goal.
If your goal is to drive awareness and position your brand, then the type of videos you're going to be creating are:
- Social, snackable, entertaining content.
- Educational content, things you can teach your target audience about in an area that's important to them.
- Not selling your product yet, of course, that's the top of the funnel. And then,
- Ads that could be more focused on brand or specific product areas.
Most of you as product marketers are probably not working on videos at the top of the funnel, that's usually the content team or the brand team.
Although from conversations with some PMMs, it seems they do work on some of those videos in the sense that when those brand campaigns or content are including things like product features, and product capabilities, and they're the person who's telling the agency or the content or the creative team, how to position those features in that brand campaign.
Middle of the funnel is where product marketers start to be a lot more active.
That's where we create product videos, explainer videos about your offering, case studies, webinars, which could be gated or nongated.
Here, as with most consideration/decision funnel phases, the goal is to deepen the trust with your users, educate them about your offering, and generate demand and leads.
Then the bottom of the funnel is after someone becomes a customer already or user, how do you use whatever videos you need to create, to make them use your product more? To retain them? And to grow a share of wallet?
The videos you create there are 'how tos', onboarding videos, and different best practices.
Video marketing is also live streaming
One thing to keep in mind, video is not just a produced video, it's also live. Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn are looking into launching live soon. This has become a true medium of communicating your marketing message, whether it's through webinars or best practices.
The reason to use live streaming is to build up anticipation for a specific event and also to have a lot more of an engaging conversation with your audience in real-time.
Balance budget, speed, and quality
Now I want to talk about the almost impossible balance between budget, speed, and quality.
As I said, you can only probably get two out of the three. You can get budget and speed but maybe not quality. You can get quality, but not speed. Something has to give.
Depending on your goals and the type of videos you're creating, you have to decide, what are you actually sacrificing?
A bunch of questions come to mind when you think about balancing and creating your videos. The questions that usually come up are:
- Should I produce the video in-house (if you have a production team)?
- Or should I outsource it to an agency?
- Are there any shortcuts, any new technologies that help me create videos or help me scale my video production much faster?
- How much should I spend on a video? This is always very important.
- How long should the video be? Depending on the type of video you're creating, that actually drives a lot of the decision-making around where this video lives and how much you spend on it.
- Finally, if you're creating a video, how do you make it not a one-off project but actually an evergreen ongoing initiative?
Know the shortcuts to lower the barrier of production
Let me start with the shortcuts. Three examples of shortcuts to lower the barrier of production.
1: Live streaming camera (Mevo)
This is a live streaming camera by Vimeo called Mevo. It's full-on production packed in a palm-sized device, a camera that's operated with your mobile device.
That allows you to have, not full-scale professional-grade live events, but definitely quality live streaming, with all the effects you will expect from a live production, including zooming in, lower thirds, and things like that.
So, if you're looking into produce live events, and you're looking to start small, this is a great shortcut and you will not need a full live production team.
2: Stock footage
The second thing I want to talk about is stock footage. Stock footage is essentially a shortcut when you're working on a specific project and you don't have that specific shot of a blue-eyed Labrador walking down the street in Chicago.
You would go to a stock offering and you'll be able to find something similar to that. What that allows you to do is really scale production and cut down on the time it takes to create a video. Because, you don't need to produce all the content anymore, you have it ready.
Vimeo Stock is an offering you can use for that (another shameless plug).
3: DIY social video creation Apps
The third one is what I call, 'Do It Yourself social video creation Apps' which are becoming pretty popular. These allow you to, as a marketer, or someone who doesn't have a background in production, very easily create a video you could potentially use in your social media.
Companies that do that are Animoto, Magisto, Videolicious, and Adobe has a product for that. These tools allow you to actually not have to go to a production team every single time you want to create quick snackable content.
Those are your shortcuts.
Budget, speed, and quality
Now, when you don't do shortcuts this is what the consideration could potentially look like.
It's not an exact science but what I've found is, and some of this information is from Forrester, that the type of video you create is closely tied to the stage of the funnel the video is in.
Whether it's pre-sales or post-sale, and that's tied to whether you should be looking at an agency or in-house production.
For example, in the pre-sale stage, most people will be looking at an agency, some in-house production. In a post-sale stage, you'll probably either use a simple 'Do It Yourself' tool like I just showed, or use an in-house production.
So, as you go up the funnel, the length of the video increases. The ads are very short, the snackable content is very short. As you go towards thought leadership and webinars, more down the funnel, that's where content becomes a lot longer.
This is pretty straightforward in terms of comparing production agency versus in-house as a 'Do it Yourself' tool production.
When you outsource it to an agency, it's going to take longer, the budget is going to be much bigger, but the quality is going to be something you wouldn't be able to produce in-house because agencies do have skill sets and best practices they can use towards the video.
For an in-house team, depending on the specific skill sets you have and the size of your production team, it's going to take a shorter period of time because there's less back and forth. It's not going to cost as much - it's your internal team. But you still need some budget for them to create these videos. The quality is going to be good, potentially not as amazing as outsourcing.
As you think about the general cost of an average video, depending on the constraints and quality, it will cost you anywhere between $3,000 for the lower end, and $15,000 for something a little bit more sophisticated. When it gets to creating polished ads, that's $60,000 and up - it can rack up pretty fast.
You need to compare that as you're thinking about your video strategy. Do you want to continue to outsource videos versus having an internal production team? Compare that against a typical salary of a production team. If you are the person who's responsible for making those decisions, it's something to keep in mind.
From concept to clicks: who does what?
As you're thinking about the video creation, what's very important is to think through who's responsible for what through the entire stage.
Script & storyboard
Initially, when you're creating the concept or the script, as a PMM if it's a product video, the script is a very simple, two-column narration accompanied by the visual aspect of it. It's as simple as that.
But, product marketing for the most part is going to be responsible for that script if it's a product video, for example.
Concept, mood board, pre-production, shooting, editing
As you get to the pre-production, production, and post-production stage, there's not much you need to do as a marketer or product marketer, but you do need to be in the loop to make sure your vision is in the video.
Because it's very easy for the creative director to go rogue and be like, “Oh, I added this awesome flashy thing over here", and it's completely off in terms of what you had in mind.
Review & approval
That's where review and approval really come in very handy. You need to set milestones where you will be approving and reviewing things and providing feedback to the creative team.
Distribution & tracking
Finally, when it comes to distribution and tracking the success of the video, you need to be working with the performance marketing team to make sure the product is distributed correctly, in the channels you want, for the type of users you want to see that video and that everything is set up correctly to track success for the video.
Communication = everything
To the point of providing feedback, this is a tool (another shameless plug) that Vimeo has. It easily provides feedback directly in the video to make sure you don't have to do the whole long email thread saying, "Here at five minutes 30 seconds, you need to fix this in the top left corner".
Instead, it just does this.
Point, write a comment and the editor will then see it over here. As you go along, the editor will start resolving your comments and hopefully, by the end, all your comments are resolved. For me at least, that saves hours at a time.
Storytelling best practices
There are hundreds of best practices, I just compiled a few.
Don’t sell products, sell your “Why”
Don't sell the products, sell your 'why', unless you really try and just sell the product in the middle of the funnel. This is an example from Skillshare.
Very inspirational, not selling this product but selling an idea of curiosity. Not talking at all about what the product is. A tagline and a very subtle CTA. This is selling the 'why'.
Humanizing your brand with employee faces and customer stories
A great example comes from a coffee shop in Brooklyn that actually created a series where they talk to people who come to the coffee shop. They're really talking about their stories, what they're doing with their lives, and the ads have driven a lot of engagement for this coffee shop.
It's very authentic, very cinematic, and has been working well.
Teach what you know
Establishing yourself as an expert in the space is something that you would use video for. For example, if Vimeo is a video platform, we have something called Vimeo Video School, where we teach about anything from how to pick your camera equipment, to how to distribute your content.
Vimeo is not a camera company but we know it's important to our type of user so we create videos about that.
Authenticity > polished
Authenticity often goes a much longer way than having a super polished video.
Video consistency with your brand & campaign assets
Wherever the video lives, it needs to look like everything around it is part of the campaign. It's part of the landing page, or if it's in an email or on social, it's very important to have this visual consistency for the video.
Use emotion and humor to drive action
The last one is using emotion to humanize and drive action. Happiness, sadness, all these emotions drive specific calls to action. It's amazing when you can really cater to it.
Turn viewers into customers
So, you've created the videos - what do you do with them? How do you actually drive action?
It comes down to 'videofying' your entire funnel or all your channels.
From having videos on your social, depending on what type of video you're creating and what type of goal, to driving people from social to your website with specific calls to action, and then converting them on your websites to leads and opportunities.
Nurturing those users with video, and then finally delighting them as users.
Keep in mind those call-to-actions you have in each stage and what type of videos you use in each area.
Publish to Social
Speaking of social videos, Vimeo has a tool we call Publish to Social. Essentially, it allows you to easily distribute videos with a single click, to multiple social destinations; Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
It's basically simplifying your workflow, but the fact you can also track all the analytics from the social networks in a single place simplifies your life as a marketer.
Get actionable insights
Finally, all of it is not worth it if you can't get actionable insights.
Essentially, you can't only track views, you have to track the actual impact. Things like engagement and how long people are watching the video.
This is what we call a drop-off graph. I can see there is a big drop-off here at 30 seconds so I'll know next time I'm creating a video or maybe even modifying this specific video, creating a cut for it, how I can fix that, to make the video much more effective.
Tracking everything, not just views, but beyond.
Engagement - how does this video help to convert viewers into customers? That's critical.
To sum it all up
Make great content, often and strategically.
Align video with marketing objectives, balance budget vs. quality and speed, communication = everything.
Get people to see it, and actually care to take action.
Tell your best stories, videofy the customer journey across all channels.
The action is really important here - what's your call to action in the video? Where does the video live?
Know it works, prove that it works.
You know the video works, but how do you prove that it works?
Measure success beyond views and plays, prove that video drives your marketing goals.
Use analytics, that's very important.
Got more tips for video marketing? Need some advice? Head to the B2B Marketing Alliance Community!