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This may be a surprise to the more technically minded, but—prepare yourself—most people don’t exactly want to curl up on the couch with a cup of cocoa and the specs or manual for the newest piece of machinery in their industry. Honestly,even industry professionals would like to see the power of a piece of equipment in action rather than simply look at the numbers. Of course numbers are important too; but saying and doing are not the same. Even if the numbers are impressive, people want to see the numbers in action. This is why video marketing is so effective, perhaps especially in the manufacturing industry, where the products and services are highly mechanical and technical. Here are some statistics about the power of video in marketing to support this claim:
- 59% of executives (as in the decision makers) would rather watch a video than read written content (Forbes)
- Visitors who view a product video are 64-85% more likely to purchase that product (Comscore and Internet Retailer)
- Viewers of a video retain 95% of its message, while readers retain only 10% of the message contained in the text they read (Insivia)
- Video attracts 2-3x more monthly visitors to a site, doubles the time they spend on the site, and increases organic traffic from search engines by 157% (MarketingSherpa)
- 90% of users say that seeing a video about a product is helpful in the decision process (Insivia)
Regarding marketing for manufacturing companies specifically: 80% of manufacturing marketers use video content and 71% consider it one of the top two most effective marketing tactics for their industry. Why? Again, manufacturing companies are generally dealing with highly technical or mechanical products with a value that becomes clearest during demonstrations of their function and effectiveness. Long lists of tech-specs don’t engage the way a video can.
This article is going to talk about the qualities that make an effective video and then look at a case study video that we loved by Titan LED, a California based LED lighting manufacturing and installation company. We’ll see why this video was done right and where it had room for improvement. Before we begin, though, we have this disclaimer: We do not work with Titan LED and are assessing their marketing efforts as third-party, disinterested marketing professionals solely for the purpose of providing applicable advice to B2B companies (especially in the manufacturing industry) interested in creating and promoting video content. All content here represents our unbiased, professional opinions as marketers. We sincerely hope the information here provides their company and yours some food for thought in developing a marketing strategy.
Secrets of Viral Video in Action
Here we have a list of the elements that are most likely to make a video shareable and, sometimes, even viral. Not every single one of these has to be present in each video. But at least one (and generally several) should be. We’re going to talk a little bit about each of these and then see whether our case study video lines up with them. Watch the video below and see if you agree with our assessment.
1. We’re All Sensitive People—Tap into the Human Element
There’s no question in your mind that your product or service meets a need. Now,expand the concept of that need from specific to overarching so you can tap into the human element. For example, if you build heavy machinery for construction, your video can emphasize how the buildings being constructed with your equipment will impact a community. Maybe it’s a school, a hospital, a home or apartment building. Literally your equipment might move debris from the construction site to the dumpster, but figuratively your equipment is making the larger goals of the project possible—education, health, new homes, etc. Tap into the human element and make your video connective as well as demonstrating the mechanical/technical prowess of your product.
Titan LED does a great job with this in several moments throughout the video, but the section about “going green” and the negative impact that regular light bulbs have on the environment is the most powerful delivery of that “bigger picture” impact. Being environmentally conscious is hugely important and, thankfully, becoming more important. Highlighting this aspect of their product, Titan LED expands their interest as a company and points out an overarching need that is being met by their product. Nice.
2. Keep it Simple
Before creating your video, write down the message you want to get across in 1-2 straightforward sentences. Make sure the message includes your value proposition and an aspect of urgency. A good generic structure for your message is: “This product/service brings you value, here’s why. Act now.”
Let’s see if Titan LED succeeds in this:
Message: “This product saves you money as an innovation lighting solution and alternative to the traditional (and outdated) light bulb.
Message: “Titan LED products are eco-friendly have no negative impact on the environment.”
Message: “Titan LED has a variety of lighting solutions that can meet your variety of needs.”
Message: “You may be eligible for rebates and government supported reimbursement programs—for a limited time.”
Message: “This product/service brings you value, here’s why. Act now.” Check, check, check. Nice.
3. Dolla Dolla Bills Ain’t the Only Kind of Currency
Don’t underestimate the value of social currency–i.e., what is considered valuable in a social setting. Videos that are funny, clever, helpful, prestigious, up-and-coming, or highly and innovatively informative are likely to be shared because, by association, their socially valued qualities are attributed to the person sharing them. A huge part of social media has to do with personal image building. If your content has qualities that are valued by the social group, people who want to enhance their own personal image within that social group will share it.
Titan LED scores on a few of these. It’s definitely funny. “Ryan” doesn’t take himself too seriously, but delivers every line, even the absurd ones, with a straight face that definitely evokes Michael Dublin’s Dollar Shave Club genius.
Again, the product is environmentally conscious and speaks to that widely held interest.
The product is up-and-coming in the sense that more and more companies and individuals are looking for lower cost, eco-friendly lighting options. It’s innovative and relevant. Unfortunately Titan’s tagline “We’re lighting the future” should have made it into the video, but didn’t.
4. Build Associations
Building an association between a brand and common daily or routine activities or experiences is effective in two ways:
1. It improves brand awareness and recognition as people begin to connect parts of their daily lives with your product or service
2. It increases the “shareability” factor of your content, since it becomes something relatable and relevant to the everyday.
If you’ve ever used the word “Kleenex” to mean tissue or “Coke” to mean soda, you’ve testified to the value of brand association. Brands that we identify with the things we use and encounter everyday have the power to become deeply rooted in our minds and routines. Video can easily build associations between products and needs or products and feelings, since it engages viewers on both an emotional and highly sensory level.
Coca-Cola’s recent “Generous World” ad is a great example of how this company has built up associations between its product and a wide variety of human needs, experiences, and emotions. The whole commercial is about sharing some much needed refreshment and relief—of course in the form of a nice cool Coke—after painful or (humorously) unfortunate experiences.
Titan LED’s video does not focus too much on building associations. We can find a quick flash of this at the very beginning when Thomas Edison is credited with inventing the light bulb. Edison is then paralleled to Titan LED as the source (not in terms of invention, but in terms of manufacturing and distribution) of the “newer,” “better” lighting solution—the association being: “there are light bulbs and there are Titan LED products.”
5. Evoke Strong Emotions
Content that evokes strong emotions is more likely to be shared than content that more mediocre. Statistically, videos that include inspirational, hilarious, or enraging content are the most likely to be shared. A medium warm fuzzy feeling generally doesn’t cut it. Titan LED’s video doesn’t really meet the qualifications for strong emotion. Although it is funny, I don’t know that it would generally be considered hilarious. Its length could have something to do with this. Had the humorous parts of the video but compressed into half the time, “hilarious” might be an apt description. As it is, the video still succeeds in being funny while fitting in more substantive content. Again, not every single video needs to include every one of these elements. So, it’s not a big deal that Titan LED opted out of this one.
* Bonus Points *
One final other great element of this video that deserves mention, (even though it isn’t part of the “Guide to Shareable Video” list):
Budget: We don’t know what the budget was for this video, but it doesn’t appear to have been a big budget project. Still, it is of great quality. We don’t think you should spend a lot of money just for the heck of it and we strongly believe that you can create great content without big spend if you’re willing to be creative and innovative.
King Content Without a Kingdom
So what would we change about this video? Some might consider the video a bit on the long side, but 3 minutes has actually been found to be the ideal length for YouTube video content (Orbit). There’s not much we would change about this video itself. Our biggest issue with this video is the promotion strategy—or, more appropriately, the LACK of promotion strategy.
For one thing, there is no way to watch this video on the Titan LED websites (they have two). The video link on one site is broken and there’s not even a video section on the other. The only way we found this video was by visiting the Titan LED Facebook page. It’s great that the video is on social, but it needs to be on the website too, since 80% of website visitors will watch a video, while only 20% will read written content.
Ok, so Titan doesn’t have a video section on their website. Big mistake, but at least I can go to their YouTube channel and see their other quality video content, right? Wrong. Titan LED’s videos are currently housed on at least two different accounts, which divide the attention of their viewers and require more maintenance effort from their team for fewer results. And we cannot ignore that one of these accounts appears to be a personal YouTube channel that includes one or two Titan LED videos alongside videos of “Glenda’s 60th Birthday Surprise Party,” “the bestest Baby in the whole world,” and other home videos. Being family oriented is awesome (and no joke, that baby is CUTE), but this content is not exactly relevant to their potential clients and could be distracting or even confusing. It’s best practice to consolidate all your video content on a single YouTube channel—and to have that channel fully dedicated to your company videos.
The Titan LED video has great style and we can’t get enough of “Ryan.” This indicates to us that this video content, properly promoted, would be especially valuable to them in their lead generation and sales efforts. As evidenced by the stats we laid out in the beginning, video content in general is highly valuable and even lower quality video will deliver some value. Good video content (like Titan LED’s) is a major asset. But without a video content editorial calendar and promotion strategy, that value is squandered. We’d love to see their future great content rolled out with a stronger promotion strategy behind it.
Lesson to be learned? “Content is King”—but if it exists in obscurity, there is no kingdom for it to rule over. No matter how great and shareable your content is, if no one finds it, no one will share it. Just creating content is not good enough—you need a strategy that gets your quality content into the field of vision of your target viewer. Only then will your content drive leads and conversions.