I sometimes feel like it’s easier for us mid-level marketing leaders to decide we want to invest in a tool, technology, or project based on gut instinct—after all, we’re working in the trenches every day, so we can quickly recognize the value of a new solution. If you’re like me, though, you sometimes struggle to make an effective case to invest.
I’m a huge proponent of investing in video content as a part of a comprehensive marketing strategy, and I know a lot of other marketing managers and directors have identified the huge potential as well. But leaders often dismiss video as being either too complex to produce, or just simply too expensive.
That’s something we need to overcome by proving video’s contribution to marketing ROI.
How do we go about convincing the (sometimes cynical) C-suite that video marketing is a viable investment that needs more attention from us? Below is a five-part guide for pitching leaders on a variety of different video content genres.
Before I get into my list of ways to pitch various video content investments, I’d like to start out by saying this: when it comes time for you to deliver your pitch, be completely prepared. Make “audience first, video second,” your mantra. Return to it before each new pitch.
That’s a lesson I learned from my dad when I was growing up. Let me explain: When I was in high school, my father had a sweet 1973 Corvette Stingray. Man, was that car something—dual exhaust, flawless silver paint, a growling V8, and a 4-speed that begged to be shifted.
One day, I came up with the idea of asking him if I could take it to my junior prom. I was 17 years old. I knew my dad; I knew I had to have all of my ducks in a row if I was going to ask him for something like this, or he would shoot me down in an instant. (In fact, looking back, he probably should have.)
But I came up with a plan. I told him I’d wash and wax it for him the day before, and that I’d fill it up with gas after I was done. I told him what time we’d be leaving, where we were going, and what time we’d be back. I was prepared—and I nailed that pitch.
Today, I take the same approach with marketing leaders when pitching special projects or budget allocations that deviate from the norm. Much in the same way I had to know my dad to know what he’d need to hear, I recognize that I have to know my organization and my leaders.
When you’re crafting your next pitch, ask yourself: What’s most important to your leader? What will they zero in on first? Maybe they’re a bottom-line-driven numbers person, or perhaps they just love a good story. Know your approach before you pitch to your leaders, and tailor your delivery to their personalities. Audience first, video second.
Here’s my list of tactics:
Product videos aren’t for every organization—but under the right circumstances, they can be very effective tools that are worth the effort that goes into making a full marketing transformation. If you sell products, it’s important to consider your audience and the products you offer before formulating your video strategy. Making compelling product video content can be a challenge, but it can work, even if the topic is a bit dry.
Here’s my tried-and-true approach to pitching videos that go beyond the one-minute maximum many people recommend:
Video is unique in that it allows you to drill down into topic in ways that aren’t always possible with other content media—especially in complex subject areas. Just remember to keep your audience in mind and know how technical, detailed, and “geeky” you can get.
The organization I work for really does a superb job producing video content from our leadership—especially with our CEO, David Strong. But often, pitching the use of video that features your leadership can be a bit of a challenge. Some leaders are extremely interested and very camera savvy, while others just aren’t (on both accounts). I believe video content from an organization’s leadership team can provide a marketing benefit that not only affects your external customer audience, but can also help reinforce or improve team member perspectives on the brand.
If you’re trying to pitch leadership videos, I strongly recommend using a recruitment angle. While recruitment might not feel like marketing to you, consider this: organizational culture is a major factor in qualified candidates’ decisions to join a company. Leaders who are willing to work with you to create videos, and who can articulate their organizations’ cultures and show potential candidates why they’d be a great fit are huge boons for both their marketing and human resources departments. Let’s face it, the happier your employees are, the more readily they become advocates (read: organic marketers) for your organization as well.
Testimonials are staples in many marketers’ toolboxes, and for good reason: they’re very effective in helping users progress past their research stages and convincing them to commit. Customer testimonials are relatively easy pitches to leadership; the real challenge often lies in finding customers who are willing to go on camera for you.
My best advice when pitching customer testimonial videos is to have customers who are willing to provide their on-camera testimonies lined up, with signed waivers at the ready. Leadership had a difficult time turning my idea down when I had willing participants prepared to go.
Even if you’re only able to produce one or two customer testimonials, they can be seriously effective votes of confidence for your brand. What’s more, they’re great ways to keep prospective customers moving down your sales funnel.
Most of us have ingrained in our brains that blogging means cranking out those 500-word or longer posts with a stock photo as the featured image.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
When we think about blogging we should also think about video blogging or “vlogging” as well. The great part about vlogging is that it can replace some of your written content, reinforce your written content, or supplement it. With the options afforded through video, you can push the boundaries of your blog to tell engaging stories that audiences can consume in a variety of ways.
My pitch to leadership when I’m asking to supplement blog post content with video always starts with the numbers. Content performs better when it has a video component—in conversion rates and SEO alike. From there, I like to appeal to my leader’s sense of logic by explaining that not all consumers are content with reading our content. Videos are a great way to capture an audience that prefers visuals to text, ensuring they don’t abandon us for a competitor that does offer video content.
One brand that has really owned the multimedia blog space is Whole Foods, with its Whole Story blog. Here’s a recent vlog the brand posted that does a great job promoting not only Whole Foods, but the company’s goal of promoting health and goodness in a holistic sense:
Videos that introduce a company and explain what it’s all about can be incredibly effective marketing tools. My pitches usually focus on helping clarify our brand to customers. There’s a good chance your C-suite is familiar with your brand awareness metrics. You can use this knowledge in your pitch to explain that corporate intro videos are a great way of clearing up confusion about who you are or what you do as a company.
Even if your company’s function is pretty straightforward, an introduction video is a great way to showcase your brand’s unique personality and to set you apart from the pack. Remember that Dollar Shave Club video from a few years ago? The video was a super effective tool that uniquely explained what they did and in an entertaining way. It must have worked, too, since their company was just snatched up by Unilever for $1 billion.
Convincing your leaders to invest in content marketing can be a challenge. Knowing your leaders and focusing on the type of content that would most benefit your organization is important. If you can understand and articulate the benefits and uses of that content, I’m confident you’ll find success in your video content and your overall marketing ROI.
If you’re looking for a partner who can help bringing your video marketing strategy to new heights, check out Skyword Video. And if you’ve had success pitching video to your leadership, I’d love to read your story in the comments!
(PS: Remember that ’73 Corvette? It’s sitting in my garage right now.)