Customer Experience

Small companies are bigger with video

Lachlan Colquhoun
Technology Journalist

Lachlan Colquhoun has had a 30 year career in the media, working for some of the world's best known mastheads both in Australia and overseas

Lachlan Colquhoun
Technology Journalist

Lachlan Colquhoun has had a 30 year career in the media, working for some of the world's best known mastheads both in Australia and overseas

Today, virtually anyone can shoot a decent video on a smartphone and upload it to social media, the company website, YouTube and any number of proprietary platforms.

When fishing gear company Shimano has a new product ready for release in Australia, part of its marketing plan is to create short videos, between 15 seconds and one minute in length. These videos are then released across several online platforms, including YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, and are syndicated to others.

Each video is tagged with keywords to be picked up in online searches, including product names, model numbers, and common misspelt associated keywords. A month later, Shimano’s analytics measures those against consumer search. In many cases, the video releases correlate with a better than 200 per cent increase in keyword searches.

“Video is probably the most important piece of our marketing puzzle now,” says Drew Dunphy, Shimano Australia’s marketing manager. “It’s gone from nothing in the early days around four years ago, to our core strategy particularly with product releases.”

Shimano is not alone with its focus on video. In a world of proliferating mobile devices and online platforms, video is now the go-to marketing medium for businesses large and small.

For small businesses, video gives them the same platform to compete with larger companies. Today, virtually anyone can shoot a decent video on a smartphone and upload it to social media, the company website, YouTube and any number of proprietary platforms.

The standout video success has been US company Dollar Shave Club, which was bought by consumer giant Unilever in July for US$1 billion after less than four years in business. The company sells its affordable razors through subscription, mailing out a new pack of razor blades to subscribers each month.

But a lot of its success has been attributed to its bizarre videos featuring co-founder Michael Dubin. Within 48 hours of posting the first Dollar Shave Club video, the company had 12,000 new customers and was on its way.

a close up image of a "Play" button on a TV remote.

The growth in digital channels (and devices!) has helped drive momentum for video, and it’s likely to get bigger. Consumer internet video traffic will comprise 80 per cent of all consumer traffic by 2019, up from 64 per cent in 2014, according to research commissioned by US computer giant Cisco.

“We are all time poor and we all have smartphones in our pockets,” says Nigel Abbott, whose Sydney-based business, Rippling, produces and distributes videos for business. “Video is such an excellent medium to deliver any message, and whether that is advertorial, educational or brand awareness, it really is becoming part of our everyday lives.”

Abbott has identified more than 40 ways small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can use video content. These range from straight brand advertising to product reviews and demonstrations, or training videos and client testimonials. “The place to start is to look at the customer’s pathway to a purchase,” he says. “If you look at that, then you realise there are different stops along the way, and that can drive the type of content you create.”

The number of platforms for video is also increasing. Instagram, which built its business on still photography, now supports videos of up to 60 seconds. Facebook rolled out Livestream earlier this year, allowing users to broadcast a live video instead of the usual text or link update. Videos are also becoming more common on professional networking site LinkedIn. And remember, as long as you have a compatible smartphone and a tripod, the potential for high quality video might be sitting in the palm of your hand.

“All the changes in infrastructure and social media have enabled this new video wave,” observes Abbott. “And it works so well because our brains are so directly aligned to vision, audio and motion that it is like our preferred language now.”

So if you’re wondering how video could work for your business, here are 10 ways Abbott has pinpointed:

  1. Video customer testimonials
  2. Man-in-the-street interviews (Vox pops)
  3. Customer presentations
  4. Product demonstrations
  5. Employee orientation
  6. Video press releases
  7. Website FAQ video
  8. Product and service infotorial
  9. Visual stories (explainers)
  10. Training video
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