Why businesses should make video a marketing priority in 2018

Wherever we go these days, it seems we are bombarded with video: on our computers, tablets, phones, not to mention what we see on TV. Just open any of your social media accounts, and you’re likely to see video as you scroll through your feed. More and more websites also now have embedded videos on landing pages, which can increase conversion rates.

According to the American Marketing Association, video content will be the driving factor behind 85 percent of all search traffic in the U.S. by 2019. In addressing marketing priorities for 2018, companies should make video a top priority — whether it’s for a website, Snapchat, Instagram or Facebook. Video content will be imperative in 2018, even for companies that are focused on marketing to businesses.

Relating to millennials

One reason for this great change is that there are a growing number of millennials populating the workforce. According to the latest figures from the Pew Research Center, there were an estimated 79.8 million millennials living in the U.S. in 2016, compared to 74.1 million baby boomers — more than half the population! And, according to Catalyst, one-third of all working-age people in the U.S. in 2015 were millennials, a percentage that’s expected to grow to 75 percent by 2025.

And what do we know about millennials? They are comfortable with video. They grew up playing video games, livestreaming movies and creating their own videos on their smart phones. And, more important, they like to share videos. To engage with them in the workplace — to get their attention if you’re trying to sell them a product or a service for their business — video is a must.

The power of videos

Sprint took to video to promote its Workplace-as-a-Service from Sprint Business. Sprint’s brilliant video from 2015 outlines the hassles of opening a new office — finding the best phone system and integrating that with the network, Wi-Fi, email, phone conferencing and other collaboration tools. The video sells the idea that Sprint can handle that all for you, freeing you to spend time on what matters most to your business — hiring employees for the new office, furnishing the office, courting business prospects in the new city. The video ends with the simple message, “You’ve got better things to do, and we kind of don’t.”

Sprint’s video sells the idea that they understand their business customers’ pain points, and they know how to solve them.

Millennials in leadership positions within companies recognize the power of such videos to communicate a message and to build relationships with customers. According to Google, 50 percent of all internet users look for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store.

Still not sure? Consider these statistics gathered by HubSpot Research:

  • 59 percent of the decision-makers in companies (which will increasingly be millennials) prefer watching a video over reading a blog post.
  • 54 percent of consumers want to see videos from brands they support.
  • 43 percent of respondents said that branded video content was the most memorable to them and they wanted to see more video content from marketers.
  • 55 percent of people consume video content thoroughly.

In developing video, companies must remember that a good video still must tell a story, be professional and have a relevant, engaging message for the audience before closing with a meaningful call to action.

In addition, the key to using video content to propel your brand will be understanding how best to use the video you’ve just created to your advantage on your website and in each social media channel. After all, the entire purpose of the video — as with any marketing message — is to engage your customers and your prospects.

 

Kelly Borth is CEO and chief strategy officer for GREENCREST, a 27-year-old brand development, strategic and online marketing and public relations firm that turns market players into industry leaders™. Kelly is one of 35 certified brand strategists in North America and works with companies to establish brands and build brand value for their businesses.

Facebook changes IPO pitch in Boston, scraps video; takes time for questions

BOSTON, Tue May 8, 2012 – Facebook Inc.’s initial public offering pitch played to some bad reviews in New York, so for its Boston audience on Tuesday, the 30-minute video was scrapped and the company took more questions from analysts and potential investors.

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg did not attend the breakfast pitch at the Four Seasons hotel in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. Facebook did not play the video, as it did in New York, after grumblings that not enough time was left for questions from the audience, according to analysts who spoke with Facebook officials.

The Boston event attracted about 200 people, including analysts, hedge fund managers and Will Danoff, who manages the $84 billion Contrafund for Fidelity Investments.

The 8-year-old social network that began as Zuckerberg’s Harvard dorm room project has indicated an IPO per-share range of $28 to $35, pegging the potential value of the company at $77 billion to $96 billion. Some attendees expressed disappointment that Zuckerberg did not make an appearance, but said they liked having more time to ask questions.

One analyst, who did not want to be named, said no reason was given for Zuckerberg’s absence. Facebook was not available to comment and reporters were not admitted to the presentation.

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg was present to answer potential investors’ questions, which ranged from the company’s strategy in China to revenue-per-customer trends, attendees said.

The IPO for Menlo Park, California-based Facebook is expected to raise up to $10.6 billion, an amount that would best the debuts of tech companies such as Google Inc. while giving it a total stock market value that rivals Amazon.com Inc.’s.

On Monday, Facebook kicked off its cross-country IPO roadshow tour in New York, where Zuckerberg showed up wearing a “hoodie” sweatshirt. He also fielded questions, including about its $1 billion purchase of Instagram, a deal that Zuckerberg personally negotiated.

Three components for building breakthrough business relationships

In his latest Smart Connection video, Joe Takash, the president of Victory Consulting, discusses building breakthrough business relationships.

If you have to work with people in any capacity — whether you actually like people or not — you are in the relationship business first. Takash highlights three key components for building breakthrough business relationships.

1.  Attitude and passion

2.  Engaging

3.  Recognition

Watch the video in its entirety here.

Joe Takash is the president of Victory Consulting, a Chicago-based executive and organizational development firm. He advises clients on leadership strategies and has helped executives prepare for $3 billion worth of sales presentations. He is a keynote speaker for executive retreats, sales meetings and management conferences and has appeared in numerous media outlets. Learn more at www.victoryconsulting.com.

How to accept constructive feedback

Last month, Joe Takash, the president of Victory Consulting, discussed the importance of feedback and offered four tips to giving good, constructive feedback.

In his latest Smart Connection video, “How to accept constructive feedback,” Takash tackles the other side of the coin. Most of us haven’t been taught the guidelines for feedback and even if we have, emotion and ego can still be an impediment to growth.

So, when people provide you feedback, here are Takash’s suggestions:

1. Try not to take it personally

2. Thank people for the feedback

3. Clarify what you don’t understand

4. Provide your perspective on what you’re heard

Watch the video in its entirety here.

Joe Takash is the president of Victory Consulting, a Chicago-based executive and organizational development firm. He advises clients on leadership strategies and has helped executives prepare for $3 billion worth of sales presentations. He is a keynote speaker for executive retreats, sales meetings and management conferences and has appeared in numerous media outlets. Learn more at www.victoryconsulting.com.

Four tips for giving feedback

In every organization, the most important people should be the employees. But, what’s the most common thing missing from most employer/employee relationships? Feedback.

According to Joe Takash, the president of Victory Consulting, most people don’t get or give enough feedback. In his latest Smart Connection video, “Four tips for giving feedback,” Takash demonstrates four tips to giving good, constructive feedback:

1. Frame it

2. Share it

3. Back it

4. Then listen

Watch the video in its entirety here.

Joe Takash is the president of Victory Consulting, a Chicago-based executive and organizational development firm. He advises clients on leadership strategies and has helped executives prepare for $3 billion worth of sales presentations. He is a keynote speaker for executive retreats, sales meetings and management conferences and has appeared in numerous media outlets. Learn more at www.victoryconsulting.com.

Four musts when giving a speech or presentation

Want to motivate employees? Improve your communication skills? Express your thoughts and ideas clearly and concisely?

Then you need better presentation skills. Luckily, Joe Takash, the president of Victory Consulting, is here to help. In his latest Smart Connection video, “Four Musts When Giving a Speech or Presentation,” Takash highlights the four keys to any good speech:

1. Keep perspective

2. Structure, not script

3. Nonverbal approachability

4. Create interaction

Watch the video in its entirety here.

Joe Takash is the president of Victory Consulting, a Chicago-based executive and organizational development firm. He advises clients on leadership strategies and has helped executives prepare for $3 billion worth of sales presentations. He is a keynote speaker for executive retreats, sales meetings and management conferences and has appeared in numerous media outlets. Learn more at www.victoryconsulting.com.

Online video site Hulu weighs sale options after approach-source

NEW YORK ― Online video site Hulu has been approached by a potential buyer and is weighing whether to sell itself, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The approach presents another decision point for the jointly owned company, which has shown an unclear strategy and last year spent six months planning an initial public offering before dropping the plan.

The development has encouraged the Hulu board to engage with the banking community to help handle the approach from the “serious” buyer and other potential offers, the person said.

Hulu is jointly owned by News Corp., Walt Disney Co. Comcast Corp.’s NBC Universal and private equity firm Providence Equity Partners.

The acquisition approach has not been made by any of the current equity holders, the person said. The buyer is expected to be either a strategic buyer or private equity. No decision has been made about whether the board is prepared to sell the company or not.xxHulu is best known for offering free online access to popular TV shows like ‘The Office’ and ‘Modern Family’ from its strategic owners but last July launched a paid subscription service as a way to expand its offerings to include TV shows from other programming partners like Viacom.

Though Hulu has been immensely popular with users, its owners have come under increasing pressure from their cable and satellite distribution partners reluctant to pay premium dollars to carry content that is being offered for free on the Web.Added to that has been the unwillingness of many program makers to put their shows up on a free site with an advertising model that is yet to prove itself with premium video.Hulu Chief Executive Jason Kilar said in April that Hulu is on track to nearly double its revenue to $500 million and bring its paid subscriber count to more than 1 million this year.However, Hulu’s stiffest competition online is from Netflix Inc., which now has more than 20 million paying subscribers in the United States.Last year, Hulu had been planning to raise $200 million to $300 million in a public offering that would have valued the company at about $2 billion. But the company backed out of the plan in favor of a focus on new subscription models.A Hulu representative was not immediately available.

OoVoo now provides its free HD video chat service for up to six users across all platforms

NEW YORK ― OoVoo today announced the availability of its free video chat service on the iOS platform for iPhones, iPod touches and iPads. Shortly after its launch, the app shot up to become one of iTunes’ top 10 free apps and the number one social networking app ahead of Facebook, Skype and Twitter.

Unlike most alternative video chat offerings, ooVoo users can now make video chat calls between up to six users from PC to iPhone, to Android phones and tablets, to Mac to any browser regardless of the platform and device they are using.

OoVoo’s network has been expanding at a record pace this year. Most notably, ooVoo users are transforming the video chat category by turning the traditional one-on-one video chat call into a social experience. Through extended group calls, video sharing, watching TV and listening to music while ooVooing, ooVoo users are fostering a new way to connect ― and live ― spontaneously:

This year has been a year of exponential growth for ooVoo. The service’s user base grew to more than 26 million, adding users at a run rate of two million new users per month. Nielsen NetRatings ranks ooVoo as the fastest growing communications app for PCs. OoVoo currently has over one million Facebook fans, making it one of the strongest technology brands on Facebook. With the ability to seamlessly import contacts from other video chat services, ooVoo makes it easy for new users to join the ooVoo social chat experience.

Listen Up

"Real-Time Marketing & PR: How to Instantly Engage Your Market, Connect with Customers and Create Products That Grow Your Business Now" By David Meerman Scott

"Real-Time Marketing & PR: How to Instantly Engage Your Market, Connect with Customers and Create Products That Grow Your Business Now" By David Meerman Scott

Do you care what your customers think? Do you actively seek out their opinions on the product or service you provide? If you answered no to either or both of these questions, you’re running a big risk. In the era of real-time mass communication, companies should never pass up an opportunity for customer interaction. As author David Meerman Scott reminds readers in his book “Real-Time Marketing & PR,” the moment to capitalize on engaging one’s customer arrives and disappears in an instant.

In this interview with Smart Business, Scott discusses the best ways to answer one’s critics, the impact of a viral video and the advantages of connecting with your customers in real time.

You kick off the book with the ‘United Breaks Guitars’ story. Tell us why this is the ultimate cautionary tale for businesses.

What happened is Dave Carroll, who is a singer/songwriter for a band called Sons of Maxwell, was traveling from his home in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to a gig in Nebraska, and he had to change planes in Chicago’s O’Hare airport. He was traveling on United Airlines and they broke his guitar. He spent a full year trying to get compensation, [but] United refused. Since he’s a singer/songwriter, he told them, ‘I’m going to write three songs and post them on YouTube,’ which he did.

One of the songs has more than 10 million views to date on YouTube, and in just the first week, it generated 2 million views. Now the whole world is talking about and watching this video about how United Airlines breaks guitars. When something like this happens, your organization needs to respond. You need to be a part of what’s going on. You need to act like a human and not like a corporate drone.

Can you offer any advice for businesses that find themselves getting swept away in a wave of online criticism? Should they use the same Web methods to answer their critics?

I’m glad you used that word ‘criticism’ because I think the person who is worthy of a response is a thoughtful critic. In this case, Dave Carroll was a thoughtful critic. However, it doesn’t mean that you have to respond to every single thing that happens on the Web. There are cases, and in some industries there could be frequent cases, where people are just trying to be bullies. They’re trying to beat you up for the sake of trying to beat you up. In that case, that behavior does not necessarily deserve a response. But let’s assume it’s a thoughtful critic; you should be responding in the same media.

The ‘United Breaks Guitars’ story was a YouTube video. If I were United Airlines, what I would have done is post a YouTube video in response. What I would have done is have the chief baggage handler from United Airlines in Chicago where the incident occurred talk about what it’s like to process hundreds of thousands of bags every day. He wouldn’t even have to mention ‘United Breaks Guitars.’ Everyone would make that connection, and then all of a sudden, [United] is humanizing their organization. They’re seen as an organization who is paying attention and who cares.

Some companies believe real-time interaction with customers exposes a company to unnecessary risk. How can individuals in a traditional organization prove that it’s safe to connect with one’s customers?

I actually did a little research to find out the percentage of companies that do engage in real time. I measured the Fortune 100 and it turns out that 28 percent of the Fortune 100 are engaging in the ways that we just talked about and the ways that are in the book. Those 28 companies stock prices were up 3 percent during the period that I measured. The companies that did not engage had stock prices that went down 2 percent. So that 5 percent swing is the ROI of doing this kind of engagement.

Craig Mundie discusses Microsoft’s latest innovations

Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer, Microsoft Corp.

Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer, Microsoft Corp.

Craig Mundie sees science fiction becoming reality all the time. The holodeck, for example – that futuristic simulation room on Star Trek – isn’t so futuristic anymore for the chief research and strategy officer of Microsoft Corp.

“It isn’t that many years away where you’re going to find it quite natural to interact at a distance,” says Mundie, who spoke at the Cleveland Clinic Ideas for Tomorrow series on Jan. 5. “In fact, one of the things that I think you’ll see quite soon is the ability for people to, at least in small groups, go and have meetings together where none of them are actually physically in the same room but their ability to look at each other and talk and communicate is as if you were in the same place.”

Mundie presented Microsoft’s new innovations and shared how innovative technologies will change the game when it comes to long-distance interaction.

“Today we talk about collaboration as you make a phone call and talk; you can have a video conference,” he says. “But increasingly, we think this interaction at a distance is going to be really important. I generally tend to use the term tele-presence as a way to think about what it’s going to be like. … There was the telephone, which collapsed distance for people, but only with the spoken word. Then there was television, which allowed us to do that with images. And I think the next thing that we’re going to see is tele-presence, where more and more we’ll be able to interact with people in a very lifelike and realistic way that aren’t there.”

[VIDEO: See Mundie talk about tele-presence as the next step in interaction.]

Your kids are already using tele-presence – gaming systems like Xbox use avatars to represent players and help them communicate with opponents who aren’t sitting next to them on the couch. Mundie said those will become more realistic.

“The idea that you can have some very lifelike representation that you’re essentially projecting yourself through is not really science fiction,” he says.

Why is this important? Mundie closed his presentation with a video demonstration of a system Microsoft is currently developing based on these technologies. They created a “triage nurse” out of a computer kiosk with the knowledge and question-asking capacity to prioritize patients and make recommendations.

[See Cleveland Clinic’s video of Mundie presenting the triage nurse.]

“This is where I think all of these technologies have the promise to come together and be an amplification factor for the skilled, highly-trained people, whether they’re teachers or doctors, to be able to scale up our capabilities in a more cost-effective way on a planet that’s going to continue to see an increase of population,” Mundie says.

Or there’s the example from the University of Washington BioRobotics Lab, where researchers took an Xbox Kinect sensor into a new environment. In Mundie’s video, a man uses a force feedback system – similar to the joystick in a flying simulation – to “feel” objects in another room, perhaps a precursor for how surgeons will maintain tactile capacity during robotic surgeries.

[See Cleveland Clinic’s video of Mundie sharing the BioRobotics experiment.]

“Many of these things are very important in terms of moving people to comfort in dealing with computers or dealing with people interacting [across] distance,” he says. “Many people today get great value and utility out of computers, but they historically require a lot of training and acclimation to really get a lot of value out of it. As we move to these advanced graphical interfaces and direct manipulation interfaces where you can do things with your fingers or add voice commands, then the ease can get a lot better. The things that have frustrated people in using computers are going to be overcome by making them behave more like we do.”

In other words, why mess with tiny keyboards when your cell phone responds to voice commands? With new direct manipulation interfaces like voice and touch, we’re at a transition point with computers. Until now, they’ve primarily been tools. With those capabilities as good as they need to be, developers are turning to the next phase.

“The key to this is essentially to make it work less at your command and more on your behalf,” Mundie says. “More and more, we’re trying to get these computer systems to anticipate the type of things that you would want to do. In essence, it’s like having a great assistant. They know when you ask them something that they take all of the history and what your preferences are and they factor that into what they do for you.”

[VIDEO: See Mundie talk about the transition of technology from a tool to an assistant.]

Depending how many accounts, profiles and updates you have online, your computer might know you much more intimately than your real assistant. Mundie and his team are trying to use that to your advantage.

For example, they wanted Bing to do more work to satisfy your search, reducing your job to “one input, one click.” Now, when Mundie types in Denver, Bing thinks ahead to why he might be searching for that, and spits back real-time flight prices – kind of like an assistant would.

“We are at a point where computers are going to be more like us,” Mundie says. “From that, we can open up a completely new realm of what the computer can do for us and with us.”

How to reach: Microsoft Corp., http://www.microsoft.com/ or @Microsoft