Tyler Lessard is the VP of marketing and chief video strategist at Vidyard, a leading provider of video technology solutions for business. He’s the co-author of The Visual Sale, host of the Creating Connections show, and a frequent speaker on topics ranging from video marketing to customer experience.
In today’s episode, we’re going to discuss tectonic shifts and the power of video content.
Tectonic Shifts: Mobile Phones
Tyler started his career at Blackberry in the developer support team and then moved into a more proactive role where he helped build a developer relations and partner program. During his time there, he felt a consistent commitment and real passion that helped him shift to launching his own marketing team. Tyler said working at Blackberry over those years was his greatest homerun and set the stage for the rest of his career.
Blackberry is a company that did a great job of leveraging the business tectonic shift to the mobile phone. Tyler explained that what really set Blackberry apart was its obsessive nature of the customer experience. They focused on building technology to create a strong enough battery that would last long enough for them to combine data and voice at the same time. They asked themselves questions such as, how can we optimize a keyboard? Every team focused on how they could obsess over their customers. Because they were so focused on their customers, they were able to see a shift in the marketplace to mobile phones really fast. However, they weren’t able to sustain their success.
While Blackberry leveraged a tectonic shift, they held onto their success for too long, which ultimately held them back from moving forward. Instead of keeping an eye out for other shifts, they focused on just one. Because of this, they missed the shift from an input device to an output device. They thought the mobile phone would really be about emails and then games would be secondary. However, phones have become much more of an output device with video and game capabilities. They missed the shift that customers wanted more from the phone. While Blackberry became a pioneer in mobile devices, they lost market share to rival companies who were able to leverage the new shifts.
“As a business, not only do you have to focus on the customer experience, but you always have to be looking ahead one to two years and thinking, ‘Where do we need to take our customers,’ as opposed to [focusing on] where they are right now,” Tyler said.
Tectonic Shift: Video Marketing
One of the shifts Blackberry missed was the shift towards video, which has become one of the biggest shifts in today’s marketplace. If we can leverage the shift towards video marketing, I believe our businesses will see increased success.
In the past, video was relatively expensive, and it wasn’t second nature. Not many people knew how to create videos like they do today unless it was their specialty. Video marketing was reserved for larger budgets. Now, many things have changed. The main reason video has become so popular is because of increased accessibility. We can all create videos. We have smartphones with extremely high camera quality, and we have access to video editing softwares that are simple and easy to use. We don’t need a huge budget anymore.
The second thing that has caused the shift towards video is the development of the channels we use. These channels such as YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, etc. have begun to favor video content. Video content typically outperforms other content.
“We see time and time again where you share video content on social media networks and they just outperform other mediums,” Tyler said. “The channels are showing a preference for video.”
Video content has become so popular that it has changed customers’ expectations. Many people expect to consume multimedia content as part of their consumption patterns. We live in a digital-first world where video is often the only way we can really connect with our customers. Video helps businesses resonate with their customers on a deeper level than just text because they can see and hear us.
“Video is the one medium we have that creates real personal connection with our audience, that shows transparency, that creates more trust, and feels more authentic,” Tyler said. “Video is the face of our brand in a digital-first world.”
Loyola University leveraged the power of video to help increase their enrollment numbers. They did some research and found that many of their students liked video content, so they created a recruitment campaign where they created a personalized video as part of the admissions process. When a new student was accepted into the school, they sent them a video with the student’s name and information so it felt like it was sent just to them.
After they sent the personalized videos, the engagement went off the charts. They sent it to about 10,000 students, but it had twice as many views. They had a record number of enrollments that year. This was because they were able to create a personal connection with their students. They found a way to tap into the passions of their students through video.
How to Overcome the Disadvantages of Video
While video has become an increasingly popular form of content, there are some disadvantages to it.
Video isn’t as skimable as other content such as text. If a customer only had a few minutes to consume content, they could easily skim a blog post and gain value out of it. However, video is a linear playback format. Consumers can’t easily skip through the video to pull out the main message as fast as possible. They often have to commit to watching the entire video. Because of this, we have to be more respectful of our audience’s time. We can ask ourselves, “Can I cut this 10-minute video into five minutes and still get my point across?”
Often, the shorter the video, the better, although it still depends on the content in the video and the platform it is published on. For example, people on YouTube are much more willing to watch a 20-minute video than someone on Instagram or Facebook. In order to properly leverage video, we should be very conscious of the length and our customers’ time.
Another key thing to be aware of is that video can be a window into our personality and brand. If we use it right, it should amplify our brand and be a great advantage to us. It could stir more emotion and make us more memorable. On the flip side, if we don’t do video well, it could also amplify the negative sides of our brand.
“We want to be conscious of how we can really lean into making this a front face of our brand that draws people in and leaves them with the impression we want to leave them with,” Tyler said.
Another disadvantage of video is that it can be difficult to rank high in search results. Since Google typically ranks text, it would be easier for a blog post to rank higher than a video. While SEO is changing and we are starting to see more videos ranked in Google, it still isn’t quite as easy as text. So, how can we rank as high as possible?
A great way to combat this is to do more SEO and keyword research. We can create titles for our videos filled with keywords or a common question our customers search. Some businesses will do additional SEO research on YouTube and look for keywords. Even if we can’t rank highest on Google, we can try to rank the highest on other platforms. We can also consider including our video with the transcript or a blog post to help Google properly rank our content.
There is a sort of artificial barrier when it comes to creating video content. Many businesses or entrepreneurs think they don’t have the right skills to create their own video content. However, we just need to push past it. We should all get to the point in our businesses where it is just as easy to create a video as it is to create a blog post.
One way we can do this is by practicing and creating a culture of video in our workspaces. We can find mentors to help teach us and then we can begin using videos internally. It could be as easy as recording ourselves answering questions or recording a screen share presentation. These little things can build our confidence and muscle memory.
Thank you so much Tyler for sharing your stories and insights with us today. Here are some of my key takeaways from this episode:
- As a business, we should focus on the customer’s current experience while also looking one to two years ahead and watching for major tectonic shifts.
- Video marketing has become one of the most important tectonic shifts we can leverage today.
- Video creates personal connections with our audience, shows transparency, creates more trust, and feels more authentic.
- With video we should be respectful of our audience’s time. We should also be conscious of the keywords we use to help our SEO.
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