Here’s why. Customer behavior (and consumer demand) makes the use of video when it comes to marketing—and selling–imperative. As Daniel Pink says in To Sell is Human, The Surprising Truth About Moving Others, you can’t motivate people in a knowledge economy with weak or false information. To my way of thinking, video is the veritable definition of real, credible information.
Think about it for a minute. When you want to know how to do something or how to make something, what do you do? Do you, like me, head to The Google and enter your query? And if you see a video option served up as a result, do you prefer video over reading? I’m thinking that you’re nodding your head about now.
Your customers–and your prospective customers–they’re doing that, too. Especially if you’re dealing with Millennials (defined by Pew Research as 28 and younger) and Gen X (ages 29-44), generations of people who are connected, immersed in technology and quick to head to the web to find the information or resources they need. I’ll even go so far as to say my 75 year old mother-in-law watches YouTube videos on a regular basis when she wants to know how to do something, so the “YouTube Generation,” well, it’s big.
Hair Chalk Case Study
Here are two examples to get you thinking about this. Last night my angelic twin seven year-old girls (and if you know them, you know the use of the word “angelic” is figurative), talked me into buying hair chalk. Figuring it is infinitely better than hair dye, especially at seven, I capitulated. I managed to hold them off in experimenting with it until this morning, but after using it one last time to bribe them to eat their breakfast, I could stall no longer. No instructions were in the box (amazing, frankly, that I even looked for them), and I tried a little bit of chalk in Lucy’s hair and got a whole bunch of nothing.
I immediately reached for the laptop and, you guessed it, Googled “how to use hair chalk.” A ton of results appeared, and I went straight for the, you guessed it again, YouTube video. And since I know you wanna know, here’s how you use hair chalk.
It’s significant to note at this point that this video was uploaded six months ago and to date has generated some 15,000 views. You know how many brands would kill for those kinds of views on the videos on their YouTube channels?
Audrey McClelland and My Path to Purchase the Conair Spin Air Brush
Here’s another example, also from real life. You know, that thing we’re all living. One day a couple of years ago (how is it possible that I remember this so vividly and have no idea what happened yesterday?) I saw my friend Audrey McClelland upload a video post to Facebook. Audrey’s the owner of Mom Generations, an online destination for moms. She’s the mom of four (soon to be five) and ridiculously all kinds of cool and totally dialed into all the latest trends, in spite of being up to her elbows in raising kids. Who doesn’t love that? I think she’s awesome and love knowing what she’s up to. So without knowing the topic of her video (and just being my usual stalker self), I popped over to check it out.
What I loved–as both a consumer and as a marketer–about Audrey’s video review of the Infinite Pro by Conair Spin Air Brush was that it was real. She started out in her bathroom, with wet hair, totally ordinary looking and without ever having tried the product before, gave it a trial run. It was like I was right there with her, seeing how it worked, and watching her figure it out. You should see for yourself ….
From a brand credibility standpoint, this is where video is so important and where brands and agencies can really get what’s important to consumers and factor that into their integrated marketing strategies.
Dealing with tangled twin girls’ bed heads in the mornings is the veritable bane of my existence. I have a problem. After watching Audrey’s review, I discovered a potential solution. Which compelled me to action. I immediately went out—that day, in fact–and bought the Conair Spin Air Brush—a $60-ish purchase. I already knew how it worked, which was a bonus, and equally as important, the product delivered. Seriously, this electric hair brush spinner thingamabob was like a dream when it came to working through my girls’ tangled hair.
I loved it so much that I bought another one—so that I could have one upstairs (where we get ready sometimes) and also one downstairs (where we deal with tangles before heading out to school). As you might imagine, I also told every woman on the planet with little girls about how great this product was for smoothing tangled hair, and I’m sure that likewise resulted in a sale or two. One video, zero production cost, resulting in $120+ in sales, and tons of WOM exposure from just one satisfied customer. Oh, and this blog post—you’re totally going to read this and go buy one, I’m sure of it.
What This Means to Consumers
What was especially impactful to me, as a consumer, about Audrey’s video was the fact that what I was seeing was an experience. I was watching a real woman (just like me) in her bathroom (one that looks just like my bathroom), and not some celebrity with glistening, perfectly coiffed hair and flawless makeup on some set somewhere. She was real. She was believable and, most importantly, she sold the product without trying to sell the product. Get that? A person just like me, living a life just like me. Checking out something just like I would. Key concept, believable.
What This Means For Brands
This theory, the fact that Audrey’s “realness” compelled me to purchase, is borne out by research and that should be important to brands and agencies alike. Gen C, called “The YouTube Generation” (and not a generation in the traditional sense), is largely comprised of people under 35. Gen C is defined as people “empowered by technology to seek out authentic content that they consume across all screens, whenever and wherever they want.” Equally as important, more than one in three say that YouTube is their most important, or second most important, source of entertainment (and information) online. This data comes from the Gen C YouTube Generation Research Study and it’s an awesome study filled with all kinds of actionable insights.
Marketers targeting the Millennial generation (some of whom are your customers today and are certainly your customers of the future) need to understand the importance of video and the fact that these people are consumers, they are creators, they are connected across multiple mediums and they’ve been creating video (and consuming video) for as long as they can remember. As my friend Jeff Fromm, and author of Marketing to Millennials: Reach the Largest and Most Influential Generation Ever, likes to say “As marketers, we’re trained to develop and deliver a message but Millennials create their own messages and talk on their own channels.” And they decide what to buy based not on slick marketing messages but by what their friends and trusted resources say and think and feel. And shoot videos about.
Bottom Line: Video Works, Video Sells
At 75K+ views since Audrey first uploaded that video two years ago, I’m thinking that there were other consumers like me, compelled by Audrey’s review to buy Conair’s Spin Air Brush. Never mind the fact that Audrey’s review appears as the number three search result for the query “Conair Spin Brush” ….. seriously, people. If that doesn’t convince you of the power of video, I’m not sure what will.
While these two examples might deal with personal care products, I believe video is important, pretty much regardless of what industry you’re in. Anything you want to know about, do, experiment with, etc., can pretty much be found on YouTube or other video channels. Whether it’s changing your oil, learning how to install a new HVAC system, checking out farm equipment reviews or figuring out how to change a tire on your bicycle. You name it, there’s a video on it.
And the message to brands (and companies large and small): don’t be intimidated by video and, most certainly, don’t overlook at is a part of your marketing strategy. Adding video to your integrated marketing mix allows you to reach the 168 million people who are viewing YouTube videos every hour who, just like me, needed a quick tutorial or more information about something and went to the web to get it. That video doesn’t have to be slick and professionally produced, at least not in every instance. But it does need to be real. Believable. And when it is, it’s a great complement to the rest of your marketing (and consumer education) efforts.
What do you think about video? Do you watch it? Does video compel you to buy products (or services) or do you use it as an online instruction manual like I do? Do you use video as part of your marketing campaigns today? Do you think you might in the future? I want to know it all.