Ok, so I happened upon a video yesterday, a marketing video for a manufacturing company. I’m sad and astonished (but not surprised) to report that at only one time in the entire video did the topic of their customers or prospects come up. One time. And it was just in passing. It was all me, me, me. (Or us, us, us.)
The video looked really good, but from a marketing point of view, not so much. It seemed that they were actually going out of their way to avoid the topic of their customers and prospects. As icing on the cake, they also threw in a couple of platitudes commonly found in business videos. My favorite: “we believe in craftsmanship.”
To be fair, the video producer, who I stalked on Vimeo is primarily a wedding filmmaker and I’m sure he does a great job with that, and I’ll bet the owners of this company are excellent at manufacturing whatever it is they make. For me this is a case of you don’t know what you don’t know.
Now, please know that I’m not trying to be mean just to be mean. I really do feel bad for both the video producer and the owners of this company. I’m sure they are trying to do their very best here but because they don’t know a better approach they’ve made a mistake. I see this a LOT and that’s why I’m talking about it. Whether we ever work together, please don’t make the same mistake and instead, consider my suggestions that follow.
Ok, so let’s make a little lemonade out of this video. What can we learn here?
Let’s start with the premise of the video. The owners probably thought they needed an About video, you know, to tell their story. Of course, that’s fine but, unless you have money to burn, you’re going to want to get some sort of ROI on every marketing dollar you spend. Telling Your Story is cool, but instead, let’s Tell Your Story so that Prospective Clients will want to work with you. It’s that small, but important tweak to the framing of Your Story that makes all the difference. Tell Your Prospect’s Story with you as the Expert Guide that will solve their problem.
We all know about Features and Benefits: don’t give your prospect Features, tell them about the Benefits of those Features. Don’t tell them you “believe in craftsmanship” tell them that your belief in craftsmanship gets you, our customer, “less downtime due to product defects.” If you’re really sophisticated you can extend that to an Advantage for your customer. “For every 15 minutes of downtime avoided, your company will save $1,000.” Or whatever the numbers are.
In this video we see the company making the viewer, or prospect, work too hard to see why this manufacturing company is the best one to work with. If it’s too hard to connect the dots, the viewer will lose interest. If they don’t watch or remember the video then it’s a waste of time, effort and money. The manufacturing company, the star of this video, will see that they are getting no traction from having the video and will be thinking “I knew this video thing wouldn’t work for us.”
Another aspect to consider is that the owners of this manufacturing company probably really liked their video because it told their story. They should, rightly, feel very proud that they are building this company and if I was them and I was watching this video, I would feel proud, too. The video told of when they started the company and how it got its name and you could see the pride they had. This might actually be a good video to show new hires to help them understand the company better. But since it was on their website with text saying “Find out why you should work with us.” pointing to the video, I assume it’s supposed to be a marketing video. Meaning the purpose would be to get and keep customers.
Being proud of your business isn’t the problem here. The reason why this video fails as marketing is because there’s no real attempt to get or keep customers.
The intended audience of this video, their prospective client, was nowhere to be found. They gave the viewer no real reason to buy from them. For me, this is inside-out marketing. For the prospect, does it really matter when the company was founded? Have you ever made a buying decision because the company had been in business for 5 or 15 years?
What they could/should do instead is tell their prospect’s story and show how they can take them from frustration (say, over defective products) to success. All due to the manufacturing company’s adherence to high craftsmanship standards.
So, Mr. or Ms. Marketer, you can certainly tell Your Story, but for it to be effective marketing, you simply have to frame your story within the customer’s journey.
The prospect is on your website or following your social media feed to solve a problem. Help them understand how you can do that and you’ll be able to move them to the next step in your Selling Cycle.
So, please go ahead and tell Your Story, but tell it through your Prospect’s eyes and you’ll win more often.