Video : Cost vs. Value

Video Marketing Investment

Video is just one element of a marketing strategy that could (should?) include a web presence, social media, email marketing, offline channels and perhaps networking. Marketing is an investment, not an expense. It is designed to generate ROI, just like video should. It continually amazes (and disappoints) me how many businesses that have already taken the plunge into video are missing great opportunities to actually get this content in front of their potential customers. This underlines the fact that video must not be treated as a standalone effort – it must be well considered and properly leveraged. Experience shows that too many efforts in video content generation fall into three camps:
  • marketers with little or no experience of handling a camera or editing
  • video creators with little or no experience or understanding of digital marketing
  • ‘home made’ video from business owners with little or no experience of either.
Perhaps some of the reticence about adopting video is this: If you ask someone who has already had a video produced whether it is working for them, if they say “Don’t know” or “Not really”, then how likely are you to follow suit? So the people that aren’t doing it properly are unwittingly dissuading the people who want to do it well! All they see is a sunk cost and not a return. Over a century ago, the department-store magnate John Wanamaker observed, “I know half my advertising dollars are wasted. I just don’t know which half.” What is needed is the same cost-benefit analysis that one would do before e.g. a telesales campaign, or Google Adwords. That is to say – what do I need to get out of this to make it worthwhile? What effort do I need to put in? What outcome is reasonable, and hence what budget is reasonable? A key criticism of social media is that it is hard to measure ROI, and yet it is a tool that consumes many hours of time. Monetise those hours and have this figure in mind to compare with when deciding whether video is a worthwhile investment. The beauty of video is that its return is long-tailed – it is not fleeting like a tweet, in either its visibility or impact on search rankings. Video is democratized; it has low barriers to entry. This means that the cost of doing it can be low. This is only a worthwhile path if the value returned is high (or higher). More likely, low cost equals low production values and low marketing effort. Even high value productions do not guarantee high returns – perhaps all the money is ‘up on the screen’ with no proportion left over to exploit the excellence of the content. Take care over your video marketing investment: The £500 video that is seen by 500 people is much more valuable than the £5000 video seen by 5 people.