If you work on the agency or vendor side of the content marketing equation then your head spins at least once a week. Why? Because you spend years becoming an expert at creating engaging content, probably video content, and then everything turned upside down. Ad tech exploded, content marketing ballooned, and an abundance of new tools were put at the disposal of marketers. (Check out just how many there are this year vs. last year)
Which is great…right?
Yeah, if only. To put it as simply as possible, we are humans and we use tools. Those tools help us accomplish tasks - a means to an end. The problem in marketing now is we’re so enamored with the new tools that we’ve lost sight of the means they’re being used for. As a content marketer, I cannot give you ROI on a “one-off” video.
In other words, executing a well produced piece of content just for the sake of it cannot consistently deliver ROI.
Don’t get me wrong, a single video can make an impact, whether that’s measured in views on youtube or driving traffic to a site or any other metric. But that’s not ROI, it’s ROO (return on objective). In a lot of the projects we work on, I find myself pushing my teams and my clients back to the basics when I’m half way through a briefing asking “why are we doing this project?” “How do we succeed?” We have to listen really closely to our clients and make sure their answer is specific and our solution can clearly deliver. As a brand or a client, make sure success is the accomplishment of a crystal clear objective.
It means going back to basics, and sometimes reminding clients that silver bullets are still the stuff of fantasy, no matter what those ad tech soothsayers tell you.
It also means that if your objective truly is ROI, it can be done, but it’s going to have to be supported by a relationship with a team that’s focused on strategy. Both teams have to be. It’s not simple or standard. Its custom. But that is the difference between working with a video vendor and a content agency. Give your vendor something to execute and hold them to quality and cost. Give your agency an objective and expect a strategy that influences executional choices.
It’s a relationship that needs a little repairing from the abuse it’s taken from wild west of social media and video consumption. Brands spend massive budgets in-house and outside of their walls just to say “we did video.” Video can be successful, but not if you just dip your toe in. I want to see an improvement in how we all view, respect and feed the engagement funnel. Because it really makes sense when it serves a purpose within a customer’s journey.
The engagement funnel is what keeps me focused in this sea of means to unclear ends. Why? We know from research that people spend a ton of time experiencing a brand through content before they make a purchase and, sometimes, even before they visit that brands website. That means that they need a way to actually have that experience and take the next step. That’s the funnel and that’s the prize that I keep my eye on. Its a litmus test for the “why are we doing this project” question. Consequently, if you are building your funnel somewhat correctly it also means that you can measure what you just created. Because I promise that the goal is not to make one video or one infographic.
Anything worth doing is worth doing well. Think long term and have a vision for which piece of the puzzle you are currently developing. That’s how you unlock the true potential of video content marketing.