As we continue to deal with growing concerns around COVID-19, organizations worldwide are facing tremendous challenges, from moving their entire operation online and securing business continuity to experiencing significant drops in sales and revenues. Having to innovate in order to survive these unprecedented times, and being forced to adapt to consumer expectations that have changed irrevocably, marketing has in fact never been more critical.
The Marketer’s role has also become abruptly much more challenging. Marketers today must address not only the question of what type of content and messages they should use, but also the content that surrounds it—its context—the raging and disturbing news cycle that their content lives within and the impact it has on their audience sentiment both online and offline.
On the one hand, brands now must practice empathy, thoughtfully and sensitively crafting their content and messaging, steering clear of anything that may be perceived as too opportunistic. They have to form a considerate and helpful approach and speak with an authentic voice as their response can leave a lasting impression in people’s minds.
On the other, these unprecedented times call for brands to be less “safe”, bolder, and more socially conscious. To take a stand and share their voice on important topics and to touch on subjects that are not as easy to tackle in a way that feels genuine. They have to find creative ways to stay relevant and make sure they interact with their audience in a timely, almost real-time, manner.
From Fleeting Eyeballs to Attentive Ears
Online consumption habits are showing dramatic changes as well. Everyone is online, and people are craving information, quality content, and essentially looking to feel connected. But as a result, their feeds are bombarded and their inboxes are flooded, making it harder to rise above the noise and truly stand out. This noise can be even more challenging for marketers looking to connect with their potential customers given the dominance of “bad news” and misinformation. Though how consumers think, behave, and buy will probably change, their need for information and their demand for superb experiences most definitely will not. With increasing trust issues and growing uncertainty, marketers must not only be able to reach their audience, but also truly engage them and delight them with immersive experiences that provide value —all while keeping their brand intact.
Incorporating video into your marketing activities can be very beneficial when trying to overcome these formidable challenges—both the type of messages and content you should be producing right now, and the unique and demanding context that they are placed within. Video consumption continues to grow rapidly worldwide in recent months, chosen by people worldwide as their main means of staying connected—either when working from home or for remote learning, for interacting with family and friends, or for sharing information about the Covid-19 situation. In this new normal, video, it seems, has become the new normal enabler, bridging the generation gap and prevailing with its powerful attributes for transmitting information, educating, collaborating, entertaining, and socializing. Making social distancing into a mere physical imperative.
Marketers have long been the pioneers of video within their organizations, having seen for themselves its successful track record in reaching audiences, and then engaging, converting, and retaining them. In this difficult moment, video may clearly become the most important item in your toolbox, powering attention-grabbing, customer-centric, brand-safe, and result-driven experiences.
Here are some things to consider when integrating video into your marketing strategy:
Agile real-time marketing approach
Videos strike a deep connection and illicit strong emotional responses that make them more memorable and entice viewers to share and comment. In fact, video generates 12 times more shares than text and images combined. Aim to frequently create short videos, seizing micro-moments and reacting in real-time to the unforeseen speed of changing events. You don’t need a polished and lucrative production; make it authentic, speaking to your audience and not at them.
Streamlined video workflows and built-in-video collaboration and approval cycles are even more crucial in today’s reality of separated, work-from-home marketing and creative teams. So, make sure your content management platform and video solutions can support you in managing an agile video hub operation.
Unleash the power of video SEO
Video also enjoys an advantage when it comes to content discovery; it is much more likely for a video to appear on the first page of Google’s search results compared with a plain text alternative. With a 41% higher click-through rate for video search results, this will help your audience find you in this current overcrowded online environment. Using enrichment tools to add captions, transcriptions, translations, and much more to your videos not only improves your content discoverability and SEO, but also ensures your content is accessible to all—which can become crucial when serving a global and diverse community in times of need.
Editing your video thumbnails and adding engaging calls-to-action are other important features, always but specifically in times like this. Make sure your videos can be distributed through all of your channels, and viewed from anywhere—any device, screen, and network, in the most optimized manner.
Two-way dialogue marketing
When in-person interactions are scarce, crafting personalized, rewarding experiences is key. Adding interactivity to your videos can turn even the most complex message into a dialogue with your audience; letting them take an active role in the story you are trying to convey. Using hot spots within the video player, in-video annotations and quizzes, or even ‘choose your own adventure’-like branched videos, can be an engaging way to leave an impactful impression.
Taking your product announcement, corporate messaging, and customer communications online has become mission critical in times when events and meetings are being cancelled by the hour. Forming your own virtual events, webinars, and even just raw and ‘spontaneous’ personal live streaming are another great way to keep interactions and relationship-building flowing. Today every marketer can, and should be, a self-sustained broadcaster, leveraging existing simple tools, and making this video content available to rewatch, giving it the life-time value of a VOD library.
You can even make your email blasts more personal and engaging by blending in videos. Video in emails has proven very successful with over 8x increase in conversion, allowing you to further curate an adjunct personalized playlist or a landing page with additional content recommendations.
Greater insight for longer term vision
While actually reaching your audience and being heard and driving engagement is so essential during these times, making use of valuable video engagement analytics and insights will give you a strong advantage. In times of unpredictable and changing consumer behavior, being able to truly understand your content effectiveness and how it resonates with your audience can help you better prepare for the times ahead; planning your next-phase marketing strategy and making sure your budget counts for your business’s results. In-depth video consumption metrics can give you the much sought-after intelligence to make a more informed decision for the still unknown future.
The truth is, there is no going back to what once was. The pandemic has uprooted the old ways and a new normal is being created. Trust is expected to emerge as an important factor in the relationship between brands and consumers. This means that any brand that shows caring and compassion towards its consumers and society in general will get ahead of the competition. Now is the time when brands can start to really show this, and through the power of video, redefine their approach, and actively practice empathy and customer centricity in their marketing. Beyond how you speak as a brand, what you literally show matters. While this may entail a recalibration of your marketing mindset, shifting your creative practices and accelerating your video marketing efforts are a good place to start.
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