Ask a Marketer: Video Marketing

In the last two segments of the “Ask a Marketer” series we covered Paid Search and Email Marketing. This week’s topic is Video Marketing, and we talk to Derek Merdinyan of Video Igniter.

Q1: Give me the 3 second pitch – Why should I spend money to add video into my marketing mix?
Video enables you to package up and present your message in a way that is educational, entertaining, engaging and easily sharable.

Q2: What are some examples of things I can explain better using video than if I just tried to write it in a blog or white paper?
Software, technology, systems, stories, anything that is complex and better explained through analogy. In almost every case, it is possible to explain things better with animated video instead of ‘filmed’ video because animations can be used to focus on the specific visual details that make it easier to understand new material.

Q3: What are some ways I can take the money I spend on video, and use it in other areas?
If you are speaking about animation specifically, be sure to ask your animator for a full project archive – odds are you can repurpose the visual images they created (i.e. characters, icons, charts, etc) and turn those images into image posts for social media.

Q4: How much should I expect to pay for a video? What’s the range and what determines that range?
If you go to a freelancer marketplace website, you can expect to pay $300 – $5,000 – the range varies by a few factors, notably the production quality, the number of revisions you can request, and the overall responsiveness, creativity and professionalism of the person you are working with. Hiring a full on animation studio can run you $5,000 – $50,000 or more. 2D projects tend to cost between $3,000 – $15,000/minute for visual quality you will be proud of. Quality 3D animations are easily going to be north of $15,000/minute.

Q5: A standard line is that on a project, there’s Cheap, Fast and Good, and you can only have 2 of the 3. Is that true for video as well?

Q6: Anything else we need to know about Video Marketing?
Most people think you just make a video, put it online, and promote it. Few people analyze and optimize their video – which for many companies is their largest marketing asset. When you first put your video online, you should host it with a service that provides you analytics to see what % of people click the thumbnail to play the video & how long people watch the video before they stop. Are only 10% of your landing page visitors clicking the play button? Maybe you need a better thumbnail for the video.  Do most people watch the whole video or are a large number of people dropping off around 14 seconds? If your video is animated, it’s much easier to revise and recreate part of your video to make it flow better for viewers; live action videos are harder and more expensive to optimize because it means bringing back the same film crew, actors and booking a location just to re-shoot an alternate segment. It would be wise, for both live action and animated marketing videos to create multiple alternate endings for your video to see which variation leads to more conversions (i.e. sign up here, call this #, download the app, join our newsletter, etc).

5 Simple Copywriting Rules for Non-Writers

In my career, I’ve learned there are two types of people in the business world – those who hate writing, and crazy people. Since I spend a significant amount of time writing for companies, I guess I fall in the latter category.

I love to analyze the differing styles of writers, and the ways they work with their words in order to make a good story great. It’s essentially my version of competitive research. I especially enjoy reading articles from writers who can engage readers without clickbait headlines such as, “5 Simple Copywriting Rules for Non-Writers.”

So this seems like a good time to share a few tips aimed at those of you who hate writing, but can’t escape doing it.

  1. You have three seconds to earn a reader’s attention so they’ll read for 30 more: If you have never had to write a sentence for a living, you probably didn’t even bother to click on the title of this article in your feed. That’s fine. You’re not my audience. But if you clicked on this link, I had about 30 seconds in the first three paragraphs to hook you into the meat of the story. If you’ve gotten down here to the bullets, I estimate I now have earned about three more minutes of your time. I’ll try to make it worth it.
  2. Never use an Exclamation Point: Exclamation Points are the lazy writer’s way to show importance about something. If you can’t make a sentence interesting enough to stand on its own, rewrite the sentence. When you are talking to someone in a meeting, do you suddenly shout at them? Of course not. No exclamation points. Ever. Got it? If you have to change the way you type to make sure “Shift-1” is harder to reach, you should do so.
  3. There is no such thing as, “very unique”: “Unique” is defined as, “Being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else.” When something is “one of a kind,” it can’t be “very one of a kind.” Don’t exaggerate for exaggeration’s sake.
  4. There’s a difference between who and that: There are many times when a person who ((not that)) has a lot of subject matter expertise, can present information on a blog that ((not who)) has readers who ((not that)) will benefit from it. Understand that “who” is for people and “that” is for things.
  5. Never use the same word twice in a sentence: This is a tough one for many companies, especially those that have precious few adjectives to describe their product’s features and benefits. Just be conscious that when you are producing content for your web properties, you should be able to write the content in a way that the content doesn’t require the same word multiple times.

Writing can be a difficult game, but you should never fear it. A bad writer with great ideas is still more interesting to read than someone who is grammatically correct in their description of paint drying.

Was this useful? Kind of useful? Useless? I’d love to hear your own writing tips and tricks, as well as any grammar and punctuation rules that I’ve violated in this article.

More Money for Marketing – Budgets to Increase Again

Good news for companies with products that target Marketing groups. There should be more money to go around this year. According to a Gartner report published in October of 2016, the average Marketing budget is now up to 12% of company revenue.

The numbers don’t vary too greatly between B2B and B2C companies, with B2B companies receiving 12.3% of the company’s revenue vs 11.6% for B2C brands. Unsurprisingly, high tech companies devote the largest percent of revenue to marketing, at 13.3%

The key in the budget escalation is that large enterprises have accepted the new world of marketing. For many years, social media was a place where the smart and hungry start-ups could out-maneuver their established competitors for a fraction of the cost of a traditional marketing budget. But according to Gartner, enterprises have adapted. “Large established brands must out-market startups. As scrappy disrupters threaten the hard-earned franchises, these more established companies are forced to compete defensively, which may necessitate higher investments in everything from customer insight to innovation to advertising.”

One traditional marketing tactic appears to continue its importance. 65% of marketing leaders surveyed said they plan to increase spending on digital advertising, with 23% expecting a significant increase. This is being led by the increased importance of video, which is more expensive than other digital techniques for both media and production.

But many people ask, “With all the marketing automation tools and programmatic advertising designed to decrease marketing costs, why do budgets need to increase?”

“The problem with marketing automation tools is that everyone has access to them,” says Marketing Consultant Elizabeth Case. “So instead of competing for a customer’s eyeballs in a landscape of 100 touchpoints, we’re all competing to attract that same eyeball in 100,000 touchpoints. Thus, while they may get more for their money, they still need to spend more money to find the eyeballs.”

However, the news is not all good across the board. While the average marketing exec expects a bigger checkbook, a higher percentage than ever before (14%) expect to see a cut back. So why the contrarian approach from this group? Ironically, it’s the media companies that are cutting back their marketing spend. The industry that is most reliant on advertising to survive, is being forced to slash their own marketing budgets.

Also, marketers at smaller companies are being asked to do more with less. “CEO’s of small to mid-sized businesses read the articles and believe the promise that whatever technology they invest in can save them 10-50%,” says Derek Merdinyan, CEO of video production company Video Igniter. “So the marketing folks at SMB’s are being asked to run premium campaigns on a shoestring budget. Meanwhile, the enterprises are now spending more so they can catch up to the ways they’ve been traditionally outmaneuvered by start-ups.”

So what kind of technology companies benefit from this shifting landscape?

  • First, Gartner sees a tighter integration between sales and marketing teams. Marketing programs that easily integrate with CRM’s are likely to be adopted.
  • Next, the CMO is gaining responsibility. According to Gartner, in more than 30% of organizations, at least some aspects of sales, IT and customer experience report into the CMO.
  • Finally, Gartner states that Marketing leaders will set aside 10% of the marketing budget for innovation. Customer experience and digital commerce are the top two areas of innovation projects marketing leaders say they’re currently pursuing — 53% for customer experience and 51% for digital commerce.

So in the end, there’s more money to be had from Marketing departments. But it’s not a simple gold rush. Companies must be wise in what they offer and who they target. If they have the right use case for the right audience, they should be able to grow their own revenues.

Top B2B Marketing Whitepapers and Reports

If you’re like me, your Facebook and LinkedIn feeds are inundated with articles, whitepapers, and industry reports. Now most of you probably skip them, but I find these much more enlightening than the latest political argument my friends and colleagues are engaged in. So to make life easier on all of you, I’ve listed a few of the reports I think are worth a read.

(Note: Most of these will require you to provide an email address to the company that wrote it. Be a good marketing person and reward the content team for their hard work.)

  1. Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for CRM Lead Management: The market for CRM lead management applications continues to grow, evolve and mature. This Magic Quadrant evaluates 17 providers to help IT leaders find the right choice for their company, in collaboration with marketing, sales and digital commerce leaders.
  2. 2016 State of Marketing, from Salesforce: Trends and insights from nearly 4,000 marketing leaders worldwide.
  3. The State of Inbound 2016, from Hubspot: HubSpot’s 8th Annual Report, Tracking the Future of Inbound Marketing and Sales
  4. The Ultimate List of Marketing Statistics for 2016, from Freely: 347 marketing statistics for 2016 that you can use in your own content.
  5. Inbound Marketing Examples, from Hubspot: Hubspot Academy-approved examples of what others have built with the platform.
  6. Digital Marketing Resources, from Salesforce: A library of Salesforce’s most popular pieces on topics like list growth, Facebook marketing, mobile marketing strategy, customer lifecycle marketing
  7. Mobile Messaging Report 2016, by Mobile Ecosystem Forum and mblox: The MEF indexes the messaging habits of nearly 6000 respondents across nine countries worldwide.
  8. The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to B2B Marketing, from LinkedIn: Learn how to leverage LinkedIn’s marketing solutions, including content marketing campaigns, native advertising, sales lead generation, and brand awareness.
  9. The State of Facebook Advertising, by Marin Software: Year-over-year trend charts detailing spend, clicks, and CTR, the growth outlook for Facebook on mobile devices, and why Facebook is paying so much attention to its video ad formats
  10. 2016 Mobile App Retrospective, by App Annie: App Annie details the markets that saw the most growth in 2016 for downloads and usage, the growing monetization opportunity for publishers across categories, the top industries that are being transformed by mobile apps, and the trends publishers must stay on top of.
  11. Top 10 Big Data Trends for 2017, by Tableau Software: Tableau highlights the top big data trends for 2017.
  12. Mobile Messaging Report 2016, by Mobile Ecosystem Forum and mblox: The MEF indexes the messaging habits of nearly 6000 respondents across nine countries worldwide.
  13. How to Nail a Mobile Campaign Using SMS and Mobile Apps, by mobileStorm: Mobile apps now give your brand limitless choices on how to communicate, but this whitepaper details how to incorporate them into a larger mix that includes SMS.
  14. Mobile First Brand Loyalty Strategy Guide, by Punchkick Interactive: Learn how your brand can use mobile to build a more effective customer loyalty or rewards program.
  15. Top App Marketing Agencies List 2016, by mobyaffiliates: Need a Mobile Agency? Use this as a handy starting guide.
  16. B2B Marketing Strategies by 2020, by Sundog Interactive: Predictions for the future from an interactive agency.

Stories You Missed – January 2017

We all can’t read everything, and our Facebook feeds are now overrun with political arguing. So to make things easy for you, I’ve assembled some of the stories from last month about tech, marketing, sports and Seattle that you may find interesting.

  1. Three Sounders FC Departments Honored with 2016 MLS Club and Executive Awards: Congrats to the team members who don’t wear jerseys. Sounders FC tied for the lead among all clubs with its three awards: Corporate Partnerships Team of the Year, Marketing Team of the Year and Public Relations Team of the Year. I don’t know how these awards are judged, but if you enjoy your time at Sounders games, these groups probably play a big role.
  2. After Buyouts, Layoffs, 23 Staffers Exit ‘Seattle Times’: Well if you think that the national newscasts are a series of partisan wonks arguing talking points back and forth, then you won’t like this article. The newspapers still can’t figure out a business model, which means more cuts to local journalists. If you have an idea for how to save local news, you’re running out of time to share it.
  3. Dramatic video footage shows drone circling and then crashing into Seattle’s Space Needle: Well I guess this is why we can’t let everyone just fly their drones around all the time…
  4. The latest Amazon-occupied building sale shows how far Seattle real estate has come in last decade: If you think your house or apartment is expensive, imagine trying to buy an office building in Seattle these days. One of Amazon’s 290,000 square foot office buildings just sold for $269 million – or about $925 a square foot. That compares to $1.85 Million for your 2000 square foot house.
  5. Venture Investment in Seattle Area Companies Falls 27 Percent in 2016: It was a mixed bag of news about how much money investors poured into Seattle companies in 2016. On the downside, for the full year, investors poured just over $1.5 billion into 282 local deals, down 27 percent and 23 percent, respectively, from 2015. But on the upside, the fourth quarter of 2016 saw 77 local deals completed, totaling $561.3 million, compared to 81 deals totaling $190.6 million in the same period of 2015, and the final six months of 2016 saw a combined 157 deals, up 26 percent from the first half of the year, and $919.7 million invested, up 58 percent.

Oh and the Seahawks lost. But we don’t need to rehash that.

Have a good story to share? Email me and let me know.

Check Out This Sneaky Amazon Product Placement

Q: If you are a TV show on the bubble between renewal and cancellation, what’s the best way to make the bosses happy?
A: Make them more money.

Undateable will never win an Emmy. It’s niche is that in its 3rd season (and basically out of desperation due to being moved to the Friday night dustbin), it decided to shoot every episode live. The result is a hyped up Friday night live studio audience that contributes to a show that is part script / part improv.

BUT… that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be back for Season 4. So the show needs an extra revenue source on top of the normal :30 spots to secure its place in the Fall lineup.

Enter Amazon, in what is one of the sneakiest product placement deals I can imagine. Remember, subliminal advertising is illegal. But subliminal product placement apparently is not. I counted about four different camera angles in two different scenes where the logo is visible. I’m going to estimate the logo got about 60-120 seconds of airtime. How much do you think that subliminal product placement is worth? More or less than a :30 spot?

Can you spot it?

Undateable and Amazon 1

Undateable and Amazon 2

Undateable and Amazon 3

Undateable and Amazon 4

Undateable and Amazon 5

The New 4 C’s of Marketing

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about marketing topics, and reading conflicting arguments on whether “Content Marketing” is dead. After listening to both sides of the debate, I think I’ve landed on the position that “Content Marketing” IS “Marketing” in 2016.

Everything from lead generation to sales tools are now dependent on a solid content strategy. So I put forth the new “4 C’s of Marketing.” Everything you do today needs the following attributes.

1) Consistent
In early meetings with clients, I like to advise them to look at the masters of content when coming up with their content development model. Sunday football games are always at 10:00am and 1:25pm Pacific time. Movies always come out on Fridays. Music always drops on Tuesdays. TV shows are scheduled for a certain day and time all season long. Magazines get delivered on the same day each week. Etc…. This is because the most experienced marketers of content in the history of the world know that people have rhythms and habits. They demand some predictability in return for their attention. They appreciate you providing them content, but they won’t search for it, or be happy if it doesn’t show up. Imagine waking up one Sunday morning in October, flipping to CBS or FOX, and finding the NFL got a little busy and moved all the games to Tuesday. It doesn’t work like that. Build an editorial calendar and figure out when you’ll be publishing in each channel.

2) Concise
You have A LOT to say. And it’s all VERY IMPORTANT. Now cut that down to 25%. I’ve become a believer in the 3-30-3 rule. You get 3 seconds to hook someone and earn another 30. In that 30 seconds, you need to pique their curiosity enough to earn their next 3 minutes. And in that 3 minutes, you’re giving them the pitch to earn their email address or whatever you are trying to get from them. But that message up front needs to get across quick.

3) Compelling
Yes, even your company has something interesting to say or a unique way to say it. You cannot just publish a recipe for Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches and expect an audience. Put on your creative hat and come up with something good. You have a lot of smart people in your org with even more interesting opinions. Find them.

4) Convertible
To the pessimist, the amount of channels in which you need to produce content is terrifying. To the opportunist, it’s a dream come true. All of your content should e specifically tailored to the channel, but it also should be easily transformed. One well-written, long form blog post can also be your email newsletter content, a Powerpoint presentation for Slideshare, a series of soundbites for Twitter, at least a few Facebook posts, a conversation for Blab, and a YouTube video.

Let me know what you think.

Talking B2B Marketing on this Wednesday

Well this should be a lot of fun. Wednesday I’ll be joining Dominic Canterbury, President of the Turbine Agency, for a discussion on B2B Marketing and how to reach new markets. We’ll be having our conversation via, one of the new forums in which people can discuss topics and have a great dialogue with the audience.

We’ll be kicking off the conversation at 11am PDT at this link. I’d love for you to log in and throw out some questions. Plus, I’d love to hear what you think of Blab.

Missed the .COM rush? Grab a .FAMILY Domain for your clan

If you’re not keeping up with all the online tech publications these days, you probably don’t know much about what are called, “Top Level Domains (or TLD’s).” The traditional TLD’s are the ones attached to url’s you know and love – .com, .net, .edu, .org, etc…

But some really smart people realized that with all the url’s already owned by people, the only way to make any money was in the secondary market. And since those smart people who made money the 1st time around weren’t in the secondary market, they needed a way to create a new primary market.

Hence, we have the expansion of hundreds of new TLD’s. Things like .Lawyer, .Ninja, .Me, etc…

The newest one to come out is .Family. For those of you who fancy the idea of having a personalized web site that your family can post info to, or have email addresses with your family surname, the opportunity to get it is now.

Just go to and grab your family surname. Note: for most people the surname without an “s” at the end (ie is like $500. Add the “s” (ie is $20.

Note: Yes, those links are referral links above so if you use them, I would get $5 credit to my account (not cash.) But that’s not why I’m writing this. If you don’t want me to get the referral bonus, just type or click There’s no referral code attached to that one.

Join me at the Seattle Interactive Conference November 3

Over the last few years, I’ve had a few amazing chances to get in front of a large audience and either speak on, or moderate panels full of smart people. In about two weeks, I’ll get the opportunity to moderate a panel at one of my favorite events – the Seattle Interactive Conference.

The panel is focused on the changing role of online advertising. Here’s the description:

Game of Screens: The Rise of Multi-Screen Marketing
The rapid evolution of consumer behavior as it relates to their media consumption has rendered many of advertising’s traditional targeting and measurement metrics difficult or obsolete. So how do you accurately measure results when Device proliferation is making even basic reach and frequency management nearly impossible? How can you balance the new expectations amongst consumers that messaging to them should always be relevant and timely? And what are some recent technology advancements in targeting and measurement to help address some of these challenges? In this panel, executives from Choicestream, GoDaddy, Logitech and Sharethrough will share their experience and expertise in delivering successful behavior-driven marketing to consumers who live on multiple screens.

The panel will be on Nov 3 at 11:00am. If you’re attending the event, please come on by and check out our session. And if you have questions you want answered, shoot me an email and I’ll add them into the queue.