'BtoB's' NY NetMarketing Breakfast: Video marketing gets simple, direct and funny

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New York—Video marketing was the topic of the day at BtoB's NetMarketing Breakfast, held here today. The key messages to marketers: Keep it simple, don't worry about shaky amateur efforts and humor helps. “People feel that marketing messages of all sorts have to be complex, but it's not necessary,” said panelist Tim Washer, senior manager-social media at Cisco Systems. “That's our biggest challenge, to keep things simple and tell interesting stories.” Washer's video efforts for Cisco have featured a healthy dose of humor. One example was a popular video, released in time for Valentine's Day this year, urging the romantically inclined to pick up a quarter-million-dollar Cisco ASR 9000 router as a gift for that special someone. “How did we measure the success of the ASR 9000 video? People are talking,” Washer said. “Qualitative metrics are more important than quantitative.” Cisco has about 1,800 videos on its YouTube channel. Even though panelist Paul Gennaro, senior VP-chief communications officer at engineering design company AECOM Technology, heads up marketing for an $8 billion multinational company, he doesn't worry about the amateur quality of much of the videos sent in by the company's employees as part of the company's “AECOM Minutes” video series. “We currently have more than 132 videos about our projects and corporate responsible programs,” Gennaro said. “Our people shoot them on Flip cams or iPhones, send them in and we'll just do a quick edit. That way, they're humanized and genuine—and [it] helps people get excited about the diversity of our company.” The nonprofessional nature of the videos isn't a bar to their acceptance by key targets, he said. “The future is people selecting their own content where they want to be,” Gennaro said. “Nirvana for us is an engineering professor at Georgia Tech pulling up an "AECOM' video for his students.” Lincoln Financial Group is in the process of developing videos that focus on educating participants in Lincoln's retirement on the importance of saving for retirement. This, in turn, reinforces Lincoln's brand reputation among financial advisors who may recommend a Lincoln plan, and companies who may choose one, according to Donna MacFarland, the company's senior VP and CMO-retirement plan services. "People who are happy with their retirement plan support are excellent b2b brand ambassadors for Lincoln," MacFarland said.
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