The popularity of mobile media, combined with ever-increasing opportunities for cross-platform integration has challenged marketers to develop far more comprehensive strategies for effective engagement and customer interaction.
While these changes afford far more freedom and flexibility in the eternal quest to shape brand identity, the sheer volume of content being produced each day can make it difficult to stand out from the crowd. In addition, as audiences have various preferred means of consuming content, marketers need to target multiple platforms in order to avoid limiting their reach.
The value of video marketing
It is no longer enough to simply create large quantities of marketing content, it will disappear into the ether and make no difference at all. Content needs to be high quality, relevant material that will capture and hold the attention of your target audience for customer interaction.
Now I’m biased, but video marketing comes into this mix, and I don’t mean any old video, I mean well thought out, planned and emotionally engaging video.
We are on the verge of a “video first” world with all the major social platforms pushing it hard, but with 82 per cent of all consumer Internet traffic coming from video by 2020 (Cisco: Visual Networking Index) how is your content going to make a mark?
There are a huge number of platforms that support video content, and your marketing plan will be most effective if you can coordinate content across multiple sites and applications.
Coordinated media placement also enables you to guide consumers through your brand story across multiple platforms, building your narrative piece by piece, and retaining user interest and customer interaction.
For example, a YouTube channel with videos explaining your products not only allows you to open a dialogue with consumers, but also gives you a foothold on the second most popular search platform, after Google. In addition, you can pay to seed in-stream ads on YouTube, which will be played during or between hosted videos.
Embrace social media
Adverts on social media are another way to really widen your audience. Users may share, retweet or upvote your posts, increasing their visibility, and making others more likely to take notice of your content.
In addition, one of the advantages of sponsoring an ad on a platform such as Facebook is that you specify a target audience, and your content is then delivered to individuals who fall within your chosen parameters.
Including relevant links to other videos or to a landing page then enables you to move towards integrating these ads with your overall brand image.
One of the key ways to build trust with your consumer base is to add a level of personalisation to your ongoing narrative. This can be as simple as generating content that includes the customer’s name, or directly addresses a query or comment they have made.
Pizza Express, for example, launched a Christmas campaign encouraging customer interaction with access to a festive-themed mobile game while in-store. Players were then sent a personalised video and could win a range of prizes, such as free pizzas.
The aim was to familiarise customers with chatbots, which can be useful for handling simple queries such as bookings and opening hours.
Another factor to bear in mind is user-generated content. Not all video marketing needs to be created by you and, in fact, consumers are more likely to trust a product that has been positively reviewed by another consumer. You can open a dialogue with your audience by inviting them to submit pictures and videos, or even hosting competitions for the best submission.
You can also drive customer interaction and engage with your audience over services such as Instagram and Snapchat, adding another dimension to your video campaign via the “Stories” function. This involves posting a series of photographs which create a narrative.
These stories are viewable for 24 hours before disappearing, making them a great way to release time-sensitive information, limited deals, or some behind the scenes tidbits, without having to worry about removing outdated posts.
Video on the move
Finally, reaching consumers on the move does not always rely on mobile devices. Digital signage is becoming extremely popular and enables you to engage with your target audience at times when they may not have access to their devices.
In Central London, Transvision screens at various underground stations provide eye-catching marketing opportunities running across multiple screens to encourage customer interaction.
Digital signage can also be effective in-store, or in high street windows, drawing consumers in, and providing dynamic information relevant to the screen’s location and surroundings.
Know your audience
Of course, it may not be possible to implement all of these techniques at once. Ultimately, you need to prioritise those platforms which are most relevant to your target audience and work to coordinate your narrative across these platforms.
Embrace customer analytics, gathering as much data as possible about consumer behaviour, and reactions to your existing content and products. This will enable you to more effectively target new content, and get the most out of your marketing campaign.
Future-proof and evolve
No marketing strategy is timeless and however effective your campaign may be, you will need to evolve your marketing techniques to keep up with changes in consumer interests and habits. This means maintaining an awareness of current trends, and technological breakthroughs, so you are always able to be among the first to embrace new ideas and deliver content to popular platforms as they become available.
With this in mind, there is no reason you could not transform your business with just a few changes to your marketing strategy.
By combining effective video content with a synchronised approach to the promotion of your brand narrative, you can rapidly expand the reach of your marketing campaign, and positively develop your company image in accordance with the ever-changing needs and preferences of your consumer base for ultimate customer interaction.
Jon Mowat runs Hurricane video marketing strategy