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How to Use Web and Internet Video to Market and Communicate

IBM Uses “Do It Yourself” Video to Communicate and Market

“No more long, cumbersome marketing documents – no more boring presentations. Video is how companies and business should communicate,” says Mark Leaser, Worldwide Offerings Manager, IBM Software Services for Lotus. “You can do it yourself and save thousands of dollars.

IBM Software Services for Lotus is using video in a wide variety of ways – for internal education and communications as well as for external marketing and customer relations.

Internally, Mr. Leaser and his department are using video for sales training, communication where they want to propose a particular course of action, and to provide training of their technical solution architects and solution specialists. They also are doing internal case studies – talking head interviews and lots of screen capture using their own LotusLive web conference solution and mixing it with live video.

IBM is also using video externally to promote and market their assets and solutions worldwide. The video messages are designed to help customers select, purchase and use the appropriate business solutions.

To speed up the production process, and to ensure a consistent look and feel, Mr. Leaser has developed an effective standardized format to deliver these external messages. These external communication videos usually start with a short teaser – essentially a one to two minute video introduction to a business solution then followed by an action step that is designed to steer viewers to specific online IBM landing pages with much more detail.

Combining the best practices from successful eCommerce and eTailing sites, these landing pages use even more video to further educate and market products and services. A typical video landing page will include links to additional content including additional video and product information. The landing page can also include “infomercial” type videos, as well as videos on how the products work and where to go for more info.

IBM uses video as a means of attracting interest in something that they are doing. The video segments have to be more than a commercial – they have to offer content with value, information of how their solutions will help their customers’ business, and tips for using particular solutions.

IBM Saves Money by Producing In House

Currently IBM uses outside production services as well as internal teams to create their videos. The customer case studies and/or reference videos are usually produced by an external company but increasingly, a larger percentage of the videos are being produced internally. Many of the videos are shot at tradeshows and events where IBM’s various technical and product experts are in attendance. Rather than hiring an outsider who charges $10K to $15K to produce a video, IBM found that they can do it ourselves, single camera, for a small fraction of the price, and it is just as effective. Over a year, they save hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Some case study videos are shot multi-camera but 90% of all productions are single camera. Most of the videos are captured using standard HD prosumer camcorders (recording onto 16 gigabyte SD cards) with flat lighting from a single large lightbox. For capturing audio, Mark uses professional Sony lavaliere microphones and Audio Technica shotgun microphones. Mark says, “Simple works. One of the most important technical details is to make sure we have clean audio.”

To improve the efficiency of the video editing and production process, the video is captured in a native Quicktime format and then inputted into Mac computers running Final Cut Studio. Mark has settled on h.264 and DVKitchen for compression and distribution over the company’s intranet as well as over the Internet. Mark usually compresses at the standard Apple TV settings (h.264 at 1280×720 with a 4800 kbps data rate) but DV Kitchen makes it simple to provide a variety of compression templates for various viewing and distribution options.

In many ways, their video production process is just like producing a document using Microsoft word. They use standardized formats and templates, and standardized technical specifications that allow a “producer” to easily cut and assemble a video without having to know a lot of technical details.

Once the video is done, the IBM team can share it in a variety of ways. For internal videos, they often use their own internal media servers or YouTube where the videos can be viewed using the standard YouTube video player.

However, for their external marketing videos, they were not satisfied with embedding YouTube in their public facing pages because there was too much clutter and not enough brand control. To give them more control and present a more professional look, they use outside video hosting companies and video platforms that can be customized.

Authoring video in house works for IBM because their current generation of IT decision makers understand the video language and often don’t have the patience to wade through a white paper or technical presentation. To properly reach them, information needs to be presented in a lively, colorful and high-energy mode that can only be conveyed via video.

SIDEBAR

Three reasons your business should use video to communicate

1. Use video – it works. The impact is phenomenal. Following the lead of the direct marketing industry which claims a 4x improvement in response in video versus text, Mark says that short videos with links is the most effective way for establishing powerful outward bound communications and building brand equity. Your audience expects video and you need to give it to them. An effective business presents information in a manner that is most receptive by their target audience.

2. Learn how to do it yourself. Modern video technology and solutions are easy to learn and very affordable. In many ways similar to cut and paste word processing, DIY video production has become the baseline for business communications and marketing. It is similar to the past evolution to word processing from executives relying on secretaries. The stratified and inefficient business architecture of the “Mad Men” TV show is long gone. Similarly, a new business communication paradigm is occurring now with video. Word processing is being supplanted by video. Long documents and boring powerpoint presentations are being replaced by video. Because DIY video is so efficient as a communications tool, it should be an integral part of your business.

3. Video is easier than people think. It is no longer some mystical technology. Yes, 20 years ago, video was complicated, expensive and required an advanced degree. However, with the advent of simple to use video nonlinear “cut and paste” editing programs and affordable high definition digital camcorders, high quality production is now attainable by almost anyone. You can hire someone out of high school who has all the skills. Remember – for business, simple works best. It is all about communicating ideas and information, not fancy effects or 3D explosions.

Developing A Contract For Ecommerce Software – Concluding The Order Form

In the ecommerce regulations, the formation of the contract is one of the top priorities that every online business must pay attention too. The major concerns are how, when and where the contract is formed. In this article we will look over the process to finalize the order form and incorporate the right information into the terms and conditions of your ecommerce solutions.

The order form, or web page which the order form is displayed, is where the customer is taken to conclude the order. The order form has to include the product, a selection for quantities and the customer’s delivery information. In the ecommerce regulations it declares that the customer requires a means to correct any errors on the order form. Most ecommerce software solutions incorporate this condition by adding three buttons to the order form. The buttons are commonly labelled ‘Submit’, ‘Clear’ and ‘Cancel’, these present the customer with options that the regulations expect for an online store such as an eBay store, Facebook store or other ecommerce solutions.

Incorporating the correct information into the terms and conditions of your ecommerce solutions is a critical part of making sure your online business is legal. At the bottom of the terms and conditions page the customer has to be required to ‘tick a box’ to identify that they have understood and accepted before they click on the ‘Submit’ button. The ‘Submit’ button has to be only available when the terms and conditions have been ticked and accepted. The ecommerce software that a company operates has to load the whole web page before the customer is capable to accept the terms and conditions. By the ecommerce solutions doing this, the company is in a position of power in the event that customer claims there was no chance to read the terms and conditions.

Although there is no accountability on the retailer to confirm that the customer has in verity read the terms and conditions, following these behaviours will demonstrate that proper efforts have been made to bring them to the customers notice. The terms and conditions for your eBay store, Facebook store or ecommerce solutions has to be arranged so that the customer can print and save the web page. The correct design has to include no pop-up windows and make sure that they fit inside the width of the page and be presented in a way that they print correctly.

An expression such as ‘By clicking the Accept button you agree to these terms and conditions’. When finishing and submitting the online order form the customer is making a proposal to buy, which, if accepted by the retailer, will result in a binding contract. By integrating the expression ‘accepted by the retailer’ the retailer has guarded themselves according to ecommerce regulations.

This above process is recommended as the ‘best practice’ method for displaying terms and conditions but there is another procedure that ecommerce software can utilize and is more user-friendly. This method is not as legally safe but is approved on a lot of ecommerce websites. This method is to include a link to the terms and conditions on the order form, and make the customer tick a box to confirm they have read and accepted, before they click on the ‘Submit’ button. This method takes away a huge quantity of information from the order page and incorporates a link to another page which displays all the relevant information. An eBay store, Facebook store or regular ecommerce store can utilize this method to improve the customers experience and not to divert the customer from their buying experience.

Weighing the Differences Between eCommerce and Traditional Commerce

Due to the increased popularity and availability of Internet access many traditional small business are considering eCommerce as a valid and profitable sales channel. However, eCommerce and traditional commerce are very different, and it’s important to weight carefully the differences between eCommerce and traditional commerce in order to decide if it would be a good fit for your business or just a costly mistake.

Direct Interaction

Traditional commerce is often based around face to face interaction. The customer has a chance to ask questions and the sales staff can work with them to ensure a satisfactory transaction. Often this gives sales staff an opportunity for upselling, or encourage the client to buy a more expensive item or related items, increasing the shop profits. On the other hand, eCommerce doesn’t offer this benefit unless features such as related items or live chats are implemented.

Lower Costs

eCommerce is usually much cheaper than maintaining a physical store in an equally popular location. Compared with costs such as commercial space rent, opening an online store can be done at a fraction of the price for less than $50 per month. This can prove invaluable for small business owners who don’t have the startup capital to rent prime retail space and staff it to be able to sell their goods.

Reach

With an online shop you can do business with anybody living on a country you are able and willing to send mail to, unlike traditional commerce where you are restricted to people who actually come to your shop. This also opens the door to many other forms of marketing that can be done entirely online, which often results in a much larger volume of sales and even foot traffic to the store. An online store has no capability limits, and you can have as many clients as your stock can serve.

Returns Rate

In a traditional store, the customer will be purchasing the product in person, which has some benefits for both the him and the store. The customer will be able to touch and check the items, to make sure they are suitable, and even try them on, which reduces the number of returned items or complaints due to an item not being as advertised on a catalogue. or promotional leaflet. Expect a significantly higher rate of returns if you start trading online, as many will just order and try the items at home, and won’t hesitate to return them as they can do it by post without having to talk with anybody in person.

Credit Card Fraud

The remote nature of ECommerce makes much more difficult to detect fraud, which means stores can lose money due to fraud. While traditional commerce is not totally secure, it’s easier for a sales attendant to verify that the person buying something is actually the owner of the credit card, by asking for photographic ID. However, the fight against card fraud is well underway and banks and responsible eCommerce owners work together to verify that all card use is legitimate.