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.

How B2C Ecommerce Has Helped Build The United States Ecommerce

Online shopping will soon become the main avenue of shopping in the US. The early users back then were only the highly educated white males, otherwise known as the “techies.” Nowadays, times have changed and so have the consumers for online shopping. Just about every household now has a computer or two. And anybody who owns a computer has made at least one purchase online.

As more and more people shop online, there had to be a way to track the trends of these online services, so that the retailers could get some feedback and then provide the consumer with constant improvements. This is where b2c ecommerce comes into play. They help track the latest trends of the online shopper and then provide this information to the retailers.

With this b2c ecommerce information, the retailers can make improvements to their business. And with these improvements and new technologies, the shopper now has even more tools to help them evaluate what they’re shopping for, prior to making a purchase. One of the biggest improvements that has been made online has been the ability for the consumer to comparison shop side by side for a particular item. With the click of a button, the consumer can now get numerous quotes from different retailers selling the same item.

These are some of the improvements that the retailers have made over the years; customers can now return their merchandise if they are not completely satisfied and they can either pick up their purchase or have it delivered right to their front door. As well, thanks to newer and more secure technology, customers now feel much more secure in using their credit cards online. Whereas a few years ago, people were a little apprehensive about giving their credit card number over the Internet.

Common Questions Answered by B2C Ecommerce

* How fast will my sales grow?

* Which part of the US shows in the largest growth of ecommerce

* What do consumers think is the biggest advantage to online shopping vs. conventional shopping?

* What is the greatest risk to online shopping?

B2C ecommerce will answer questions like this and many others to help the consumer be more confident when shopping online.

Market Size and Growth

The US Department of Commerce (DOC) estimated that the US ecommerce retail sales for 2003 was over $56 billion; compared to a little over $44 billion in 2002. Of course the heaviest amount of sales for 2003 came in the fourth quarter during the holiday season. B2C ecommerce has reported that there is a lot of room for sales growth, considering it has only accounted for 1.5% of total retail sales in 2003.

What Does The Future Hold?

B2C Ecommerce has predicted that by 2007, the total retail sales will rise to about 3% of the total retail sales in the US. If the online leisure travel sales increase, then the total will rise to around 4% of all retail sales. This is a huge portion of the overall US retail sales. At this stage, one would have to truly believe that the sky is the limit to online sales.

Ecommerce and Order Fulfillment

Electronic Commerce or ecommerce as it is commonly know is the electronic exchange of information between two or more businesses computers. Ecommerce is also about the buying and selling of goods and services over the internet and the processes and information it generates. Basically ecommerce is the protocol that allows two or more computers to exchange information over the internet securely. It is also the electronic transfer of funds over the internet. For example, buying a book online is an instance of ecommerce in action. The data generated that is the credit card information, the account details of both the parties involved and the goods or services to be transferred are all handled by ecommerce.

The amount of business done over the internet has increased exponentially since its spread. Business-to-business transactions or B2B transactions as they are known are conducted through the net that is online. Ecommerce and order fulfillment generally comes into play between suppliers and distributors. The suppliers are the companies that develop, manufacture and produce goods and services. The suppliers do the market research and then develop the products. The distributors take these products and services and market them using the resources at their disposal. Hence the distributors and suppliers need to communicate effectively and accurately. This where the ecommerce elements come into play.

Order fulfillment software and programs are designed to enable a smoother faster flow of trade between the two. As always there is need for coordination between the supply and demand. The ecommerce business applications also serve the customer who is the heart and bloodline of commerce as they are the raison d’etre of the products, and of the sales and the revenues. The suppliers and distributors enter into B2B activities to better serve and provide for the needs and demands of the consumer.

Hence ecommerce business applications also benefit the customer who is at the heart of ecommerce. The best examples of ecommerce business applications are the websites that sell products and services. The online presences and business models are made more effective and meaningful to the consumer by the inclusion of these applications. The consumer also finds the site more appealing and interesting and may be convinced to take action.

An order fulfillment software is useful and beneficial to all users; suppliers, distributors and consumers. Good ecommerce business applications are easily available and accessible in the market and the internet. Choose a good, easy to use but yet powerful application that will serve all your needs. Use a graphic interface that is easy to understand and use. Do not under estimate the power of these applications especially in today’s marketplace.