I got the first glimpse of a slowdown of the economy when a friend that is very active in chambers of commerce at the national level asked me if clients or other business owner with whom I socialize had reduced budgets. This was October 2007. Back then I had not felt recession first hand. Fast forward to January 2007, and the picture changed dramatically. Several friends that owned business were voicing their concerns on the slow down and I received the first request for postponement of projects.
Does that mean you have to stop everything? The answer is no. Large corporations usually increase budgets during these slow downs and that results in increased market share at the end of the down cycle.
In the digital era there is opportunity for everyone. Small and large companies can benefit of new online offerings like online video. According to recent research from comScore, 75% of Internet users watched online video in November 2007. Online video has many different manifestations from user-generated content on YouTube to commercials taken from the television airwaves. The key point when marketing on the Internet is the need for a new approach to video – the development of relevant, engaging content that is authentic and applicable to the topics that the user has been searching for.
As a marketer, you need to build a story around your brand functionality and put it center stage. What sets this apart from a shameless promotion is the relevancy of the content. A good example of this is what some hotels are doing: they create video content that gives viewers an insider tour of a city’s hot spots, hosted by the hotels’ concierges. According to when audiences view video that is interesting and relevant to them, they have a much richer experience. In addition, their engagement with the brand is far more valuable since they care about the story and trust the person telling it.
The opportunity here is the social interaction made possible by the Internet. You have a number of tools: blogs, social networks and widgets that facilitate spreading these videos virally. The saying says that a happy customer will tell 5 people, with the Internet, that same person could share a video he found interesting with his entire address book and friends in a network. Imagine loading several version of the video on widgets and tracking what works better or segmenting them by demographics.
On December 2007, I outlined the transformation taking place in the media and advertising industry. This change was caused by the Internet and the higher adoption of online video with the growth of broadband connections among other things. Technology has increased the output quality of cameras and that in turn allows for broadcast quality productions via small productions that cost a fraction of a traditional TV spot. Under these circumstances marketers have the tools to leverage the power of the Internet and online video to create strong and organic interactions between their brands and consumers.