It used to be that if you wanted to use video as part of your business communications plan you had to put a big chunk of budget aside. When I was with a very large company, I remember it costing about $5K per minute production costs. So, a 10 minute video, minimum of $50K. Not something that most small businesses would consider in their realm of possibility.
Fast forward to today and all the new media applications focused on producing and delivering video and costs are minimal. First, you don’t need to buy a $20K camera or rent one with an operator. A simple Hard Drive Camcorder can be bought for under $500. I understand that you can get a High Definition Camcorder for under $1K, but as much as hard technologies have dropped in price, bandwidth hasn’t necessarily kept up. More on that later.
What about all the sophisticated video editing equipment, again not a requirement. There are a number of video editors available for less than $500, and you own it versus paying for it each time you need to edit. Also, applications like YouTube have lowered the expectations for perfect video.
One thing that kept me from working with video was how difficult editing was and how much equipment was needed. I had experienced video on a project a number of years ago and was not looking forward to getting into it again. My breakthrough came in talking with Robert Scoble at a conference late last year. Robert is pretty much the de facto king of video blogging and really doesn’t do a lot of editing. He has a story where on one of his first videos at Microsoft, he leaned back in a chair and went head-over-heels. He just decided to leave it in. I can live with that.
So, what about storing, showing, and delivering? Enter YouTube and others; anyone can upload their videos, store them and point your customers to your videos. The price, $0. So, for under a $1K, about what 20 seconds of production 15 years ago, you can have everything you need to create and use videos.
OK, so what are some applications? Well, first you need to think about all the elements of your business where you need to communicate with customers or potential customers. Let’s see, clearly sales, and lots of customer support, and what about customer training and education?
What about supplementing your paper brochures with on-line versions that include video clips to show things that are very difficult to explain? How about putting clips of your team doing presentations at industry conferences or tradeshows that show your thought leadership? How about interviews with customers talking about how your products or services helped their businesses.
How about instead of tires old FAQ’s, you put up video FAQ’s where key staff answer questions and given their explanation of an answer? Or, how about putting up short video training clips to educate your customers?
I think that if you spend some time and open up your mind to the possibilities, you will find lots of areas where video can supercharge you business and customer conversations. Spend some time on YouTube and see how others are using video.