Haven't heard of the phrase Inbound Marketing? That's okay; if you do a Google search, you'll learn it is the promotion of an organization through content which serves to attract customers through the different stages of the purchase funnel. You'll also discover that HubSpot is the undisputed master of the field.
HubSpot has made not only a strong commitment to video, but to its creative across the board. "At the end of the day, we're seeking to be a more helpful, human company that gives people the tools they need to get their jobs done, while delighting them along the way," says Jamee Sheehy, who spearheads video initiatives. Whether it's a brand-building video that inspires the customer base, a demo that informs new users, or a humorous video that entertains prospects and consumers alike, HubSpot "strives to make our videos work hard for us throughout the entire customer journey," says Sheehy.
Here's some of Sheehy's advice to brands big and small alike:
#1: Be Where Your Audience Is.
It's important for a brand to look relevant and authentic, but more than that, it's important to be where your audience is, and reach them in the ways they want to interacted with. Sometimes that might be via Facebook live streams, for other consumers, it might be short-form Snapchat programing. Your customers are going far beyond TV to get their information, so it makes sense to have an ongoing dialogue with your audience to figure out how and where they consume video content.
#2: Embrace a "Video is Core" Mentality.
As someone who came to HubSpot from the production world, Sheehy was impressed by how much the company recognized that video was an important part of its brand and customer journey. It wasn't just talk; HubSpot put so much infrastructure in place to meet production needs pretty early on in the company's journey.
#3: Video Can't Solve Everything.
Most brands can't get everything right with respect to video marketing. To Sheehy, one of the glaring mistakes some make is to think that video can solve every marketing problem. That's "the first step toward failure with video," she says. "It's important to first think about the problem you're trying to solve, the audience you're trying to reach," and how the audience will be accessing your content. Despite her bias towards video, Sheehy readily admits that some things are better in copy, or text. "If video fits the mold, then make sure you make it is worth the effort," Sheehy stresses. "Not all videos are created equal."
#4: Quantity isn't Everything.
Building on that "not all videos are created equal" mantra, we will see a deluge of videos in 2017. Conservative estimates say their will be 30% more video on the Internet in 2017; more aggressive numbers put that figure as high as a 79% increase over 2016.
#5: Embrace New Formats.
HubSpot has seen success with its live video content, such as Google Hangouts On Air and Facebook Live interviews. These aren't that high on production time, but the fact that they are live connects people in a different way, and "gives people a true interaction with your brand," Sheehy says.
Just like there are new low fidelity formats, there are also options on the higher production end. In particular, VR and 360 video are getting a lot of traction, and brands are starting to use these formats in very innovative ways. Going even higher up on the production spectrum is customizable, interactive video - the kind of thing that Facebook does using users' old photos for end-of-year recaps, for example. This type of video might be out of the reach of many startups - but you can't futureproof yourself without paying attention to the formats of tomorrow, can you?
#6: Sexy Doesn't Always Win the Day.
"Don't underestimate how powerful a good old-fashioned video demo or customer testimonial is for your sales team," Sheehy emphasizes. "People need/love proof your product works, no matter how much they love your brand."
#7: Draw Inspiration From All Circles.
Part of how HubSpot has succeeded on the video front is that it isn't just looking at its nearest competitors: it is reviewing best-of-breed video concepts from a number of different categories. Sheehy's personal video influences include Jetblue, American Greetings, Red Bull, Nike, Converse, BuzzFeed's Tasty, and even Internet celebrities like Whine About It.
While the story of HubSpot is very inspirational, it's always good to get a sense of what other winning brands are doing with video. Looking for a deeper dive? My team at Firebrand Group and I recently put together a comprehensive study of digital executives that predicts the future of video marketing and consumption. You can grab a copy here.