Meaningful Marketing In A Down Economy

    April 20, 2009

The nightly news paints a dreary picture. Whether it’s due to a freeze in the credit markets, rising unemployment rates, or just plain nerves, consumers are keeping their wallets closer than ever. At the same time, marketing and advertising budgets are being slashed and executives are demanding measurable, meaningful media from their campaigns. Each marketing dollar must go further. Sales are more valuable than ever. So, what are marketing managers to do to meet such demands?

In these times, effective, quantifiable marketing is critical. Marketing managers must find new ways to reach, engage, and persuade wary consumers to buy their products or services. There is less room for error; big gambles on traditional media buys are too risky in this environment and recent budget cuts put large, TV-network ad buys out of reach for many companies. Combine this with more demand for accountability from each marketing dollar spent and it’s no wonder that ad dollars are moving online where a wealth of metrics show customer engagement levels in real-time. However, affordable pay-per-click marketing and banner ads come with a heavy trade-off, as marketing managers soon realize they lack the emotional branding power of TV advertising.

That’s where online video comes in. The new frontier in the advertising landscape, online video offers the same emotional engagement of TV advertising, without the hefty price tag of a thirty-second spot. Video can explain unique product features, bring a hands-on experience to shopping, and put a human face on the corporate brand far better than static text or images.

Low risk and high reward, online video offers a unique opportunity to engage customers, while retaining the measurability of other online marketing options. And, unlike TV advertising that blankets millions of eyes with the same message, online ads can target highly specific groups of people with very particular needs. After all, the Internet is a micro-media world in which millions of niche audiences make up the greater universe.

Understanding the Internet’s ultra-fragmented reality is vital to effective online video. On the Internet generic ads fall on deaf ears. Gimmicky sales pitches are rejected outright. Instead, online ads must deliver relevant information that engages users who choose to hear what you have to say.

Think about it. With millions of options right at customer’s fingertips, having a good product or service is no longer enough. Video that shares compelling stories and resonates with the audience on an emotional level is what works on the Internet, and what convinces consumers to buy even in this economic climate.

Advertisements that feature real people and their stories are proving to be highly effective – whether it’s a designer detailing the passion that goes in to producing the furniture and lighting products of a renowned brand, a pastry chef showing the care that goes into every tart, or a hotel concierge talking about the local highlights of their city. These narrative, documentary-style videos forgo scripts, actors, and stock footage and instead capture authentic, intimate stories told by the very people behind the business.

In addition to meeting the informational needs of viewers, these ads offer an additional benefit in a down economy. Reducing the reliance on sets, actors, and large production crews, narrative video not only lends a more genuine feel to advertising, but also dramatically cuts the costs associated with traditional production. In fact, high quality narrative ads can be produced at costs as low as $2,000-$5,000 per finished video.

This new affordable production model works for the marketing manager facing shrinking advertising budgets. It also enables companies to create multiple, highly-targeted content pieces that resonate with the many niche audiences found online.

While today’s economy is certainly tough for business, Internet video and affordable production models empower companies to make the most of each marketing dollar – combining the accountability of the Internet with the emotional power of television. Yet unlike traditional media, relevance-driven, not campaign-driven, ads find success on the Web and drive potential customers to action.