What we learnt about Video Marketing from industry experts during STREAM 2022 Awards
The STREAM Awards 2022 was held online on 7th July 2022. The award function was preceded by a panel discussion featuring Sheveeta Hedge, the then AVP-Sales and Brand Solutions at Pocket Aces, Saurabh Varma, Film Director and CCO at Content Engineers, Rajiee M. Shinde, CEO at Sai Mehar Media and chaired by Rituraj Bidwai, Head of Digital Marketing at Metercube.
The seasoned experts shared their views and experiences on “Exploring the Real Impact of Video in Achieving Business Bottom-Line Goals” covering various topics related to marketing and video marketing.
Here’s a synopsis of the learnings that we took home from the panel discussion.
In-house production versus outsourcing - the better option?
There is a constant tussle that brands and production houses face when it comes to choosing between outsourcing and making content in-house.
Rituraj opened the discussion by commenting that costs and control are two critical aspects of making a decision and Rajiee shared her personal experience when she organized the 1st ever Punjabi Music Awards on the ground in 2004. It was a large-scale event of the stature of a Bollywood event. Since it was the first-ever event of this scale, the right impressions needed to be created to get advertisers, sponsors, celebrities, media, and the public interested. From the red carpet to celebrities arriving in limos, stage setup, lights, sound, etc; there was too much to do.
She identified a core team mainly consisting of her in-house team members who would manage the event in different roles. They hired an agency for simply doing the technical stuff - stage, lighting, sound, etc. And, the event went off well and for years continued to receive attention 360 degrees with the same intensity and enthusiasm.
Her take on this topic was that managing an event of this scale is best when a mix-and-match approach is taken with limited outsourcing and majorly doing the work in-house. Personal connect is there when you do things in-house and there is more control and direction.
But this was an on-ground event. For social media, outsourcing content work is crucial.
Sheveeta, to a certain extent, agreed with her. She pointed out that when done in-house, there is uniformity of content. This is crucial to building brand value and trust. She mentioned that in Pocket Aces, there are different channels – filtercopy that are snippets, or dicemedia for web shows - each of their own identity. It could be built because the content is controlled in-house completely. On the other hand, she agrees that at times it is easier to outsource due to cost, expertise, or a novel thought process. For example, for a company whose forte is not video making, outsourcing makes sense.
For Saurabh, however, there is no wrong or right route between going completely in-house or outsourcing to an agency. Having said that, he also agreed that the in-house role cannot be replaced. During Covid, he started doing things on his own as a result, their site registered a 1300% growth. In contrast, sometimes agencies come up with brilliant ideas because they have so many discussions and experiences. On the flip side, building an in-house team is a tedious process. Sheveeta also says the same – that the internal team needs to be trained which is time-consuming.
The overall consensus was that it should be a mix of both. There is no definite strategy. What is essential is the endgame or what the consumer wants – you need to focus on this aspect.
For example, in Saurabh’s words, “Netflix and Amazon are both spending on outdoor advertising but not spending on video. Every film or product has a market. You need to find it. Consumer habits are changing so fast - no one knows anything. All you can do is keep on trying and do it sincerely, whether in-house, outsourced, or a mix of both.”
Rajiee says, “A lot goes behind the content – there are four pillars that determine your content - budget, target audience, logistics, and revenue generation. Of these two main elements that help decide whether you should go in-house or outsource are budget and logistics.”
Openness about both options should be there because one size does not fit all.
In Saurabh’s words, “Nobody can understand your brand better than you do. Marketing works on spray and pray. Spray a lot of marketing efforts and pray that one of them hits the consumer.” He added in the local dialect that “Garibi mei jo marketing hoti hain, wo sabse zyada intelligent hota hai.” (Marketing done with limited budgets is the most intelligent form of marketing)
Cutting through the clutter in video/webinar space
Rituraj opened the panel discussion with the thought that trends are changing and you need to know where the audience is engaging.
Sheveeta quoted an example that when Instagram was growing by leaps and bounds in 2019, Pocket Aces wanted to see how to go about making videos for the platform where attention span is not more than a minute. They conceptualized the First Web Series – 24 to 25 episodes with 1-minute each. The content had to be related to the youth so it featured the first emotions and experiences in a new relationship wherein a teenage couple was chosen – the first feelings, gift, how the feeling was expressed, etc. The engagement from the series was 15% to 17% and Cadbury’s associated with them. Eventually, there were four more seasons. So, she believes innovativeness is the key which should be based on data on what your audience is seeing.
Saurabh’s opinion was that any marketing strategy needs to have a creative and commerce vision. You need to master both aspects. He gave the example of Pepsi, Coke, Airtel, and Netflix that go with red and blue as these are two vibrant colours. But it is not just about colour but also classiness. Consumers are ruthless he believes - they will see or not see. He lists four critical aspects that work for film content/ads/video clutter –
Add to it the star cast. Mistakes are mostly made in the first four elements. To break the clutter, do it in a classic style – adopt storytelling methods that engage and connect with the customer.
Sheveeta added that data slicing and mining are not being done properly, and that is why clutter happens. Listening to the customer is important. Use the data available on your social media where customers are talking to brands. You need to open your ears and use this data for better campaigns.
Rituraj came up with the example of the ‘Ladki haath se nikal jayegi’ campaign of M&M. The narrative was based on research on what conversations were happening about child education and empowerment on social media. This was then used by the marketing team to make the campaign.
YouTube is a strong competitor in the streaming space. Is connected TV going to replace mobile or TV?
The panel agreed that there is a variety of content today, all available at your convenience. You can access them wherever and whenever you want. Across all ages, everyone is looking at convenience. You can plan entertainment as you plan your work. The amount of content flowing is impressive. People have become more judgemental. People are calculating the money if they need to go watch a movie in a theatre vis-a-vis waiting for it to appear on OTT. There is independence in the consumption of content nowadays. There is an audience for every kind of content.
Saurabh’s take on this “Phones have become your personal teddy bear that you would carry as a child.” Time is essentially less. People watch content, pause it to attend to work, and then again watch. People on the move have started to watch content. Language is not a barrier anymore. People in small towns and villages are also watching the content of their choices.
Sheveeta, however, felt that the audience is diverse and you cannot put them all in one category. Tier 1 and urban consumption is accessing a variety of content, yes. But people in Tier 2,3,4 cities, rural areas, etc., still want to watch the typical content on TV. She feels that there is still time for connected TV to take over traditional TV.
Saurabh summed it up with an example – that when Zomato & Swiggy started their business, everyone believed that restaurants will close. But that didn’t happen. On the contrary, food consumption increased. Similarly, the content variety has increased so phenomenally that the audience has not stopped watching one or the other; rather, the content consumption volume has increased.
Choices that brands have today in promoting/publishing their content
For brands, the choices of advertising methods or mediums have increased. Influencers and celebrities are being used today. Brands have more opportunities now while earlier it was just TV, print, and movies.
A lot of advertisers are investing in digital ads across different mediums and domains. The trend is increased democratization of ads. They are more engaging, there are deeper conversations that brands are having with their audiences. Conservations are more evolved compared to ads on TV. It is not just about TV and print media anymore. There are more opportunities for brands and audiences. There is more openness that is quite welcoming.
Relevance of Instagram Reels from the B2B perspective
Instagram Reels can be used by B2B companies to talk about their products. Many brands are doing so – using reels for communication, sharing messages about products, brand personalities, etc. There is information sharing. For B2B companies the opportunity is great but, at the moment, the platform is under-utilized. Though, on a positive note, things are evolving. And in the future, brands will want to reach out to their B2B partners via reels.
There is a need for such brands to know when and how to use reels. ‘Endgame’ is the most important word here. Usually, people follow what others are doing. Only if someone else is doing, competitors copy the same. But why? If something is not being done, then there is no reason why you should not do it; why you cannot think of a brilliant way of using reels for your brand enhancement?
B2B brands must experiment or be open to such games – so, if the marketing budget is Rs. 100, at least Rs. 5 should be allocated to experimentation.
And, when brands reach out to an expert, they should listen to the advice because it comes from hands-on experience.
LinkedIn as a video content platform?
All the experts agreed that LinkedIn is not right for video. Only relevant videos get circulated here but it is mostly about reading content. Video formats can work only if it is on the right subject and is targeted to the right customer.
Tips for making brilliant videos: Saurabh has these points to share:
Who is your consumer – think like a customer.
The first 10-20 seconds are very important – focus on this.
Be crisp and clear.
The thumbnail is very critical – give the poster, the title & the thumbnail time and effort.
Add a hashtag below it.
Keywords that you use for marketing the content are very important too.
And lastly, how creative the content is.
Rajiee effectively concludes by saying, "Be very sure that if this video was made by someone else, would you watch it? If yes, go ahead and make it. "