Monthly Archives: October 2016

3 Things Your Agency MUST Ask Before Choosing a Video Marketing Partner

As an agency, it’s your job to help your clients get their market their brand effectively by any means necessary. And while you may not handle 100% of creative production in-house, at the end of the day your firm does have to answer to those brands for how you choose to represent them.

If that’s the case, you have a strong impetus to only contract work with like-minded companies you can trust completely.

video marketing partner

We  all know that video marketing is no longer optional. But along with the meteoric rise in video marketing’s popularity has come no shortage of pop-up production houses that are more willing than they are able. They charge rock-bottom prices and boast the best equipment in the industry, but these production firms lack the commitment to quality, the storytelling expertise, or the client experience you deserve…

And it shows in the end product.

But you can’t really afford to wait until you see the end product to know that you’ve picked the wrong partner. So to help you find the perfect video production company for your agency, we’ve boiled it down to the three questions you’ve got to ask about the companies you vet. Remember, these companies aren’t just going to be “makin’ movies” for your clients; if you do your homework, you can find a partner that will grow with your agency and become part of your story.

1.   Do They Fit With Our Agency Culture?

As an agency, you’re constantly pushing your team to find unheard-of creative ways to communicate your clients’ value. The last thing you need is to work with a video marketing company that doesn’t take the same approach to their work.

Finding that perfect idea for a video isn’t easy, and helping you tell your clients’ stories take some serious commitment. So if the production company you’re looking into partnering with doesn’t pride themselves on doing the deep research, constant iterations, and imaginative brainstorming it takes to create something really special? Run – don’t walk – away.

Here are a few other culture touchpoints where you and your production partner should sync up:

  • Work Ethic: Will they burn the midnight oil to get the job done? Do they even know what midnight oil is?
  • Passion: Is making videos that tell an unforgettable story what they were meant to do?
  • Promise vs. Delivery: When they say something is going to happen, does it turn out that way – or at least pretty darn close?
  • Comfort: Am I (and my team) comfortable hanging with their team professionally?

2.   Are They in It for the Long Haul?

Due diligence can reveal a lot about that video marketing company you’ve got your eye on. That said, just because they’re a great company today doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re the right long-term partner for you.

Making something creative once is easy. But if you’re planning to work with the same production house on multiple creative pieces over the course of a year, you want to make sure that their pool of good ideas doesn’t dry up 6 months in.

Here are a few indicators that you’re looking at a company that prides itself on consistency and stick-to-itiveness:

  • Client List: The customers a production house has worked with can show you a lot about them and their longevity.
  • Mission-Minded: Have they documented their core mission? More importantly, are they showing signs of upholding it?
  • Process-Driven: You can get a funny feeling real quick if a creative is flying by the seat of their pants. Creativity should be free to roam, but it all has to come out in the form of a quality product rooted in a tested methodology.

3.   Do They Make Good Videos?

Come on.

Of course you can’t work with a company that doesn’t make things that look good, right? But before you go thinking that we phoned in this third question, you may want to look a little deeper. Quality is measured in more ways than one.

All the videos on the typical portfolio page may look visually appealing, but may not actually be producing the kind of real business results you want – and your clients expect. Here are a few ways to tell the difference between “looks good” and “is good”.

  • Look at Their Work: Ok, this is another easy one to figure out. However, watch on of their videos that looks great. Then watch it again. Is it clear? Sure, maybe it’s stunning, but it could be filled with marketing fluff, offering no substance to the viewer.
  • Look at Their Results: The real proof is in what the video does for the client. Does it increase conversions? Does it boost social media engagement? Does it even get watched? Any production company worth its salt can point to real results – not just their prettiest videos.
  • Look at Their Costs: Great work costs money, so don’t settle for cheap. If a video marketing company charges bargain-bin prices, odds are they’ll act like it, too.

Content Roundup – Stop the Noise

What if you’re really just part of the noise and clutter that makes it impossible for marketers to break through to their customers? Too many companies complain about it and then – you guessed it! – turn around and produce more noise. That’s not helpful. You’re probably guilty of it, and we’re for sure guilty of it sometimes here at Explainify

This week’s Content Roundup decided to try and tackle what it would take to stop being noise and start being something different. The more companies that start doing this, the less we fatigue customers and start earning back marketing trust. Let’s do this together.

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The companies who win are the companies who refuse to be a part of the general noise and clutter competing for our attention, and instead focus on building something that we couldn’t live without. At least, that’s what Seth Godin thinks – and you wouldn’t want to disappoint him, would you?

Cutting through the clutter (Seth Godin)


One sure-fire way to stand out from your competitors and the noisy world around you is create a strong sense of Unity with your audience – the feeling that you’re not just like your audience, but that you are one of them. Psychologist Robert Cialdini shows you how to create this unbreakable bond of persuasion.

The Ultra Powerful 7th Principle of Persuasion (CopyBlogger)


 

You already know what makes your brand unique. But in this hyper-competitive digital marketplace, you’ve got to constantly refine and redefine your value prop for maximum clarity. We’ll show you want Michelin-star chefs, organic food, and purple ketchup have to teach us about the importance of an always-evolving UVP.

Better Define Your UVP & Leave Your Competition Behind (Explainify)


Speaking of value propositions, here’s a few hall-of-famers who can inspire you to make your unique value even more… well, unique-er. This post is a masterclass in the kind of crystal clarity that turns your brand message into a breath of fresh air for the information-overloaded consumer.

7 of the Best Value Proposition Examples We’ve Ever Seen (Wordstream)


The last frontier of overcrowded marketing messages is your audience’s inbox. But with the right set of techniques and tools, you can avoid getting relegated to the spam folder – in fact, you can actually increase engagement. Not bad, right?

Increase Your Conversions 6X With the Email Customer Engagement Tools Used by The Honest Company & Chubbies (Blue Stout)


Thanks for reading! Now get out there and produce some great marketing and stop making noise!

CaseComplete is just one of many clients we've helped succeed! See how we helped them increase lead conversions by over 20%!

3 Sure-Fire Ways to Close More Deals with Buying Groups

“Remember when sales were easy?”

Okay, maybe no one’s ever said that. Sales has always been a challenge, and sales staff have always had to find new ways to pique interest and close the deal.

selling to buying groups

But you can’t deny the fact that the buying process has changed dramatically over the past decade. Once upon a time, a sales professional only had to contact one person – one key decision-maker – within an organization in order to pitch their products and make the sale.

Not anymore.

These days, corporate decision-making is more collaborative. Instead of relying on one person to make choices for the entire company, companies are inviting larger “buying groups” of stakeholders to get involved in the process.

This may sound like a change for the better, but if you’re in sales it means you’re looking at a much bigger investment of time and energy per prospect.

But don’t despair! Even though selling to buying groups instead of a single corporate buyer can be more complicated, it doesn’t have to dampen your sales outlook.

By using the information below, you can learn how to build consensus within that buying team and make the sale.

1. Focus on the Team’s Shared Goals

Buying groups are made up of stakeholders from several different departments. Naturally, each of them will come to the table with their own set of perspectives,  priorities, and preferences. You need to take these into account when trying to make a sale.

You might be tempted to simply personalize your pitch for each person in the group. Conventional wisdom states that personalization leads to increased sales. But when you’re dealing with a team, using this approach alone could backfire.

Think about it like this:

  1. You customize your message for each individual on the purchasing team.
  2. Each person receives different information that emphasizes how your product or service meets their narrowly defined needs.
  3. These personalized sales pitches highlight the stakeholders’ diverging goals and priorities instead of focusing on common ground.
  4. The purchasing team has difficulty reaching a decision to buy because of their competing goals.

Personalization works to a point, but in this context you also have to find the common ground between all stakeholders. You need to be able to demonstrate not just how each department benefits, but also how your products and services will help the company as a whole. Not only does it help you cast a vision for the whole buying group, it also gives them a set of shared priorities they can all agree on.

2. Equip the Team

This builds on point 1. It’s very important for buying groups to have all the information necessary to make a purchasing decision, and it’s important for them to get consistent information. Make sure that you’ve done your research and can clearly demonstrate to the buying team how your products/services solve a problem for their company.

Presentation matters. The information that you provide to the sales team should be clear, organized, and well-packaged.

Here are three ways to professionally present your material:

A Slide Presentation

One way to provide the purchasing team with the information they need is to give them a good old-fashioned slide deck. The traditional method is, of course, to give this presentation in person – but that may not be realistic. The good news? It’s also not necessary.

You can host your presentation online so that the buying team can review it at their leisure. If you have a high-quality mic and some decent screen-capture software (QuickTime works fine), you can even provide commentary to add value to the presentation.

This option is great, because it can be difficult to get the entire buying team on a call at the same time. With a recorded presentation, they can each watch it when it’s convenient for them.

On the other hand, without any sort of real-time interaction, it can be difficult to address your buyers’ concerns. So if you can get the whole committee together for a meeting, do it. Host a conference call, share your screen, and deliver your presentation like you’re in the room with them. Even if you can’t get them all together, you can record the meeting and send it out for review later.

A Sales Kit  

A sales kit is an effective tool for communicating your message to buying teams, and gives them some tangible materials around your products and services. You can include the following:

  • An informational company brochure
  • A sales letter
  • Product and services overview sheet
  • Articles from the press about your company
  • Client testimonials
  • Information about awards and distinctions your company has received

An Explainer Video

An explainer video is a brief but informative video that presents your value proposition in 60 seconds or less. There are several reasons to consider using an explainer video when working with buying groups:

  • Videos are more effective than written material alone. We live in a society that is overwhelmed with information. These days, people tend to scan articles and brochures… or skip reading them altogether. What this means to you is that the buying team members may not take the time necessary to read all of the information contained in your sales kit. So simply providing your company information in written form is no guarantee that people will read it.
  • Explainer videos are more memorable than a standard slide presentation. Explainer videos are entertaining as well as informative. When potential customers view a video outlining the benefits to their company, they are more likely to remember the presentation.
  • Explainer videos are concise. Using a brief video to present your sales pitch can help clarify your message. Sales kits can be used to delve into details, but videos cut to the chase. They present your core message clearly and concisely.
  • Videos can be accessed and shared easily. Unlike sales kits, videos can be obtained easily. You either need to mail or personally give a sales kit to members of the buying team. With a video, you simply need to attach it to an e-mail, share a link, or include it on your company’s website.

3. Find an Advocate

You won’t be given access to every meeting that the buying team takes part in. To be sure that your voice is heard, find someone on the buying team who is enthusiastic about your products and services.

This person can be your primary contact within the company and they can advocate for your company in your absence.

Make sure that you provide support to your advocate. Be available to them and answer all inquiries quickly and completely. Having an ally on the buying team who will rally behind your business will prove to be a great asset.

Buying Teams Are The Present  – And The Future

You may be longing for the days when you only had to work with one individual buyer at a company. But that’s just not going to happen. Buying groups are everywhere, and they’re here to stay.

Working with a buying groups can be challenging. If you want to be successful, you need to focus on common goals, properly equip the team, and work with an advocate. Do these and the buying team will soon make a purchasing decision in your favor. Free e-book helps you cut the crap and close more deals!

3 Ways to Beat Bad PR with Better Brand Storytelling

Creating and maintaining a positive brand image has always been vital. But it’s even more difficult to do than in years past.

Thanks to social, marketing is a two-way street where companies must constantly be engaged in an ongoing conversation with their customers. And with so many companies committed to doing social and environmental good as part of their core mission, it’s easy for consumers to drop brands who don’t align with their values.

brand storytellingBut if your business has somehow developed a negative brand image, don’t fear – it is possible to turn that bad press upside down.

Repairing that negative image through better brand storytelling will take time and effort, but following the advice below will help move your company back toward brand love.

Step One: Assess Your Current Image

The first thing you need to do is be honest about public perception. If there’s a problem with your brand image, you need to recognize that. You can’t fix something if you’re unwilling to admit that it’s broken.

Note: This may seem obvious, but think about how many brands have wasted precious time denying their guilt? If Wells Fargo and Volkswagen had been quicker to admit wrongdoing and own it, how much faster could they have gained the public’s trust back?

Don’t have a strong grasp on your brand perception? Just ask. Social media allows you easy access to customers. Use that asset and ask the necessary questions, such as:

  • What do customers think about your company?
  • Do they see your brand favorably or unfavorably?
  • What did the company do to earn this reputation?
  • Where is your business failing its customers?
  • How can the company improve its image?

Take time to sort through the responses and make a list of recurring issues. Then develop strategies to improve whatever problems you may encounter.

Be prepared, though – the public will be brutally honest with you (thanks, social media). But this assessment is necessary in order to make changes that will positively affect your brand.

Step Two: Tell A Better Story

Your brand is not just the products and services that you offer to the public. You can’t simply use facts and figures about your features and benefits to appeal to customers. When you’re building (or rebuilding) your brand, you need to communicate using the power of story and start from a place of self-awareness.

Brand storytelling is the narrative you tell about your company and your products, either explicitly or implicitly. It can be about how the company came to be, what motivates your team, the values your company holds, etc. You can base your story on whatever you choose, but what’s most important is that it’s relatable.

Stories are powerful because they connect to consumers on a deeper level than by merely spouting facts. Stories are simple, inspiring, and memorable. Defining your brand using stories will help customers create an emotional connection to your company.

For example, Toms Shoes is known as a business that gives back. When he was traveling in Argentina, the founder of Toms was inspired to help children living in poverty obtain decent shoes.

Toms Shoes has soared in popularity since its founding because consumers know that their purchase is contributing to a good cause. In fact, TOMS is so effective at brand storytelling because consumers can become part of the TOMS story by purchasing the shoes.

As you can see, brand storytelling sells.

Step Three: Make Better Content

Through content marketing, your company can offer interesting tools and information to the public, with blog posts, quizzes, infographics, videos, photos, etc.

When you’re creating content for public consumption, there are a few things you need to keep in mind:

Align the content with your brand image.

Don’t try to be all things to all people. When you create content for consumers, you need to be sure that it is consistent with your brand image.

For example, if you’re presenting your product as sophisticated and high-end, then be sure that that content you share communicates that. Don’t offer silly quizzes or post blogs about second-hand products – that type of content contradicts your brand identity.

Be innovative.

Blog posts on your website are an absolute must, but don’t get stuck thinking that those alone will suffice. Be creative and try something new.

For instance, you can use short Instagram videos to communicate your brand story.

Compared to a simple blog post, an video is much more memorable (and more likely to be shared!). Consumers are also more likely to share your content if you use a creative format.

Know your customers, and focus on them.

It’s important to recognize that your product may not appeal to all consumers. Instead of trying to market to the public at large, make sure that you know who your ideal customer is and focus your message on that demographic.

You also need to remember that whatever content you offer should be valuable to consumers. You’re not just offering this as an act of shameless self-promotion, but actively making them a part of your story.

If people feel like your company is constantly pushing itself, saying “Look at me! Buy my product! Me, me, me!” then they’re going to be turned off.

The focus should first and foremost be on offering something of value or interest to the customer.

Your content should enrich their lives, give them something to talk about, make them smile. Accomplish this, and you’ll build a lasting connection with consumers.

Bit by Bit

It takes time to develop a positive brand image. You may want immediate results but, as the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

That’s also true of public perception. If you take the time to assess your image, develop a solid brand storytelling strategy, and tell that story using content marketing, you will see your company’s image improve considerably over time.