Complacency Breeds Mediocrity: Break The Mold With Video Marketing
Updated: Dec 26, 2019
We all fall victim by going straight to our “greatest hits” when it comes to marketing ideas & tactics. Once we’ve discovered a recipe for success, seldom do we go out on a limb to try something new. In business, there is a certain comfort level that takes hold, and rightfully so when your marketing budget is traditionally at the whim of the national or even global market trends. Marketing in some ways is the first thing to receive cut backs when revenue recedes. While I don’t necessarily agree with these tactics, believing we should be putting precedence on this department as equally as we do with Sales, it’s simply a reality of the corporate business model.
They call it “calculated risk”, and while there is some truth to this approach, the problem is over time complacency breeds mediocrity.
It’s easy to understand why we as company executives want to make sure our money is well spent on conservative, safe investments. They call it “calculated risk”, and while there is some truth to this approach, the problem is over time complacency breeds mediocrity. In this article, I’d like to discuss how we as marketers & content creators can get out of this creative “rut”, stop looking to the left and right of our competition, and take risk without spending exorbitant amounts of money by trying new things.
Fast-forward a few weeks later, we discover that initial kick-off idea has had the figurative legs kicked out from underneath it. You’re beside yourself, as the project has now been deflated to merely a twist on an old approach.
I’ve seen this all too often, and I’m sure a lot of you can relate. We all have been in those boardroom meetings where we are spit-balling ideas, combining innovative approaches, and suddenly there’s magic in the air with a general consensus. We walk out of the room with excitement, a sense of purpose, and feel like we are all on the same page. Fast-forward a few weeks later, we discover that initial kick-off idea has had the figurative legs kicked out from underneath it. You’re beside yourself, as the project has now been deflated to merely a twist on an old approach. What happened? Well a number of things, but mainly “corporate” happened. A cynical mind would say that magical idea likely fell victim to the bureaucracy of an individual’s own motives, or agendas. Who knows though, sometimes it’s logistical hurdles, budget constraints, ideas might have been too lofty, or maybe we were just off message.
not only does this disservice our own operations with marginal performance bumps at best, but more importantly this disservices our target audience with mediocre content.
The real kick to the shins is I’ve personally made strong suggestions in the past towards innovative technological advancements (drone usage), only to be shot down by corporate figureheads. Flash-forward five years later, that one company in particular is now doing the very things I was pushing for, originally having said it was “out of brand perspective”. Was I right to push these ideas? Of course, but like many of you, I can see the curve in the road a few miles away. Unfortunately, a majority of companies are hard to adopt change, moving at a snails pace, and only seeing maybe a few feet ahead. Do not fret. As creative’s we must endeavor to push past the nay-sayers, and find new ways to be inclusive in our collective goals. The bigger, more immediate problem is while our scaled back choices may be “safe”, we are now stuck peddling the same creative content that we’ve pushed in the past. So not only does this disservice our own operations with marginal performance bumps at best, but more importantly this disservices our target audience with mediocre content.
This should also be “calculated” into our risk assessment, as the inverse of being complacent can be as equally damaging as opposed to going out on a limb.
Whether you admit to it or not, people like fresh, new ideas. The moment we become comfortable with our results, is the moment we risk hitting a glass ceiling, or worse, and take a performance drop. This should also be “calculated” into our risk assessment, as the inverse of being complacent can be as equally damaging as opposed to going out on a limb. So how do we overcome this? Well for one, we have to mentally be decisive to mean what we say, and say what we mean. If we are in a meeting, whether that be a three person, or twenty person meeting, we need to speak our truth. That means we need to be up front about our ideas, and be sure to voice our reservations. We are not doing any of our team members, or consultant’s justice when we talk big, and swing low. If we habitually undercut our creative endeavors, it can result in an ineffective work environment, stifling your team’s creativity, and in some cases may even cause resentment amongst your department members. The question may arise; “why bother when it’s just going to end in the same result each time”…. and THAT ladies and gentlemen, is not good for any work place culture!
Two words; Social Media! This is unequivocally, your cheap sandbox for your company to play in.
Sometimes as leaders, we need to step back, and read the room’s excitement, or passion revolving around a singular idea, and be okay with taking the back seat on a project, or two. As long as the idea isn’t absolutely bonkers, and out of brand, it’s okay to try something new, and it will keep your team’s morale high. Trust me, there’s nothing more reassuring to your team than letting them collectively take the driver’s seat on a project. Who knows, they might even surprise you by actually whipping up a new formula that leads to a huge success. This may allow you to integrate these concepts into your primary campaign the following year.
So how do we let go of our anxiety around trying new things without taking too much risk? Two words; Social Media! This is unequivocally, your cheap sandbox for your company to play in. While actual services like video production might run high in your given region, social media enables you as the company to distribute that message without effectively breaking the bank. Many companies focus their ad buys on the broadcasting and print, but social platforms like Facebook, and Youtube can be fantastic proving grounds to see how a fresh idea performs. Where you might spend $5k - $10k on a campaign ad buy, you can literally throw a couple hundred bucks at a Facebook video placement, and see what sort of engagement takes place both organically, and paid. With those sort of savings, you should have a lot more flexibility in your marketing budget to take more of a risk.
To have a better understanding of what I’m talking about, it’s important to show you an example. Let me start off this section by saying we have absolutely amazing clients. They are now more partners than clients, as they’ve chosen to repeat business with Capion year after year. Our relations with each partner are unique in their own right. A commonality between each partner however is that they are all pretty fiscally, and creatively conservative. One client in particular has been hard pressed to try new things, usually resulting in the same direct-response script year to year. Personally, I have a huge emotional stake in this partner, as they are my graduating high school! Needless to say I have an incredible amount of pride surrounding this school, and I understand the culture pretty well.
Year after year, our commercials have evolved, but only ever so slightly. Seeing where we started before working with Capion, to what they have become now has been a long journey. It goes without saying, they are only going to become more progressive with passing time. As a third party, I can see this clear as day by standing back, and observing the changes from when I attended, to the achievements they’ve made in the past ten years. They trust me, my company, our vision, and I equally trust them. So you can imagine it’s a little exhausting to see that bend in the road up ahead, without them bracing to turn that wheel. So how do we get a client or our team to overcome these barriers? Another two word answer: Start small!
Our original commercial from 2014
In the spring of 2019 we proposed creating a single 9:16 vertical advert with a 15-second runtime, some very progressive music, text based call-to-actions, and some dynamic based video content. It was a modest budget, but man did it make a big splash. Their little video yielded a whopping 15,000 views on social, ranking them their highest viewed video to date. With views, and engagement at an all time high for this particular partner, we were able to safely deduct we could apply the same formula to a longer form version for their fall television campaign. Well, lo and behold, their Fall TV commercials were a huge success, having driven in an all time high for their open house attendance. In the end, the client loved this fresh, and progressive approach, and even caught the eye of the Diocese of Fall River who is as equally conservative with their on message branding.
Our most recent 2019 commercial, a progressive evolution
Taking baby steps is sometimes half the battle, and using social media avenues to test the waters allows you to minimize your risk.
This is merely one example of how changing things up can result in a real world difference. Taking baby steps is sometimes half the battle, and using social media avenues to test the waters allows you to minimize your risk. I recently listened to a pod-cast by a marketing director that revealed she allotted “X” amount of dollars a year that was placed in her direct control for experimentation. These budget dollars could not be floated, or pulled from other departments, and they were entirely her own. She’d use this small-allotted budget each year to try something new, engaging, or even out-right silly. When I heard this, my faith in corporate marketing was immediately renewed. This brings me to my last point.
We cannot be consumed by past success and what worked for another company, does not by default mean it will work for us.
Inviting dedicated funds for experimentation on an annual basis is a healthy exercise in welcoming systemic change to your marketing approach. We as company owners, or corporate figureheads are guilty of relying on what’s “known”, but it’s a widely accepted idea that there is no science to the art of good marketing. We take what little we do know, draw inferences, cross our fingers, and then measure that success (or lack thereof). We cannot be consumed by past success and what worked for another company, does not by default mean it will work for us. In conclusion, we need to stop looking to the right, left, and behind us to discover our path to the future. There is only one direction in the spirit of video marketing, and that direction is forward!
· Be open minded to try new things
· Stop looking to your competitors’ marketing efforts for answers.
· Speak your truth. Stop talking big, and swinging low.
· Trust in your team members, or outside consultants. Let them have the driver seat every once in awhile. They may surprise you!
· Harness the power of Social Media to test the waters for new, creative approaches. This is your cheap “sand box” to play in!
· Start small, and let your successful experiments evolve into your bigger campaigns.
· Negotiate, and allocate a fixed number of marketing dollars annually to try something new that cannot be retracted, or floated from your budget to another department.
Have a project where you need to build a multi-tiered video advert campaign? Consider Capion Studio for your next project and let our new age approaches help you leverage and capitalize on your target audience. Feel free to contact us today to discuss your next project!