Our video work takes us to all kinds of clients operating in many different sectors and industries. And within those industries there can be a broad range of demographics to work with. Some industries are fast moving, very techy and have a young, upwardly mobile workforce. Others are more traditional and will be looking at new ways to market themselves to the 21st century customer. One isn’t better than the other, both have their pros and cons but the basic principles of marketing will always apply. Sometimes though, this gets forgotten.
We work with clients who have a vision for their video, they know exactly what they want. Their inspiration may have come from a TV show or an advert, maybe something they’ve seen on social media and they know it’s exactly what they want too. But there is often one thing that they have overlooked. Is it what their target audience want? We see clients get wrapped up in their aims and objectives. What the best things about their business are. What their USPs are. And they come up with the perfect formula for a video that tells their audience everything about their business.
It’s usually in a style that is true to the business’s brand values. It will maintain how the company wants to be represented to the outside world and the marketing execs love it. But, is that the point? Have they really created a video to satisfy everyone in the company? Is it just a vanity project so everyone in the business can sit back and admire at how good the company looks on video? The answer is probably no.
The reality is that more often than not, a marketing video will be made with one intention – to attract new customers. So, if that’s the case, what’s more important? A video that everyone in the business loves or a video that appeals to your audience? The obvious answer is both but most important is that your audience likes it.
We’ve worked with an organisation that has a target audience of young people, generally aged 16-24. But the organisation is run by a management team of people aged 40 and above. So the brief we were given was to produce a video aimed at the 16-24 year old audience. We created a video that tapped into the styles of videos in the media aimed at the specified age group. It drew from adverts for Virgin Media and the Royal Navy recruitment campaigns including the pace of the advert, the music and the general narrative. However when the management team saw the first cut, they were significantly underwhelmed. They didn’t like it, it didn’t appeal to them or make them feel inspired. In particular there were a couple of shots that were described as ‘crass’, ‘tacky’ and just in bad taste.
We asked if they’d shown it to a sample of the target audience and they hadn’t because they just didn’t like it. We asked them to show it to a cross section of young people – the actual people they wanted it to appeal to. The response was unanimous, the young people who watched the video loved it. In fact some asked for a copy of it so they could share it on their own social media channels. The ‘crass’ and ‘tacky’ shots weren’t a problem at all and the audience identified with those scenes that were being shown. In a nutshell, the people who commissioned the video hated it but the target audience loved it. So this takes us back to the original question – What is the point of the video?
You could argue that if a group of 40-somethings don’t like a video that’s aimed at teenagers, then that’s a good sign. If it did appeal to the older age group then the chances are the younger audience wouldn’t like it. So, if you’re a 40 year old marketing person, in a way it really doesn’t matter what you think as long as your intended audience likes it. Sounds obvious doesn’t it? Not when there’s egos and office politics that come into play though.
If you ever find yourself in this position, try and be as objective as possible. Is it something that your audience would want to see? Can you see past what you like for the bigger picture? If you hate it but your audience loves it, is it a successful campaign? I would say yes.
Blog writer: Adam Snelleksz is a director of CMA Video and has worked in marketing for over 20 years. He has worked in video production in Birmingham for five years with CMA Video and has been using video for marketing for nearly 10 years. He also set up the video TV channel Blues TV, the official online channel of Birmingham City Football Club. Some of the projects that Adam has used promotional videos for include the Birmingham Half Marathon, the European Gymnastics Championships and the World BMX Championships. Contact Adam here.
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