Video Killed the Radio Star... But Brings Marketing to Life
It was a Friday night (technically, Saturday morning) at one minute past midnight on August 1st, 1981 when MTV (Music Television), a new cable channel, debuted its first music video.
The first video featured the song “Video Killed the Radio Star” by a British New Wave duo called The Buggles. The song was a number-one hit and the video was incredibly popular.
I encourage you to look it up on YouTube (which by the way did not launch until 24 years later in 2005). Unlike today’s slick videos, “Radio Star” appears horribly lip-synced and cheesy. Production quality is best described as blurry. But the lyrics of the song rang true — “We can’t rewind, we’ve gone too far…Pictures came and broke your heart…Put the blame on the VCR.” I know I was hooked.
Soon after MTV’s launch, rock stars were doing promotional TV spots and telling America to “turn it on and leave it on!” Even Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones urged us to call our local cable companies and tell them “I want my MTV!”
Sony began marketing home video cameras and VCRs in 1982, creating a whole new category of consumer electronics. People started video-taping crimes, and prosectors used it as evidence.
Today, even movies are shot on video. Not just cheap independent films, but blockbusters like Iron Man 3, Gatsby and Flight.
I was hooked on video from day one. And it has always been a key tool in our marketing firm.
I started scripting, directing, and editing TV COMMERCIALS 30 years ago. It was a time-consuming process back then to even add graphics like someone’s name. Now we do 20 times more on our Macs than we could in those days, even in a high-end studio.
We began producing CORPORATE VIDEOS because it’s a lot easier to get across complex features with a video than a brochure. Video works much better during a sales pitch, and when a prospect views it alone, too. We use video as reports to the board of directors and to interest investors.
Video can make an emotional connection that not many individual speakers can. Add music and the right images and you can get your point across in very effective COMMUNITY RELATIONS VIDEOS.
TESTIMONIAL VIDEOS allow you to cut through the clutter and show real people supporting your product or services.
But WEBSITE VIDEOS have had the biggest impact for our clients. Video increases search rankings of websites. But more importantly, video increases conversions of your products and services when used on your website. When done correctly, video engages prospects and keeps them on your website longer.
According to eMarketer, 85 percent of web viewers are more likely to purchase after watching a product video. Online video is 5.3 times more effective than text only.
I love video marketing in EMAIL CAMPAIGNS. When we send client videos out via email, click-through rates are dramatically higher, and understanding, engagement and sales all increase.
We are producing product demonstrations, messages from the CEO and direct sales pitches on video more often because the results are so much better than print and other media alone.
And if you want to really break through the clutter, consider an ANIMATED VIDEO. Whether we’re showing how fracking works underground or how a custom door is made, animation provides images for situations that can’t be seen or easily explained.
I strongly recommend using video on your website, in email campaigns and in presentations. Video may have killed the radio star, but it pumps a lot of life into marketing. ##
How to Write Like Lincoln
This column contains about 600 words. I would prefer it was only about 350 words. That’s because I can cover most of the relevant points I have to make on just about any subject in about 350 words. After that, my concentration and my writing gets kind of weak.
Don’t get me wrong, I can write plenty of words. Take it from someone who received dozens of 500-word essay punishment assignments for clowning around in fifth through eighth grade.
I can stretch out a sentence with the best of them. And by “best of them,” I mean exactly what you think I meant. But I wanted to demonstrate one method I use to use to stretch out my written assignments. All in an effort cover the minimum number of required words.
All I had to do to add words was to explain something that was obvious. Something you already knew. Or add in something that was totally unnecessary, or something that adds no real substance, information or value to the column, advertisement or discussion.
Unfortunately, many people use too many words in their writing on a regular basis. Please note that a lot of my clients are in professions such us engineering and healthcare that demand detail and clarity. They don’t want to omit anything of value, so they end up putting the kitchen sink in just to be sure.
But years of writing copy for print ads has taught me to write tight. And I have received lots of advice on writing. But the advice that makes the most sense to me is: “Write the amount of words that work.”
Use the number of words you need to get across your point or achieve your purpose — to convince, move to action, change an opinion, inform or engage — but no more. Unless you’re writing an encyclopedia chapter or an instruction manual, you should be able to keep your writing concise.
George Lois, one of the most famous real-life advertising guys from the Mad Men era, says it this way: “Think Long. Write Short.”
A bigger or more important assignment or project does not necessarily require more words. The most famous example of course, was the Gettysburg Address of 1863, which was written and rewritten and agonized over by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln. It was delivered on a battlefield in front of 15,000 people.
Lincoln gave the speech at a time when the nation had endured a combined 600,000 casualties in the Civil War. Lincoln was the keynote speaker and the highest-ranking official present that day. Secretary of State Edward Everett spoke for over two hours before Lincoln got up to speak. But Lincoln’s speech was only 272 words (just ten sentences) and delivered in under three minutes.
Lincoln hated to waste words or waste the time of others who read them. He once shot off a long letter with a note attached that read: “I’m sorry — I could have written a shorter letter, but I didn’t have the time.”
So even if I’m writing about a product or service that didn’t exist in 1863, I try to do what Lincoln did — write to get across a point or achieve a goal. I try to make it memorable.
The next time you’re temped to add in another sentence or lengthen the copy in a report, ad or sales sheet — ask yourself: “Is this more important that the Gettysburg Address?” If it’s not, keep it short. If it is, keep it short anyway. Oh, and send me a copy.
Healthcare Learns Customer Service Is Good Marketing
The first time I was behind bars I was terrified. I didn’t believe I belonged there. I wanted out. “Wait, wait! Come back!” I yelled as I watched my loved ones walk away.
Pretty tough situation for a five-year-old.
No, I wasn’t some pint-sized Mafia kingpin. I had rheumatic fever and was in the children’s ward of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. And the grey steel bars that held me back were the guard rails on the on my hospital bed.
Those were the days when hospitals had visiting hours. Visiting was permitted only at the convenience of the hospitals — not the patients or their families.
Then, changes in health insurance reimbursement completely revamped the business model of the healthcare industry. All of a sudden, hospitals and other healthcare providers had to treat patients like customers.
Many hospitals have adapted well and learned how to provide good customer service. They understand that good customer service is good marketing.
I’ve seen it first-hand. My father has been back and forth between two local hospitals over the last two months. My daughter-in-law gave birth in a third institution in March, and my 22-month old grandson had a minor procedure in yet another.
A big change from past practice is visiting hours. Now you visit a relative when you want, for as long as you want — unless the patient is in the middle of a procedure. Most adult patient rooms are private. At the location my dad is being cared for, you can doze on a comfortable couch while you wait for him to awaken.
Instead of pressing a button for the nurse, a remote control gives you almost instant voice connection with the staff via intercom. Big-screen TVs are on the walls of most patient rooms. You choose and order your food (unless you’re on a restricted diet). Visitors can order a meal at the same time and dine with the patient.
Here’s a feature I like a lot: there’s a white board on the wall across from the patient’s bed. Every day, someone writes the date as well as the name of your nurse and the nursing assistant. Other key instructions are on the wall as well.
Another great idea: instead of all the staff wearing white, they wear color-coded outfits. Nurses are one color, assistants another, maintenance yet another. Meals are delivered by staff dressed as waiters and waitresses.
And get this — the old veil of “medical secrecy” has finally been lifted, and the idea of information being released only on a “need-to-know” basis has been canned.
Now, when a nurse or assistant comes into the patient’s room, they tell you what they’re doing. They read off the medications you are receiving, and they will answer questions.
Here’s the kicker: if you’re responsible for the decisions for the patient (an elderly parent, spouse or child) and are not present when a doctor makes his or her rounds, you can often leave your phone number and get a call from the doctor or his or her assistant for an update on the patient’s treatment. Imagine that — the doctor calling you.
Of course, none of this great customer service matters if you’re not getting excellent medical care. Needless to say, if you had to put up with discomfort to save your life or that of a loved one, you would certainly do it.
But let’s face it — we EXPECT great medical care from ALL of our large healthcare organizations today. So given the opportunity, we will choose the healthcare organization that provides the best experience beyond that expectation.