‘Making a video’ is not a marketing plan

Video is a powerful way to deliver a message. We don’t usually have to convince our clients of that. From website planning to brand discovery sessions, we always seem to hear, “We had a video done ...” followed very quickly by, “... but we didn’t do much with it.” 

Too often we see our clients get caught up in the excitement of “making a video,” often spending substantial money or time on a production, without considering how the video fits within their marketing communications plan. 

Here are a few steps to consider before you call “action!” on your next video project. 

Define Your Audience

This may sound like Marketing 101, but knowing who your audience is can’t be overlooked. Start with assessing the needs of your audience; what should they gain from viewing your video? Understanding who will be watching your video and under what circumstances will help you determine the proper format and content for your production. 

Are you producing a technical video that explains in-depth concepts? That’s going to require a far different approach than producing an employee recruitment commercial. Apply some empathy and think about what your audience needs to hear, rather than what you want to tell them. 

Client Spotlight

This company overview video for Native360 features testimonials from real customers.

Instead of just telling the viewer what services Native360 offers, this shows them how the company could help them personally.


Set Your Goals

Again, this is part of any solid marketing tactic, but too often the goal of a video isn’t expressly defined. This step is particularly ignored with social videos. Social media is a powerful tool, and phones make the production process more accessible than ever. But before you grab your selfie stick and “go live,” think about what action your audience should take after viewing your video. 

Are you asking them to take a specific action? If the goal of your video is to increase engagement, make sure you ask the user to like, comment, or share. If your campaign is centered on generating website traffic, include a link and tell them to visit as the “next step.” 

Goal setting is also key to measuring effectiveness. If you can track how many viewers took the intended action, you can determine how effective the video was in terms of meeting your marketing objectives and delivering a strong ROI! 

Client Spotlight

This teaser video for Stuhr Museum shows highlights of the full video that they placed on their website.

The video is short enough to put on social media and has a clear call to action to direct the viewer to the full video.


Choose Your Channels

This is where many of our “we’ve got a video” friends fall short — there were no distribution plans for their video. Most videos find their way to a website or social media post, but that’s certainly not maximizing exposure. “If you post it, they will watch,” isn’t a phrase that applies to digital video. You must consider various methods of distribution, including paid placements and other tactics to drive video views. 

Take a look back at your audience; who are they and where are they watching video? Are geographically targeted pre-roll ads on YouTube an option? How about demographically targeted social videos? Email marketing, OTT (streaming video ads), or even good old-fashioned television placements are all options for getting your video seen by the right audience. 

Client Spotlight

This Equitable Bank spot was created specifically for social media distribution. Its square format is ideal for social viewing because it takes up a large portion of a mobile screen.

The video doesn't have a long introduction because on social media, you don't have much time to capture someone's attention. It gets straight to the point and starts showing you the benefits of the EquiDirect Teller!


Video is a powerful tool for marketers. A well-crafted video can increase awareness, build trust and leave a positive impression on your audience. All of that is made possible by a well-planned video; one that accounts for the needs of an audience, has a specific goal, and is delivered across the most relevant channels.

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About the Author.
Working in Web Design + Direction, Anthony is focused on creating websites that build brands, meeting goals and delight users.