Friday, November 27, 2015

7 Things B2B Marketers Can Learn from Black Friday [SlideShare]

Black Friday. Two words you probably don’t want to hear again. With all the hype, deals, discounts, waiting in lines, coupons, flyers, waiting in lines, emails, social ads, waiting in lines again, and the hard push you received in those lines … you’ve seen it all. And Black Friday’s just beginning.

As B2B marketers, we often tend to just steer clear of this B2C-centric holiday. I mean, understandably so: B2C companies have got that covered! Instead, you might make a warm pot of soup, wrap yourself in a fuzzy blanket, and settle in for a long winter’s nap, waiting for it to all blow over.

But hold up a sec, you full, sleepy marketer. There are a lot of things B2B marketers can learn from this crazy time of year. So give this SlideShare a peek before you doze off.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

No Rest for Marketers, Even on Turkey Day…or, Umm, Thanksgiving

Mmm, it’s that tastiest time of year for those who call the United States home. It’s not just about turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie, but moreso about giving thanks for what you have, cherishing family (even your stupid sibling who always shows up late and kicks you under the table), appreciating all the big and small blessings in your life, and trying to sneak a bit of turkey under the table for the dog.

Are you even listening anymore? Or are visions of candied yams dancing in your head? Okay, I’ll just get right to the point. The holidays, as any wise marketer knows, are perfect opportunities to, well, do some awesome marketing. And when you’re trying to tell a story, share a message, and connect with your audience like they’re family, what works better than video? Nothing, of course!

If you’re looking for some interesting, fun, or touching videos to put you in the Thanksgiving mood, or to inspire your own Thanksgiving strategy for this year or next year, here are a few videos worth viewing.

Mmm, turkey…

Why not just start off with the big bird right from the get-go. The New York Times actively produces amazing content on a variety of topics, even including cooking. For Thanksgiving, they didn’t waste an opportunity to make a well-done how-to video, that’s easy to follow even for the most novice of bird-cooking novices (even I could do this…I think!).

While the New York Times does include recipes in their social media shares, it’s probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the New York Times. But that’s okay; the holidays is a perfect time of year to share some top-of-funnel brand awareness content that doesn’t have to specifically have a hard line back to your product line. It’s okay to have some fun, and share some relevant-to-the-holidays and fun content!

One of the greatest things about this video? It includes demand and lead generation links at the end, driving viewers to subscribe, or check out related content. I tip my pilgrim hat to you, New York Times!

(Oh and by the way, if your brand is maybe a little bit quirkier, or you already have some fun video personalities you want to include in your Thanksgiving video, check out this one. It’s worth a watch!)

Don’t want to do another factual how-to?

Try a silly (or emotional) story. Captain Morgan goes with this approach. While the company is a B2C brand, B2B marketers can take this approach as well. All you need is a little creativity! Feeling a little dry in that area? Maybe a sip of the ol’ Captain first will help…

Can your product relate to the experience of the holidays?

Travel happens every day of the year, but the busiest times of year are, of course, the holidays. And when you think of busy travel times, you think of pain points. That’s where Travelocity made a big splash for last year’s Thanksgiving/holiday season – when pain points are mentioned, and then the solution is handed to viewers in an entertaining why, how can they argue?

Is your product or service not only useful at the holidays, but even more valuable?

While this video is a couple years old, I thought it was worth sharing. British Airways showed everyone how their service is ultra-valuable at this time of year, because they fly to more places. This isn’t just a regular video on a loop with standard copy, either. The information shown on the billboard changes for each plane that flies by!

While the video is more meta than a traditional storyboarded video, it still works – as we know, video is the best thing next to being there in person, so you feel like you’re experiencing the awesomeness of this billboard as though you were standing in front of it yourself. (And, if you have a video marketing platform with built-in analytics, you can see how your campaign performed using insights that you may not be able to get from a billboard!)

Try running a contest

Holiday campaigns are perfect for running contests (especially American Thanksgiving, which is precluded by Black Friday!) Contest campaigns are fun, top-of-funnel, and great for brand awareness. While Old Navy is a retailer, any marketer could think up their own contest. And if that isn’t reason enough to check out this video for inspiration, here’s the only inspiration you need: Julia Louis-Dreyfus.  

And now for the feel-good stories

Your product or service not really relevant to the holidays? Try digging a little deeper, or look for that angle that can help you tell a feel-good story. Humour is fun, of course, but heart-warming emotions are what Thanksgiving is made for!

At first glance, Shaw Communications may not have much to do with Thanksgiving. But they took the approach of bringing people together, and wow, I just couldn’t stop smiling at this one!

Similarly, the Real Canadian Superstore told a Thanksgiving story from the perspective of their employees. This is a perfect angle for any company; we’re all human with wishes, thinks we’re thankful for, and people we want to reunite with for the holidays. Even if you don’t sell food, this video may provide you with some great inspiration.  

You know what else is related to the holidays? Tradition.

Whether you want a serious story or a fun one, starting a Thanksgiving tradition is a perfect way to relate to your audience and help them embrace you during this holiday and, even better, during every year’s holiday. Of course, your story probably won’t have the nationally unifying power of the NFL, but we can dream!

Do you have any Thanksgiving marketing tips, stories, or traditions that you’d like to share? Well…share them! Add your holiday insights to the comments below.

And of course, to all our American friends (or anyone else) celebrating Thanksgiving…have a safe and happy Thanksgiving! Here’s hoping it’s not as traumatizing as this:


…And if you’re looking for seconds, just refresh the page.

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Monday, November 23, 2015

10 Video Production Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making (And How to Fix Them)

As video marketers, we’re expected to output flawless videos that incite emotion or action in the viewer. Throughout the production process, however, mistakes can be made due to tight deadlines or stakeholder demands. From the many videos I’ve seen, I’ve noticed a trend in that the same mistakes are made over and over again that compromise the integrity of the video. Some mistakes are small, but others can have a larger negative impact on the overall video quality and viewer perception.

Here are the 10 most common video production mistakes and how to fix them.

1. Your Script is too Technical

Producing a video starts with producing a phenomenal script. For videos that explain a technical product or procedure, this scripting process can be difficult. The trick is finding the balance of words; you don’t want to confuse the viewer, but you don’t want to be condescending towards them either. A lot of times I see scripting that dives too deep. The viewer can become overwhelmed by your video, which leads them to click away from it.

How to Fix This:

Simplicity is key. You want to make sure that anyone who reads your script understands the concepts and tone and no one feels talked down to at any time.

2. You Have Too Many Topics in One Video

Many times, video producers want to stuff everything into one video. Not only does this confuse and overwhelm the audience, but it also ruins the overall flow. Though your product has three functionalities, that doesn’t mean you have time to explain them all in one video.

How to Fix This:

Sometimes it’s better to create a series of digestible videos rather than one big video that tries to encompass all concepts. Each subject matter can be tailored for a particular audience, which will help with the overall marketing strategy.

3. Your Audio is Low Quality

Combining music and audio is where many mistakes happen. Your music sets the emotion or mood of your video and the voice explains the content. Each has a role to play in the video, so you don’t want the music to overpower the audio or vice versa.

How to Fix This:

Keep your music levels lower than you think they should be and increase volume during gaps in the voiceover.

4. Your Audio is Out-of-Sync

Even a few seconds of out-of-sync audio is enough to get viewers annoyed with your video. If your voiceover is 2 seconds behind the graphics, it makes for a sloppy video.

How to Fix This:

Depending on the error and length, you’ll probably need to bump the frames to get the audio back in sync with graphics.

5. Your Graphics are Too Snazzy and Flashy

Having a CGI/Avatar style video may look cool, but it typically doesn’t tell the story in an effective way. Sometimes producers can be talked into adding in some flashy graphics, but this can overwhelm and even put off the viewer.

How to Fix This:

Simple design and animation gets the job done. Keep it entertaining and use graphics to help explain your message.

6. Your Cuts or Transitions are Poorly Executed

This is something that irks viewers and producers alike. An example of this is when one scene ends abruptly and the next scene pops out at the viewer. It can look as if the video has skipped or had a glitch.

How to Fix This:

Fixing this can mean extending the outbound clip and/or shortening the transition, depending on what type of transition you have in place.

7. Your Video Subject is Complicated

Most likely you’ll have the design team create a talking head, which can be a person, animal, or their own creation. What you don’t want to get approved is a very complicated or strange looking talking head that is off putting to viewers. You want them to relate to this person or shape, not click away from it.

How to Fix This:

Always think of your target market and put yourself in their shoes. What will they respond to? What will incite them to act? That is the talking head you want in the video.

8. Your Video is Poorly Paced

If there is a long, slow shot in the video, then the music should slow down to reflect this. If there are quick, snappy transitions, then you want the pace to quicken in the video, speeding the music up slowly. When this is mismatched, it’s a production nightmare, and it can compromise the integrity of the overall video.

How to Fix This:

You want to figure out the pace of the video and select the appropriate music that matches this before production is too far underway.

9. Your Video is Dragging

Most clients have a lot to say and want a lot included in their video, which means your 60-90 second video can change into a 4 minute video. Most videographers agree that your audience will not watch that long of a video, but it’s easy to let the video length get too long.

How to Fix This:

This can be fixed by breaking up the videos into a 2-3 part series or by cutting the fluffy parts that are sharing the core and root of your message.

10. Your Editing Seems Rushed

Tight timelines can cause video producers to rush the editing process, but a rushed process shows in the final product. When a video is edited quickly, mistakes happen and small issues get forgotten. Editing is a huge part of videography and must be done right.

How to Fix This:

Before production it’s important that all stakeholders understand what happens during the editing process and why editing needs a major amount of project time. Ensure that everyone understands before you start your project that it’s more important to have the video done right.

Now you can see how common some of these mistakes are. But with these simple tips you should be able to avoid them moving forward and get closer that flawless video we’re all seeking!

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Benchmarks for Video Marketing worth Celebrating

When your sister learned how to tie her shoe before you, you didn’t skulk away, you looked over her shoulder and learned from her. When your goldfish learned how to do backflips in the water you watched him for hours and hours and then tried it for yourself in the backyard pool. And when your friend learned how to land a date you took note … notes, even.


Because you know that the best way to achieve success yourself is to learn from those already having success, themselves.

And that, victory-hungry marketers, is exactly why we surveyed hundreds of marketers leading the industry in video marketing: to learn what obstacles they’ve overcome, what types of videos they get the best results from, how their budgets are changing, and more deep, dark secrets of the well-accomplished.

So what are you waiting for? Your invitation to video marketing victory awaits!

Grab your Invite While It’s Hot

Play Video

Spread the News

Share some of the key findings from the report with these simple click-to-tweets!

  • 44% of successful video marketers agree that the lack of a strong video strategy is the biggest obstacle to success (Click to tweet!)
  • 46% of accomplished video marketers are using video to inflate customer education (Click to tweet!)
  • More than half of successful marketers believe that customer testimonials are the most effective type of videos (Click to tweet!)
  • Over 55% of winning video marketers are dialling into marketing tech for video reporting and analytics (Click to tweet!)

Join the Celebration

Dive deeper into the research from top video marketers and learn what celebratory video marketing takes. Get the Video Marketing Strategy: Benchmarks for Success by Ascend 2 and Vidyard!

Benchmarks Video Marketing Success

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Live Streaming: How to Extend the Moment Beyond Now

There’s a saying that goes, “You have be be believed to be heard”. And when it comes to being believed, experts agree that three factors have the biggest emotional impact on how your audience feels about you. Physiology. Tonality. Verbiage.

If you had to guess, which one of these three things would you guess has the biggest impact? Physiology refers to your physical presence, eye contact or facial expressions. Verbiage is what you say, the actual words you use. Tonality is how you say it: your intonation, inflection, timbre.

It’s been shown that physiology represents just over half of the impression you make with your audience while tonality and verbiage trail well behind at 28% and 7% respectively.  

What this demonstrates is the importance of face-to-face communication in business. Without it, you’re missing over half your potential to cast an impression on your audience.

But as business becomes more global and travel costs continue to rise, it becomes challenging to put boots on the ground at every trade show, bring employees together for in-person training and conduct in-person company wide town hall meetings.

Introducing Vidyard Live

In speaking with a number of B2B marketing, sales and communications professionals we’ve found that live streaming has become a popular solution for sharing experiences with audiences like customers and employees, live as they happen.

Live streaming for business makes sense as consumer adoption of live streaming has seen unprecedented growth with new technologies like Periscope and Meerkat. In just 4 months, Periscope added 10 million new accounts. If you add up the total time people spend watching live content on iOS and Android through Periscope, 40 years of video is being consumed each and every day! But consumer live streaming solutions just aren’t suited to B2B businesses.

Businesses are embracing live streaming to engage with audiences when they can’t be there in person, but until now there hasn’t been a way to know who viewed a stream or for how long. With Vidyard Live, organizations can now see down to the individual viewer who watched, when they watched, and for how long. With this information, organizations can use live streaming as an integral part of their demand generation and internal communications initiatives.

Measure Engagement

Curious to understand which content during the live stream best engaged viewers?  Vidyard Live tracks viewership second by second, showing attendance over the course of the event. By looking at when viewers joined and left it’s possible to understand which content resonated better. In the live stream visualized below, the period between 6 and 12 minutes saw the most users join, with a large portion of the audience staying engaged right until the very end.

Live Streaming Attention Span

Track Viewers

Built on top of the Vidyard analytics platform, Vidyard Live tracks viewers down to the individual level. This means that it’s possible to track the viewing history of each viewer that participated in the live stream.

Individual Viewer Attention Span

Vidyard Live also adds a viewer’s live stream engagement to their complete viewing history so an organization can see what other video content that individual has consumed.
Live Streaming Contact Record

These two things combined make for a powerful combination when thinking about live streaming as a tool for demand generation and internal communications programs.

By pushing this digital body language to a MAP or CRM, it becomes possible to target campaigns and nurture campaigns to audiences that consumed a specific amount of the live stream.

And for internal communications teams, they can now see which employees not only attended an internal training session or town hall but also which ones remained engaged right until the end (those tuning out early, beware!).

Converting Viewers

Vidyard Live can be used together with other features like pre- and post-video events including calls-to-action and forms. By including a form prior to the broadcast, or once it concludes, a live stream can be used to generate new leads (with all the video viewing engagement goodness attached). Lots of flexibility exists in developing these forms, too. Drop in a form from Marketo, Eloqua or your favourite marketing automation platform, or create one with Vidyard’s event builder.
Live Streaming Video Form

Built for modern B2B marketing, sales and internal communications

Beyond the tools for tracking, converting and measuring live stream viewers, Vidyard Live has been built for modern B2B marketing, sales and communications teams. In doing so we have solved a number of the challenges customers have with existing live streaming products.

In building Vidyard Live, we aimed to make it easy to set up and host live streams in just a few steps – without a cumbersome check-list of technical steps requiring a lot of IT’s time. Vidyard Live streams can also be started without any advance scheduling. No need to book your live stream weeks in advance with your live streaming provider.

Another challenge we heard from customers was the complexity of turning a live stream recording into an on-demand asset that could live online. Solutions that relied on someone encoding and posting this video to the web leave audiences who missed the live stream waiting hours or maybe days before being able to view. Vidyard Live solves this problem too. Live broadcasts are automatically saved as on-demand videos that are immediately re-watchable as soon as the live stream ends.

This is all in addition to the detailed analytics on who watched the live stream and how long each watch.

We’re thrilled to extend the potential of live streaming beyond traditional one-way broadcasting to allow deeper engagement with customers, prospects and employees.

Learn more about Vidyard Live at and tell us how you would use live streaming below.

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Monday, November 16, 2015

Video Marketing Success Starts with Distribution, says Forrester

Many marketers are underestimating the importance of distribution and treating it as an afterthought, according to a recent Forrester report.

As Samantha Merlivat, Forrester Researcher and author of Branded Video Marketing Success Starts with Customer-Centric Distribution explains, “Producing content before having a clear distribution strategy makes campaign distribution highly inefficient.” If you wouldn’t plan a content piece like an ebook or powerpoint deck without thinking of where it’s going to live and how you’ll promote it, than why would you do so with a video? Video isn’t actually a one-size-fits-all medium even though we so often treat it that way. Different people are on different platforms for different reasons and Forrester argues that your content must align with this.

What’s more, relying on organic traffic just doesn’t cut it any more. Posting a video on YouTube (even if it’s a pretty freakin’ awesome video) is unlikely to generate you millions of views or qualified leads. In fact, for distribution outside of your firm’s owned mediums, Merlivat says that relying on organic traffic is not a smart strategy. Most marketers will need to pay to get preliminary traffic. But that preliminary traffic will spark more organic engagement and growth, in turn so it’s not like you have to pay for 100% of your video exposure.

James Buchanan, Strategy Director at Razorfish, the agency working on some of Unilever’s YouTube campaigns says that their traffic is split 50/50 between organic and paid. But it’s important to note that the threshold for results with paid campaigns has increased in recent years as more an more marketers are utilizing this tactic. “It now costs me 10 times what it cost me four years ago to achieve the same kind of organic lift,” emphasizes Billie Goldman, Director of Partner Marketing at Intel. In the report, Merlivat offers some really unique options for targeting your video campaign that will help you reach your target audience through paid promotion and therefore make the most efficient use of your budget.

In addition, Merlivat provides a framework for what questions you should be answering surrounding distribution for every phase of the video process in this report including planning, production, promotion, and measurement and optimization. She also includes some phenomenal real-world examples of brands who distributing the right way.

Whether you’re a B2B or B2C marketer, you’ll definitely benefit from some (or all!) of these extremely tactical takeaways. Check out the report here!

Forrester Video Distribution

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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Video and Sales Go Together Like Cake and My Mouth

“You can’t have your cake and eat it, too.”

You know, I never understood that phrase. Why would anyone waste money (or effort) on buying or making a cake if they aren’t allowed to eat it? (Mmmmm…cake…)

Same goes for video. Why put in all that effort, resources, and time if you’re just going to leave it there and let it go mouldy? Enjoy the yummy awesomeness of the cake, and make sure you’re putting it to work for you to get you a whole lot of customers.

Okay, my metaphor is starting to break down a bit here, so let me get to the point. Ready? Here’s the point. The point is:

Video isn’t just for marketing.

Whaat?! It’s true. Whether you’re new or consider yourself an expert in the video marketing scene, have you given thought to how video can help your sales teams? Video is perfect for top-of-funnel and mid-funnel content, but sales people can (and should!) be using it to get more customers, faster.

If you’re using video strategically to attract and engage leads, you may have the analytics that tell you which leads are most interested in which of your products. When you have information like that, sales teams can use it to engage with leads and develop lasting relationships with customers.

Engage with leads using video

Imagine, you’re thinking about buying a certain product that you’ve had your eye on, you’ve checked out their website and watched a few of the company’s videos. And then, you receive a video from a salesperson that has been personalized to your own interests! They’re talking to you about the product you were just thinking about, and answer questions you had before providing their personal contact information. You feel like you’re talking to an actual, real, live person with a face and a personality, as opposed to receiving calls you want to block and emails you filter into spam. Now wouldn’t that be an engaging (and converting!) experience!

Salespeople can use video analytics to determine when and how much of a video each lead watched, helping them to have better, targeted conversations with leads right in the moment that counts.

Connect leads with the information they need

More than just for initial conversations, sales teams can send potential customers all the information they need to help make a purchase decision. But they don’t have to send boring text document after document. Try a video case study, or a video testimonial, or video FAQs. These videos can be shared around a lead’s company so that everyone can get on board! Engaging videos create advocates like no other content type.

Keep customers feeling connected with you

So, once you’ve won over a lead and turned them into a customer, should you leave them to their own devices and just touch base when it’s time to renew a subscription or buy the latest product? Uh…no. Video can help make customers feel like they’re part of a big, happy family. They can see your faces and feel engaged with content that has been personalized just for them. Help answer further questions, or show them content on up-and-coming products and services that may be a great fit for their needs.

This is just the beginning

Want a deeper look and more details on how video and sales together can totally change the game? Join us on November 23 at 2PM ET for our newest webinar called How to Use Video in the Sales Process to Close More Deals. Cake not included.


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New Vidyard Live is First Video Streaming Solution Fully Integrated with Salesforce and Marketing Automation

New live streaming solution for businesses enables marketing and sales to see who watches their live events, automatically converts videos for on-demand use

Kitchener, Ontario – November 12, 2015 – Live streaming has become a prominent tool for businesses to engage with audiences when they cannot be there in person, but until now there hasn’t been a way to know who viewed a stream or for how long. With today’s launch of Vidyard Live, organizations can now see down to the individual viewer who watched, when and for how long – critical information to understand engagement and convert viewers into customers.

“Live streaming is a great way to engage with remote audiences, but you can’t know if you were successful or re-engage with those viewers unless you know who they are,” said Michael Litt, CEO and co-founder of Vidyard. “We’re essentially delivering Meerkat or Periscope for the enterprise with the ease-of-use that modern businesses expect. But we’re going beyond the ability to simply broadcast your message, enabling businesses to track who’s engaged in the live stream right inside their marketing automation and CRM tools to enhance customer insight.”

Live streaming is now a popular tool across enterprises. From broadcasting customer events to scaling internal training and sharing executive communications, more companies are turning to live streaming to connect remote audiences with compelling content. The missing pieces have been how to identify those viewers when they are watching and how to know whether they were really interested in what they saw. With Vidyard Live, a marketer or sales rep can see exactly who watched and then immediately follow up with the most engaged viewers when they are most interested in learning more.

Vidyard Live has been built to be easy to use, enabling anyone across marketing, sales or internal communications to easily initiate a live stream on the fly or at a pre-determined time.

  • Easy set-up – Vidyard Live is built around a user-friendly workflow and can be set up in just a few quick steps. Organizers don’t need to schedule their live streams weeks in advance. Vidyard Live can be started when it’s needed, even at a moment’s notice.
  • Know who is watching – Identify both external and internal live stream viewers and track their engagement within Vidyard’s Analytics Center and leading marketing automation and CRM platforms such as Oracle Eloqua, Marketo, Act-On and Salesforce.
  • Automatic on-demand video – As soon as a live event is over, the recording is automatically converted to an on-demand video asset available in the same player at the same URL. There is no need to manually upload or encode a separate file or re-embed the video.
  • Embed anywhere – The Vidyard player for live streaming and on-demand videos can easily be embedded on any web page, landing page, and even within a Salesforce Chatter feed or Salesforce Community. Vidyard’s HTML5 player supports all devices and screen sizes.

“We’ve always believed that video is the next best thing to being there in person, and that makes it a powerful sales and marketing tool in an age when your potential customer could be thousands of miles away,” Litt said. “We continue to innovate and execute on our vision to help businesses engage with their audiences and generate more revenue through the use of online video.”

Already the first video platform to offer comprehensive integrations with Salesforce and leading marketing automation platforms, Vidyard also recently launched Personalized Video capabilities. Companies including Lenovo, Honeywell, LinkedIn, Cision, TD Ameritrade and Citibank rely on Vidyard for their video marketing and analytics needs.

To learn more about Vidyard Live, visit or register for the upcoming webinar How to Use Live Streaming for More than Streaming Live Stuff.

About Vidyard

Vidyard (Twitter: @Vidyard) is the industry’s leading video marketing platform that helps marketers drive results and ROI with online video content. With Vidyard, customers can add video to their websites in minutes, get real-time analytics, syndicate video to social networks and YouTube, create calls to action, optimize search engine hits, capture leads, and brand their player skins all from one place. Vidyard integrates with key marketing automation and CRM tools to deliver user-level video engagement data, turning views into sales.

Media Contact:

Tyler Lessard
Phone: (226) 220-5351

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Making of Our Most Engaging (Halloween) Video Ever

This year, just a few days before Halloween we launched our first ever TV show / theme song / 90’s revival parody with the Vidyard Family version of the Addam’s Family. Holiday videos are kind of a tradition at Vidyard, but this video outperformed any of our previous videos by leaps and bounds.

If you weren’t lucky enough to see it when it was first released, here it is again.

As a non-videographer myself – but a marketer who loves to utilize video (obvs!) – I thought I’d sit down with our video team after the shoot to find out just how they accomplished some of the things I’d have no idea how to go about. Here’s what I learned and think you might find interesting, too!

Creating the Illusion of a Full- Body Drag

Making of Vidyard Halloween Video - Dragging

A lot of us saw this scene being shot in the office and I think about 10 of us, at various times during the shoot, looked at another colleague walking by and gave an “oh s#!$, that’s resourceful”.

For real, though.

A lot of thought went into this shot. Mat King, one of our unbelievably talented videographers at Vidyard, explained that it was important in this scene to make it look like Lurch was actually dragging Wednesday and Pugsley and not just walking along with them while holding onto their t-shirts (which would be much less intimidating). Mat was initially planning to have Katie and Ji (a.k.a. Wednesday and Pugsley) crouch down and walk really slowly with long steps beside Tyler (a.k.a. Lurch), but after a few minutes of planning this out on set with Blake, our Creative Director and co-videographer, Mat thought of another, resourceful idea. “I just looked over at our skateboard wall and was like, oh hey – we’ve got longboards right here. Why don’t we just use these?”.

So Blake got in there right away and used skateboards to help Katie and Ji along. Blake pulled and Tyler pushed the two on skateboards with his forearms. Of course, Mat coached Katie and Ji to crouch down and slump their shoulders in order to create the appearance of their body weight being lifted from the back of their neck. As Mat says, giving proper direction is absolutely critical to the success of live-action videos:

“The ability to give direction is really important. You’re the one with the vision in mind. It’s really important that you communicate your vision well so you don’t have people just acting out their own interpretation of your vision.” Mat says that if you give people sequential instructions, they can figure it out. From his experience, “if you just give your actors one action to do, they’ll do it and then look at the camera, which pretty much always renders that shot useless, unless you’re making really tight cuts. If you give them multiple steps and let them know how to finish at the end, you’ll be golden.”

Making Electrocution Look Real

Making of Vidyard Halloween Video - Electrocute

Watch this shot closely. What is it that makes it look realistic? It’s not actually the “lightning bolt” effect, but the lights strobing in the background. But of course, in his usual style, Mat did take a few shots without the strobing lights just in case the effect didn’t work out well once they got down to editing. He’s always making sure there are options to play with! The electrical currents are definitely necessary here, though. That was an effect in After Effects called “electricity”. All you have to do is show where you want to the current to start and end and it essentially does the rest for you!

The other thing that makes this scene is the props. Mat and Blake recreated their own electric chair with a mic stand, a metal salad bowl, and some extra wire taped on to the bowl. As Mat puts it, “it worked out really well that the props could look homemade just due to the quirky nature of the Addams family”. While homemade props are a lot easier to work with, Blake and Mat still spent a fair amount of time sourcing the right props at Value VIllage. For example, this bowl had to be big enough to fit Garth’s head without being too large. It also needed to be deep enough to get a good portion of his head inside the bowl. There was a lot to think about!

Making of Vidyard Halloween Video - Electrocute

Turning ‘on’ the Bulb in Uncle Fester’s Mouth

This one is relatively simple, but it’s still something I had questions about. I mean, obviously they didn’t plug the light bulb in, so I assumed that Blake and Mat added this in in post-production. Turns out there are such things as prop light bulbs! Garth (acting as Uncle Fester) took one for the team here and wrapped some tinfoil on the end of his tongue. Whenever the cue came to light up the bulb, he would just touch his tongue to the end of the bulb, complete the circuit, and voila! He did say that there were a couple times he got a pretty good tingle. So be careful of this one if you’re planning any ‘light bulb lights up in mouth’ scenes.

Making of Vidyard Halloween Video - Light Bulb

Building Real Life Moving Photos

Making of Vidyard Halloween Video - Moving Photos

To get this shot, Mat and Blake filmed 4 different segments: one of Lurch dusting the wall and one of each of the people in the portraits. In post-production, Mat adjusted the lighting on each so they were all comparable, then masked out the centre of the frame so that it became transparent, moved the videos in behind the frame and moved them around until the subjects were in the right spot. They found the frames online after searching for “Victorian, Gothic Frames” (or something like that!), but one thing Mat said that he made sure to do was to create a backup shot with actual frames that were on the wall. Why? Because if he couldn’t find the frames he wanted online, he would have had to recreate the entire scene, just when he thought he was done filming!

“Usually you don’t use the back-up, but especially when you’re getting into more technical things, this can really save you.”

Turning V-bots Claw into the Real ‘Thing’

Making of Vidyard Halloween Video - Vbot Claw

This representation of ‘Thing’ from the real Addams Family is the craziest, most complicated, and definitely most awesome effect of all of the effects in this video. Mat and Blake spent a lot of time brainstorming how they could add Thing into the video in an authentic way – i.e. it actually just being a floating hand, of sorts. (Of course we adapted the bodiless hand to be a claw for a little Vidyard brand infusion.) Mat and Blake determined that having the claw jump in and land on a chair was a great way to showcase this effect, so they created a scene to make this work using Morticia, who was a stoic figure, sitting formally in an arm chair.

In order to have the claw look realistic and not just be dragged in awkwardly by some fishing line and flip-flopping about, Mat and Blake used a two-layer process. The first layer was shot as you see it, but with Blake wearing the claw and a blue sweater. The blue was used as an alternative to the typical “green screen” approach because we couldn’t use green due to similarity in color to V-bot’s claw. But blue is another color that can be easily removed from shots.

Making of Vidyard Halloween Video - Vbot Claw

The second layer, called a backplate image was a still shot of the scene. If there was no secondary image then when Blake removed his own arm (yep – I just typed that) in After Effects during post-production there would just be a black hole where his arm was previously. A critical tip is doing this with the shadow as well! Leaving the full shadow in would include Blake’s arm, so that portion had to be removed. Mat described this to me saying “you couldn’t rely on the blue in this scenario to pull out the arm shadow, but you have a little more leeway with shadows because they have a softer focus and therefore a less-defined edge. If you don’t pull it perfectly, it’s unlikely anyone will notice.” And yes, you do need the shadow. Even though people might not be able to pinpoint what’s off without a shadow, they’ll know something is!

Making of Vidyard Halloween Video - Backslate

In order for Blake to remove his arm from the shot, he had to track the jump of the claw so he could remove the arm throughout the whole motion. Blake and Mat did all of this in After Effects although Mat explained that it could also be done in Premier – it would just be a little more time consuming!

Take a peek into the real editing process here as Blake explains the process to our design team!

Killin’ It in Black and White

“Shooting in black and white comes down to adding the appropriate level of contrast and planning ahead of time”, says Mat. “It’s not enough to film in color, desaturate your footage, and move on with it.”

Mat explains that producing a black and white video involves tweaking your black tones, mid, and highlights. “If you’re going for a retro look (like we were), you up the highlights so the skin is bright. You really do need these three layers of shading to sell the contours of people in your video.”

In every single shot, Mat took a photo on his DSLR camera on the monochromatic setting to get a feel for the black and white appearance of the regular scene. This helped him to determine if there was too much black, too much highlighting, or not enough contrast. For example, in the scene with Pugsley chained to the wall with the apple on his head for Wednesday’s shooting practice, Mat and Blake initially set up the shot with a red apple on Ji’s head. When he looked at the monochromatic shot, though, Mat realized there wasn’t enough contrast and switched that Red Delicious for a Golden one!

Making of Vidyard Halloween Video - Contrast

Taking monochromatic photographs throughout also helped him to adjust the exposure for each scene which made color balancing easier later on. As Mat explains, “there’s only so much adjustment you can do later on. If each scene is drastically different in grey-levels and contrast it’ll stand out in the final product.”.

Mat taught me that if you’re using a second videographer to edit footage in post-production, to make sure they do so in full color and send you the source files in full color. You’ll want the switch to black and white to be done by one person since there is actually quite a large spectrum of “black and white” and one person’s conversion may look different than another’s.

The most important tip Mat had for those looking to create a video in black and white is to “re-approach” – or in layman’s terms, walk away from your video editing and coming back later. Your eyes adjust after looking at something for long enough so they may trick you into thinking your black and white video looks well-balanced when it’s really not. Walking away and allowing your eyes to reset will help you optimize your blacks, mid-tones, and highlights.

Some Final Tidbits

When asked if there was anything else he wanted our readers to know about this shoot, Mat said “it seems like this video was really simple, but it was so important that we planned this out. Without the pre-planning, storyboarding, scripting, and prop planning, it just wouldn’t have turned out like this. Oh and also, if you haven’t done anything like this before, practice. Do tests to see if your scenes are going to work, if you have your lighting on point, etc. Practicing can make a world of difference when you do it before everyone’s on set and you only have 10 minutes to complete a scene.”

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

6 Key Lessons that Will Change How You Market in 2016

Last month I had the amazing opportunity to go to Space Camp! The Space Camp video marketing summit, that is. In addition to helping host the event, I got to put on my modern marketing hat, attend some sessions, and learn from some the best in the universe. Here’s my mission de-brief on some of the most inspirational learnings that I took away from the event.  Hopefully they’ll inspire you as well with new ways to kick your marketing efforts into hyperdrive in 2016!

1. It all starts with a great script (which starts with a great writer)

No matter what type of content your team is producing, it all starts with a good idea, a great story, and an interstellar script. This is particularly important when it comes to producing video content. Great cameras don’t make great videos – great scripts do. Do you always try to start with great writing in your content and demand programs? Do you even have the right script writing talent in your team? This is exactly why we see more and more marketing teams hiring former journalists and rhetoric majors as in-house writers and content marketers. To see how, and why, others are approaching this in practice, check out the presentations from leading B2B marketing cosmonauts Sourabh Kothari of Cisco and Bhaji Illuminati of Taulia where they share how they’ve woven storytelling and great writing into the fabric of their business.

Video Everywhere but not for Everyone - Sourabh Kothari Video Everywhere but not for Everyone – Sourabh Kothari
Cutting Through the Noise with Creative Storytelling in B2B - Bhaji Illuminati Cutting Through the Noise with Creative Storytelling in B2B – Bhaji Illuminati

2. Video producers need to learn the broader digital marketing lingo

Many video producers and creative directors that I spoke with at the event commented on how much they loved learning how other groups in marketing think and speak. This understanding will go a long way in helping them manage internal relationships and align their efforts to the broader goals of the marketing team. So if you’re producing videos and don’t know what CTR or MQL stand for, or what all the hype is around Demand Generation and Marketing Automation, I highly recommend this session by Heidi Bullock, VP of Demand Gen at Marketo, which will basically give you a PhD in modern digital marketing in 30 minutes. Also check out the sessions from Mark Emond of Demand Spring on aligning your video strategy with the buyer’s journey and from David Johnson of Oracle on making sense of the marketing technology landscape.

The Right Message at the Right Time - Heidi Bullock The Right Message at the Right Time – Heidi Bullock
Aligning Your Video Marketing Strategy with Each Stage of the Buying Journey - Mark Emond Aligning Your Video Marketing Strategy with Each Stage of the Buying Journey – Mark Emond
Making Sense of the Marketing Technology Landscape - David Johnson Making Sense of the Marketing Technology Landscape – David Johnson

3. Video is helping sales teams get noticed and close more deals, for reals!

Sales teams are getting wise to the ways of video. We saw numerous examples of how sales teams are using video content to expedite the sales process. From on-demand product demos to self-recorded personal greetings to targeted customer testimonials, video is becoming a powerful weapon for boosting sales productivity and effectiveness. When was the last time you asked your sales team which videos they need to be more effective, or how you can help them better prospect with personal videos? I highly recommend the session from Rich Kline, VP of Solutions Engineering at Salesforce, to see how his own sales team uses video to boost efficiency and performance. Also check out The Future of Marketing and Selling with Video to see how the Vidyard for Sales solution is changing the way sales reps prospect and sell.

Using Video Content and Analytics to Boost Sales Performance - Rich Kline Using Video Content and Analytics to Boost Sales Performance – Rich Kline
The Future of Marketing and Selling with Video - Michael Litt & Devon Galloway The Future of Marketing and Selling with Video – Michael Litt & Devon Galloway

4. Personalized videos could cure world hunger, and falling email CTRs

Vidyard’s launch of Personalized Video was quite the buzz at Space Camp. Everyone I spoke with about it was not only super excited, but they already had ideas for how they could use it in practice to better engage their audiences and boost click-through-rates (CTRs) of email and content marketing campaigns. During the Space Camp keynote, Michael Litt revealed some pretty amazing stats from recent personalized video campaigns. For example, those who received emails with a normal version of the video clicked through at a rate of 2% on average (pretty consistent with industry benchmarks) while those who received the personalized version of the video, including a personalized thumbnail image, clicked through at a rate of over 30%. Yes, that’s a 16x multiplier. Oops, sorry about that, I hope your jaw isn’t too sore. During the Video Marketing Trailblazer panel we also heard many leading marketers talking about personalization and interactivity as the future of video marketing. The possibilities are amazing and I’m pumped to see how marketers use these new technologies to blow the doors off in 2016 (and blow some minds while they’re at it).

Video Marketing, The Final Frontier - Michael Litt Video Marketing, The Final Frontier – Michael Litt
Defying Gravity: Video Marketing Trailblazers in Action - Panel Defying Gravity: Video Marketing Trailblazers in Action – Panel

5. High performing videos don’t just make themselves

You already know this, but high performing videos don’t just happen by mistake. It takes a thoughtful approach to the storyline, the script writing, the style, and much more. Equally important is how you choose to produce the video, which agency you choose to partner with, and how you brief them on the project. For loads of great tips on how to get a big bang out of your next video project, check out the recorded presentations from the Video Production and Planning track in the Space Camp video hub. You’ll find Paul Hochman’s session on the 3 keys to creating successful videos, Ian Buck’s session on how to efficiently scale your video production strategy, Mike Kaney’s session on how to effectively plan your video projects and agency partnerships, and Rob Humphrey from LinkedIn sharing his tips on getting more effective and creative with your in-house produced video content (without blowing up your budget).

6. Using the data actually does help you boost results – imagine that!

Imagine a universe where we not only collect awesome data and analytics, but we actually use the related insights to boost results! Fascinating. Well, we saw lots of great examples of how video analytics are helping real marketers optimize their content and improve their output. Companies like Act-On, Bisk Education, Plex Systems, Cetera Financial, Salesforce and BMC are using viewer engagement data to identify which content is holding their audience’s attention and which ones are falling flat. They’re also tracking video viewing activities of individual accounts to identify which videos are helping to drive the most leads, pipeline and revenue. Check out the Video Marketing Trailblazer panel and sessions from Rich Kline of Salesforce and Rob Bois of Plex Systems for some great examples of how real marketing and sales teams are doing this today and the kind of impact it’s having on the bottom line.

Defying Gravity: Video Marketing Trailblazers in Action - Panel Defying Gravity: Video Marketing Trailblazers in Action – Panel
Using Video Content and Analytics to Boost Sales Performance - Rich Kline Using Video Content and Analytics to Boost Sales Performance – Rich Kline
Bringing Science to the Art of Video Marketing - Rob Bois Bringing Science to the Art of Video Marketing – Rob Bois

Hopefully this gives you some great inspiration as you think about your 2016 marketing attack plan. From investing in great storytelling to planning out your production strategy to using video analytics for optimizing results, now is the time to get strategic with video marketing and video selling.  All systems go, prepare to launch.

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Friday, November 6, 2015

6 Elements that Make an Online Video Worth Sharing

The role of video in integrated marketing campaigns is increasing at a rapid pace, as was clearly evident at Vidyard’s Space Camp event last month.

I had the pleasure of moderating a fantastic panel of video marketing veterans, all in the field and executing in real-time.

We covered a wide variety of topics in our 50 minutes, but the topic I heard most people discussing in the hallways afterward was not just how to drive conversion from video, but how to get them distributed and amplified in the first place.  And much of that discussion came down to not just distribution channels, but elements of the video itself.

The bar for creating a compelling, viral video that drives both awareness and buyer interest is dropping, but marketers still need to be strategic about the components and make-up of a good video.

Based on an analysis of some of the Web’s most successful videos as well as those featured and discussed at Spacecamp, here are six elements that I’ve found most consistently make good videos worth sharing.


Even serious brands can incorporate a sense of humor into their message and visuals. It’s a great way to show your human side, to help get the prospect’s guard down a bit, and to keep their attention to share a more serious or directed message and call to action.


Good videos have a purpose. A beginning and end. They have a story line, no matter how thin or superficial. You should be able to write this story in the form of a script or storyboard before you start producing frame one.


Get to the point quickly. We won’t watch anything that’s not premeditated online for more than five minutes. Two to three minutes is even better. Keep things moving.


You’re not trying to talk to everyone. Know who your audience is, what they want, and ultimately what you want from them. A successful video doesn’t need millions of impressions. it needs maximum exposure and pass-along specifically to the people you care most about.


Clearly doesn’t have to be explicit. To see a great video that demonstrates an appropriate use of sex but tempered with humor, check this out.


Do something people aren’t expecting. That alone could be the trigger that gets people to click the social share buttons at the bottom of or at the end of the video.

So what works for you? What common elements of good online videos consistently get you to engage and share?

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

What The Best Marketing Videos Have in Common With Must-See TV

With some shows, it’s obvious who the fans are. Some science fiction series have such a loyal following, for example, that people may dress up as their favourite characters and go to comic book conventions. In other cases it’s subtler.

Those making shows, like Game of Thrones, Dancing With The Stars and other TV hits, have learned they can’t rely on superficial clues to understand their audience. Instead, they look at performance data based on when viewers watch, what devices or services they use to watch, and how long or how often they watch. In other words, they take a customer relationship management (CRM) approach to growing their following.

Just like the shows that become “must-see TV,” B2B video content needs to be based on a deep understanding what your audience wants. The data comes from CRM, and the videos become a critical tool in helping sales and marketing organizations reach customers in a more personalized way. Let’s walk through a few quick tips to show you what I mean.

Redefine ‘Appointment Viewing’

TV industry experts once used the term “appointment viewing” to describe shows that viewers would go out of their way to watch, no matter how busy their schedule. B2B sales teams probably wish their customers and prospects were as eager to sit down and talk about their next purchase. Using CRM and video tactically may be one way to start.

A lot of decision makers, for example, start their buyer journey by taking in industry events and conferences. If your firm is appearing or exhibiting at an upcoming event, video can be a great way to help make them aware of your presence and to encourage them to set up a meeting. Besides distributing the video, you can set up a workflow rule in Salesforce to notify your sales reps when more than three-quarters of the clip has been viewed. This is where CRM and video start to work hand-in-hand to build your sales pipeline.

Understand The Value of Repeats

For traditional TV viewers, it can be frustrating when they’re waiting for new episodes and have nothing to watch but repeats. The reverse is often true in B2B: repeat viewing means customers and prospects are actively interested in learning more.

According to a recent study by MarketingProfs, e-mail marketing is one of the most-used features in CRM and marketing automation suites. Video can make e-mail marketing even more valuable because it can allow you to take data on repeat views and segment lists based on the kind of content they’ve enjoyed.

Show You’re Listening

When a popular TV show gets cancelled or a major character is killed off, fans have been known to call and write into the network, or complain on social media. That’s an extreme example of how those creating such programs learn about their audience preferences.

Fortunately, B2B sales teams have a lot more available to them through CRM. This can include what products a company already owns, its typical purchase cycle, key contacts and more. Instead of trying to create a video with broad appeal in the hopes it will somehow go “viral” in an organization, effective use of B2B data cleansing should allow companies to create content that’s more personalized than the “recommended for you” suggestions on consumer video portals could ever be.

B2B videos may never reach the massive heights of must-see TV, but that’s okay. The goal is about being must-see for a targeted audience, who hopefully will in turn feel informed and appreciated, and ultimately motivated to purchase the service or product you’re offering.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

10 Ways to Use Personalized Video to Blow Everyone’s Socks Off

Personalized Video is a new and exciting way to attract, engage, and convert leads and customers. We’ve talked to you about Personalized Video before, and recently, Jeff Gadway, our Director of Product Marketing, hosted a webinar to talk more about this exciting product, and how both Marketing and Sales teams can use Personalized Video to get drastic results. Couldn’t make it to the webinar? Here are a few key points you don’t want to miss:

Personalized content is incredibly vital for today’s marketers

It’s getting harder to capture and retain customers’ and leads’ attention. Why? We’re bombarded with marketing content. It’s estimated that we each receive 85 business emails each day! You’ve probably also heard that our attentions spans have shortened so drastically that we’re now on par with the 8-second span of the goldfish. On top of that, marketers still on average get only a 1.5% click-through rate on marketing campaigns. That’s considered the standard rate to shoot for, but that’s not good, people!  

Personalized Video is going to change everything for you. Here’s how it works.

Personalized video engages viewers on a one to one level by including personal details like a viewer’s name, company name, job title, company logo, LinkedIn photo, and so much more. It helps you build a one-to-one relationship with every single viewer, making them feel special and not just part of the masses.

Personalized Video cuts through the clutter of all the other marketing content audiences are bombarded with. They are attracted when they see their name, and they stay engaged because they feel like they’re a part of the story you’re telling.

At Vidyard, we’ve used Personalized Video in our own campaigns, so we have the proof that it works! We’ve seen a 4.5x growth in click-through rates, and click-to-open ratios have performed 16x better with personalized content. 16x! Think of it this way: that means that traditionally, 1.4 viewers click through to your landing page. But with Personalized Video, that number increases to 24 people visiting your page! That’s an impressive jump.

All that, and it’s super easy! If you want to use Vidyard’s Personalized Video in your own marketing campaigns, it’s as easy as sending us the video you’ve created through Vidyard, telling us what you want to personalize, providing the lead and customer data from your MAP, and voila! We do the rest, and send you the personalized content!

Let’s get specific. Here are 10 ways you should use Personalized Video

Top-of-funnel content

Branded campaign videos: Attract and engage your audience by adding their name, and making them part of the story. You can use Personalized Video to engage 100 viewers to tens of thousands. So you can offer real one-to-one content on a mass scale!

Explainer videos: Include a viewer’s company logo or job title to help them really see a concept come to life, and keep them watching longer.

Fun culture videos: Our holiday video last year showed a gift being passed around the office, and it was revealed that the viewer’s name was on the package. This type of video feels fun and authentic, a perfect recipe for a  highly shareable video.

Mid-level funnel content

Webinars: Make your audience feel like you curated and designed webinar content specifically with them in mind. Add their name, company, and job title to the first screen, or even the presentation’s footer.

Product tour video: There’s an alternative to trying to schedule live demos or product tours with your sales engineers. Instead, personalize content so it feels like a targeted demo! Add the contact’s name, photo, and more right into the screen shots of the product so they can experience what it would be like to interact with the product themselves.

Events: Personally invite a customer or lead to your booth using a personalized video. Nothing could be more engaging! You can even thank them for coming with a personalized video. We used this strategy for our Space Camp (the Video Marketing Summit) invitation, as well as our campaign to bring people to our booth at the Dreamforce event. It worked so well that people came to our booth just to ask us how we did it! (View the examples directly in the webinar.)

Video selling

Prospecting: When sending content to a lead, sales teams can include a picture of the lead’s website. It’s a perfect way to talk about their situation and needs directly! We use Personalized Video during this stage at Vidyard, to great reviews!

Customer onboarding: Make a new customer feel valued and welcome by including their name in video content, and a photo of their personal customer service manager. You could even add their logo to your “logo salad”, so they see the visual representation of joining your big, successful customer family.

Technical support videos: Help your customers feel like you’re there for them whenever they need it by including their personal information in a support video.


Recruiting videos: Even more than marketing and sales, other teams across your company can use Personalized Video to achieve their goals. Send potential hires video that will help them see themselves as part of the team. It’s a powerful first impression, helping you draw top talent before they are hired by competitors.

What’s next?

Personalized Video is getting better and better at Vidyard. What’s next for the technology? If you want to hear where we’re taking it, check out the on-demand webinar for yourself!


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