Many video professionals have a pretty good handle on what it takes to create decent video: Quality cameras, Good lighting, Maybe a nice studio. All these help you put a good looking product on the screen.
But when it comes to the world of online business video, only one factor truly determines the viability of a video project. That’s cold, hard cash.
Specifically, corporate champions of online video communications typically have to show how their investments in video capabilities are going to pay off for the organization in the long run. With these corporate bottom line demands in mind, consider the five following tips as a launch guide for justifying corporate investment in the gear needed to make business video a reality.
1 - Identify the low-hanging fruit: Out of the gate, think about the regional or global meetings held by your organization that can be effectively re-created via online video. This can be a meeting of sales reps to talk about new product lines or a gathering of department heads to review standard corporate policies. The key element is working to replace meetings that can keep employees off of airplanes and out of hotel rooms. The savings in travel expenses for a single event could be enough justify your entire start-up investment, paving the way for even more spending in advanced video gear down the line.
2 - Count Those Man Hours : Consider the ways your organization can leverage video to eliminate redundant chores. Does somebody from human resources have to engage in a new employee orientation meeting on a regular basis? Suggest capturing core information in a Webcast format that can be accessed by your company’s new arrivals on an on-demand basis. Rather than sinking four hours in new employee orientation every week, the availability of the on-demand content may trim the length of these introductory training sessions to an hour. The time saved by trainers (and the implied value of their corresponding salary and benefits) should be counted in your video return-on-investment calculation.
3 - Start Slow and Build Over Time: Figure out ways to trim up-front investment requirements for video deployment. Surveys from Interactive Media Strategies demonstrate that usage of online video for business communications grows organically over time. As executives see video put to work, they begin identifying more ways to put their technology to work in their day-to-day business activites. You may be tempted to buy that high-end solution, but you may want to start off with a more cost effective solution out of the gate. A little frugality upfront lowers the bar in terms of the returns that must be demonstrated to illustrate success. As executives see more and more value for business video, finding internal champions and securing budget for the implementation of high-quality solutions will become easier, as well.
4 - Measure, Measure, Measure: One of the little known secrets of online video is the wealth of viewership data that can be culled from a single Webcast. Given the right platform, corporate executives should be able to build insight on their audience viewing habits that would make the folks at Nielsen absolutely green with envy. It’s standard practice, of course, to collect registration information of a viewer signing in to watch an online video seminar. Once that information is collected, presenters can garner a bevy of insight on how they are connecting with their audience. Depending on the scope of technology available to corporate presenters, they can generate post-event reports that tell them where their viewers originate from, how long they viewed the Webcast and what questions they asked while viewing the presentation. Pair this data up with registration information and you paint a pretty complete picture of an individual’s interest in the topics you’re addressing in the online venue. That data can be used to identify prospects with higher-than-average interest in your video marketing message or to determine whether an executive really is conveying the ideas that need to be communicated in an employee gathering. Based on the value of information that is being delivered, these viewership measures can be used to gauge an identifiable bottom-dollar impact on your organization.
5 - Don’t Forget the Intangibles: When purchase decision makers within your organization are on the fence, sway the final call by highlighting the impact that video communications can have on creating intangible benefits for everyone in the workplace. In the case of suing video to substituted employee gatherings, for instance, intangibles can be measured in limiting the number of days employees have to stay on the road and away from their families. The sheer quality of the communications experience should also be evaluated in the context of intangible benefits. An effective online meeting enhanced with video, for example, will provide a more engaging communications experience than a telephone call. The difference is that no executive will ever ask about the return-on-investment from a long-distance call. At most organizations, the telephone with broad access is considered a fundamental tool for doing a job. Get internal champions at your organization thinking seriously about the advantages that could come from treating video as a basic tool needed to enhance employee efficiency rather than just another technology treated just as another corporate cost center.
Steve Vonder Haar is research director of Interactive Media Strategies