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Big Picture Value of the Online Distribution of Video by Steven Vonder Haar

When some people click on an online video they apparently see little more than dollar signs.

That’s because financial considerations continue to be the pre-eminent gauge that individuals use when measuring the effectiveness of Web communications in the enterprise.

When Interactive Media Strategies asked 1,002 executives to cite factors that are “very important” in gauging the effectiveness of Web communications, the most frequently cited issue was “cutting travel costs.” Overall, 59 percent of all respondents to the first quarter 2011 survey described the attribute of cutting travel costs as a very important measure of effectiveness – placing it ahead of other considerations, such as “improves productivity,” “increase frequency of communications,” or “improves comprehension.”

Clearly, executives in today’s fragile economy are not necessarily worried about the appearances associated with their technology implementations. The factor cited least frequently as a very important gauge of communications effectiveness was the idea of “places company on cutting edge,” an issue cited by only 42 percent of survey respondents.

In short, executives are not looking to online video and other Web technologies as a venue for polishing up their image. Rather, business leaders are demanding tangible results from their implementation of this emerging technology, regardless of how nifty it may make them appear. So, that calls for a new playbook for video production professionals seeking to boost their work in the corporate sector. Getting new business clients may not depend so much on the quality of the video you produce but on the quality of business results your video can help you clients deliver.

Future success in corporate video production, as a result, will depend not only on shooting or editing high-quality video. Rather, it will hinge on having – and sharing – knowledge on how organizations can leverage video to build business benefit. While no one would expect a video producer to become an information technology guru, here’s a list of five business video technology issues where a little bit of market awareness on your part could go a long-way in helping your clients see the big picture value in producing more video to distribute online.

• Business Video Analytics: A range of technology tools and platforms makes it easy not only to measure total viewership for online videos but to keep tabs on how viewership results translate into the achievement of business objectives. Tracking capabilities, for instance, can be used to verify that employees watch enough of a training video to satisfy compliance requirements. Likewise, systems can be used to count up the number of prospects turn into customers after watching a particular marketing video.

• See the Spectrum of Possible Video Applications:
Recognize that video can play a role in more than just distributing a CEO message in an employee all-hands meeting. It can be a key component of employee training in one case, used to deliver product information in another and integrated into enhanced customer support applications in still another application. As you help executives identify more uses for weaving video into business communications, the opportunity for video production engagements will grow in step.

• Understanding the Role of Social Media: When it comes to online video, social media can be a useful tool in drawing an audience. If a corporate client shies away from commissioning a video production because they fear not being able to attract an audience, show them how aggressive use of Facebook, Twitter and other social services can help generate a crowd for videos that may otherwise be lost to the world.

• Tout the Prospects of Mobility:
The emergence of tablet devices and the growing ubiquity of smart phones creates a new venue where executives can consume business video on the go. Help corporate clients identify and create videos that leverage the unique attributes of mobile environments. For example, companies can develop video libraries of clips that answer common objectives encountered during the sales process and give field reps access to mobile devices that allow them to play these clips on-demand when they encounter the issue during a sales meeting.

• Identify Paths with Low Commitment Costs:
Companies new to video do not necessarily have to spend six figures just to launch a video communications initiative. An emerging array of hosted solutions – while sometimes not as sophisticated as leading on-premise deployments – can help corporate video newbies get started with video without major up-front investment. Familiarize yourself with a couple of these “software-as-a-service” options to present as technology platform alternatives for companies considering their first dip into the video waters.

Steven Vonder Haar is research director of Interactive Media Strategies and can be reached at svonder@InteractiveMediaStrategies.com