Behind The Lens: Marketing with Video

By Rob Totaro

Every minute of every day, users are uploading more than 72 hours of video to YouTube. Sure, that’s a lot of cat videos to sort through, but what might be lost in this massive data deluge is the fact that video, unlike any other medium, is delivering significant ROI to businesses. 

A recent Content Marketing Institute report found 60% of marketers use video as part of their marketing strategy. And by 2021, video is expected to account for 80% of all internet traffic. So how are you preparing today to reach your customers tomorrow?

New Jersey-based Kuiken Brothers, which now produces dozens of videos each year, has been utilizing video since the launch of its new website in 2014.  

Initially, the goal of producing a video was rather simple: “We had great photography, but if we could get a video on our home page we would be able to get people to pronounce our name correctly,” explained Ryan Mulkeen, director of marketing for the 105-year-old company whose name was frequently mispronounced. “Philosophically, if you can’t pronounce the name of the company you’re looking to buy from, you are probably hesitant to even call them. It’s a bit of a branding issue.”

From that initial video, Mulkeen was able to put together a marketing strategy that would elevate Kuiken’s brand presence with builders, architects, homeowners, and its internal staff, while not creating additional production work. “All of the things we are doing on the website we are doing anyway,” said Mulkeen. “For me to go and send out a photograph with two paragraphs of text, even I wouldn’t read that article or note. The video helps us put that message in front of our sales team. And it’s one component you can sit and watch for a minute or two and truly get that global picture of what our intent and goal is.”

Go For Your Goals

Keeping your goals in mind is imperative when diving into video. For Kuiken Brothers, whose videos are consistently branded to offer a seamless experience from video to video, quality always played an important role.

“I was always sensitive to how we utilized YouTube but didn’t want to make it look like a high production video,” cautioned Mulkeen. “In the beginning we used a DSLR, with me messing around in one of our conference rooms.” 

Mulkeen, who foresaw the importance of video, did research into more professional productions but found, several years ago, that production costs for a two-minute video were quoted upwards of $10,000. And while technology has brought those costs down significantly, Mulkeen decided to attempt a different approach to gain the look and quality he wanted.

“We did some research to find college kids who we thought would have fun with a small budget. So that bridged the gap for us and got us some cool-looking content. Then we found some guys whose budgets were a little more, but they were more reliable and professional than the college kids.”

Mulkeen now rotates through two production companies to produce Kuiken’s videos. His challenge is no longer quality, but quantity. 

“We have so much content that the challenge is finding the right time to distribute it.”

As Mulkeen explains, shooting video is only part of the process. The real impact comes from the distribution plan. How will you get people to watch the video and take action?

“If I launch a video I’m going to launch on every social media channel. I’m going to embed it on our website. Create a blog post about it. It’ll likely hit a newsletter. We have to do our internal sharing where I make sure our sales team sees a video before everyone else does so they’re not caught off guard. There’s a huge laundry list we do before we launch anything. It’s the structure that’s been built over the last 14 years to cover all of your bases.”

While Kuiken Brothers has found success using video to connect with professionals and consumers, Pennsylvania-based Reeb is looking at how it can use video to help educate employees.

In June 2016, Reeb launched the Reeb Learning Center to, as Reeb’s Senior Manager of Interactive Media & Marketing Communications Paul Ciccone explains, “provide product knowledge and training for our dealers’ employees and any engaged homeowner who wishes to learn more about doors prior to making a purchase. We have found that salespeople with more knowledge display more confidence and can quickly guide a homeowner to making a final decision in the purchase of a door unit.”

Prior to 2016, Reeb had no experience creating video, but saw the value video could offer. The company made an initial investment in video equipment and the hiring of two full-time video positions—a Creative Video Producer and a Video Editor. “We also partnered with a local PBS TV station to rent studio space and build a studio set, which is where the majority of our videos are filmed,” said Ciccone.

Production with a Purpose

With the studio set and expertise now in-house, Ciccone is helping Reeb develop video for several different purposes:

•Education

“We use video at our Reeb College training events where we invite dealers to join us on-site in our new training room to learn more about upcoming products. In September alone we were excited to host over 200 customers. We also use video to train employees internally.”

•Sales

Reeb integrates videos with physical Guided Selling Showrooms to support sales at dealer locations. “Today, education through our sales force and video is quickly becoming one of our most effective forms of sales.”

•Marketing Communication

“A TV Display program is used by our dealers displaying product information and new product releases.”

•Recruitment     

“We also build video for Reeb recruitment purposes and display these on our careers web page. We call this effort #reeblife. Here we show what it’s like to work at Reeb and highlight employees in different positions throughout the organization. Many people within the company have really embraced these videos, and some locations do make-shift cinema sessions to encourage togetherness.”

Through all of these efforts, Reeb is helping the dealers’ employees learn, which in turn helps build trust with the end user. As we all know trust is something that’s hard to build. But video offers a unique ability to take people inside a company to help them build trust more quickly.

Size Doesn’t Matter

Building trust is exactly what Ward Lumber in Jay, N.Y., is doing with video on its Facebook page. With over 2,600 followers onFacebook, Ward Lumber has more people connected with their business than live in the northern New York town boasting a population of 2,506.

Armed with an iPhone or Android, Jay Ward and his staff produce weekly segments, give information about store sales, and highlight behind-the-scenes footage that shows viewers the people behind the brand.

“I asked my staff team if anyone wanted to get involved,” explained Ward, who was looking for a way to keep using Facebook after his marketing person moved on to another job. Ward has found that his employees, and even customers, have really taken to becoming video stars. 

Tammy’s Tuesday Tips, Facebook Friday with Scott, and a new feature called the ‘Great People of Ward Lumber’ have become huge hits on Facebook, racking up thousands of views each week. Scott Christian, a Ward Lumber employee since 2014, hosts the weekly live “Facebook Friday” segment where he highlights different products around the lumberyard. 

“Scott has real ownership of the segment each week. He chooses his products, and often they are products we highlighted in staff product knowledge. He’s our spokesman. ‘Self-appointed,’ I might add,” added Ward.

As for advice for retailers looking to get started with video, Ward explained, “It’s really easy with smart phone technology. And a little bit of imperfection makes it real.”