opinion

Professionally-Produced Vs. User-Generated Marketing

Kelly Shibari

The main issue with marketing and promotional videos created by a professional production company is the perception of quality.

The reason why most companies go for professionally-produced content is because it traditionally is of higher quality. More money is spent, after all — productions undergo meticulous planning, story-boarding, pre-production meetings, location scouting, casting, art direction, and so on and so on. It’s high-concept, well-thought-out, and created by the most technologically advances post-production teams to create a slick presentation of the product it is intended to sell.

The main issue with user-endorsement videos created by a tube site user, on the other hand, is the perception of reality.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that the modern American consumer has become smarter than that. We’ve grown used to spam, scams, liars and cheats. We second-guess everything that is marketed to us because most of the time, there’s usually a recall or a recanting months later — or, in many cases, the glossy ad shows the best of the product (and never the worst, or the so-so, which is what makes up the bulk of the product). How often do you see a trailer to a Hollywood movie these days that convince you to go and see the film, only to say that the trailer was the best part of the movie? So much of what is produced by those high-end production companies is amusing, but does it really convince us to purchase the product? How often are people asking for their money back once they have been convinced to purchase something based on a glossy promo video that doesn’t reveal the actual product?

The main issue with user-endorsement videos created by a tube site user, on the other hand, is the perception of reality.

The reason why most consumers love user-generated content is that it is raw, real, and timely. It’s cheap to make, doesn’t require a huge crew, and can be done on the fly. It allows for the viewer to see what the user’s opinions and can base their own opinion based on whether or not that information is viable. It creates a visual representation of consumer opinion, which these days holds more water than a glossy Hollywood production.

So how can we combine the two so we can create a high-production message that is believable to other consumers?

There are a few ways to at least reach the audience. You could, for instance, just start a YouTube campaign promoting your product using everymen and everywomen as spokespeople for the product. You could also just make a series of online videos that hopefully become viral based on their cleverness. Or you can try to see if any clever viral video makers would be interested in selling their new-found fame to promote your product. Dr Pepper did that with the “Chocolate Rain” kid — they took someone who had viral online fame, and offered him a deal to hock their product.

There’s no real way to predict whether a user-generated video will go viral. There’s also no way to replace a video that’s already out there with one that has, say for instance, your ad on it. But there’s a way to mix commercial advertising with user-generated video.

But it’s not just about traffic. Traffic means that people will watch the video — but then what? It’s important that the message is something that people will share with others, and that those people will decide to try your product. Additional social media methods of getting those people to try the product is what’s next — either through trial offers, opt-in lists, contests, discount codes, and other methods. A good marketing campaign will combine all of these things so that the traffic generated can be converted.

So take a look at your marketing campaign. Are you being too glossy? Are you being too much on a pedestal, refusing to let people look behind the curtain? Perhaps letting some people backstage so that they could then share the experience with others, making them feel as if they’re part of the process of your brand becoming better, and then allow them an opportunity to experience your product, might be the difference that you’ve been looking for.

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