Video is one of the hottest topics of conversation in your content studio, so of course it's a recurring theme on The E-Commerce Content Creation Podcast. That's why host Daniel Jester brought in Danny Rickard, Cella's digital media lead for video strategy, to take part in a thought exercise. Daniel also welcomed in his alter ego, Chief Moneybags, founder of Brand X, to chat with Rickard about the best ways to establish a video strategy for his hypothetical startup.
For the entire conversation between Danny, Daniel, and Mr. Moneybags, download this jam-packed episode of The E-Commerce Content Creation Podcast on Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website. For just a smattering of Danny's wisdom when it comes to video strategy, though, continue on.
'Strategy' Doesn't Have to be a Buzzword
"A lot of people that we talk with get freaked out about the word 'strategy' because they're not really sure what it means," Danny says. But it doesn't have to be vague. "Really, it's just thinking about where you want to go in a certain capability or with your in-house agency, and also fully understanding where you currently are, what your capabilities are, and what tier type of work you're producing right now."
To hear Danny describe it, setting your studio's video strategy is just a walk in the park.
"I was on a hike a couple months ago—and I hadn't gone on a hike in years, but I decided it's a nice day and wanted a hike by myself," he says. "I was just walking down the path. Then I was like, 'I don't really know where I'm going, but I want to hike the river. And I want to eventually get back to my car.' "
"And so just hiking down, I hit some dead ends, and that's what's going to happen in a strategy. You're going to start going down the path, and you're going to go down an offshoot that you think is a way to get to where you want to go, and you learn it's not. So you turn around and go back down a path, and it's about trying different things. It's about experimenting with different types of video, experimenting with different types of messaging. It's meant to be fun."
So there you go, Mr. Moneybags. Strategy isn't some cryptic concept. It's your Brand X team deciding where they want to go on the hike of video content.
Get out of the Thinking That Strategy Should be Static
Part of the fun in setting strategy is accepting that it's not a matter of succeeding or failing at some static goal. No, success for your studio may be a moving target, sliding with changes in the industry and the world.
"Business is moving so fast, everything's moving so fast," Danny says. "Consumers' minds are changing. Marketers' minds are changing. And it's OK to be like, 'You know what? I thought it was going to be this,' and then two months in, you're like, "Is this actually the way we should be going?' So it's ever changing, ever evolving. But the suggestion is just to start. Pick a point and start. Pay attention and learn."
Hear that, Chief Moneybags? There's no pressure to know everything before you set strategy for your video content, because strategy leaves room for new information, in part because the nature of the business is constantly moving.
Know Your Audience
Video is shot with the viewer in mind, of course, so audience insight is at the outset of a good video strategy. It's with that discovery phase completed that the creative team can then decide which type of video—informational, product, and so on—meets the nature of the audience and the channels they favor, Danny says. Your studio's project-to-project hiring will then happen more easily when you understand the flavor and channels for your videos, he points out.
Make sure that the people guiding your discovery phase know bigger definitely isn't better. Identify niche audiences and find micro-channels to meet them again and again on their buyer journey. "You have smaller touchpoints with your potential customer base," says Danny, and the good news is that "you're not going to blow your big shot with your one commercial that you spent your whole budget on."
Chief Moneybags needs to listen long before anyone sets direction for a campaign or picks up a camera. A good video strategy relies on its discovery findings.
Talk 'A/B'-out Testing in Effective Ways
The research-driven strategy Danny and Daniel promote is improved by continuous testing. But the strategy in your studio should make A/B testing less haphazard than it's been in many content studio environments. Communicate within your team about A/B testing so that the creative team is truly controlling other factors and isolating intended variables.
"I've worked at plenty of companies that do A/B testing—marketing people are well versed in it—but it's still one of those things we haven't tied back into creative production," Daniel says. "It's like marketing makes a request and doesn't tell you it's for an A/B test, but it ends up being for that. And as creative production in-house and those external relationships move towards a more strategic part of the business—as opposed to this transactional task-performer role it's been—have a better understanding of what constitutes a good A/B test, what you can learn from it, and how creative teams benefit from that data and experience."
It's good advice for Daniel to lend to his alter ego. To do A/B tests the correct way, creatives guiding the tested assets need to know that the test is happening so they can experiment effectively.
Tend to Customer Relationships Beyond Acquisition
Making sales is the name of the game in many studios. But to Danny, a good video strategy doesn't view purchasing as the end of the buyer journey.
"It doesn't stop there," he says. "We need to retain that customer and keep fanning that flame, and building that relationship stronger and stronger, so we're with them for life."
Video has the potential to engender loyalty and inspire an evangelist for Brand X, someone who will tell their community about the great line of products Chief Moneybags makes. But Brand X needs to continue to make positive impressions, long after the purchase. "It's like, we've got to keep dancing with them," Danny says. "We've got to keep embracing them and entertaining thema."
There's a lot of insight in this episode of the podcast. So if you want the full discussion, including tangents about the golden age of LED lighting and Daniel's confession of being a bag guy, stream this episode of The E-Commerce Content Creation Podcast on Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.