As people and as brands, we all desperately want to be liked by everyone. It’s human nature. But when it comes to successful video marketing, you shouldn’t be afraid of being disliked every once in a while. That’s not to say that you should create content that offends people just to get the social media buzz. Well done video marketing content will be liked by the target audience and will elicit no reaction, or even sometimes confusion, from those outside that target audience.

When you create a video that’s well-targeted to your potential prospects, it contains messages that speak to that audience. You want your prospects to watch the video and feel seen. That can mean, especially in B2B marketing, that viewers outside that target audience will be confused. We’re here to reassure you: that’s ok! Don’t be afraid to speak directly to your prospects and ignore the general audiences.

Listen to the podcast or read the transcript below to learn more about:

  • Why hate can be one sign of a well-made video
  • How to determine who you need to like your video, and whose opinion you can ignore
  • Why you should never show a video to your mother-in-law cold and expect her to love it

Key quotes

“But a lot of times our clients are just concerned that it won’t be popular to everyone, right? And what that causes us to do is cater to a general audience. And once you start catering to a general audience, you are now just white noise. So the fear of not being popular to everyone or some people not liking the video is actually the enemy of a properly targeted, clear message.”

Guy Bauer

“When you show a video to someone who is outside the target audience, they might be confused by it. And they will react with confusion and say that they don’t like it, but it’s only because it’s not supposed to be speaking to them.”

Hope Morley

“You can’t be afraid to alienate some people because at the end of the day, you need that self-selection. It’s going to save you time in the long run. If they can watch it and say, this is not for me, you don’t end up with a Miss Crab Apple letter, because they already know this is just not a good fit. You shouldn’t be afraid of alienating people. It’s actually saving you time in the sales process.”

Tory Merritt

“The biggest scare factor for folks is, “I’ve invested in this video. It needs to be good. I need to get as much as I can.” Getting as much as you can may be the center of the bulls-eye, not the outside. Awareness is only relevant if the people that you need to be aware are aware. It’s not just general awareness, it’s your target audience’s awareness so that you can bring them down the funnel.”

Tory Merritt

Resources, videos, and other stuff we talked about

Tory’s audience persona worksheet

download a free audience persona worksheet from umault

You can listen to the episode using the player embedded above, or you can read a full transcript below.

Episode transcript

Hope Morley:
Welcome to So You Need a Video. The only podcast…

Guy Bauer:
That we know of-

Hope Morley:
About simplifying your brand sales message with video. I’m Hope Morley.

Tory Merritt:
I’m Tory Merritt.

Guy Bauer:
I’m Guy Bauer.

Hope Morley:
And today, we’re talking about a topic that’s actually near and dear to Guy’s heart. We talk about this a lot with our clients. We’re talking about why it doesn’t matter if some people hate the video that you make.

Guy Bauer:
Including your own parents.

Tory Merritt:
Have you made a lot of videos that your parents hate?

Hope Morley:
This is not a therapy session.

Guy Bauer:
No? Come on. Actually, what’s funny, most of the time on our Facebook channel, we post our work, but sometimes we post other agencies’ work. So I posted another agency’s work, and my dad commented, “This is the best thing you’ve ever done, ever.” I’m like, “Oh, God.”

Tory Merritt:
I’m just going to go home.

Guy Bauer:
Yeah.

Hope Morley:
So now that this did become therapy, all right.

Guy Bauer:
So anyway, the first question we must ask ourselves, if people hate our video, is first of all, does anyone really hate anything anymore?

Tory Merritt:
Or everything.

Guy Bauer:
And so, what is the question we’re really asking? What are we afraid of? Are we afraid of that some people won’t like the video, right?

Hope Morley:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Guy Bauer:
Some people will go, “Oh, I don’t like this video.” Let’s be clear. No one writes angry letters. Your customer service department will not be inundated with letters, “How dare you make this video,” unless your video is-

Tory Merritt:
I’m just giving him the eyes over here.

Guy Bauer:
Obscene or something.

Tory Merritt:
Or racist.

Guy Bauer:
Yeah. Don’t make those videos.

Hope Morley:
We’re assuming, base assumption, that your video is not offensive to a group of people.

Guy Bauer:
Correct.

Tory Merritt:
At its core.

Guy Bauer:
At its core, it’s not obscene. But a lot of times our clients are just concerned that it won’t be popular to everyone, right? And what that causes us to do is start to cater to a general audience. And once you start catering to a general audience, you are now just white noise. So the fear of not being popular to everyone or some people not liking the video is actually the enemy of a properly targeted, clear message. Do you all agree with that?

Tory Merritt:
It’s very Hamilton, right?

Hope Morley:
And we started out by saying you shouldn’t care if people hate your video. And hate is a strong term, because people aren’t going to hate your video. I think the fear that our clients really have deep down inside is that people will be confused by the video or they’ll just feel neutral about it, right?

Tory Merritt:
Nothing.

Hope Morley:
It’s going to be nothing to them. And when you show a video to someone who is outside the target audience, they might be confused by it. And they will react with confusion and say that they don’t like it, but it’s only because it’s not supposed to be speaking to them.

Guy Bauer:
Correct. Okay. Let’s assume people do hate your video, right? You got to ask yourself, do I care that they hate the video? Are these my most valuable customers? If the answer is yes, they are my most valuable customers, then you do have a problem, because you don’t want your most valuable customers to hate your video. But if they’re not, if they’re just like you said, Hope, just people or the spouses of your staffers and they don’t like it, that’s kind of irrelevant. You shouldn’t let that cloud your judgment, because what ends up happening is in your pursuit to appease all people that are giving notes, right, that are, “I don’t like this. I don’t like this.” Really what you’re doing is you’re taking out anything that was polarizing and you’re just squashing it down to a nice general audience. And we’ve all seen these videos. They’re just-

Tory Merritt:
But you don’t remember any of them.

Guy Bauer:
Yeah. Banal, and just bland and yeah. Not memorable at all.

Hope Morley:
And it becomes the camel, right? It’s a horse made by a committee. Like you start with something beautiful. And when people get to put in everything that they think that they want, you end up with a camel.

Guy Bauer:
Mm-hmm (affirmative), yeah. So it’s the fear of being rejected by some that drives us to appease most, but that’s really not good marketing. Really good marketing is saying, I’m going to talk to my target audience and I don’t care if you get offended, because you’re not my target audience. For example, Herb Kelleher, famous CEO of Southwest Airlines, used to get all these-

Tory Merritt:
RIP.

Guy Bauer:
Yeah. Yeah. RIP indeed. He used to get all these… No, that wasn’t sarcastic. I love this guy. He used to get emails from this woman complaining about Southwest Airlines’ business model. You don’t have assigned seating. I don’t like the way you board. I don’t like this. I don’t like that. And he replied to her, just said, Dear Miss Crab Apple, we will miss you. Love, Herb. And it’s kind of like, that’s exactly right. The way Herb Keller saw it was, if you don’t like us, I don’t necessarily care.

Hope Morley:
Fly American.

Guy Bauer:
Right. Just fly someone else. But that’s so counterintuitive. We want to be popular to all, but it’s just not realistic.

Tory Merritt:
Well, I talk about that a little bit in a recruiting video blog, which is you can’t be afraid to alienate some people because at the end of the day, you need that self-selection. It’s going to save you time in the long run. If they can watch it and say, this is not for me, you don’t end up with a Miss Crab Apple letter, because they already know this is just not a good fit. I’ll fly someone else. You shouldn’t be afraid of alienating people. It’s actually saving you time in the sales process.

Hope Morley:
It’s a filter.

Tory Merritt:
Correct.

Guy Bauer:
Because eventually the truth will come out about your brand, through the person’s experience and interaction with it. And then it’s too late, because now once they’ve paid money, it’s not about them being mad at a video. It’s them being mad about your actual brand because the video misled them.

Hope Morley:
Because that’s assuming your video and your marketing should be an accurate representation of your company and your brand. If it is and people don’t like it, that means they probably don’t like your company and they can go work with somebody else.

Tory Merritt:
Which you’d find out anyway. Again, it’s just like, figure it out at the beginning versus letting someone be sorely disappointed throughout their customer experience. And then I do think their words have a lot more fire power behind them when they go to social media, because they feel they’ve been bait and switched versus just, “Hey, this isn’t for me. I’m going to move along.”

Guy Bauer:
Correct. I think you’re right, like dishonesty is a bigger no-no than just radical transparency or whatever they’re calling it now.

Tory Merritt:
Well then you can blame it on you, right? Because you have been dishonest, versus straight up just being like, “Hey, this is what we’re about. If you’re not into it, we wish you the best of luck. If you are, here’s more information.”

Guy Bauer:
The other thing is being hated. So let’s say you do make a video that’s hated by some. That’s actually a good sign because it means your video is polarizing enough to be hated.

Hope Morley:
And people care enough to have a reaction.

Guy Bauer:
Correct. There was a video I was watching yesterday, ah darn. I forget what it was, but it was a really popular video that I love. It’s hilarious. And I looked at, on YouTube, the thumbs up and thumbs down. They were almost equal. It had 7,000 thumbs up and 5,000 thumbs down, which means that as much as I love this video, there’s like 5,000 people, almost 50/50, that hate it enough to-

Hope Morley:
That cared enough to dislike it-

Guy Bauer:
To dislike it, which means the video was powerful. No matter which way you slice it, the video actually said something. And it said something enough for people to not like it. You guys see the Private Parts movie, Howard Stern, they start talking about-

Hope Morley:
Many years ago.

Guy Bauer:
There’s a scene where the station manager wants Howard gone, because he’s very controversial. They’re like, “What’s the average time a listener spends who loves Howard Stern? The average time is an hour and a half.” And he’s like, “What’s the average time for someone that hates Howard Stern? Average listening time for someone that hates Howard Stern is three hours.”

Tory Merritt:
So they took more to-

Hope Morley:
To hate listen.

Guy Bauer:
They want to see what he’s going to say next.

Tory Merritt:
Those are like the best elections, right? Are the elections where both sides have people that are very passionate. The elections that are boring are the ones where everybody knows who’s going to win, and there’s not a lot of emotion, there’s not a lot of passion, because it just is what it is. Versus the reactions and the support that you get when you’ve got two candidates that people are very passionate about.

Guy Bauer:
They say when you fight with someone that is actually a form and a sign of intimacy, because if you’re not engaged enough to fight-

Hope Morley:
It means you care.

Guy Bauer:
Yeah. So if you get thumbs down on your video, right? To me that’s the worst thing. I want everyone to like it. First of all, come on. This is the real world. Second of all, again, just like that great video I referenced, it’s enough people-

Hope Morley:
Whatever it may be.

Guy Bauer:
I forget what it is. It’s hilarious. It’s actually a form of engagement to hit that thumbs down or think about it or leave a comment. One time on Quora, I said something that was pretty controversial. And a guy responded, “You don’t know what you’re talking about.” And I responded back with my logic, and then he responded back. And then guess what happened along the way. People were liking and, I don’t think anyone shared, but there was lots of engagement and fluttering around.

Hope Morley:
That’s what people come to Quora for. They want to see that conversation.

Guy Bauer:
Correct.

Tory Merritt:
The only time you post is when you actually care. I very rarely… If something’s really stupid, I just don’t even bother posting. If something really upsets me, I will post, or something just really inspires me, I will post. So I was watching an episode of You, and it’s the only time I’ve ever seen a character with my chronic disease. And they feature her in such a bad way. She’s just this whiny person constantly complaining about what she can’t eat and how much pain she’s in, and she’s this horrible, manipulative character. And I’m like, “You guys are killing me. The only time we ever see someone with IC…” And she’s this horrible character, but I remember the show. I remember the episode, and I remember the note that I sent, because as much as it was polarizing, and still, I think it wasn’t the right way of doing it, I 100% remember everything about it.

Guy Bauer:
Yeah. So don’t be afraid, stand for something. Just like this podcast. We were advised, go on the record. And that may be scary because some people may think you’re an idiot, but there’s also a bunch of other people who don’t think you’re an idiot.

Tory Merritt:
And if you’ve got nothing to say, then you don’t need a podcast. Right?

Guy Bauer:
That’s right. So yeah, don’t be afraid of people hating your video. Again, they’re not going to like write you an email or whatever.

Tory Merritt:
And you risk not having people love your video if you don’t make it about anything. It’s the reward that you’re missing at the same time. By giving up taking the risk, you don’t get the reward either.

Hope Morley:
So the biggest thing to find who you want to love your video, to watch your video, is to have the appropriate target audience. So how can people find that?

Tory Merritt:
I’m all about the research over here, but I think if you haven’t been able to dig into any kind of primary research on your brand, that’s the first step to figuring out your target audience. And we’ve talked about, you don’t need to spend a bunch of money to do this. There’s lots of affordable services that you can use. Google does a great job of working with people to help find the audiences that they need to talk to.

Tory Merritt:
There’s some panels, I’ve worked with Ipsos panels in the past. But figuring out who it is you need to talk to, will help you design the right messaging. Just guessing, or just, we’ll just do everybody. I’ve been in a lot of strategy briefs where it’s like, “Hey, let’s just keep it wide. I don’t want to make it too narrow.” Or, “There’s only 10,000 people in that small subset.” Yeah, but if you can hit with that message right in the center of that bullseye, those are the people you need to talk to you anyway.

Tory Merritt:
So if it’s only 10,000 people, but you can keep your cost per sale down and each deal is worth $15 million potentially, it doesn’t matter that you only hit however many of them, five or 10, as opposed to if you’re selling a product. It really is, I think, the clients that we work with, their products and services are more expensive. It’s more B2B. If you’ve got commodities, I think this message and the way you approach a target audience is a little bit different. I think you have a wider net in terms of the folks we usually work with. Center of the bulls-eye is okay if you can hit it.

Guy Bauer:
Yeah. And Hope, you could probably post this in the show notes, but Tory made an audience persona tool that you can download from our website. Because really that’s the key, is take out that worksheet, fill it out and now just talk to that person. But what if they’re in a different industry? It doesn’t matter. People are smart enough to transpose, right? So talk to one person, talk to that person that’s in that audience persona worksheet. And just every creative decision you make, every decision based around the video, would this person like it? If the answer is yes, do it. Even if it may upset or potentially be something that another group of people adamantly disagree with, it doesn’t matter. You’re serving your most valuable customer, your target persona.

Tory Merritt:
We made a video not too long ago, but the goal of it was actually not to strike fear, but to create a sense of urgency for people to get on their planning for when they’re no longer on this earth. And that’s a scary thing to think about. People don’t want to think, we don’t like to think about our own mortality. We don’t like to think about the fact that we’re going to die. But in order to… This is part of their business is helping people set those that they love up later in life with resources. So how do you make a video that, if you don’t talk about what the actual issue is, you don’t drive that urgency. The video is not successful. So your option is to find a way to drive the urgency to talk about or insinuate, hey, we’re all going to die.

Tory Merritt:
It’s not sexy, it’s not exciting. But it has to be done right. And there’s going to be people that they watch that video and it actually upsets them a little bit. But does it drive the action at the end of the day that you need to drive? And I think in the case of this video, it did, even though thinking about your own mortality sucks.

Hope Morley:
And that’s why we would always encourage any of our clients, Once you put all this work in, so you’ve determined your audience persona, you figure out who you’re reaching out to, and find this message that you think is going to work, even if it’s a little bit controversial. When you’re sharing a video for feedback with other people on your team or within your company, make sure they know that. Because we’ve had clients before, and I’ve heard this from other marketing people, that then you start getting all this feedback that’s not relevant, and people want to dilute down the message. Where they’re like, “Why aren’t we talking to this industry in this video,” or, “Why aren’t we talking to that audience?”

Hope Morley:
No, this marketing campaign is just talking to these people. That’s what this is for. Let’s focus that feedback on this video for that specific target audience and strategy.

Tory Merritt:
It needs context when you’re sharing it.

Guy Bauer:
Yeah. I used to do that a lot to my marketing friends that worked at agencies. And I would send them over a video and go, “Hey, is this good?” And the good ones would respond back, “I don’t know.”

Hope Morley:
I can’t answer that question.

Tory Merritt:
Yeah, What are you trying to accomplish?

Guy Bauer:
Exactly, and so a lot of times, yeah, if you share it with someone’s husband who’s a totally different industry judging it compared to Stranger Things or whatever, you know what I mean? And no context-

Tory Merritt:
Different purposes.

Guy Bauer:
Yeah, yeah, and so I don’t care about his thoughts on the video. I really don’t.

Tory Merritt:
In terms of, yeah, being able to deduce if it’s relevant or if it’s going to be effective. And you need to be talking to the person, a person that you’re trying to move with video.

Guy Bauer:
Yeah, in the end it’s a theme of our podcast, which is like… I remember that session me and you were in, but our whole ethos is no risk, no reward. In the end, all of these videos are big risks, but your biggest risk is speaking to everybody, because you speak to no one.

Tory Merritt:
And all that money that you have put in, I think that’s the biggest scare factor for folks is, “I’ve invested in this video. It needs to be good. I need to get as much as I can.” Getting as much as you can may be the center of the bulls-eye, not the outside. Because we talk about awareness a lot, and everyone talks about awareness. Awareness is only relevant if the people that you need to be aware are aware.

Tory Merritt:
It’s not just general awareness, it’s your target audience’s awareness so that you can bring them down the funnel.

Guy Bauer:
Yeah. But if you just want general awareness, just stand outside of a train station with a sign that says, “I do this.” You’ll get so many more impressions than making a targeted video. But it’s, what are the values of those impressions? It’s zero.

Tory Merritt:
Yeah. That’s the transformation I think we’ve seen in out of home as well. Out of home used to just be, “Hey, there’s a big billboard, make sure my logo is big enough and it says McDonald’s.” But then that’s just transforming to, “McDonald’s, exit whatever,” and finding ways to get a call to action in there. And now we’re capable of being able with the programming of the billboard, you know who’s coming through at what times and you can change the messages to hit the right people.

Tory Merritt:
It’s a great example of how we used to think that just general awareness is what we needed. And now it’s how can I get people down the funnel as quickly as possible and that’s hyper targeting.

Hope Morley:
So thanks for listening to this episode. I think to wrap it all up-

Guy Bauer:
The key takeaways.

Hope Morley:
The key takeaway is that it doesn’t matter if some people hate your video, if they are outside your target audience. You need to create a marketing message and a video that really focuses on and appeals to someone who’s in your target audience. And they’re the ones you’re really going to convert with that marketing message. If there’s someone outside your target audience who doesn’t like the video or they’re confused by the video, who cares? You weren’t talking to them anyway.

Guy Bauer:
Mm-hmm, yeah. And people not liking your video is a sign of success. It’s a sign that it’s polarizing, that it’s powerful enough to make people not happy with it. And again, if they’re outside your target audience, who cares?

Hope Morley:
Thanks for listening today to So You Need a Video. For more information to links to some of the things that we talked about in this episode, you can visit our website at umault.com. That’s U-M-A-U-L-T.com. And if you like what you heard, please subscribe, leave us a review on your favorite podcast app, and we’ll talk to you again soon. Thanks Tory and Guy.

Tory Merritt:
Our pleasure.

Guy Bauer:
Any time.