Let’s talk video marketing budgets. When it comes to developing a video for your organization, there’s a lot of information out there. People telling you that you need to spend a lot to make your mark. People telling you to spend only a little. People telling you to DIY it.

2019’s CMO Survey finds that marketing budget growth has slowed and is at its lowest level in three years.

While the facts and figures on marketing budgets and spend matter, the efficiency of your spend can matter just as much.

At Umault, we’ve worked with organizations looking to make a mark on their complex industry, using video to develop awareness and trust around their brand, and increase sales of their products and services. While the dollar figure you spend on your video matters, here are 5 steps for making sure you are squeezing the most value out of every dollar.

1. Define and align your video goals, objectives, and key stakeholders up front 

Understanding what you are trying to accomplish is paramount to being able to accomplish it. How can you get to your destination if you don’t even know where you want to go? Or when you need to be there?

Being able to clearly define your organization’s strengths and opportunities, identifying who you currently talk to and who you want to talk to, and being aligned internally on your organization’s messaging goals will set you up for success from the start.

Your organization may already have an overarching brand strategy and messaging hierarchy. Now is the time to leverage those existing communication guidelines as your foundation for this video or video campaign. Do you want to speak to all of your target segments? Or a select few? Are you trying to raise brand awareness (the top of your sales funnel) or do you want them to purchase a specific product or service (middle to bottom of sales funnel)?

Even if you don’t have an existing brand or communications strategy – take the time to work with your colleagues and understand who you want to talk to and what you want them to do. It lays a strong foundation of inclusion for your team and helps clear the way for approvals when you need them in a crunch. It gives you a north star for future work and gives you a mission and a vision to align everything – and everyone – to. This is especially important when the big decisions require you to take action quickly.

At Umault, we work with our clients to complete a questionnaire that asks the tough questions. Questions like, “What does your target audience currently think of you?”, “Do you have gaps in your service or product offerings that your target audience is seeking?”, and “How do we want our target to feel after viewing this video?” These questions help get everyone aligned on those key inputs before we begin to develop our strategic framework or creative concepts. We’ve found this to be a great opportunity for our clients to sit down in a room together, complete the questionnaire as a group, and get excited for what’s to come! You’re taking a brave step in making a video (or videos) that works! Do it the right way from the start.

2. Identify your in-market timing

Before creating a video, know when the video needs to be in-market or distributed within your organization.

At Umault, we develop custom creative to be the very best approach to solving our clients’ specific challenges. That includes keeping in mind how much time we have to get the video done and out into the world.

A detail-focused, complex product launch video that gets to market four months after your product launches can cause your ROI to take a hit.

Keep timing in mind as you are working through your yearly and quarterly planning cycles and start work earlier than you think you need to. Our process to complete a video from start to finish is 14 to 16 weeks. And that’s after you’ve made the decision  with your internal team. If you need a video in the next 6 months, start planning now!

3. Solidify KPIs and define your video marketing budget

The video budgeting process can be tricky. Prices are so variable based on the goals, the timing, the creative needs, the execution, and the support and distribution of the video. It’s hard to know how much to spend.

Identifying the value of a successful video can serve as a benchmark when evaluating the costs for development. How much are the successful results of this video worth? And how do you plan to measure success? Higher brand awareness numbers? Category sales lift? Annual revenues? Increases in social media engagement?

If this video could lift your annual sales by 5%, how much is that worth to your organization? For most companies, that accomplishment represents millions of dollars. Defining your KPIs allows you to better visualize how much to spend.

Engaging an expert firm or two (or three) with reputations for delivering results can also help equip you with a budgeting range for achieving your video goals. Working day-in and day-out in the video marketing business allows us to tell you how much it will cost to accomplish what you’re looking to accomplish. And sometimes, it’s less than you think. A firm worth their salt can help you find smart ways to accomplish the look and feel of say, a spaceship, without needing to engage NASA. We work smart.

4. Trust the research and strategic framework process

Once your team is aligned with the goals and objectives, it’s time to develop a strategy to accomplish them. In travel terms, you’ve got your destination selected, now it’s time to find the best way to get there.

When you need to get somewhere new quickly and safely, do you just jump in the car or public transit and wing it? Or do you plan a course before you leave so that you know exactly how you’re getting there and when you can expect to arrive? Well, if you’re in a hurry, you probably don’t jump on public transit at all – but you get my point.

Making a video requires the same mindset. Maybe you’ve gotten lucky in the past and ended up exactly where you intended to be by winging it. But you know it wasn’t a consistent, sustainable way to do it.

Developing a strategic framework for your video creates assurance that this video is based on more than subjective preferences or feelings.

It’s important to ask probing questions like:

    • How does my target audience feel about my industry?
    • Do they know who I am or do they know about my product?
    • What do they think about me?
    • What do they think about my competitors?
    • How do they best receive information?
    • What factors influence their decision-making process?
    • What keeps them from choosing you?
    • Why do they choose your competitors?

Understanding your audience allows you to carefully craft messaging that relates to them. Demonstrating empathy shows you listen to your audience and you “get it.” And “getting it” leads to trust and sales (for more info about using empathy in the workplace, check out this article). According to SurveyMonkey’s 2018 consumer survey, brand trust influenced 92% of Americans’ big buying decisions.

Take the time to understand your audience, show them you truly “get it,” and enjoy the rewards.

5. Be engaged in the process from start to finish

Creating a great video is hard work. It requires planning, collaboration, attention to detail, and many times, compromise. Mixed in with all of your other day-to-day work and responsibilities it can be downright exhausting.

When you’re working through the video creation process, remind yourself that each step builds on the one before it. They all matter. When your team or your external firm asks you to review something, do your best to set aside the time to review it and take notes. Set-up check-ins with your key stakeholders, even when they say they are too busy. The biggest inefficiencies we see for our clients come when their key stakeholders don’t truly review things and then feel surprised when they receive a first draft that doesn’t align with the expectations they had set in their head. As an expert firm, we want to hear your feedback at each stage of the process. We want to know what you’re thinking, what you’re expecting. This communication is crucial in creating a video that delivers. That’s everyone’s ultimate goal. Do your best to stay engaged and remind your stakeholders to do the same.

So where does this leave us? I didn’t provide you with a dollar amount you should spend on your video, or tell you what kind of video to make. What I have done (hopefully) is provide you with 5 helpful ways to cut down on the chaos of the planning, development, and execution process and empower you to lay the groundwork for creating your next awesome video.

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