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YouTube and Viral Marketing

YouTube captures the marketer’s imagination: a huge number of eyeballs, a perfect medium for communicating messages of any length, and a user base that is nanoseconds away from your store. Indeed, it is this last piece that makes it so compelling for direct marketers, where TV ads historically prove problematic to traditional catalogers.

But we live in a TIVO society. Businesses are being built around the desire of many to avoid advertisements. How do we get consumers to voluntarily watch a commercial?

Involvement is the critical piece.

One mechanism: Make it so funny that people pass it around to their friends, a la the Bud Light “Real Men of Genius” series, which have translated into hundreds of thousands of “free” impressions. However, this is a branding play, and as much as I enjoy the spot, I’m not sure it makes me any more likely to buy Bud Light.

1-800 Flowers is trying another approach. The idea? Have people send in their own “How we fell in love, story” for Valentines Day, the winning entries get a prize. The notion of creating an involvement mechanism is great, and I’m hoping that someone will be kind enough to share some insights as to how well this “worked” for them and what they learned from the experience.

We also believe that instructional videos will be a powerful medium for getting the message out to potential customers. Our friends at Crutchfield have put out shopping guides for HDTVs and Car Stereo installation guides. We think Zales could put out video guides for selecting the perfect engagement ring.

The potential for extracting value from this new medium is there. It will be fascinating to watch it evolve as we all try to figure out how to make it work for us.

Ideas welcomed!

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Comments
14 Responses to “YouTube and Viral Marketing”
  1. George, I think you are totally right about video. As I sit here in the hotel lobby after the Internet Retailer Search Design Conference (a surprisingly good show–and not just because Larry Becker and I were speakers), I am writing up a post-conference review to deliver to my senior management. Video has quickly become one of those web-site features retailers have begun talking about. However, the amazing challenge is producing video at a quality that is consistent with your brand image. And we all know, quality video production is not inexpensive.

    From Mayer Gniwisch’s Ice.com presentation: Low Budget Video = Low Budget Results.

  2. Great point, Glenn, and particularly for us direct marketers who are more comfortable playing with spreadsheets than looking at story boards this is really a new trick!

    I’m picturing a Wine Express video with someone discussing how to choose the perfect wine to compliment a meal… Now, if I only knew something about producing a video…:-)

  3. Geld Lenen says:

    In Holland we had several successes with virals on YouTube. One of the best and succesfull viral was about Piet Paulusma, try a search on it ;-)

    Several media claimed he really died because of this “accident”

  4. Geld,

    Thanks for sharing — that is priceless!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mL7SmT7JGWg

  5. Burt says:

    1-800-FLOWERS is one of my favorite stores for shopping for flowers and gifts with coupons.

  6. Which brings us to the topic of affiliate marketing…:-)

  7. Michelle says:

    I love the 1-800-Flowers.com contests! What a great idea for Valentines Day! Boys, take note, your girlfriends will love this, it is so special and romantic!

  8. Re: “I’m not sure it makes me any more likely to buy Bud Light.”

    Agreed. Me neither, probably. But let’s also be mindful of the fact that people reading social media marketing blogs might not be entirely within Budweiser’s core demographic?

    This is all still very hard to measure–but we can be pretty sure that recall of an ad is not the only way to measure its brand-building efficacy…

  9. dizi izle says:

    Cool! Thanks for the link. We try hard not to get too caught up in technologies and companies in our videos and focus on the higher level value and problem it solves. Maybe you noticed, but the acronym RSS hardly appears in the RSS video. I’m not sure there was ever a more confusing acronym on the Web.

  10. josh says:

    RSS Video is a great idea!!

  11. tv izle says:

    thanks for useful post :)

  12. dizi izle says:

    Thanks for sharing

  13. Chris Jensen says:

    Great information George!

    I have just started using video to enhance my marketing efforts. I hear that submitting video can really help if you are doing it right. Thanks for the great information!

    Chris Jensen

  14. Jerrrick says:

    yes i agree with it that youtube able to bring as viral marketing which low cost but high publicity.
    I love to use youtube and spread it up with social network . It able to work fast if your youtube is interesting.
    But remember they always a risk there because it will affect other people perception on your brand . But it a fast way to create awareness about your promotion and your brand name.