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Moving the Needle with Moving Pictures: How Internet Video Changed Marketing

Video promotion is a web marketer’s dream come true. It’s visually appealing, it draws the potential customer in, and it clearly communicates your marketing message in an exciting way. But the old ways of delivering these messages don’t really work anymore. Web users don’t respond to direct marketing requests (buy this, click on this, etc), or they simply become confused by subliminal marketing messages.

Cracking the video marketing code can transform your marketing strategy quickly. Fortunately, it doesn’t require a CIA-level encryption specialist to decipher. The idea is simple: today’s web users want to be entertained. So, how do you do that in a real, authentic way without sacrificing the credibility of your brand? Find your audience’s funny bone, and tickle it all the time.

The Nature of Viral Marketing

Businesses small and large come to marketing companies and say I want to make a viral video. This is an interesting sentiment since whether or not a video is viral is completely out of anyone’s control. The big idea behind a video going viral or not has to do with presentation. Are you telling an interesting story that connects with people on an emotional level? Or are you just blatantly displaying a marketing message that talks at your customers rather than to them?

Every Viral Marketer’s Secret Weapon: Be Hilarious!

Humor is at the core of every viral marketing campaign. Even if your business is seemingly boring to the general public, a hilarious video campaign can transform how people view your business. It’s funny how that works (no pun intended), potential customers will take you more seriously as you learn to laugh at yourself. Not convinced? Take Paycor for example. They are a human resources and payroll company. Through a recent viral campaign consisting of several silly videos, they were able to reach out to the web community in a new and meaningful way. One video the brand created was watched over 60,000 times in a single year.

It’s OK to Get Sentimental

Some companies shy away from sentimental videos, but they’re just as effective, if not more so, than funny videos. Why? It’s increasingly hard to argue with an emotional connection. Google has proved this method works time and time again with their promotional campaigns. In 2011, they launched a video to create awareness and buzz around Google Chrome. The video chronicled several email messages to a man’s daughter, Sophie, throughout the course of her life. To date, over 7.5 million people have watched the video.

Why Marketing Speak Doesn’t Work

Making a video talking up your product or service, and asking people to buy isn’t the most effective method of video marketing. Why? Because customers can go to your about page for that. Shoving marketing speak in your customer’s face demonstrates that you completely overlook their humanity. In and of itself, a well-produced, highly imaginative narrative video is your call to action. If your customers connect with your brand as a great storyteller, they will connect to your brand in other ways as well.

Conclusion: Why Narrative Viral Marketing Works

Everyone loves a good story, and every company has lots of stories to tell. This is at the core of every successful viral marketing campaign. At the end of the day, if your story is crafted well, it will cause viewers to hit the share button first, and ask questions later.

Felicia Baratz is a freelance writer, graphic designer and social media addict living in Indianapolis, IN. As a contributor to, Felicia discusses new, innovative technology and its relation to the business world and social media marketing.

Susan Guillory

Susan Guillory is the President of Egg Marketing & Communications, a content marketing firm based in San Diego. She’s written several business books, and frequently blogs about small business and marketing on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, and Cision. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.

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