Starting With Why: Video Edition

“We need a video for our website” the client says to me. He smiles at me from across the table, his excitement is palpable. He’s the creative director and he’s flanked by two young marketing managers. We wait in a pregnant pause.

I know what comes next. I will ask the question that demands to be asked. I will suck the air out of the room. I will kill their dreams.

I make eye contact with the creative director – “Are you sure?”.

It might seem odd for a firm that sells video production and marketing services to pad the brakes on obvious momentum. But the reality is that in 2016 companies large and small are realizing that they need video in their marketing initiatives. And they do (and you do too) but…

You Want Video for the Wrong Reasons

With the rising number of mobile users and the incredible ROI from video marketing it’s not really a surprise. But what is surprising is how little thought goes into this “keeping up with the Jones’” approach to content creation.

Over the years we’ve had the opportunity to work with businesses in all shapes and sizes and across a wide range of sectors. And what we’ve found is that the companies that create truly compelling video content – the kind that demands action on behalf of the user- start with a single question and restlessly pursue an answer until a suitable answer is found.


Until you can unwaveringly answer the question, “Why do you want a video” there’s really no point in having one. See, video production – whether an animated explainer or live action production – is a labor intensive endeavor. It takes a lot of time and a team of ultra-specialized professionals to pull off a quality video production. Which means before you trod down the path to production there’s a tremendous advantage to knowing exactly “why” you need a video. Here’s an example.

A drycleaning service decides that they “need” a video for their website and when asked why they answer simply that “a video will bring in more revenue”. On the surface this sounds like a valid argument. But lets look closer at the business.

Upon closer inspection we learn three things. First, the business doesn’t have a particularly strong USP – unique selling prospective – so there’s no meaty hook to build off of. They follow basic dry cleaning practices and don’t necessarily employ cutting-edge technology. They’re not a “green” company per se. They’re not new to the neighborhood or opening up additional locations. And it’s not some innovative spin on dry cleaning. They’re the hardworking family on the corner who’s been running the cleaners for a decade.

Second, as it turns out most people who utilize a dry cleaner select a location convenient to their home or work. It’s rather uncommon for someone to drive across town for a cleaner – I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, but it’s certainly not the norm. This factors into determine if having video on the website will convert locals in their small community.

Third, and this one’s important. With the first two discoveries creating a shaky case for the “need” for video it’s important that we determine how many people might actually see the video. There are two ways that potential customers might see the piece – as a pre-roll ad on YouTube or on the website. Since our dry cleaner does not have a budget for YouTube marketing we’re going to rely on the views from the website. But the analytics reveal that most of their traffic is coming from Google local and not from their website.

Should this dry cleaner spend money producing custom video content for their website? Will it help them actually answer the bigger “why”? In this case, probably not. They’d be far better served buying an ad in area publications or joining the local chamber of commerce.

Who Should use Video Marketing?

Let’s say now that you’ve invested in revolutionary new machinery for your dry cleaning service. It’s an ultra-sonic noise emitter that totally cleans clothing by shaking dirt off with high powered sound waves. And it does it in seconds. No more dropping off clothes and picking them up later – no, your new equipment will literally dry clean clothes as you wait – in 5 mins or less. And it’s easier on garments so clothing lasts way longer and the process is totally green and uses a tenth of the energy of traditional dry cleaning. (BTW to my knowledge this machinery does not exist)


Since the technology is so new it’s likely that no one knows about it so customer education is important. In this case video might be a good way for you to carefully craft your narrative and tell the sales story one time – perfectly. You’d be able to share it with your audience, send it to local news outlets to generate attention, and put it on your website to differentiate your service.

You could create a video asset to highlight the environmental benefits of the machine and share that on social or with the same press junkets as before.

And don’t forget about your customers. Your new super fast, while-you-wait cleaning service is saving your clients a trip across town. Capitalizing on your customers’ excitement with testimonials for social media is another way that you can cash in with video.

Starting with Why

As Simon Sinek said in his namesake book starting with why as it pertains to if and how your brand should market with video will save you bundles of money if you decide against video marketing and will profoundly inform your messaging should you choose to dive into the lucrative waters of video marketing.

*Note. There are those flush-with-cash companies that simply want video because they want it and don’t care how much it costs. If that happens to be you or you represent a company like that then please feel free to reach out.

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