How to Use YouTube as a Marketing Tool

Marketing You Tube

There is no question about the importance of video as a key component of a marketing strategy.  We live in the age of the video-centric Web.


There are opportunities and dangers in using YouTube as a marketing tool.  First, it is important to understand the profile of the typical YouTube visitor. By looking at the most viewed videos, I think it is safe to assume most people spending time on YouTube are teens looking for entertainment – music videos, comedy or funny videos. This is not to say that is the only demographic using it.


The opportunity is to use YouTube as a distribution mechanism to fish for customers. The danger is in using it as your video platform. Let me explain:


There are a number of problems with embedding your own YouTube videos on your own Web site: Google may insert contextual advertising about your competitors and customers can click on the video to be taken to where they can get lost watching at Coke and Mentos videos, forgetting why they went to your site in the first place. In other words, you don’t control the experience. Any medium to large company probably is going to have to manage dozens or hundreds of videos, and you need a better way to manage those videos, to understand who and how they are viewed and to connect them with other resources on your site in a synergistic way.


You can’t do this with You Tube. You probably need a video platform that provides all these capabilities. You need to own your Video experience, because Video is as important as any content on your site.  This is why we built Vignette Video Services, to help companies who want to take control of their video strategy.  


The opportunity is to use YouTube as a channel to fish for customers. The ideal scenario is the opposite as what I described above: people go from YouTube to your site. Posting your content on YouTube to make it easy for people to find will probably increase your reach and viewership. What you need to accomplish is that at the end of the video customers don’t click on the funny video that Google is promoting but on your site because they need more information or they want to learn more.


At a minimum you should promote your site’s URL at the beginning and end of your video. you may want to create a series of videos and only make the first part of the series available on YouTube, customers would have to go to your site to get the rest of the story.


It is interesting that we live in the age of the video-centric Web, yet most of the industry is still learning how to use it. This tells me Video presents an opportunity to get ahead. It is an opportunity to build a strategy that gives you a competitive advantage.


The question is – what are you doing with Video?

How Apple Did It

When the iPhone was first announced, I remember exchanging many emails with industry colleagues -as many people did – speculating about the possibilities of Apple hitting the 10 million target that Steve Jobs set during the announcement.

Many emails were based on market research: how many people were buying phones at over $500 at the time, how big was the market for smartphones, etc. I was skeptical given the complexity of the software stack that powers a phone. Most of us had to eat our words.

How did Steve pull it off?

There are many answers: articles and surely books are being written about it. I found a key piece today while reading a new book “Do you matter? how great design will make people love your company“. In this book, the authors explain how apple and other leading companies are design-driven and how most other companies are metrics-driven.


As a marketer , many times I have had to justify my plans with market research: opportunity analysis, market sizing, CAGR (compound annual growth rate) numbers, etc. Most companies financial discipline require this type of financial justification based on hard data and require some kind of proof that an investment will yield results based on research, focus groups, etc.

Not at Apple. The key to design-driven companies is that they place significant value in customer experience. The company is aligned behind it. The problem with customer experience is that it is emotional, therefore not measurable. Steve Jobs has a knack for great design (in the broad sense of the word, meaning how to create products people love) and is able to pull it off because he runs the company and the board of director trusts his investments will pay off most of the time. Or at least he has a success ratio that allows the company to experiment.

If Steve had to justify the iPhone based on hard numbers, or if anyone at Motorola had envisioned the iPhone, they would have more than likely been shut down by senior managers because market research, hard data and market trends do not support the idea of a $600 first-generation smartphone selling 10 million units in the first 18 months.

Interestingly enough, Motorola actually came up with the idea of the iPhone: they went to Apple and had to convince Jobs it was a good idea based on the fact you don’t leave your house without three things: car keys, cell phone and wallet. Everything esle is secondary. But I digress.

If this is a topic you are interested in, I highly recommend the book. It is written by Robert Brunner and Stweart Emery. I am half-way though but it is well worth it already.

Fake Steve on Google

Fake Steve is Spot-on: “Another piece of food for thought. In all these years Google has spent millions, maybe billions, trying to create an Act II for the company, some way to go beyond search and advertising. They’ve done the classic Valley thing — hire nerds, turn them loose to dream up wacky ideas, put some of those ideas out into the market, throw them against the wall and see what sticks. Only, um, in their case so far nothing sticks. Nothing. Zilch. Nada. Sure the stock is at almost 700 bucks and the dopes on Wall Street are lapping it up but the truth is that out in the Valley people are starting to snicker.”


Get the rest here