Do you believe that consumers are more educated now than they ever have been? Well, how much more inclined are you to buy a product or service after watching a video explaining it? I'm guessing about 64% (according to comScore, that's the average). Want to hear a little fact even crazier than that? YouTube has just surpassed Facebook and is now the largest social media site on earth as of last month.
Two more juicy tidbits-
700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter every minute.
500 years of YouTube videos are watched on Facebook every day.
There is nothing else to say here, everyone. Consumers know how to do their homework, and videos are helping businesses in their attempts at transparency toward the public. Are you looking to widen your company's exposure? Prove that your products are the real deal, and not just fluff? Can you think of anything more compelling than a medium that people watch literal years of each day? When people are shopping for a product or service, a short explainer video gives them the skinny on what to expect in the most effective and engaging way possible. They make shopping entertaining, educational, and customers feel more confident in their purchases, making them more likely to recommend to others or leave positive reviews for other self-educating consumers.
This is a huge marketing opportunity. People want to know more about what they're buyingbefore they buy it, but they aren't as apt to scroll through pages and pages of explanatory text. Exhaustive reading is rare, as outlined in the eyetracking studyperformed by the Nielsen Norman Group. I'd be pretty surprised if you've read this far, actually. If so, congratulations, and many thanks! I feel special.
I have to admit, I've always despised traditional advertising. The feeling of being pressured, hollered at, lied to, infuriated me (and still does today). I think the worst aspect, the thing that set me the most over the edge into Crazy Land, was the increase in volume during TV commercials. All of a sudden your speakers are exploding with the screams of people demanding that you buy, buy, buy this immediately! (I'm looking at you, car sellers.) With the evolution of the internet advertising, we're seeing a switchover from these maddening tactics to a level of transparency never seen before from businesses.
Society is as fast-paced as ever, and we're not as gullible in relation to old marketing ploys. Telemarketing, pop-ups, spam, fear tactics, creating false need, and half-truths in marketing are more likely to be your downfall now that people see right through these methods to what they are- plain old dirty tricks. Modern consumers inform themselves. They educate themselves. They do their homework and are drawn to the businesses that offer real information, products or services. By offering compelling video, they have the capability of making up their own mind about what they think of you, and more often than not, it leads to increased site traffic and higher ultimate sales.
Staying with the changes to remain relevant now, with absolute certainty, includes adding online video to your arsenal of marketing tools. By delivering better products and services (not just talking about how amazing they are, or force feeding them to the public with spam or cold calls), you are already doing the advertising. Consumers are more empowered and will figure out what's swill and what's sense. They can smell phony drivel from a mile away. It's time to take advantage of that self-education and become more transparent.
Big Merger Threatens Small Biz
Despite claims from those involved that customers will benefit from a Comcast-Time Warner merger, a freakishly high level of skepticism about these supposed benefits inundate the internet and social media. Here's a little insight into the dog and pony show of one of the biggest proposed mergers in US history.
Announced in February and currently awaiting regulatory approval, this $45 billion merger would unite the two largest cable operators in the United States. Comcast is colossal, with nearly 22 million cable subscribers and over 20 million broadband subscribers. Time Warner comes in number two with about 11 million cable and broadband subscribers, though this is clearly dwarfed by Comcast's Death Star proportions. United, they would provide about half of all cable and phone service in the United States.
The companies claim that the deal would give them more leverage in negotiations with entertainment companies, therefore keeping down programming costs, but most people don't consider this supposed benefit of great use compared to the problems both businesses have had over the years with customer service. A couple commendable examples: Comcast just won the ever-prestigious Worst Company in America "Golden Poo" award (Consumer Reports) for the second time, and has had audio of a particularly horrifying 8 minute phone recording of belligerent customer service go viral last week.
Customers are the heart and soul of any business, but as local cable service is solidly a monopoly in many areas, Comcast is not under much direct pressure to put the customer first. People everywhere are upsetabout their practices, going as far as to call it "nightmarish" and "Satanic." The complaints range all over the board from hidden, illegal fees to the notoriously popular "transfer hell"where you eventually are purposefully hung up on. With a Time Warner-Comcast merger, these problems are likely to get worse (Time Warner was a close runner-up for the Golden Poo), and leave customers even more enraged.
These big media mergers are a scary prospect for small businesses trying to be successful in the market, and threaten the longevity of local companies that are trying to compete. Comcast will be more able to bully content providers into favorable deals (helpful since they own NBC), slow down speeds and charge you extra to bring them up, raise prices where there is virtually no competition, and impact net neutrality like a one inch punch. The only possible Hail Mary to stop the merger at this point would be the Department of Justice or the FCC, which needs to approve the deal before August 25th (click the link to publicly comment to the FCC). Don't get too optimistic, though- one of the cable industry's old top lobbyists is the current FCC chairman.
Though this all may potentially bode badly for small business, it's important to remember the quality of service and product most of us provide in comparison to shoddy practices like these big guns. We need to try to disprove the "Golden Rule" (The One With the Gold, Rules) by continuing our tradition of trusted local services. If we keep on keeping on with our close attention to customer satisfaction and retention, we can hope that these best practices will rise to the top of the monopolistic muck once again and some day reign supreme.
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