What should I avoid when making a marketing video?
Sometimes you watch a video and there’s something not quite right about it. You may not be able to put a finger on it, but you’re not thinking what you should be thinking after viewing a brand’s marketing video.
There are bad videos out there. Those are obvious. Perhaps it’s the acting, amateur camera movement or some bizarre mistake. But most videos, especially those made by a professional video production company, are not so obviously bad.
Then there are marketing videos that may not be terrible, but instead of wanting to learn more or act on a brand’s invitation, you’re distracted, or worse, the video disappears from your consciousness into total oblivion.
So what happened?
Not all marketing videos are perfect, but to achieve a level of success – mainly, inspire the viewer to take action – they should avoid a few simple things.
Avoid the (Unintended) Weird
A good video team, especially the director and producer, should be cognizant of what’s on screen. But sometimes, their eyeballs don’t catch everything. Maybe it’s because of tight deadlines or a type of tunnel-vision phenomenon that occurs when a production team is so focused on one thing, they fail to see things right next to it, but weirdness at times makes it on-screen. Just think about the inexplicable Game of Thrones coffee cup gaff.
Another example is an explainer video for a mobile app. In a scene where our hero flips through the app on his tablet, we get a good 20 seconds of his crotch right on center screen. This was an easy fix – tilt up about half an inch or punch it in during the edit – but not one of the many people who could have called this out seemed to catch it. The director, producer, editor, camera operator, director of photography…someone could have said something at some point, but it made it to final delivery.
So, unfortunately, unintended weirdness makes it on-screen and it often kills an otherwise good video.
Avoid the Fat
Most marketing videos are short. An explainer should be about 90 seconds long. A customer testimonial can be two to three minutes. A commercial much shorter: 15 to 30 seconds. So, there isn’t a lot of room for fat. That is, focus on things that you need to have, not what you want to have. And be very liberal with the knife – if it feels like fat, cut it.
During scripting, focus on one or two key messages. These messages shouldn’t be over-burdened. Again, the purpose of the video is not to provide every detail about your awesome product. It’s to get the viewer to act, which often is simply to get them to visit your website to learn more.
Avoid the Crappy Music
There is no excuse to have crappy background music on your marketing video. Stock music libraries – with thousands of tracks – dominate this industry and you can get a decent piece for a very low price. But time and again, we see strange music accompanying an otherwise solid video. Sometimes the explanation is that someone during the process wanted to get his or her aspiring musician friend, family or coworker involved. They compose a 1980s video game soundtrack and say it’s cool to be retro. But the product is a cutting edge new technology that will change everyone’s lives forever!
A more likely scenario is that the director, producer or client just picks the wrong song. Whatever the reason, a bad track will detract from the brand’s message.
Whether you’re creating a video yourself or reviewing the work of a video production company, make sure you avoid these very simple – but often missed – mistakes. Details matter and can often be the difference between success and oblivion.