We often write about a single piece of marketing communications on the BKW blog— like a video. Today though: an entire (whooah!) YouTube Channel. Adobe’s Marketing Cloud division (just today renamed Experience Cloud) makes business analytics software. Their channel has 10,000 subscribers and 385 videos with an aggregate view total of 5.5 million—although most of the views have come from a handful of the videos. The mix of video types is instructive. Adobe is onto something here that companies with various budget levels — and in various industry sectors — can and should borrow. (And, BTW, if you need help with your content mix strategy and/or creating content of these types, give BKW a shout.)
Here’s one of the ultra popular videos. It hits you with humor, not facts. In my experience, many companies are wary, at first, of creating videos like this. And they lose out on a powerful means to build awareness for their offerings, stand out from their competition and leverage viral sharing to spread their message in less expensive ways. When we look with clients at this kind of content in the broader context of a “content portfolio” companies start to see that it’s 1) OK to take a creative risk with “out there” videos and 2) they don’t have to cram every bit of information into every video. That’s what channels are for!
I have broken the channel’s videos down into two main categories: informational and transformational. This is classic marketing/advertising language you don’t hear all that much of these days. Informational marketing focuses on sharing facts and figures about product features. Transformational marketing is designed to create awareness for a brand and move people, be transcendent. It transforms people into ones who like, trust, are interested in, and want to work with a company. In funnel language, it’s very good “top of the funnel” or “TOFU” content. It draws people in.
Check out this diagram that breaks down Adobe’s YouTube channel. Click to enlarge if you need to.
The snakebite video is your classic piece of transformational content. It succeeds at being a memorable, shareable introduction to Adobe’s products. It focuses on people. It’s benefit-oriented without getting into the nitty-gritty of the product. A few more fantastic transformational attention-getting videos (BTW Adobe has just removed these from their channel—likely as part of today’s rebranding—) are available below.
We’ve all seen these “explainer” videos. They’re highly informational. They can be very useful for making potential customers feel smart and good. And they can save a salesperson a lot of time. Sales support videos go deep into the features and benefits of a product, and generally score lower on the entertainment scale. They are ideal for potential customers who’ve already been hooked by your transformational videos. Adobe make great use of these videos, by keeping them short, simple and to the point.
Informational and transformational content can take various forms:
By aligning itself with ideas that are larger than itself, and taking a leadership position, a company can often be seen as an industry leader. This helps inspire confidence in potential customers. Rather than use their own employees, a company can work with key figures at other globally recognized orgs to share their views, and subtly endorse their products—even if the endorsement is simply by being on the company’s YouTube channel. These videos are not overt advertisements, instead they set the company up as thought leaders and innovators within the industry.
But be careful who you align with. Ugh this guy is PAINFUL :- )
One of the most powerful types of videos is the third-party endorsement. Here an analyst or a customer talks about using a product. Customer videos are by far the better of the two. Companies often have to pay analysts for their involvement and that can come off as being less than 100% genuine. Customers can genuinely inspire other customers, and that’s a great thing.
The diversity of Adobe’s content is the point. Each of these pieces hits on one more steps of Adobe’s customer journey. Along the way they brand Adobe as smart, funny, and entertaining, as well as trustworthy, innovative, and strong. In a way, this is just another example of how diversity is the new sex: it sells 🙂
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My feeling is that Adobe, like most companies, is using YouTube as an “library”. Therefore the channel is nothing but tons of noise. And almost all of their videos get almost no views. They are spending lots of money to produce but not reaching their target audiences using the fabulous YouTube search system.
Agreed David. So many companies invest in the content and do little to attract viewers via smart search optimization or other more active means (paid and unpaid).