Ten Things to Ask Before Hiring a Video Marketing Service Provider

More and more companies are jumping on the video marketing bandwagon every day.

Lured by dropping prices, exploding bandwidth, and video’s unique way of bringing brand stories to life, video marketing is now generally recognized as a “must have” for many marketing departments.

If you are among the many marketers opting to add video to your marketing mix, you will eventually have to decide how best to execute on your plans.

Many marketing departments are opting to manage both the marketing and video production sides of their programs themselves.

If you already have a strong general marketing platform in place, it’s now possible, with some minor investments in technology and talent, to create your own videos.

On the other hand, if you lack either the ability or inclination to take on either or both the marketing and the video production aspects of the process yourself, you will have to find a video marketing company to support you.

What Kind of Video Marketing Service Provider Do You Need?

Video Marketing ServiceTo answer this question, you’ll have to have a pretty good idea of your capabilities, or lack thereof, for managing every aspect of the video marketing process, which includes the following:

Strategy: How will video be incorporated into your existing marketing mix, to drive leads, speed opportunities through the sales pipeline, and turn them into customers? Video marketing strategy requires a thorough understanding of the of the full range of digital marketing practices.

Pre-Production: Once a strategy is set, you will need to assemble and coordinate the people, technology and processes required to produce and promote your videos. This requires an understanding of both the marketing and video production processes, from scripting, talent selection and scheduling, to equipment selection, product messaging, and promotion options.

Production: With all the components assembled, this phase of the process deals with the actual shooting of the video. You’ll need video and audio technical chops, good equipment, and efficient production practices for this.

Post-Production: This phase is all about editing. How do you turn the various clips, artwork, animation, music and audio into a coherent story that illuminates your messaging and meets all of the requirements set forth in the strategy phase.

Promotion: With a completed video in hand, you’ll now have to turn your attention to the equally important business of getting that content in front of the right audiences. You’ll need to execute on web, email, mobile and social campaigns to achieve desired results.

Some of these stages require more marketing skills, while others require more video production skills.

All of them requires some understanding of the entire video marketing process, and how one phase affects all the other phases that precede and follow it.

So, conduct an honest audit of your capability, capacity and inclination to take on these different phases of the process.

If you’re up for managing everything from soup to nuts, proceed. If, like most marketing organizations, you need a little help, start looking for a video marketing service provider who can shore up your weaknesses, as appropriate.

Three Different Kinds of Video Marketing Services Providers

As you begin your quest, keep in mind that there are generally three different types of video marketing services providers: full-service marketing agencies, studios, and video marketing agencies.

Video Marketing Services

What follows is a broad characterization of the pros and cons of working with each.

Keep in mind that there are exceptions that prove the rule for each of these categories, so we’ll be providing guidance later on to help you ask the questions that will help you identify the right provider.

Full-service marketing agencies are a great choice for organizations that want to outsource the entire process. They tend to be strong on strategy and promotion, but often require the help of studios to shoot the videos they recommend to you.

Studios create magic with video. A good studio, and there are many, will be creative, responsive and affordable. However, they tend to be short on marketing capabilities.

They’re a great choice for strong marketing organizations that need help principally with the video production phases of the video marketing process.

Video marketing agencies often provide the best of both worlds, up to a certain point. They typically handle the entire video marketing process, but may defer to either a full-service agency or a studio if requirements dictate.

For example, many video marketing agencies are comfortable with a level of video production that covers the clear majority of video marketing needs, but will defer to a studio if you ask them to produce a Super Bowl ad.

Similarly, if you’re running a series of videos in support of a multi-national advertising campaign, the video marketing agency may defer to a full-service agency.

The trick is to know your own requirements, limitations, and budget, and then find a service provider who is right for you.

The Ten Questions to Ask Your Video Marketing Company Before Hiring

Here are the ten questions we recommend you ask prospective video marketing providers before engaging them.

Keep in mind that these questions are designed to help you find providers to assist you with an ongoing, video marketing program. The requirements for a single video provider are much less involved.

  1. What is your level of expertise and experience with video marketing? (Provide a list of capabilities, the number of video marketing projects you manage each year, and samples of past campaigns to support your answer.)
  2. What experience do you have supporting video marketing campaigns in our industry?
  3. How much of the video marketing process do you conduct/produce in-house, and what parts of the process to you rely on subcontractors to provide?
  4. Of the entire video marketing process (i.e., strategy, pre-production, production, post-production, and promotion), where are you the strongest, and where are you the weakest?
  5. What types of video marketing projects do you take on most often? (Be sure to look for answers that involve real video marketing projects, not video projects that lack a serious marketing component.)
  6. Are there any marketing projects for which you don’t think video is especially helpful? (Of course, there are many. For example, video isn’t especially good at communicating complex financial or other analytical information. Beware of answers that cast video as the be-all/end-all solution.)
  7. Is there a video marketing project you would turn down, because of requirements you can’t support? (Look for honest answers here about capabilities.)
  8. In your estimation, what are the video marketing metrics that you believe are most important for analyzing the success of a video marketing campaign? (Beware of any answer here that doesn’t emphasize conversion rates, and other metrics surrounding the process of turning prospects into customers.)
  9. Are you willing to enter into a flexible agreement, to support us as we grow our video marketing program, build in-house capabilities, and take on more of the process ourselves? (As video production prices continue to fall, more and more organizations find it cost-effective to have at least some in-house video marketing and production capabilities.)
  10. Where do you believe the future of video marketing to be going? (There are no right or wrong answers here, but you’ll want to look for a level of excitement for the future of video marketing.)

There are certainly many more questions you may wish to ask of potential video marketing services providers, but these should get you started in finding a provider that can provide you the support you need, based on your requirement and your own capability and inclination to manage the whole process yourself.

So, before you go shopping for provider, be sure that you’ve taken the time to understand what you’re getting yourself into.

With a firm understanding of your needs and capabilities, you’re much more likely to find the support you need, from one or more providers who are best suited for helping you.