16 July 2015

Military Marketing: Video Campaigns

David Yoo, RallyPoint Civilian Careers.

Video Content Marketing to Veterans

Video Campaigns: A Vital Component of Content Marketing 

It is said that viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when reading the same information presented in text. A report released by Cisco 2 years ago also estimated that video will comprise 69 percent of all consumer online traffic by 2017. That means that over two-thirds of the world's mobile data traffic will be coming in the form of video.

What does this mean for businesses, companies, and governments? It means that using video as a means to communicate with the everyday consumer is becoming a necessary channel. Using video marketing is, as we mentioned in our previous post on content marketing, only one part of a multifaceted strategy to attract viewers and prospective customers.

Members of the military and former military comprise of a highly specific demographic. 

The U.S. veteran population represent a large portion of the US population. 

The extended veteran population is comprised of:

  • 23 million veterans 
  • 20 million spouses 
  • 45 million siblings 
  • 55 million children  

Particularly, according to the VA, post-9/11 veterans "attain 11% higher median earnings than non-veterans with similar demographic characteristics." 

The current extended military population is comprised of:
  • 1.4 million active duty members
  • 1.1 million spouses 
  • 1.3 million members of the National Guard and Reserves 
Active members usually receive a greater and more stable source of disposable income immune to economic frictions. 

With numbers and details like those presented above, many companies may seem to be waging an land-grab battle to gain a greater edge in the military and veteran market. 

Online Video Marketing Campaigns: Are They Worth It?

How powerful are online video marketing campaigns? Do they even work? Is it worth the time and money, especially when thousands of companies and businesses are attempting to do the same thing? 

It may seem like wasted effort and a sink for resources that could be allocated elsewhere, but video campaigns are important in building your online presence and inviting community engagement. 

Consider companies like Blendtec, which launched a viral marketing campaign that consisted of a series of informercials posted on YouTube demonstrating one of the company's most powerful blenders, the Total Blender. In the videos, Tom Dickson (Blendtec's founder) always tries to blend a wide range of different items to showcase the blender's power and efficiency. 

(Here's Tom Dickson blending 50 marbles)

Tom Dickson, the Blendtec founder, attempts to blend various unusual items (such as marbles, cans, phones, and wooden items) in order to show off the power of his blender. Every video garners an impressive number of views, all to see everyday household items getting destroyed by a blender. 

Now consider some commercials that seem to target military and veteran audiences by companies such as Jeep and American Airlines:

(Jeep's 2013 Superbowl commercial)

(American Airlines' 'Thank You' commercial)

These commercials are short but valuable, and many businesses can use these examples to build a more wholesome content marketing strategy. 

Some Lessons From Jeep and American Airlines

The commercials that both Jeep and American Airlines have used to honor and commemorate veterans pull on the conventional heart strings and are valuable in reminding us of the sacrifice veterans have made and the members of the military continue to make while they're serving. 

There are many ways to build on successful commercial campaigns to create an even more robust marketing strategy, though. 

Greenbay Packer's Veteran's Day Celebration
Of course it would be absurd to assume that creating a commercial played at the Superbowl would help you position your company for the military audience completely. Not every business can create a Superbowl-worthy commercial nor does every business have the necessary budget to buy air time even if those commercials were hilarious, inspiring, or heart-warming (like most of those aired in between a few minutes of football playtime). 

Lesson #1: Make Valuable Videos As Much As You Can

Content marketing, including video marketing, should be an ongoing activity that helps promote your content but, most importantly, serves to provide value to your consumer. As we mentioned in our previous post on content marketing, the Internet has forced businesses to create engagement with the communities that they want to reach with their product or message. 

Gone are the days where consumers are receptive to a barrage of irrelevant advertisements displayed on the front or side pages of Google or other web pages. Studies and findings using heat tracking technology have shown that many individuals who spend hours on the web have become adept at avoiding advertisements that don't seem, and indeed are not, valuable

The way you get your company's message out in the open requires a little more than paying for some banner ads on Google's AdWords or on random sites that haphazardly expose your advertising to a random demographic. Videos are a great solution, and a perfect way to build up your exposure on the net. 

Typing in "blending things" onto Google will give you results for Blendtec and a wide array of different videos that Tom Dickson uploaded onto his company's YouTube account. So try creating an online presence on YouTube, a great place to start some engagement with the community and add value to your videos. 

Need some inspiration? Check out one of the many popular tear-jerking commercials made by Thai Life Insurance, whose videos spread throughout online communities because of its emotional nature:

Thai Life Insurance Video

Also check out MetLife's emotional video involving a father and his daughter using a similar formula.

Videos that people go online to see are valuable and, as is the case in these videos, there are many of them, communicating with consumers both a valuable message and also the company that created it. 

Remember! You can also get some revenue with YouTube for creating good content that people want to see (no one would pay to watch a bad video when they can skip it or ignore it). 

As the Content Marketing Institute notes, "Audiences are about 10 times more likely to engage, embed, share, and comment on video content than blogs or related social posts. Understand that YouTube is not just an online video repository; it’s also a powerful social media platform." So take advantage of this platform! 

Lesson #2: Make Your Content Reflect Your Values. 

Your company's culture is your brand, as Tony Hsieh (CEO of Zappos) once put it. One-off commercials like the ones seen on the Superbowl may amass a great viewing, but nothing screams "PR stunt!" more than a lack of active commitment to ensure that consumers understand the company's core values or culture. 

Airing one or two commercials on television to a broad audience doesn't communicate your commitment. While you may get a lot of positive feedback and support, you will undoubtedly start facing a flatline over time. 

Create content that is similar to the values that you want to share with your consumers, and create a lot of it. One of the best ways to gain a consumer's attention and his loyalty is by showing that you are a trustworthy business, not one that is trying to rebuild its negative PR but one that is actively seeking to build a community of those who share similar values. 

Take, for example, Moments.orgMoments.org is a non-profit "web network producing original short films, [whose] films are designed to inspire, encourage and entertain viewers with stories that celebrate love, faith, redemption, patriotism and other timeless truths in action." In addition, the videos that Moments produce highlight values of honesty, respect, and sacrifice. Often, videos involving veterans and the active military are also shown to underscore the value of service. 

Moments' brand is exactly what the organization had communicated through its YouTube platform: one that stands behind the troops and individuals who have contributed to their society. 

Take a look at one of their videos commemorating service:

Lesson #3: Go Go Go! 

Don't wait for your brand to slowly enter people's psyche. Do something and create something of value. Don't worry that you are not a business giant that can just roll out millions of dollars into your marketing budget to play your content for the Superbowl. 

The Content Marketing Institute provides some resources for video providers if you're looking to produce some videos and build your YouTube presence:


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