Even companies with successful video marketing programs today say their most challenging obstacle to success when they got started was the lack of an effective strategy. So, how did these companies overcome this strategic barrier?

To find out, Vidyard in partnership with Ascend2, recently fielded a survey and completed interviews with business, marketing and sales professionals from around the globe. The charts in their study, Video Marketing Strategy Benchmarks for Success, represent the opinions of the 228 survey respondents who are successfully achieving important objectives with video marketing. Let’s check out the critical data from the survey and the strategic insights that we can glean from the findings.

Video Marketing Strategy: Most Important Objectives

Up until recently, the most important objectives for companies with successful video marketing strategies were to improve customer education, increase brand awareness, and increase online engagement. Now, video can also increase website traffic, leads generated, and sales revenue, but fewer marketers are focusing on these objectives for video. This provides marketers with a strong opportunity to use video consumption data to help qualify leads and nurture leads with content based on this data.

Chart 1

Video Marketing: Most Challenging Obstacles

The lack of an effective strategy and an inadequate video budget have been the most challenging obstacles to video marketing success – up until recently. Hey, without the organizational buy-in and leadership commitment required to provide sufficient funding, even the most effective strategy will fail.

Now, video strategy is a common hurdle for marketers, because video is often “siloed” into its own component of the marketing department. But, marketers are beginning to discover that the real value of video can be demonstrated when it is used in conjunction with other marketing activities and is seamlessly integrated with marketers’ overall strategies. Note to video marketers inside big organizations: Invite another part of the marketing department to share a brown bag lunch to discuss potential opportunities to collaborate.

The second hurdle, lack of budget, may actually be a false or misinterpreted obstacle. A lot of great videos are created with little to zero budget using a consumer-grade camera, in-house actors, and editing programs that come native to your computer. And moving from warm, soft objectives like customer education, brand awareness, and online engagement to cold, hard objectives like website traffic, lead generation, and sales revenue can also get you a bigger slice of the marketing budget.

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Video Marketing Budget: What is Changing?

According to the Video Marketing Strategy Survey, 71% of companies with successful video marketing strategies are planning to increase their budget. Only 5% see video marketing budgets decreasing, while 24% believe their budget is sufficient to achieve their objectives and are not planning to change it. Hey, that’s what they say – even if we suspect that they just weren’t about to cost-justify a bigger budget.

Still, with such a large percentage of budgets increasing, we may start to see the budget hurdle, mentioned above, decline.

How is Video Marketing Effectiveness Changing?

And according to the Video Marketing Strategy Survey, video marketing effectiveness is increasing for 91% of companies, with more than half of those saying the increase is significant. This change in effectiveness is significant compared to other marketing tactics and could reflect the rapidly growing rate of video marketing adoption.

In other words, as marketers learn more about video’s power to generate more traffic, leads, and sales, they continue to see video’s effectiveness climb. In contrast, advertisers who are still focused on a video’s ability to get Target Rating Points (TRPs) are spinning their wheels measuring outputs, not outcomes.

What is the Most Effective Type of Video Content?

Great question. I’m glad it was asked. And it turns out that more than half of companies with successful video marketing strategies prefer three types of video content: customer testimonials, demonstration videos, and explainer or tutorial videos.

Now, it’s not surprising that customer testimonials are seen to be the most effective, since this is savvy way to provide the social proof that drives results outside of video marketing, too. Note, however, that customer testimonials are seen as twice as effective as case studies, which showcases the difference between you telling your own success story and your customers telling them for you.

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What are the Most Difficult Types of Video Content to Create?

The degree of difficulty to create some types of video content is a challenge for many companies. The most difficult types of content to create for companies with successful video marketing strategies are customer testimonials, followed by project reviews or case studies.

But, even though customer testimonials are the videos considered most difficult to create, they are also the most effective type. So, they are worth shooting – even if the actual “difficulty” lies in getting your customers to agree to talk about you on camera -- eve if you give them the right of review -- and then getting a big customer’s legal department – which I often call the “Department of Sales Prevention” – to approve what one of their own executives has already said.

Chart 3

In contrast, demonstration videos – like “Will It Blend? – iPhone 6 Plus” – seem to be considered one of the easier video types to create, but they are ranked the second most effective. This makes demo videos a great opportunity for marketers – while they are waiting a couple of weeks for the customer’s legal department to review a video that’s just a couple of minutes long.

What are the Most Effective Resources for Video Content Creation?

Finally, let’s conclude with a finding that should enable most video marketers to give thanks this Thanksgiving for being in the right industry at the right time. It turns out that 93% of companies outsource all or part of their video content creation in order to access specialized expertise and technology. Another 21% outsource all video content creation, while only 7% create video content entirely in-house.

Using a combination of outsourced and in-house talent means brands can get the best of both worlds. They can create quick, low-budget videos on their own and on tight timelines. They also have the option to allow a creative team take a fresh perspective on their brand and complete a video without burning up any of their own employees’ time.