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Old February 22nd, 2011, 07:05 AM   #1
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Great Marketing Discussion

Hi Everyone,
You have spent a fortune, have all the right gear and know how to use it. Now what?

From time to time there are questions on how much to charge, and it's always fascinating reading with lots of great input from real pros. How about a great discussion on Marketing?

Let's start with a simple proven 2 step definition of Marketing:

1. Research the market to find a need & what others are charging.
2. Fill that need by using the right equipment & having the right skills.

Based on the answers to this basic definition of Marketing, one can come up with a full blown marketing plan:

1. Problems & opportunities - the most important one of all.
2. Sales
3. Advertising
4. Promotions
5. Budget

(As opposed to selling:
I make brand Y videos, wanna buy one?)

So first question, (I'll leave the "free" stuff for others, although free to get some reel to show is needed):

Where is the need, and are people or businesses willing to pay for the need to be filled?

Please share your experiences and thoughts and lets help each other with some great marketing ideas, thanks.

Regards & happy shooting,
Doug.
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 12:11 PM   #2
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Re: Great Marketing Discussion

Hey Doug,

One thing that has become apparent to me in this business, and in others, but particularly this; is that often clients don't realize that they have a need.

For instance - I film weddings, and corporate promotional stuff. I operate as two separate businesses with two separate websites. But in both, I have to convince clients that they have a need. Brides for instance. According to WEVA, only 23% of brides rank video in their top 10 priorities (or something like that). So I spend time energy and money creating the sense of NEED.

In corporate promo world, I'm a member of my local Chamber of Commerce. I attend business networking meetings and constantly work the room convincing potential clients of the NEED or value of video in their business development. Online video viewing has exploded in the last 3 years. Two key developments were Google buying youtube, and Youtube going HD. That combined with the ease of embedding YT videos into websites were huge changes in the corporate world, yet MANY small biz aren't aware of this. They are focused on their own business.

The point I'm making is that we as video producers are really marketing a product/service that is far from mature in the product cycle. At least in as far as marketing the service/product to clients.
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 05:11 PM   #3
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Re: Great Marketing Discussion

Hi Ken,
Thanks for sharing, interesting response and observations. I've tried to do the Chamber of Commerce networking thing, but didn't enjoy it as everyone else is trying to do the same. May be good for some personalities though.

There are plenty of businesses that don't have any video presence on their web site yet, that can be another opportunity and one I will work at. Of course some don't even have a web site, so working with a web developer should produce business.

I've had a ton of fun shooting nature and am getting some wonderful clips, but not once has a Great Blue Heron stepped out of the bushes and said "thanks, here's some money for your expertise (smile)".

Another market that I can think of is a new product launch, providing DVDs for clients. I had a business give me a copy of their handout DVD for industrial machinery. On watching the video I've learned that less may be better. They have it very well done, but should have put just one or two products on the video instead of trying to get their whole web site on one DVD. So there's a lesson, just promote one product at a time.

Regards & happy shooting,
Doug.
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Old February 22nd, 2011, 09:57 PM   #4
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Re: Great Marketing Discussion

Quote:
So there's a lesson, just promote one product at a time
For what it is worth, the same applies to business. Better to find one 'client' and serve their needs first than try to be a jack-of-all-trades right from the start.

Some marketing ideas to make decisions easier:
1. List every idea you can think of. Spend a few days researching.
2. Try the SWOT analysis for each business model (or idea). Weed out the worst.
3. Think of the four Ps - the marketing mix for each idea or model. Rinse and repeat
4. Even after all the charts and analyses are drawn, most marketing decisions are taken on gut instinct. Your instincts will tell you what to do by this stage.
5. Prepare a Business Plan (which will include a marketing plan) for the models that you feel you want to pursue (hopefully not more than two or three). This will tell you whether your head is in the right place.
6. When it's time to sell anything (even yourself or your services), follow the AIDA principle.
7. If you want to become a successful business owner, you will need to network 24/7. It's the cheapest form of marketing and the most productive in the long term. Only advertise when you have earned that budget through your business. If one 'club' doesn't excite you, find another.

Please refer to wikipedia for basic definitions of the words above. They are not complicated at all. If you need specific help, please let me know. Hope this helps.
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Old February 26th, 2011, 09:43 AM   #5
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Re: Great Marketing Discussion

Hi Sareesh,
Wow! You really nailed it here, thanks for sharing. This is great pro information for any aspiring business. Certainly having a high level of focus and becoming the expert "go to" person is key.

Some markets must be easier than others to break into.

Regards & happy shooting,
Doug.
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Old February 27th, 2011, 09:45 AM   #6
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Re: Great Marketing Discussion

Marketing is the toughest part of the business for me. I am always looking for improvement. Google adwords has been pretty good but is so complicated that if it starts to not work, what do you do if you are on your own? I am my biggest asset but I only have so much time, energy and budget.

In my experience there is a demand or internet video from companies but the budget is often lacking due to a general distrust or lack of respect for the medium. I work with a few web design firms and in general only a few jobs over the past few years have been decent for industry rates. Many others die at the "how much will that cost?" stage. I also think the quality expectation is lower for internet bound production which makes it more difficult to charge decent rates.
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Old February 28th, 2011, 03:42 AM   #7
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Re: Great Marketing Discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Polster View Post
Marketing is the toughest part of the business for me. I am always looking for improvement. Google adwords has been pretty good but is so complicated that if it starts to not work, what do you do if you are on your own? I am my biggest asset but I only have so much time, energy and budget.

In my experience there is a demand or internet video from companies but the budget is often lacking due to a general distrust or lack of respect for the medium. I work with a few web design firms and in general only a few jobs over the past few years have been decent for industry rates. Many others die at the "how much will that cost?" stage. I also think the quality expectation is lower for internet bound production which makes it more difficult to charge decent rates.
Just found elance.com tonight and WOW!!! I can't believe how many people & businesses have such low standards AND how little people charge. There is one company nearby who charges $10-15 per HOUR for video editing and their finished videos definitely look cheap.

I think part of the problem these days is due to so many people thinking that starting a business is easy. Thus, they have no idea and respect for quality. I saw one video where the proprietor used a webcam to record herself trying to sell management consulting services. Another business listing for video editing services went something like this," we need 3 videos edited within 24hrs therefore we can pay a little more than usual, so, $20/video" - these were 2-3 mins videos. Another listing wanted a "Professional and Very Creative" finished video lasting 5 mins and the 'winning' company charged $60.

Sareesh, are you taking some marketing classes right now or do you have some textbooks left over from school? I have a degree in Marketing so everything you said reminded me of my college days.

Must go nighty night soon; so, here is a quick tip for selling a product or yourself: Feature - Benefit.

Feature: I am experienced with Cinema 4D.
Benefit: I can create some very cool 3D logo animations for your business.

Feature: This TV is 120Hz.
Benefit: It makes motion look smoother. (but not better :)

Determine your 'features' and how those features will 'benefit' your client.

Technically, you can add a 3rd term to the end "Advantage" for some features, but this is harder to define for people and services.
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Old February 28th, 2011, 09:32 AM   #8
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Re: Great Marketing Discussion

Yes, I think barrier of entry is so low equipment wise and business wise that it is the wild west and companies just can't help themselves but compare on price alone.

I think I-movie and camera phones play into it as well.

Great tip about Feature - Benefit. That is simple enough for me to be able to handle that!
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Old February 28th, 2011, 09:47 AM   #9
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Re: Great Marketing Discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Kalle View Post
Sareesh, are you taking some marketing classes right now or do you have some textbooks left over from school? I have a degree in Marketing so everything you said reminded me of my college days.
LOL! I used to be a media planner and buyer for a conglomerate...learned it the hard way!
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Old February 28th, 2011, 11:33 AM   #10
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Re: Great Marketing Discussion

Hi All,
Thanks for adding value to this thread. I hope that many more will chime in.

Regards & happy shooting,
Doug.
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 11:26 PM   #11
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Re: Great Marketing Discussion

Just finished my 6-week SCORE business class and worked out my price list with my partner. They said the number one mistake was pricing too low.

I've been working on my own (my own journeyman apprenticeship) for the last several years charging lower prices to get the experience and now feel I'm ready to really do some marketing and enter the business world as opposed to just word-of-mouth.

We decided on $75 per hour for filming & editing, but my partner now wants to raise it to $95. I was already nervous at $75... especially after reading about elance.com etc. in this thread. Thoughts?

Deborah
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Old March 4th, 2011, 12:24 AM   #12
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Re: Great Marketing Discussion

@Deb...
It's all what the market will bear. And what capabilities you offer.

Since you're in my neck of the woods, I can tell you your numbers aren't that far off. Though I would think of splitting the rate card so you have an editing rate (which $75/hr is high unless you're including creative and motion graphics) and a shooting rate (which $95/hr is about right assuming properly outfitted HD shooting rig with lights and audio)

I used to charge day/half day rate for shooting but several of my clients are feeding me enough work that I went hourly with them. I do charge for travel time and setup and teardown. I'm shooting an average of 2-3 days a week.

Editing is another story and a different rate. I try to get my "ideal" but a few of my bigger clients negotiated me down BUT provide almost...emphasis on "almost" more work than I can handle.

Marketing has been a weird thing for me as up until 3 years ago I was always employed by a production company of some sort. My company has been official since 2004 but really just for side gigs. When I was laid off 3 years ago, it got real. I was lucky enough to keep my former employer as a client, doing all their marketing vids. They turned me on to a few other companies who needed what I could offer and the ball started rolling.

Word of mouth got me started and has worked pretty well but only because of my sphere of influence. All my friends have direct connections to the production world. Every voice over artist, actor, makeup artist, camera operator, etc. that I've ever worked with goes into my database. These are just the friends I hang out with. I make sure to stay in touch and make them aware of new capabilities. I want all of them thinking of my company and how easy it is to work with me anytime a project comes up. I run my business as a virtual agency meaning every aspect of production can be handled...just not always by me. As mentioned, I have a trusted group of shooters, editors and other personnel who supplement what I do and we feed each other work. I really don't do any marketing beyond what I've described.

Every once in a while I will get paranoid and check out eLance or Craiglist or similar but I just can't justify working at the rates required. These days I strive for quality not quantity. That really should be the goal of every independent shooter/editor. I want to work 20 hours a week and make six figures.
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