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Video Marketing Can Play by the “Old Rules,” Too.

Posted by The Marketing Intern on November 16, 2009

I like David Meerman Scott. I think he’s a powerfully intelligent human being whose insight at times seems boundless. In a profession rife with traditionalism, he shakes things up. I appreciate that, and I admire his ability to do so.

But man did he get it wrong yesterday.

For those unfamiliar, Mr. Scott is the proprietor of a marketing blog called Web Ink Now which, for the record, is a highly recommended read. He has also authored a number of books, the most recent of which is World Wide Rave — again, highly recommended. And what all of his writings, on- or off-line, have in common is an unwavering advocacy for the “New Rules” of marketing. Essentially, the New Rules theory boils down to the idea that traditional marketing relies on interrupting a person and demanding their attention for a short period of time, and that this kind of marketing is horrendously ineffective in the digital world in which we currently find ourselves. 

Yes. Great. I couldn’t agree more.

And then Mr. Scott goes and contradicts himself. In a blog post yesterday, Scott espoused the virtues of the VisibleGains platform which, while very sleek and well designed, relies on overlay buttons to supply calls to action. 

Buttons that pop up during your video and tell you to do something. Hmm. That sounds like interruptive marketing to me. Very “Old Rules,” isn’t it, Mr. Scott?

Scott addresses this issue by saying that the overlay buttons are “non-intrusive and can be ignored if you’re not interested.” But couldn’t we make the same case for those ugly little pop-ups on YouTube videos? Couldn’t you ignore those, too? Does the fact that we can choose to ignore an ad (or, in this case, a call to action) make it somehow less interruptive? If we ignore TV ads, does that mean that TV ads are not interruptive? If a tree falls in a forest…

I don’t mean this as a criticism of VisibleGains — what I’ve seen of their platform is visually stunning, and is no doubt a very valuable tool for many video marketers. Instead, I mean to point out two inconsistencies on Scott’s part: First, despite Scott’s assertion, VisibleGains is neither the first nor the only video marketing platform that can be used for lead generation; and second, that VisibleGains’s particular tools seem to run contrary to Scott’s “New Rules” philosophy.

Scott tries to frame this dilemma by calling it an issue of integration:

 …a legitimate criticism of video (especially from B2B marketers) has been that it is tough to do lead generation. Sure you can have a URL mention at the end of a video or you can embed a video within a landing page with some lead offers, but that’s not fully integrated.

I don’t mean to be snarky, but I’m curious as to what Mr. Scott’s definition of “fully integrated” is. If he means that, as in the cases of URL mentions and video landing pages (VLPs), calls to action are not incorporated into the video itself, then his statement is accurate. But the idea that embedding a video into a landing page  somehow makes the video less useful for marketing is, frankly, absurd. 

Let’s not forget the advantages of VLPs: you can embed keyword-rich and search-optimized content, persuasive text- and image-based calls to action, and social media sharing icons in a way that is simply not possible to do with in-video overlays. That sounds pretty “New Rules” to me.

In fact, I would rather have a VLP, and for one very good reason: longevity of calls to action. Say I wanted to check out Mr. Scott’s twitter profile. The VisibleGains video displays a sleek button in the video that lets me do exactly that. But what if, at that particular moment in the video, I was so enthralled with the content that I couldn’t spare a moment to click away from it? Would I then have to scroll all the way through the video again to find the point in the movie where that button appeared? I would. What are the odds that I would expend that effort? Minimal.

If, on the other hand, my video was in a landing page where a Twitter link was available before, during and after the video, I wouldn’t have to worry about searching through the content to find the frames holding that particular call to action. It would always be there, right next to the video. (And, of course, I would have enjoyed my video undisturbed, without little buttons popping up all over the place.)

So if integrating calls to action within a video is a good thing — and Scott seems to say it is — then it is a good thing that flies in the face of Scott’s very own “New Rules” methodology. An exception to the rule, maybe.

And what of this “finally” business? Users of the Flimp platform will be quick to point out that the ability to use video as a viable lead-generation tool has been around for more than three years. Our fantastic customers will also attest to the fact that lead generation is possible without data capture forms which, according to World Wide Rave, are particularly loathsome. 

Editor’s note: Since the posting of this blog article, David Meerman Scott has removed the word “Finally” from the title of his post. Further proof that Mr. Scott is a fine, upstanding gentleman, more than worthy of my RSS subscription.

Of course, how is a marketing big-shot like David Meerman Scott supposed to know about a little ole start-up like ours? After all, Scott is having sit-downs with the CEO of GM — Flimp has to be off his radar, right?

Not quite. Besides sharing mailing addresses in the same small Commonwealth, I’ve had the good fortune to exchange a few emails with David. He asked to read our white paper, and I sent it to him personally. We’ve traded DMs on Twitter. No, we’re not exactly bosom buddies, but we’re on his radar. Where’s the love, David?

We at Flimp don’t begrudge Scott for his oversight. After all, VisibleGains did him a solid by putting together a killer bit of brand journalism for GM. But we do wish Scott and his readers would take a minute to check us out in earnest. I think they would find that we’re exactly the kind of “New Rules” video marketing company that they’re looking for.

Heck, we’ve been a “New Rules” solution since before “New Rules” was published. That has to count for something, right?

Tell you what, David. Next time you find yourself with a whole bunch of video content that you want to show off, you give us a call. I’ll show you how we do it in Flimp Town.

Editor’s Note: It may seem like I harp a bit on David Meerman Scott — after all, I called him out a bit in an earlier blog post, which was picked up by The 60-Second Marketer. But I am a firm believer in the idea that when theories are debated, they become stronger of their own merit. To join the debate and strengthen the theory, I invite you to leave a comment below.


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