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How to keep your video project on track

We've all been part of projects that start strong and then slowly putter out. When it comes to your video project, you want to make sure it stays on track and keeps moving forward (as do we!). To avoid the slow putter out, there are six things we recommend you do to ensure a successful video marketing project.

There are certain moments that projects are more likely to get off track. When brands hire us to create a video for them, we see three main peaks of excitement.

Excitement Stage 1: Signing the proposal.
Our teams have had great conversations leading up to this point. We’re aligned on goals and ROI for the project. Our team is excited to dig in and start researching, developing a strategy, and brainstorming creative. Your team is excited to get an effective new tool to use in your sales process. We’re all ready to dig in. Let’s do this thing!

Excitement Stage 2: Production day.
Shoot days are fun, plain and simple. Both our team and yours love seeing the idea we’ve been working so hard on come to life. Plus there are guys in black t-shirts with walkie-talkies whispering about stingers and C-47s, a craft services table, and a general hustle and bustle around getting the best shot. It’s a long day (a standard production day is 10 hours, and 12 is not uncommon), but full of adrenaline. Also Red Bull.

Excitement Stage 3: The first draft.
After the shoot itself, seeing the first draft is the exciting culmination of all that strategy, writing, and production. We love presenting first drafts and hearing reactions. Clients love seeing the actual product for the first time. Everyone is pumped and ready to start using this puppy!

Notice that there is not an excitement stage for the delivery of the final video. It’s counterintuitive for sure. Isn’t that what you bought? Don’t you want to start using it? And yet, we tend to see a noticeable decline in momentum and excitement after the first draft presentation. This is not because clients are unhappy with that draft. On the contrary, the ones that lose the most momentum are the ones who had very few notes on the draft. When it comes time to finesse and finalize, projects often slow down and sometimes go off the rails.

There are a few things you can do to keep your project momentum moving once the peak excitement phases are over. Importantly, some of these steps need to happen before that first draft is delivered. Keep them in mind throughout your entire project.

Don't go off the rails: How to make a successful marketing video

Make sure your key stakeholders are involved from the very beginning.

No matter who does the initial outreach to our team, we always ask to speak to the key stakeholders on the project before we send a proposal. The reason for that is that we want to ensure that everyone on both of our teams is aligned before serious work gets started. Surprising your boss is one of the biggest pitfalls we’ve seen clients make.

Align your whole team with the strategy and creative idea.

After we present and get approval on the video strategy, it becomes our North Star guiding every choice we make. If your team has any doubts about the strategy, creative idea, or script, let us know as soon as possible. While it requires brainpower, time, and extra conversations, at the end of the day it's much easier to change words and ideas than to reshoot expensive video scenes.

Come to the shoot.

Yes, we really do want you there with us. We’re nice, I promise.

This is especially important if your product or service is complex or technical (like most of our clients). While we take the time to understand your product or service, you are the expert. Having a member of your team present to ensure that we capture everything correctly can prevent complaints from your product team down the line.

Remember that the video will not exist in a vacuum.

The videos we or anyone else make do not appear on a black screen with no context. You need a video for a very specific purpose, be it pitch meetings, a company town hall, or a landing page. Keep in mind that the video does not need to have all the information about the product or service in it.

For a video that will be used in a pitch meeting, for example, the video’s purpose is to break the ice and engage with your potential customers. Then your salespeople will do what they do best and make the sale. It is the salesperson who will share features and benefits, and tailor the pitch to the company or industry. It’s asking too much of a video to do everything or be everything to everyone. Keep that context in mind when deciding what needs to be included in the video.

When you ask others for feedback on the video, share the strategy behind it.

People at your company who are outside the core video project team (or your in-laws, neighbors, fellow commuters on the train) can provide valuable feedback on the video if and only if they understand what it will be used for and what its purpose is. If our goal for the project is to create a 15-second video teasing a new product before launch, feedback that the video is too short and not descriptive enough is bad feedback. Passing on that note blindly could push the project off the rails.

Remember the old adage about a camel being a horse designed by a committee? When we discuss a piece of feedback like this, our team may push back and remind you of the original goals and strategy of the video. What were we looking to accomplish in the first place? Does this feedback make the video more effective? We don't do this because Joanne in HR doesn’t have a point. The video doesn’t have long descriptions of the product, but it’s not supposed to. This leads to a lot of back and forth between our teams and slows down the process. See also: your video will not exist in a vacuum.

Trust yourself and trust the process.

Great work, be it video or anything else, requires boldness. A lot of people around you may be scared by that, and that’s a totally appropriate response. It is scary. Anyone in a business leadership position has experienced pushback on great ideas because they’re different.

Because it’s work. Because it’s not what everyone else does. But guess what. That’s exactly what makes it a great idea, and why you have to try.The same applies to videos. You may hear someone on your team poo-poo the video not because it isn’t good, but because it isn’t what you’ve done before. Or it isn’t what’s standard for your industry. If you hear that kind of feedback, GOOD! That means we’ve done our jobs. Your prospects are bombarded with content all day, every day. To stand out, your content must be bold and it must be different. Stand behind the work you’ve commissioned and don’t let the naysayers convince you otherwise.

If you follow these tips throughout your video project, it’s more likely to go smoothly and you’re going to be happier with the final product. And of course, our team will be here guiding you through the process and doing our best to both keep your project moving and help you create an effective video that your team can't wait to start using.





Picture of Guy bauer, founder of umault

Guy has been making commercial videos for over 20 years and is the author of “Death to the Corporate Video: A Modern Approach that Works.” He started the agency in 2010 after a decade of working in TV, film and radio. He’s been losing hair and gaining weight ever since.

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