15 Reasons Why Professional Marketing Videos Fail

Professional Marketing Videos and the reasons they fail us as the producers.


Videos can fail for 1 big reason, but more often than not we see a combination of factors contributing to a corporate video’s less than stellar performance streaming video performance. The below list is not exhaustive, by any means, but the most frequent examples of failed performance.


1. Poor Distribution Plan


One of the other reasons we see videos fall short of expectations is due to a poor distribution plan. Often companies pay for a video and then bury it on an interior page of their website that people rarely visit.


Take the above video for example. It’s a great, concise video that really outlines Hendon Properties’ expertise. Sadly, it only has 173 views on YouTube. If you visit Hendon Properties’ website, you won’t find the video on the home page. Nor is it used in the About Us section (another area where websites tend to be very text heavy and a video can be extremely effective).



2. Your Concept is too Derivative


Sadly, the videos are no longer accessible on YouTube, but there’s a great example of this from Cisco. In 2010, Old Spice launched the Old Spice Man. You all know which series of commercials we’re talking about. They took that concept to the next level later that summer, inviting their twitter followers to send in questions, that would be answered by the Old Spice Man. The campaign was a huge viral success, with over 4 million views and 180 personalized videos created in response to questions.

Cisco did a direct copy of the campaign, swapping the Old Spice Man for Ted From Accounting. At the end of the day, Cisco gained under 3,000 views and created just 18 videos.


3. Copying your Competitors


Even worse than stealing a concept from someone outside of your industry, is copying your competitors. As every marketing professional knows, you should keep track of what your competitors are doing, and always try to stand out from the pack.


4. Attempt to Rush the Project


Creative thinking requires time. As this video so cleverly illustrates, a short period of time only allows for the first idea. Your business needs its video creative team to have the time to bounce ideas around, as opposed to rushing to put the first “good enough” idea together.


5. Never Finishing the Project (aka Losing Steam)


This is the saddest reason of all for failing! Producing a video takes time and commitment from your team. It is not unusual for a project to languish, waiting for approvals or a design element.


Don’t let this happen to you! Make sure to prepare internally before you start a project, with agreed upon plans for generating feedback and approvals quickly.


6. No Call to Action


Your video is intended as a marketing and sales tool, right? Make sure to prompt people at the end of your video with their next steps.

For instance, with this example video, instead of closing with “Remember our website” they should suggest that people visit their website to sign up for the free homebuyer course or order a free brochure on the homebuyer downpayment program. Use your video to generate leads (i.e. get contact information from the viewer) any chance you can.


7. Confusing Message


I honestly have no idea what the example video was trying to promote. It was way too long, had unnecessary plot details, and outlined too many different product options. There is a tendency when creating a marketing piece to include everything and the kitchen sink. However, all this does is overwhelm your reader (or in the case of video, listener) and result in your viewer being very confused.


Take out that red pen and eliminate everything unnecessary from your script, then focus on the key benefits for your end user. If they’re interested in your product, they’ll follow up via your regular channels.


10. Failure to Identify Key Product Differentiators


This is Marketing 101, but we see it all the time. What sets your product apart? If you’re doing the same thing everyone else is doing, you’re probably not going to be very successful (no matter how good your video is).


11. Using the Wrong Type of Humor


Humor is tricky. People will find different things funny based on a variety of factors (economic status, region they’re from, age, political views, etc.) and the last thing you want to do is alienate potential customers with your video. If you’re incorporating humor into your video script, make sure to give a read through in front of people who are outside of your marketing department. Preferably, test the humor elements early and use people who mirror your target customers.


12. Playing it Safe


The most recent reports suggest that you have just 8 seconds to capture viewers attention. If you haven’t intrigued your viewer at least a little bit, they’re going to bounce (literally off your website).


13. Poor Production Quality – bad audio, poor framing, shaky cameras


This video is a wonderful example of all of these. Take your time during shooting, whether you’re doing it yourself or hiring someone, to make sure that the footage you’re capturing is actually good.


Is the audio you’ve recorded actually intelligible? The last thing you want to do is add subtitles during the editing process (unless you’re adding them to the whole video).


(True Story: Video Brewery has a couple of video blogs that we weren’t able to publish because of sound issues. It happens to all of us!)

How is your shot framed? Less experienced filmers will center the subject they are filming in their screen and not pay attention to what is also in the shot. Is the desk messy (like one of the shots in the example video), then clean it up. You want your viewers focus to be on the subject speaking, not their surroundings.

Finally, no one has steady enough hands to hold a camera, use a tripod or balance your camera on a steady surface.


14. Poor Post-Production Sound Choices


As your video is edited together, you make choices on your soundtrack and add in sound effects. Choose a soundtrack that does not distract from your script and voice-over. When adding sound effects, don’t go overboard. Keep it simple.


15. Using Special Effects because You Can


Special effects should be subtle and help tell your story, as opposed to using them because they came with your editing software.

…. And that is your list of reasons corporate videos can fail!

As your start your next video project, remember to take your time and double-check your work against these tips at each stage. Before you know it, you’ll have produced a video with an awesome ROI that justifies the investment you made in it.