How to Build a Successful Video Marketing Strategy [Expert Interview]


Meet Seth Hathcock.

Our summer camp content series continues with Digital Learning Specialist (and video expert) Seth Hathcock! Check out our interview to learn his process for thinking through Pardot’s video strategy (before he starts rolling the camera), how to keep costs low, and what’s up next for video trends.

Read up! And to learn more about our summer camp content series, please click here.

Alright, let’s start with the basics.

How do you use video in your job? Why do you think it’s becoming such a popular medium for marketers?

We use video on the Training and Certification team to communicate strategic concepts to our learners in a way that a static document or web page couldn’t. We have videos that show people sitting in an office introducing a product walkthrough or someone in front of a green screen interacting with different elements. My job is to create these videos: from conceptualizing the idea, scripting, filming, editing, and finally uploading them to the web.

I think video has become popular for marketers because it is a highly engaging medium for delivering a message. Video is able to convey tone and emotion in a way that even a face-to-face interaction might not be able to. The audience is also changing. The majority of the people you will target have a device that is usually within an arm’s reach. Services like YouTube and Periscope have made consuming video a daily activity, so we must stay relevant to our audience – enter video.

Ok, so what makes a video watchable? What makes it effective for communicating your message? 

I ask myself three things to determine if a video is watchable: can I hear it? is it in focus? and is it authentic? The first two are self-explanatory, but the last one is the most important. Your audience will be able to tell quickly if you’re being authentic in your videos. If they don’t think you’re being authentic, they will hit the back button on you.

Can you expand a little on what you mean by ‘authentic’ here? What other sorts of things would you caution marketers on when they set out to develop a video strategy?

So I would caution marketers to not make videos for the sake of making videos — make sure the medium fits the message and does so in an authentic way. Also, make sure you have a clear message. What are you trying to tell your audience?

In pre-production we always try to have a one sentence objective for our videos. If you’re scripting practice, read the script out loud. Would you actually say those words to someone? If not, it needs to be revised.

Awesome; that’s great advice. I think we see a fair amount of marketers trying to break into video, but they haven’t asked themselves these questions; they haven’t really examined the ‘why’ and their overall strategy before they start rolling the camera.

Let’s talk money really quick: beyond thinking through the objective of your videos, what advice would you give to marketers who are just kicking off a video strategy with limited time and budget?

Keep things simple. You can definitely spend a TON of money buying equipment, but you don’t have to! The three things to focus on up front are camera, audio and lighting. Your camera could be as simple as an iPhone on a tripod, and a basic lighting kit from Amazon will run you less than $100. The only thing I suggest investing more on from the start is audio. Audio can make or break a video.

Oh, one tip to add here: If your audio isn’t the cleanest try to lay a music bed under your video to cover up as much as possible. Just don’t overpower whoever is speaking.

If time is an issue (which it always is!) then start out slow and work your way up. We don’t set a certain quota of videos to be made in a specific time. When a video is needed, our goal is to create the shortest, most concise video possible — so not having a lot of time is actually a blessing in disguise because it will force your videos to be shorter as well. It will also require every word that is said or seen to be laser focused on your message.

Any particular impending trends in video that you would advise our readers to get ahead of?

I’ve been doing a lot of research and drooling over interactive video lately. Interactive video is adding elements like buttons for CTAs, and even some branching scenarios to your videos using an HTML overlay. If you Google “interactive video” you will find some really cool examples out there!

Interactive video can be a great way to increase engagement and interaction from your audience in a medium that has traditionally been consume-only. It’s also another layer of metrics that can be collected to better evaluate whether your campaigns are reaching people the way you think they are. It takes more planning and scripting on the front end, but the end product is a truly unique experience. I like to think of it as a “choose your own adventure” book that talks back to you.

Ok, I have to ask, what’s your favorite video project you’ve ever worked on and why?

I had the opportunity to produce a series of shorts about bikers in some very non-biker situations (fancy restaurant, golf course, etc) that was in the same vein as the Geico viking commercials. It involved hanging over the edge of a truck and traversing the greens at Country Club of the South here in Atlanta. All of this while slinging around a 45-pound camera that cost more than most new cars! It was my first foray into 4K and definitely a treat to work on.

Oh man, these sound amazing! Ok, let’s wrap this up: did you ever go to summer camp as a kid? Favorite summer camp activity?

I did go to summer camp as a kid. I grew up in the North Georgia mountains, so really every weekend was like going to camp. My favorite activity was probably rock climbing. I was super scrawny, but I could climb pretty well (mostly thanks to the scrawniness). We had a summer camp in my hometown, but I never attended until I became a summer counselor there.

Actually, fun fact, I met my wife while working at that summer camp.

Aww, I love it! Well, that seems like a great note to end things on. Seth, thank you so much for your time and your expertise. Readers, tune into our next summer camp session for a behind-the-scenes look at the Pardot platform with product expert Chris Kelly.

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