Steve Rotter, Vice President of Digital Marketing at Brightcove

by Jessica Ramesh

Steve Rotter tells us about the changing role of the CMO and assessing the ROI of video marketing

You’ve been looking at the changing role of the CMO recently. How do you see this position evolving?

The phrase ‘from Mad Men to math men’, which you hear a lot at the moment, really sums it up. From big brands with advertising-driven, major brand-building personalities, you’re now looking at guys who can really dig into the numbers and deliver a mathematical approach to driving their businesses.

A couple of factors are causing this. One is a change in the way we buy. People don’t go into stores as much as they used to and they’re less inclined to be influenced by advertising. Information comes to us through multiple channels and marketers can’t necessarily control all those channels. Marketers do, however, need to be sensitive to them. The explosion in data is a key driver. It’s given us all a great deal to think about in terms of how we reach an audience and talk to them.

At Brightcove you specialise in video solutions. How do you see the role and significance of video changing in this very noisy, content-saturated world?

As you say, we live in a world where content overload is the norm. Every single contact with a customer is a ‘moment of truth’. That means your content really needs to be good and video is a great way to do that. Whether it’s through a website, email or social media, video is taking the lead in customer engagement – it’s making it go further and faster.

In order to survive over the last couple of years, marketers have taken their data-centric, data-driven capabilities in house, but they’re also looking to bring people in from the traditional publishing world. There’s an interesting mix in marketing teams now; it’s interesting to see where they’re investing.

You’ve also been involved in some research with Aberdeen Group, looking at ROI from video. What are some of the findings in that research?

One of the things we were being asked by customers who’ve run a couple of successful initiatives with video was whether that success was down to luck, or whether it was part of a broader trend. We wanted the view from 30,000 feet, as it were, so we went to Aberdeen and said, ‘Can you prove this for us? Are companies investing in video more successful than those that aren’t?’

Aberdeen’s methodology is to take a subset of companies and look at their core marketing and business performance metrics, before examining anything related to video. In this case they took a range of companies and looked at sales increase, customer reach, retention, overall marketing performance. Then they look at the top vs the bottom and ask what the top companies have in common. Sure enough, companies at the top of the pyramid were doing a lot more with video and saw much greater performance, so it was a nice validation for us.

How do you view the impact of video on SEO now?

The SEO benefits are very strong. Any page with video is read by Google’s algorithm as having a higher value: it’s inherently more credible and therefore stronger in the eyes of Google. In fact, some mobile customers have gone so far as to say that from an SEO perspective, any page without video is an empty page. That’s a pretty significant mind shift. In the past video might have been viewed as a condiment to the main course. Now it is the main course. You see organisations creating very media rich sites now where everything from the homepage to the navigation is video. It’s interesting how quickly this has changed.

Do you have any tactical or strategic advice for companies who want to incorporate more video into their marketing but aren’t sure where to start?

Most organisations now are at a stage where they’re somewhere between being curious about video and convinced.

To ones that are curious I would advise trying video on an easy project for which you already have some information. You don’t need to create an epic video journey which tells users everything there is to know about your company. Try something simple like a case study. We all see case studies at conferences and for the most part they look the same. Take that case study and make it into a video series. You already have the content. You probably have customer approval. It’s just a question of getting a videographer for a day and getting them to film a quick interview. That can create an amazingly powerful testimonial: an actual human saying ‘I like this brand. I trust this company and you should too.’ The value of that is tremendous.

That’s for the people who are curious. For the convinced – those who are already moving down the video continuum – it’s really about having the correct tools and teams. That means getting people who are more video-centric on board. You couldn’t imagine a marketing team now without someone who understands website design. In the same way the marketing team of 2015 and beyond is going to need someone on their staff who can do video at scale.

From a tools perspective, without wishing to sound too self-serving, this leads to people like ourselves at Brightcove. No one’s going to build their own platform and accounting system from scratch. We can help people stop worrying about the bits and bytes and get right into creating good content.

What are some of the barriers to using video more effectively? Is buy-in from the board an obstacle?

I don’t think so. It’s more that for some companies there’s a collective bias that video’s too expensive. Or it takes too long to produce. And that takes us back to the profile of the CMO, which now needs to be more data-focused. Video is doubling the conversion rate of landing pages on a regular basis. Think about what that means: you’ve effectively doubled your budget without spending any more money because the overall output – the overall return on the marketing programme – has doubled. Video may be a bit more expensive, but the trade-off is such that it’s better to spend a little more on content production and get a lot more in return. The scales are pretty clear.

Number Crunching

Research from Brightcove shows that a better video experience leads to more action, higher loyalty and more social sharing. After watching a good video from a brand:

39% of consumers are more likely to research the subject further.

36% are more likely to tell friends and family about the brand.

30% are more likely to become loyal (watch content from that brand again)

Findings from the Aberdeen Report show that:

Website conversion rate for brands using video content is 4.8% compared with only 2.9% for brands not investing in video.

By using video, brands experience a €70 cost per lead compared with a €88 cost per lead for non-video using brands.

Interview by Jon Fortgang