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Video brochures: getting the message out to today's "visually literate."

"How did you find out about us? Oh, you saw our video. Much of our new business is because of that video."

If you think this interaction is unusual, you should talk with the many Indiana companies and organizations successfully using marketing videos. The videos used by Indiana companies are slick and professional, and a large majority of them are produced by some very talented, technically sophisticated production companies right here in Indiana.

Now that today's "visually literate" society gets most of its information from television--nine of 10 Americans say TV is their primary news source--marketers are realizing video is a medium of choice.

Why does video work so well as a sales tool? It involves you emotionally. The ability to creatively combine pictures and sound can be very powerful, and very persuasive. "Video gives an emotional impact that no other medium can," says Rob Cowin, marketing manager of The Production Studio in Fort Wayne. "Video has a unique ability to reach a potential customer at an emotional level," adds Roger Manning of Telematrix in Indianapolis.

"Emotional impact." What does that mean? The South Bend White Sox know. The Sox, South Bend's minor league baseball team, wanted potential advertisers to "feel" what a trip to the ballpark was all about--the excitement, the fun--while salespeople were making calls in the dead of winter. The video, produced by Villing and Co. of Mishawaka, "has helped very much," according to Rita Baxter, the team's vice president of sales and promotion. "The focus is on fans having a good time. We're selling memories. It shows things that are hard to visualize--hits, runs, beer, hot dogs, the 'Chicken'--in a corporate board room in January."

Video can do what some other media can't: show process, movement, action, 3-D images, animation, graphics and sound all at the same time.

Rainbow Productions of Evansville produced a video for Roadmaster Bicycles and Exercise Equipment that does two things that could only be done on video. It shows the entire manufacturing process, the quality of materials and workmanship that goes into every product. Plus, it shows the fun of riding a bike and the good one's body can receive from using the exercise equipment.

Video can bring a factory right into your office. Engleking Inc. of Columbus, a small mold maker for foundries, has a "image" piece done by Telematrix. It conveys the time and patience it takes to manufacture quality molds.

On the other hand, if you have a product that really moves, video also is a natural medium. Want to feel like Don Johnson out on his ocean racer? See the Thunderbird Products video about Formula boats. The Decatur-based company sends an action-packed tape of its boats, produced by The Production Studio, with every request for information. The video accompanies and complements Thunderbird's printed materials.

Is the emotional connection a viewer makes with a video important? It certainly is if you want to sell something. Greg Price of Indianapolis-based Cassell Productions points to a Wharton School of Business study that showed video increased information retention by 50 percent, and speeded up buying decisions by 72 percent.

How does video speed up decision making? "Video brochures save time," says Marilyn Moran Townsend, CEO of Custom Video of Fort Wayne, "because the message can be presented more quickly when the prospective customer both sees and hears the message." Prospects notice only what you want, when you want, not what they choose to see and hear.

Video fits well into the strategy of target marketing because a piece can be produced and direct mailed to a specific audience, as opposed to over-the-air broadcasting. "Targetcasting" has proven to be very successful as a way to generate leads and qualify prospects.

Another cost-saving factor in favor of "targetcasting" is the reduction in sales travel. Many companies have chosen telemarketing as their means to reach distant prospects. Others, however, think the phone is just not enough of a personalized contact. They have found the best way to really "reach out and touch someone" is to send a video after an initial contact by phone. Manning of Telematrix believes "video promotion is cost-effective in getting your message out when you are located a distance from your customers."

Video, in fact, might have some advantages over a personal sales call. A VCR never has a bad day or a hangover. As Townsend points out, "The key selling points are presented in the same professional manner, with the same enthusiasm, every time."

A good example of the use of video as a phone contact follow-up involves Lubricon, an oil-testing firm in Indianapolis. According to sales manager Brett Minges, Lubricon has sent its tape--produced by DL Images of Indianapolis--to more than 400 prospects. Many mention the video when becoming customers. "It's a great way to see our company," says Minges. "We know people watch it. We're sold on it."

Most companies do send more than just a video; some kind of sales literature usually accompanies a tape. In fact, the box in which the video is mailed can be a marketing tool. Cassell Productions designed the box for a video it produced for the Indianapolis insurance company VASA North America as an accompanying print piece that folds out and gives additional information.

Video images can be enlarged, shrunk, rearranged, colored, colorless, animated, layered, frozen, speeded up, exploded, brought together, brought in from any direction, faded to black. High-tech equipment has made this all possible.

But most production companies have similar equipment. What varies more is the experience and creativity of the production company and its ability to put your vision on the screen.

An excellent example of this combination of technology and expertise is a video that Sanders and Co. of Indianapolis produced for Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis. The school wanted to showcase its faculty, its facilities, its growth and its importance to the city. This piece does so with a fast-paced series of visual images from film, video, computer graphics, animation. It grabs viewers' attention and holds it to deliver an effective message. The first thing a viewer wants to do after looking at this tape is call the admissions office.

Financial matters, meanwhile, can be very dull. But a video produced by The Production Studio detailing Lincoln National Corp.'s 401(k) plans is anything but boring. It uses images from multiple sources to deliver its message. It uses comic-strip characters to show why someone should enroll in a 401(k) program.

In the forefront of video technology is digital equipment. Digital recordings give the highest quality images available with the ability to add a vast array of special effects. Walt Rassel, director of operations of The Production Studio, describes his company's new digital editing system. "It maintains the quality of an image no matter how many times it's revised. You get clones, not copies. It allows you a great deal of flexibility, since the same effects that might take several tape machines to produce only need two digital machines. So not only do you get better and more creative images, you save time."

An important consideration when choosing a production company is how much of its capabilities are in-house? Beanie Robertson of Format Inc., an Indianapolis production company, believes that if any part of post-production is done outside, "you can lose some control and consistency this way. When all the elements are put into place under one roof, the chances of anything going wrong are greatly diminished."

The best suggestion is to view the work of a production company, see the quality of the shooting, editing, effects, graphics, and then talk to several clients of the company to see how the piece has worked for them. A video with a lot of fancy high-tech images that does not help you sell your product or service is wasted money. How well did the production company catch the client's vision of what he or she wanted to accomplish with the tape? This is the bottom line with marketing videos.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Curtis Magazine Group, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Miller, C.E.
Publication:Indiana Business Magazine
Date:Jun 1, 1992
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