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In 2008 Video Rules... Right?

Feb 9, 2008
Too bad you couldn't hear my exasperation when I read the following by a veteran Internet marketer:

"You should convey your information in the least amount of space through the medium most of us respond to best: video. Everyone naturally gravitates toward video."

I see three serious problems with this statement.

First, it's simply not true that everyone prefers or even enjoys receiving information by video. I rarely buy or rent videos or DVDs - whether the Hollywood type or informational ones. I do watch TV news and a few favorite TV programs, but only during the colder, darker months of the year.

Exactly twice in the last year I've watched online video content that I found valuable. The first was a demonstration of a knitting technique I'd been unable to follow when I'd read it described in words, and the second showed how to solve difficult Sudoku puzzles. In both cases the visual action on the screen was essential to the communication.

I've looked at a couple of "talking head" videos shot via webcam that other marketers were touting, and I found them completely without value in the video format. In audio format, I could have listened while driving or walking, and in print, I could have skimmed the entire contents in one-tenth the time.

I know I'm not a typical person in some ways, but I'm certainly not the only one in the universe who feels this way. That "everyone" claim in the quote really grated on me.

Second, as I've just pointed out, video is in most cases not a time-efficient informational medium. A half-hour TV documentary conveys a lot of information because of skillful editing behind the scenes. Someone shot hours and hours of footage for that half-hour and left most of it on the cutting room floor. Informational videos are never that tight.

Third, the "least amount of space" argument is ludicrous from the point of view of file size. Yesterday I watched one video provided by the Internet marketer quoted above for less than an hour only to learn afterwards that it sent me over the 200 MB daily download quota set by my satellite Internet access provider. My browsing speed was then slowed down to a snail's pace for 24 hours as punishment.

While watching, I didn't realize that the online video counted as a download. And to heighten the irony, I didn't learn a single thing I couldn't have gotten from the audio content or a transcription alone. Providing the interview of an expert only in video form is, to me, tremendously disrespectful of my time.

The two largest satellite Internet companies, Hughesnet and Wild Blue, have a total of more than 600,000 subscribers, with several million more rural American households having no Internet option at home other than dialup. Unless your customers live exclusively in cities or suburbs, that leaves quite a few of your potential customers unable to indulge much in online video, if they had the taste for it.

I do know quite a number of people profitably selling informational videos, and I don't dispute that You Tube and similar video sharing sites can generate incredible marketing buzz. I'm just rejecting the overblown claim that video is the only or best medium in which to communicate or market in 2008.
About the Author
Marcia Yudkin has been selling information in one form or another since 1981. Check out her free weekly newsletter on creative marketing, Marketing Minute (http://www.yudkin.com/marksynd.htm ). Learn about her home-study course on becoming a successful infomarketer: http://www.yudkin.com/informationempire.htm
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