In the twelve years we’ve been making high-tech marketing videos, we’ve occasionally mediated disputes between marketers and product managers over the question of what makes a video “too technical.” We like featuring as many technology differentiators as possible — probably not more than three or four in a short video — because we believe that buyers are looking for insight. Who better than a technology buyer to appreciate your technology solution’s technical achievements?
The delightfully nerdy style
The ‘noisy neighbor’ and ‘blender effect’ are two problems of virtual infrastructure depicted in this ‘delightfully nerdy’ Quantum video. The animation actually depicts the problem with a fair degree of accuracy.
If your offering overcomes well-known technical problems, a “delightfully nerdy” style is effective. Quantum’s QXS hybrid storage addresses several well-known problems that often arise in virtual infrastructure, including the “blender effect.” In the video example here, we assume that many viewers will be familiar with the problem.
The animation depicts the effect with enough technical accuracy to be credible to viewers who are familiar the problem. For those who are not, the animation is just delightfully nerdy — something you can appreciate without fully getting on board.
Here’s how it works
How “slow drain” develops — and what Brocade technology can do about it. “Here’s how it works” is a great approach for high tech marketing videos designed to satisfy buyers who want insight.
I love this expression. Hearing it makes me happy that I’m about to learn something.
I’ve always thought of making IT marketing videos as a semi-journalistic exercise — there’s no pretense as to objectivity, but the video certainly ought to communicate something true and worth knowing about. I recently attended a panel discussion at the New York Times on the future of virtual reality in traditional journalism. The Times preemptively grabbed the leadership position in VR journalism in November 2015, when it added a VR experience to its wide assortment of graphics and video options. What caught everyone’s attention wasn’t so much the video — the Times has lots of that— but the distribution of more than a million Google Cardboard viewers with the Sunday paper.
The history of this skunk-works style project, brought off without conspicuous upper-level management support, is an interesting business case you can hear about in this Times Insider podcast of the event. What came across most forcefully was these editors’ conviction that VR can support the institution’s journalistic mission. That’s why they insisted on tying their first VR project to the biggest story at the time, millions of people displaced from their homes and homelands. What made this VR experience feasible in the first place, of course, is that Google Cardboard was the only “technology” the Times needed to distribute. They could count on subscribers’ smart phones to deliver the VR content. That’s why I think what the Times is doing with VR videos could be relevant to IT marketing videos.
IT marketing videos need stories. VR, maybe not.
The small team at The Times continues to struggle to define the role of VR in a journalistic enterprise. VR editor Jenna Pirog (the first, and still the only editor in journalism with “VR” in her title), agreed that VR by itself isn’t very efficient for story-telling. You don’t control the point-of-view, commentary is intrusive, and VR takes up a lot of the reader’s time. (Difficulties with fictional VR storytelling are discussed in this blog post).
NYT VR app and Google Cardboard. NY Times journalists agreed that one of the best applications for VR is to share an experience of place. That may be what’s best for I.T. video marketing, too.
Knowledge transfer is the aim of most of the videos we make. When you begin an explainer video production project, the “knowledge” you want your prospect to take on board resides in the minds of subject matter experts — salespeople, product managers, marketers and engineers. Some subject matter experts (e.g., salespeople) are invested in the success of the video. Others may resent having to invest their valuable time in a marketing initiative that’s not central to their real job.
We like to keep our “interviews” short, informal and conversational because what we’re really trying to discover is, not how a solution works, but how it’s best explained. Here are a few questions you can ask your SMEs that will help make the knowledge transfer go smoothly.
What do people have the most trouble understanding about your solution?
This question helps to focus the conversation on learning needs and away from video content. It can help in structuring the explainer video production content, too.
What do you think should be the three most important takeaways from this video?
Why make a video, anyway?
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