Small Businesses have Marketing Leverage with Web Video

“Top 10 Reasons Small Businesses Fail”, titled The New York Times article, discloses such problems as poor accounting, dysfunctional management, and a lack of a cash cushion to name a few, as reasons why small businesses meet extinction. These points are rightly justified, however one significantly important business blunder remains unmentioned in this articles’ list; that is the lack of marketing. It is reasonable to conclude that effective marketing will increase a business’s customer base, therefore increasing cash flow, which can rectify many of the problems a small business is faced with. Traditional marketing does not come cheap. Small businesses with limited funds need to invest in a marketing model with the most "bang for the buck." Small businesses that embrace marketing with digital content, including video via internet distribution can reach greater audiences and build stronger customer relationships.

Why is video most effective?

Author and consultant to brands like Amazon, Disney, Walmart, and South By Southwest, Dr. Susan Weinschenk outlines four reasons why video is more compelling and persuasive for marketing. First, video is more effective because of the fusiform facial area, which is part of the human visual system in the brain that is responsible for facial recognition. People are drawn to look at faces and to unconsciously process emotional information from facial expressions. Second, audio is 50% of the visual experience. People are instinctively drawn to the human voice. Voice communicates rich information through resonance, intensity, and frequency. Third, emotions are contagious. Think of your favorite theatrical movie. Now think how that movie made you feel. Emotions can be conveyed even through the screen. Fourth, movement grabs the viewer’s attention. Humans are programmed to pay attention to peripheral movement. This function is hardwired into the brain. The mind is sensitive to movement and the eyes are drawn to it.

Three hundred hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute. Surely, not every minute of video ever shot is effective? What makes a video effective? In The CMO’s Social Media Handbook, author Peter Friedman untangles the human attraction to social media. People gravitate to social media to express and share themselves, to connect with friends and family, and to get attention. This engagement facilitates conversation; which builds relationships. What works in social media also works in video. Small businesses have the opportunity to engage in conversation and build relationships with its customers through video; in other words, building a community. Customers are more likely to patron a business they trust.

Old Spice proved the engagement concept in their 2010, web release, video campaign “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like.”  Old Spice was unable to gain market share for their new line of body wash for men. Sales were nominal. In a desperate effort, Old Spice called upon the advertising firm Wieden + Kennedy. “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign was an instant success. In addition, it was what Wieden + Kennedy did in response to the campaign’s success that increased men’s body wash sales 125% and facilitated Old Spice in becoming the number one selling brand of body wash for men in the United States.

Wieden + Kennedy followed its initial campaign with an even more successful “Response” campaign. Over the course of two and a half days, Wieden + Kennedy filmed 186 videos with actor Isaiah Mustafa, who responded to posts, comments, and questions from internet fans and then posted those video responses to YouTube. The community reaction was astounding. In the first day alone, the response campaign generated 5.9 million YouTube views. Old Spice men’s body wash sales were already on the rise following the launch of the first “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” web video ad but, the response campaign grew the brand even further. In one month, Old Spice increased Twitter followers 2700%, Facebook fans 60%, and YouTube channel subscribers from 65,000 to 250,000. Old Spice simply facilitated conversation and built relationships of trust with it's community. They did it through video, they did it through social media, and they engaged directly with the customer.

It would seem that a large corporation such as Old Spice would have an unlimited budget for video marketing; however the budget for “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” media expenditure was rumored to be under $500,000.  Although a five hundred thousand dollar production budget seems like a big number, it is not. Large corporations are known to spend tens of millions of dollars on video production. Whether it is a large corporation or a small business, the principle is the same.  Building relationships of trust with customers, by engaging in conversations through web video, providing value, and building a community will result in greater brand recognition and increased patronage; and it all can be done on a shoestring budget.

Works Cited

Goltz, Jay. "Top 10 Reasons Small Businesses Fail." Youre the Boss Top 10 Reasons Small Businesses Fail Comments. The New York Times, 5 Jan. 2011. Web. 25 June 2015. <>. 

Weinschenk, Susan. "4 Reasons Why Online Video Is Compelling & Persuasive." The Team W Blog. 22 Jan. 2013. Web. 25 June 2015. <>. 

"Voice Qualities." The National Center for Voice and Speech. Web. 25 June 2015. <>. 

"Statistics." YouTube. YouTube. Web. 25 June 2015. <>. 

Friedman, Peter. "How to Become the Starbucks of Social Media." The CMO’s Social Media Handbook. San Jose: LiveWorld, 2014. 65-78. Print.

"“The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” Responds to the Internet." Effie. Effie Worldwide, 2011. Web. 17 June 2015. Print.