Knifing the competition… and it's all caught on video

Here is an interesting case study on using videos for marketing purposes that will appear in my upcoming book The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to use news releases, blogs, podcasts, viral marketing and online media to reach your buyers directly


Owen Mack, cofounder and head of strategy and development for coBRANDiT, a company that does social media video production, is a pioneer in using video for marketing and PR purposes. From the early days of online video Mack has helped companies like PUMA and Pabst Brewing create video strategies.

"Video is an extension of the blogging ethos," Mack says. "Do you have an interesting story to tell? If you don't, can you develop something? You need to see what people are saying about you already and know how you can mesh with that. Transparency and openness is required. Done properly, video is very compelling."


Mack has taken his interest and expertise in online video to help create video content to market products for a kitchen retail store his family owns in Boston called KitchenArts; it's basically a hardware store for cooks. "We have a staff of only four people, but we launched a Vlog," he says. "We shoot quick and dirty video about the things that we sell, like how to use kitchen knives. We use a $300 camera, and then we link to our eBay store where people can buy—this is the low-cost, grassroots way to do video."

Mack's use of video for KitchenArts has allowed the small company to present information in a way that the big players aren't. "Our competition is places like Williams-Sonoma," he says. "I can't compete with them by doing a better web site. But I can do a better job with video. I can transmit the ethos and show the personality and demonstrate knowledge of our products on the Web. It's basically home video, but we show how to use things and demonstrate products, so we compete with the big guys. It's also cheap. The eBay store and blog software combined is only about $50 a month."

KitchenArts has nearly 100 different products for sale online, each with a short video demonstration segment. "It's not making barrel-loads of money, but the sales we make from video as a percentage of my extremely low costs represent terrific margins."

Mack sees video as an important component in an effective marketing mix. "For brands big and small, it's just about putting out interesting and engaging information about your story," he says. "Anybody can do it. The bigger companies can build brand communities to excite brand loyalists and advocates. In this way, video extends the two-way dialog of the blog."

Audio and video content on the Web are still very new for marketers and communicators. But the potential to deliver information to buyers in new and surprising ways is greater when you use a new media. And while your competition is still trying to figure out "that blogging thing," you can leverage your existing blog into the new worlds of audio and video and leave the competition way behind.

David Meerman Scott

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