Arguing Marketing’s Social Media Business Case for Using Live Video Apps

Tony Compton, Managing Partner

Contacts. Good, Solid Contacts.
Leads. Warm, Sales-Ready, and Accepted Leads.
Opportunities. Qualified Opportunities.

Of course, everybody wants them!

Repeated Question to the CXO: How do you measure marketing’s performance?
Inevitable Answer: Leads. Demand Gen. Marketing-Sourced Qualified Opportunities!

You’ve read a lot about what the Periscope and Meerkat live video apps can do for sales, marketing, and customer service. Articles, blogs, and web postings are filled with great tips and advice about streaming “behind the scenes” content, executive presentations, product demos, and more. A lot of what has been written, said, and shown is creative, insightful, and very timely. But how one may tactically use the apps should come second. First, it must be stated what proficient usage of these apps must strategically do. Generate leads and produce qualified revenue opportunities.
I don’t recall seeing or hearing much, if anything, about that important piece of this social media puzzle. Unfortunate, because I contend that the expert use of these apps will not only generate leads and qualified business opportunities, but the those who embrace the potential of this new social media arena will realize better and faster programmatic returns when compared to many of the sales, marketing, and customer service initiatives already in use.

Few CEOs, CMOs, Sales VPs, or investors are going to care about anybody’s creative ability to stream content on live video apps if measurable business opportunities are nonexistent. And rightfully so. If a business case for integrating live video content is absent from your go-to-market game plan, so too will be the funding for it.

But, what if you could quickly secure a greater number of marketing-sourced opportunities, act on them earlier in the sales cycle, and do so at a lower cost? With a social media strategy that includes using Periscope and/or Meerkat, you can. And that’s exactly how you’ll get the executive team’s interest, and buy-in.

You Never Even Call Me By My (User) Name

Consider my recent experience. The other day, I decided to check out some of the live videos on Periscope. You could say I was “scoping,” but I wasn’t being very interactive. Fact is, I was merely channel surfing. Mindlessly channel surfing. With my iPhone and my scrolling right thumb, I momentarily settled on one stream which featured a man who appeared to be simultaneously driving and hosting a live video. (Disclaimer: I do not endorse streaming a live video and driving.) I’m ashamed to admit that I can’t remember the title of the man’s video, nor can I even recall his name. But for a moment, he knew my name, and it made a big difference.

One-half second after joining the video, the host mentioned my username and acknowledged my presence. Since my personal username is the same as my real name, its usage briefly startled me, but pleasantly caught my attention. It was in that instant that I realized I wasn’t watching Cable TV anymore. Nor was I watching an elongated and difficult-to-follow demo on YouTube. And I certainly wasn’t watching another garden-variety corporate video uploaded to a company website. No tuning in and tuning out this time. I wasn’t able to hide, and I wasn’t alone. The immediacy of the new experience caught me off-guard, and snapped me out of my mindless channel surfing. The man on the screen was actually talking to me.

Hearing Your Name is Music to Your Ears

The operative word in the line above is hearing. Out of the countess sales and marketing programs in existence, when was the last time you heard your name when you were on the receiving end of a live, welcoming, and interactive marketing effort, or a customized communication activity? (Pre-scripted, intrusive, and cold sales calls with “your name here” inserted in the beginning don’t count!) You won’t hear your name when you receive an email, text, tweet, or piece of junk mail – even if they are customized to autofill your <FirstName> and <LastName>. You probably won’t hear your name when you join a webinar (if you do, it’ll be near the end because you asked a question.) If you avoid human contact at a trade show, nobody will know you even exist. (For the purposes of this post, that’s not good!) And although a piece of pushed campaign media could conceivably be recorded with your name being mentioned, that’s not a live interaction.

  • Think about your current live audience interactions.
  • Consider the cost of those programs, and the results.
  • What if you had agile, and more cost-effective, live audience interactions?
  • Earlier the sales and marketing cycle?
  • Faster, and more effective than tired and obsolete methods?
  • That created a sense of urgency and forged a crispness to your messaging and positioning?
  • Now think about what you could have done with more timely data and information.
  • Especially at the end of this Quarter.

Establishing Your Social Media Business Case

Live interactions with prospects and customers cost money. Sponsor a webinar? That’s at least $10,000. Trade show? That’s four to seven figures. On-site sales visits? That’s travel, time, and personnel, plus it’s one at a time. The Periscope and Meerkat apps are interactive, and better yet, free. Yes, you must prepare your team before going on-camera, and you will need a game plan in place for how to efficiently and effectively use live video apps. This social media initiative also requires investment, but anybody with a calculator and a blank 2016 business plan should start to compare the features, benefits, potential returns, and costs among the menu of sales, marketing, and customer service programmatic options.

I’m not advocating a rip and replace attitude to lead gen activities. Webinars, trade shows, sales calls, and other programs definitely have their place. But the live video apps are genuine game changers. You’ll have to adapt. Using live video apps is frightening to some, and this new method of audience interaction will be seen as a threat to the established ways of doing things. Many will resist change in favor of the status quo.

But for those unwilling or unable to change, and for those who lack vision, business will suffer.

There are tangible economic benefits to obtaining valuable information from live audience interactions early in the sales and marketing cycle, versus gathering and compiling lagging data from impersonal sales, marketing, and service channels.
And I would rather choose to interact with an expert business storyteller on my mobile device today, versus receiving yet another outdated communication that I’ll inevitably delete, discard, disconnect, lose, or turn off, tomorrow.

You may have wondered, “What can be done with the new live video apps?” First things first. You should use the apps to generate leads and produce qualified revenue opportunities.

Exactly how? Stay tuned.

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