Video Makes the Marketing Star

The explosive growth of online video offers a virtual world of opportunity to get more buzz from events.

By Brendan Spiegel April 7, 2008, 1:41 PM EDT

IMG's behind-the-scenes videos from Fashion Week.

Photo: Courtesy of IMG Fashion

This week we're posting a series on building event buzz with online videos. We'll post a success story each day. But first, here's an overview.

From text messaging to Facebook to blogs, new technologies offer a seemingly endless choice of platforms for connecting with an audience and spreading news about events. And of all these media, online video has perhaps the most potential to spread an idea or message around the world.

“Videos provide an opportunity to engage the user in a way that text and images don’t,” says David Meerman Scott, author of The New Rules of Marketing and PR. “For events, that’s a fantastic opportunity.”

The ease, speed, and accessibility of YouTube and other video-sharing applications can help a video go viral in a matter of minutes, whether it’s broadcast from a bedroom in Wisconsin or an airplane over the Pacific.

“Video is not new to the Internet, but it is growing rapidly for two reasons,” says Thomas Harpointer, C.E.O. of AIS Media, an Internet marketing firm. “One is the growing popularity and availability of bandwidth. And the second is video sharing.” YouTube, by far the most popular video-sharing site, now claims 55 million unique users per month.

Whatever the content—streaming live video of conferences, highlight clips from trade shows, marketing stunts that result in user-generated viral videos—the medium presents an array of opportunities for promoting events and widening their impact and audience. Event marketers are asking, “How do we extend the value of events to people who haven’t attended?” says Roxanne Darling, co-owner of BarefeetStudios.com, a Web development company. “With online video, there’s an incredible untapped resource there.”

While your event video might not be the next “Obama girl” or “Britney boy,” it does have the potential to reach thousands, even millions of eyeballs, at a fraction of the price of traditional media campaigns.

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