Increasing Digital Campaign Efficacy With ‘Intelligent’ Branded Lifestyle Entertainment Video Content (Guest)

By Jason Meninger, Founding Partner, OutdoorFlics

Who would’ve imagined a vinegar company could create entertaining, relatable content that a youthful, media-fickle audience would actually watch? Sarson’s did—and they nailed it!

A legacy product with diminishing mindshare, and desperately needing to attract a younger audience, Sarson’s employed a video marketing campaign targeting Gen X/Y prospects based on complementary content they most commonly searched YouTube for. What Sarson’s discovered—recipes, home cooking, and pickling were the highest-trending keywords—led them to create a series of original recipe videos that illustrated various uses for vinegar in a fun, engaging way.

The Sarson’s case study illustrates intelligent branded content strategy development and execution at its best, in which a target audience is precisely determined before either a storyboard or media plan is ever developed. Moreover, branded content strategies are increasingly evolving into branded ‘entertainment’ programming, in which lifestyle-centric content is strategically aligned with key brand attributes and tenets, then distributed through data-driven, cross-platform strategies with precision targeting to ensure consumption by the right audience, on the right device, at the right time.

Numerous studies confirm that video consumption—primarily, mobile—is dominating online activity (we’ve quickly become a video-first society), as well as the definitive correlation between video viewing and purchasing behaviors. As such, brands and marketers can no longer afford to sit idly on the sidelines, clinging to their traditional marketing strategies, lest they risk losing out to competitors.

In a survey of 1,000 consumers and 500 marketers, Animoto’s annual report on video, “The State of Social Video 2017: Marketing in a Video First World”, yielded several key findings worth any savvy video marketer’s consideration:

  • 64% of consumers purchase after watching branded social videos
  • 84% watch on mobile devices
  • Content consumers are most likely to like and share: ‘behind-the-scenes,’ funny, educational, and emotional videos
  • 48% of marketers create 4+ videos every month, and 27% create 6+ videos every month (based on companies that have created at least two videos in the past year)
  • 81% of marketers optimize their social videos for mobile viewership

That brands are cranking out more videos to engage with their customers is not surprising, but where some brands fail is in the lack of strategy with their digital distribution. Without methodology behind the content, it’s like blasting a confetti cannon into the ether rather than a Navy SEAL using a laser-guided scope to hit its target.

The upstream work of determining a brand’s buyer persona is paramount, and is the cornerstone of the data-driven ‘Intelligent Marketing Philosophy’ approach we take with clients. Compiling the right data up front leads to the desired downstream results, as not only does data drive the micro-targeted digital distribution (we’ll touch more on that in the second article of this two-piece series), but also the creative. Simply put, understanding one’s buyer persona is critical to crafting content they’ll find irresistible. (No more wasted time and money on high-end productions that don’t resonate with your target audience.) A well-developed intelligent marketing strategy will enable a brand to re-establish, and strengthen, brand awareness with its existing core customers and prospects, as well as reach a completely new customer universe of look-alikes.

A final study we’ll leave you with is a client of ours—leading commercial-grade mowing equipment manufacturer, Exmark Mfg. Co. At the onset of our partnership, we operated under the assumption that their primary audience was a wealthy gentleman farmer-type living on five to 10 acres. While confirmed as likely buyers, the new data-based, ‘Exmark Guy’ persona we developed revealed that a much larger customer universe existed—particularly middle-aged, blue-collar family men with average HHIs, and residing on two acres or more.

Armed with a broader consumer set to introduce the Exmark brand to, we developed an informative, inspirational Done-in-a-Weekend branded web series that catered to this audience’s DIY sensibilities. Hosted by a landscape design expert, each short-form video provided simple, cost-effective projects to enhance outdoor living spaces.

The 12-week branded entertainment campaign—a key component within Exmark’s overall 2017 marketing mix—far exceeded expectations, generating 14,347 hours (598 days) of video engagement time, 616,693 high-engagement (:30 or more) views, and nearly twice the stay-time on the DIY campaign landing page as the Brand campaign landing page. As important, Exmark realized measurable sales increases as a result of the initiative.

In part two of this series, we’ll delve deeper into the digital distribution methodologies that helped drive measurable results by delivering authentic, lifestyle content to Exmark’s custom buyer persona.

Jason Meninger bio/OutdoorFlics boilerplate

Jason Meninger is a founding partner of OutdoorFlics—a digital-first, video-centric, data-driven, lifestyle-content brand agency that combines integrated, results-driven marketing expertise with publishing DNA and cutting-edge IP-based distribution strategies. Meninger has more than 25 years of media strategy and publishing experience, and helped transform the business from a traditional ad agency to an innovative digital studio and media lab.

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