How to Get the BEST from Your Video Agency April 05, 2018

Hire a Partner, Not a Vendor

If you’re a Marketing Manager, Marketing VP or in a similar role, it is likely you have experience working with all kinds of service providers. Depending on your work style, budget, and personal preferences, you might have worked with each provider to create every individual piece of your offering. Or you might have worked with a full-service agency that took the lead and coordinated the creation and integration of all the pieces for you.

More than your work style, the label you give service providers is an indicator of how successful you are. Is your service provider:

  • A ‘partner’?
  • Someone you regard as a professional whose ideas are valued?
  • A vendor?
  • Someone who provides a commodity which is procured based on pricing? (And expected to churn out cookie cutter work?)

When entrusting your brand, image, messaging and customer experiences to a service provider, do you think your best effort will come from a “vendor”?

Five Things That Make You a Great Partner

Like any other marketing service provider, a video agency will work better when brought in as a “partner.” But what does that mean?

Here are five things we’ve learned that make the most successful projects:

  1. Write a Creative Brief

– Have you had an idea you wanted to share with someone, revved it up in your head a few times, developed many more details, then left out over half of those details when you finally shared the idea with a friend?

Marketing projects work in much the same way. A good brief makes a BIG difference and will get better results. You need a good brief to tell the video team who your audience is, how you are marketing to your audience, where the video will be used, and what metrics you're looking to achieve.  If you are not sure of how to create your brief or what to put in it? Consult with your partners. They will help you learn what is most effective and know well that the brief affects everything related to the production of a video.

  1. Let the Ideas Come to You

– We get it. Everyone has ideas about how a video should look, but let the creative brief do some of the work. Use it to inspire your team to come up with new ideas.

Remember that video production experts make and watch videos all day long. They also know the trends and what is happening in the industry. We encourage you to let them bring their ideas to the table. Once they have done some thinking based on your brief, it might be a good time to bring a couple of your ideas into the mix. Maybe your idea was amazing, but if you begin by pushing your idea first, you will limit the creative process of the team you are paying for creativity. You may be surprised, and they may blow you out of the water with ideas that exceed what you had in mind.

What happens too often, especially when a service provider is labeled a “vendor,” is when you bring your idea to the table too soon. This can influence a video production company to think they need to make your idea, though others may be better. They might have ideas that are on-trend, ‘happening’ and very cool. You don't want to miss out on an opportunity to collaborate by letting the ideas come to you.

  1. Designate Assigned Roles on Your Team
    - As you are working with a video production team, manage the roles of those on your team as well. One of the most important things to set up is who will play what role in the process on your side from your team? By doing so, you will save time, headaches, money. If you are the project manager, it will also spare you a lot of drama.

For most video projects, we expect to see four roles identified on the client side:

> Project Manager – Your team’s coordinator, the one who keeps all the pieces moving.

> Approver – The team’s final “decision-maker.” Others might be involved to provide feedback, but there should be only ONE approver who will make the final call.

> Reviewers – You might work for a BIG company or a very flat organization which has a “collaborative” culture. If so, avoid having more than five reviewers.

> Participants – Others that might need to be involved include clients, observers, or They should not be involved in the approval, review process but you might find their feedback helpful.

  1. Manage the Scope of Work

– It is critical to know the process you are going to follow when making the video and manage your team around a scope of work (SOW). Overlooking this is the one of the biggest cause of delays and overruns in producing a video.

It pays to know if you are only going to have three revisions, so the people “at the top” will have it early on in the revision cycles. These top executives are typically busy making more difficult to get reviews in a timely manner. For this reason, it makes sense to have them in the loop during the first review rather than wait until the end and risk the need for big changes.

  1. Share the Results and Feedback

- Finally, the best thing you can do when you're working with a video production team is share feedback and metrics on how the videos are doing. For instance:

    • How many views are you getting?
    • What conversion rates are you seeing?
    • Play Rate. Play rate is the percentage of page visitors who clicked play and began watching your video
    • Click-through Rate
    • Social Sharing results

It will help your video agency when planning a creative for your team in the future. It will help them make subtle tweaks to improve overall results and optimize your marketing budget.

It’s a Habit, Not a Checklist

If you make a habit of building a solid brief for every project, video or otherwise, the other tips tend to fall into place. You will see improvements from your marketing “partners” and get better results.  With a little preparation and a small dose of process discipline, you will also find the video production project much more enjoyable.

Jennifer O'Brien

Jennifer O'Brien

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