Creating a Case Study – Interview with the Pros

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By | 2017-02-23T00:57:41+00:00 April 27th, 2010|Articles|Comments Off on Creating a Case Study – Interview with the Pros

I recently reviewed ten case-study videos on the Internet to choose one to review for, and my review of that video will appear soon. I evaluated multiple factors in choosing a winner, including marketing focus, visual and audio quality, player presentation and encoded configuration. The clear winner in my mind was a case study produced by network security vendor Watchguard Technologies. The case study featured their client, the Burlington Public Library, and was memorable for multiple reasons that I detail in the review, among them the stunning video quality shown below. To watch the case study on YouTube, click here.

As part of the StreamingMedia story, I interviewed the two principle creators of the video; WatchGuard’s Director of Marketing Communication, Margaret Liddiard, who identifies the case study candidates and the key target messages, and David Sly, president of Ideba Marketing, who oversees all aspects of production, and after an iterative review process with Margaret, delivers the final video. They graciously spent an hour with me, covering the case study creation process from start to finish. The result, which I present in interview format, is an excellent primer for anyone looking for nuts and bolts details on everything from how to use videos in your marketing efforts to how to actually produce the videos. 

Since both Margaret and David answered most questions together, I won’t specify who said what in the interview.

As a quick aside, note that I summarized what I learned while reviewing the ten case studies in Producing Video Case Studies, which you can read by clicking here.

Overview – Using Video in Marketing

Question: WatchGuard uses video a lot in your marketing efforts; how did that come about?

Answer: We started using video as instructional aids about 4-5 years ago, and found them really great teaching tools that allowed us to show our customers scenarios like how a real life hack works and how our products thwart them. From there, it was a natural move to start producing case studies, since peer recommendations hold much more weight than any other source of product information for our potential customers.

In addition to using the videos on our own site and YouTube, we find them very effective as prestitial ads for web security and IT oriented web sites, and show them at trade shows and partner meetings. They’ve been great for producing both general awareness of our products and lead generation.

Question:  How do you choose the clients to interview?

Answer:  We generally have an agenda that we want to promote and find a happy client consistent with that agenda who’s willing to participate. For example, Burlington Public Library was a natural because we target libraries and schools, and because they use the product to filter out adult web sites and other inappropriate content, which is a showcase feature for our product.

At a high level, we look at all of our case studies together as weaving a tapestry that defines our products. That way, we don’t have to cover all the product features in each case study, just those that support the agenda for that particular case study. This approach lets us keep each case study short – usually around 2:00 minutes of actual video — and highly focused. It also helps us ensure that all of our case studies are unique and cover different subjects. 

[Editorial Note: The Burlington Library video is 3:23 in length, with about 20 seconds in both the front and back for summary text, making the body of the actual video around 2:40.]

Question: You use YouTube to deliver all of your videos, embedding YouTube videos on your own web site, and of course, making them available on YouTube. What are your thoughts there?

Answer: It was a no brainer to go to YouTube; it’s the place where lots of viewers go to find instructional videos from us and our competitors, and gets far more traffic than our own web site. We support these efforts by being active on both Facebook and Twitter, which drives further video views.

Question: What about the lack of analytics like drop off statistics that you could get with a paid service?

Answer:  Well, we know how many folks start watching our videos, and because they’re short and highly focused, we assume the good prospects will watch all the way through.

We’ve also flip flopped on the amount of control we try to keep over all of our marketing assets. Years ago, we’d require registration to see product information and other collateral, and had to have metrics on everything. But it doesn’t work. Tech consumers are way savvier than that and aren’t willing to interact with sites where they think their every move is being tracked and recorded.

Now our goal is to engage and educate as many people as possible, and distributing our videos via YouTube supports that.