Saturday, April 19, 2008

Video on the Internet - The next Communication Revolution

Streaming Video is the future of the Internet. 'Uses of Digital Media', a report by Aberdeen/, found that in the United States of America $2 billion was being spent on streaming media technologies, and is projected to grow to in excess of $12 billion per annum over the next few years.

Today the Internet is the fastest growing marketplace and offers global opportunities to all, from international conglomerates to the individual person at the kitchen table. What though is the most effective form of communication on the information super highway? The Internet has become the place to communicate with one another and the means to search for and locate information. Video streaming brings a whole new dimension to this experience for everyone, be they business persons negotiating a deal, friends and family keeping in touch with their loved ones, or people sharing a common interest seeing one another for the first time.

For communication to be of use, it must be effective. People are expounding vast amounts of time, effort and money to communicate effectively on the Internet. Studies have shown that using video on the Internet gets people's attention and increases the likelihood that the message will be remembered.

Humans remember:

10% of what they read,
30% of what they see,
50% of what they see and hear together,
And 80% of what they see, hear and do.
(Source: Dr. Mehrabians, Study of Communication.)

This should have a significant impact on how one uses the Internet as a means of communication. Email changed the Internet, but video is changing the World. Email has become the fastest growing form of communication. Every day billions of emails are sent and received and the number continues to grow, (even allowing for the known problems of Spam, viruses etc.) some analysts are predicting that the number of messages will ultimately grow to as many as 100 billion a day! This may sound great, but if one remembers that to be of use communication has to be effective, clearly definite strategies will have to be developed to achieve this aim of successful communication.

The three major problems that have to be considered are:

"How do you make your message 'stand out from the crowd'?"
"How do you ensure uniformity of message (so everyone sees and hears the same message?"
And "How do you try to ensure your message is not confused and misunderstood?"

Some people have started to include pictures and images to help convey the meaning and to add impact, but that still doesn't solve the problem! This is because we are used to 'face to face' communication, where the message is interpreted not only from the spoken word but also the non-verbal communication. 55% of a messages meaning is derived from facial expression and 38% is derived from gestures, body language etc.

So what is the solution? People online need fully integrated video streaming facilities for their online communication and this technology is available now, ranging from Video Email, Video Instant Messaging and even live Webcasting and Streaming Web TV. Streaming Video is the online future, and now is the time to place ones self at the forefront of this next communication revolution.

Is Traditional Advertising Dead?

Talk to almost any advertising agency, or Fortune 500 company exec about advertising and promotion, and you will almost certainly hear the buzz words "fragmented advertising" and "consumer-centric campaigns" and long discussions about the many pitfalls and difficulties of creating effective advertising campaigns today.

What is fragmentation exactly? It's the increase in the number of available methods for getting your message to your audience.

One of the main difficulties faced by any entrepreneur is that advertising has changed and evolved over the last few years. It now includes visual, audio and electronic media.

In fact, if you do a Google search for advertising, you may feel overwhelmed by all the options available to you now -- if you just look at the options for your Website you'll find popups, popovers, audio messages, flash video, RSS, even animated "sales people" that can be programmed to appear right on your Website and interact with your customers. And that's just the tip of the iceberg!

So is traditional advertising -- which includes billboards, radio, television, newspaper and magazine -- dead?

Not by a long shot. According to one top advertising mogul, traditional advertising methods are still around because they still work.

The trick is to figure out who your target market is, what they want, and how they look for that information.

Mark Twain said, "Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising."

If you know customers, you can spend your advertising dollars on the mediums they use to look for answers.

If your customers are senior citizens who are not online, then focus the majority of your advertising dollars on the newspapers, magazines, television, and radio that they are reading, watching or listening to.

If your target market is working parents, you need to know how, when and where they get their information. Is it on the Internet? What radio stations do they listen to? What magazines are they reading? Do they watch television? When? Why?

So what are your best options for creating an effective advertising campaign?

Here are some simple steps:

1. Know your audience. What do they want? Where do they shop? What do they read? How old are they? Where do they hang out? Do they need your product or services? Can they afford your product or services?

2. Know your competition. Be prepared to do a little detective work. What are your three main competitors doing to advertise? Where are they advertising? How often? What types of advertising methods are they using? How long have they been running? Are you reaching the same audience? Is your message different?

Look at what they're doing right, and figure out creative ways that you can make your advertising just a little bit better, or differentiate yourself from the crowd.

3. Next take a look at what the "big dogs" in your field are doing, and see if you can adapt some of their methods to your target audience and your budget.

4. Know your message. What exactly are you trying to say? What do your customers want to hear? Why should they buy from you, and not someone else? Make every word count.

Chances are, your customers are much more tech-savvy than they were five years ago, or even one year ago. The Internet has made unbelievable amounts of information accessible, but it also has contributed to the "information overload" consumers complain of.

Another side effect of the Internet is that your customers have probably become used to getting "instant gratification" when they are looking for information, products or services. They want it, and they want it now. Are you giving your customers what they want, when they want it?

If you want to have an effective advertising campaign, don't try to be everything to everyone. Think of your advertising as a conversation between you and your one "ideal" customer.
Remember, if you're giving your customers what they want, they don't perceive your ads as a nuisance, they see them as a service.

Traditional advertising is not dead and you can use it to your advantage if you pay attention to who your customers are, and what they want.