Investing in Online Video’s Value

World markets are collapsing, so why should digital marketers smile?

Because this is the time to make your mark.

Forget for a second the abject terror we greet each day with right now. Forget the phenomenal amount of column inches devoted to making this current spate of horrific economic news the equivalent of “Nightmare on Elm Street” meets “Halloween” meets “Friday the 13th.” Forget all that. In an economic crises, there’s a move to value. Witness Warren Buffet, often hailed as the world’s greatest investor, not tucking his money under a mattress but investing in the bluest of blue chips — General Electric and Goldman Sachs.

Now, more than ever, is the time to truly present the value of working in online video to our respective clients. As a friend of mine said the other night, TV is essentially a marketplace where advertisers spend money on content people may or may not be watching. While the numbers can be huge — and all the more so when the DVR audience is included — it’s still unclear if ads are being watched or skipped and whether the audience is actually being reached.

Yet when it comes to online, nothing could be further from the truth. To watch video online, you must find it, select it, and quite possibly interact in some way for the stream to continue. This very high level of activity demonstrates just how valuable the audience is and how, despite the gloom and doom surrounding all things commerce these days, there’s no better time to dig deep and articulate the value of the work we’re all collectively doing.

Just as the writer’s strike begat a spike in online video creation and consumption, so too will this seismic economic shift. It’s necessary to keep budgets small, as there’s no credit out there to leverage for a massive production. And online video is by definition small.

Moreover, as everybody on Wall Street and in Washington, DC, point fingers to figure out who takes the blame in a Keystone Kops fashion, the word “accountability” surfaces time and again. Another key strength of our market.

Sure, you can look for the nearest bridge to hurl yourself off of, as you consider the crater that was your 401(k) account and think that none of this will work. But nothing could be further from the truth. For in chaotic times such as these, a clear message of value — well articulated and accountable — will help marketers not only survive but quite possibly thrive.

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