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January 17, 2012

4 Reasons Why an Explainer Video Will Smoke Your Elevator Pitch

Quick—tell me what your company does in one sentence.  Oh yeah, it had better be good, or I’ll forget what you said in about three seconds.  That’s the concept behind elevator pitches—the ability to sum up what your business does quickly and succinctly.  But in reality, elevator pitches haven’t exactly pushed businesses to the goal line.

Luckily, technology has improved the elevator pitch in something called explainer videos.  These short, animated videos have the ability to quickly catch a viewer’s attention and increase a website’s conversion rate.  Still stuck in the elevator?  Here are four reasons why an explainer video is better than an elevator pitch.

The Information Stays With Them

According to the Wharton Research Center, you’ll retain a mere 10 percent of what you hear verbally, but when you add in visuals, the retention rate skyrockets to 50 percent. Now, combine that with a survey that Forbes did in 2010 (PDF) that shows 60 percent of business people will watch a video instead of read the text on the same webpage, and you’ll understand why explainer videos have caught the attention of just about everyone.  The numbers are simple—the better people retain the information about your company, the more likely they’ll be to remember you when they’re ready to buy.

They Go Viral

When’s the last time you heard a conversation about a great elevator pitch someone heard on the way to a party?  People don’t generally have an incentive to pass along a verbal account of someone’s business, but an explainer video is another story.  The right video at the right time can quickly go viral, spreading the word of your business at an unimaginable speed. (Think: vacuum cleaner video, 4 million views to date.)   People will pass along the link to friends, family and business associates who might be in the market for your product or service.  The amount of people that an animated video can reach is virtually unlimited.

They’re Not Boring

What was your instinct the last time someone tried to pitch you about their company?  Does it start with an “R,” followed quickly by a “u” and an “n?”  That’s most people’s reaction, although many will politely sit through the pitch, thinking about their next golf game or grocery list.  The truth is, no matter how long you work on your verbal pitch, it’s probably not going to land you the next big client.  An explainer video, on the other hand—especially one that uses animation video techniques—will likely grab their attention, and if it does the job it’s intended to do, will convert them into a client.

They Think They’re in Control

Being forced to listen to someone’s business pitch can be uncomfortable, but when you can listen to it on your own terms, it’s an entirely different thing.  People look for information online when they want to know more about a topic, or when they’re conducting research about a product or service in preparation to make a purchase.  The secret is that these shoppers believe they’re in control, but the truth is, if you present them with an explainer video at this time, such as an animated video that perfectly explains your product or service, your odds of closing the deal greatly increase.

It’s not difficult to figure out why explainer videos are the hottest new trend in marketing.  The animated videos are perfect for consumers who are looking for quick facts in an entertaining format. Are you ready to step out of the elevator?

  • http://simplifilm.com/ Chris Johnson

    The explainer videos have to be well done.
    The problem with a lot of what we’re seeing right now is it comes in 3 flavors:

    -whiteboard schlock
    -”this is doug schlock”
    -welcome to ________ schlock.

    (kinetic type schlock is a close 4th).

    As one who makes these, I am thinking that the explainer form is in some trouble.

    We have to overcome the form, transcend it…and revere the products we work with. That gets hard to sustain, and it also means that we have to turn away products we don’t use or connect with, and work at a creative pace that’s nourishing.

    I just became familiar with you all.  Would love to talk shop! 

    • http://topicsimple.com/ Topic Simple

      Chris I think that the explainer form will expand as more people get them.  It’s still a new form and (as I’m sure you know) most businesses don’t have one.  As video becomes more pervasive, client and producer alike will (hopefully) start demanding different approaches.  Right now just having an explainer vid is enough to ‘stand out’.    

      • http://simplifilm.com/ Chris Johnson

        I’m guessing that’s not the case.  I know that when a “good” explainer replaces one that’s “just there”  time on site, bounce rate, and conversions all go through the roof.  Saying “anything is good” enough is the exact attitude that you should battle. 

        You have to have reverence for the products.

        • http://demoduck.wpengine.com/ Andrew Follett

          @genuinechris:disqus  Thanks for chiming in! I’m not quite sure what you’re trying to say, but I do agree that there are now several “go to” formats for explainer videos that have become the norm. However, I also think there’s a reason for it…namely, that they work and people can relate to them. There are only so many ways to tell a compelling business story in 60-seconds.
          I think the idea of creating videos only for the products you “revere” sounds noble, but I’m not sure it’s practical. Sure, I may not be passionate about the product itself (e.g. diapers or paper clips :), but I am passionate about explaining it to people who are.

          @TopicSimple:disqus  I agree. I think a lot of people here would agree that video is only going to become more popular online. Explainers are usually the first step for most businesses because it often provides the most bang for the buck. Once they have an explainer, that’s when they can start to invest in new videos – customer testimonials, tutorials, video blogs, in-depth product reviews, etc.

          Thanks for reading and joining the conversation!

          • http://simplifilm.com/ Chris Johnson

            (Is this andrew).  If so, you’ve come a long way since you pinged us a while ago.

          • http://simplifilm.com/ Chris Johnson

            THis is a fascinating conversation.  Don’t give up on craft.

            There are infinite ways to tell a story.  I’ll be damned before we do what someone else has already done.

            (I’m a little bit passionate about this, and I am just trying to encourage you to think about things like reverence, standards, etc).

          • http://topicsimple.com/ Topic Simple

            Chris I’m not sure I meant to imply what you replied with, but you are right it certainly is a fascinating conversation, and you definitely seem passionate!

            “Insipid finger painting” is the best phrase I’ve heard all week.  As a visual thinker, it conjures up a lot of interesting images and associations – both negative and positive.  Wow!

          • http://simplifilm.com/ Chris Johnson

            ? You said “just having an explainer video” is good enough.  I say that is an insult to the people that pay us five figures and more to get these done for them.  ”Just good enough to stand out” is the public embrace of minimum standards and mediocrity.  I’d be damned before I said that in public.  ”Oh, any old thing will do for you.”  

            People put their life’s work into their businesses. 

            Blood, sweat and tears go into all of it. 

            “Just good enough to stand out,” isn’t the kind of reverence you need to have if you’ll last, move upmarket and have an interesting life.

            I can’t stand animators that have that attitude, throw a bunch of jr. guys doing the “this is doug” crap (that ***absolutely*** does not convert at an optimum level).

      • http://simplifilm.com/ Chris Johnson

        It’s absolutely absurd to think that “just having an explainer video” is enough. 90% of the explainer videos are condescending smug rip-offs.  maybe more. 

        They don’t know how to tell stories, how to simulate real physics, or how to do anything better than insipid finger painting.

        They insult our intelligence, don’t revere their brands yet for some reason the studios that make them put their logo into the client work, and put their own interests ahead of the client in a grotesque display of classlessness.  That’s not “good enough to stand out,” it’s taking money- that real businesses earned…and spending it because you can.  Not because it should be spent or because it’s in the best interests of the clients.

        When you align yourself and all that you are with your client’s best interests and say no to anything that conflicts you….you can stop doing “OK” work and change the world.

        Watch Simplifilm over the next 18 months.  I promise you, we’re going to impact every explainer video production house.

  • Anonymous

    Agree agree agree agree!

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