27th October 2015

Basecamp Interview: Utilizing Visual Content to Your Company’s Advantage


It’s no secret that online content has gone the way of visuals, and if you want to keep up with your competitors you need to integrate dynamic imagery, storylines, and even animation into your marketing strategy. But in which type of visual content should you invest? It isn’t a one size fits all type of thing. Video/visual content can aid each company differently, depending on the type of business and the marketing strategy.

We recently spoke with Shaun Hildner, the video producer at Basecamp, a hugely successful Web-based project management tool, to discuss how their explainer videos are successful in turning trial users into permanent Basecamp users. He also warns us against the biggest mistakes SMEs can make in their explainer videos and why general marketing videos aren’t always the best solution to receiving more engagement.


1)    What role does online video play in your marketing campaign?

At Basecamp, we’ve never really run a structured marketing campaign, but as we periodically produce videos and just put them out in the world. We’ve done pretty straight-forward customer testimonials, animated customer stories, I even did a fake infomercial once.


basecamp video


2)    In your experience, how important is online video in the overall online marketing space?

Well, we don’t really participate in the overall online marketing space. As a consumer, I tend to stay away from online ads, and will typically watch explainer videos after making some decision about a product.


3)    In your opinion, how does the effectiveness of a video compare to that of a visual graphic? (social media, websites, emails, etc.)

The main thing video accomplishes, compared to graphics, is human interaction. Video gives you the chance to talk to your customers face to face. For a lot of people, it’s much more effective to have someone explain something to them than to have them try to figure it out based off some text or charts or pictures. That said, I don’t think video can be the only means to communicate. It really shines in context. Next to the screenshots, sales copy, etc.


4)    In terms of lead generation, how has video helped your company?

For Basecamp, video really makes its mark once a customer has already signed up. People will find out about our product from many different sources and marketing videos rank pretty low among them. The greatest accomplishments are within the trial period when someone is trying to figure out how to use the software or how to make it work in their organization. The helpful, personal, explainer videos perform much better and can be a huge driver to having customers finish the trial and continue using Basecamp.


5)    If you were to provide your clients a top tip for integrating video into their online marketing strategy what would be your recommendation?  

Don’t skimp on audio! It’s easy and inexpensive to make a great-looking video these days, but even if it’s just a nice screencast, people tend to think of the audio portion as secondary. Nothing will make me turn off a video quicker than unintelligible dialogue or voiceover. Invest in a nice mic and spend some time mixing it after your edit. Most customers are going to be hearing these through crappy laptop speakers or earbuds, and your video should be as clear and clean as possible.


basecamp video

6)    How do you think online video has already affected the industry and what future changes do you anticipate in the next 5-10 years?  

As I mentioned above, video production has become extremely cheap and easy. This has meant that companies are making more videos quicker. Letting them try new things, figure out what works and doesn’t work. Right now online video is more or less mimicking traditional advertising styles, but hopefully this experimentation will lead to brand new ways of talking about products and companies.


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About the Author

Anish hails from London and holds a degree in software engineering from the University of Manchester. Following his education, he worked for several years in the financial industry as a platform administrator before founding Revolution Productions in 2008. In addition to over seven years of video production, Anish is seen as an industry professional, adding his insight in publications such as VentureBeat, ReelSEO and Wistia.

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