I’ve written previously about the need to align your video project to clearly articulated objectives and what can go wrong if you don’t. I’ve also written bit about identifying where your customer lies on your sales path to help decide whether you should use live action or animated video for your project.

However, I haven’t yet talked about what it takes to identify the proper marketing objective for your video based upon business needs. To simplify what can quickly turn into a confounding task, I will say that the main marketing objectives for video are threefold: awareness, education, and persuasion. This might draw some contention from fellow marketers, but nearly every more specific objective falls into these three main categories.

Note: To help visualize these stages I have decided to utilize some iconic propaganda and marketing posters from WWII. It’s a great way to remind us how not so much has changed in the last 70 years, just the medium by which we deliver our message.  The juxtaposition of the content and the visuals really hammers home that fact and how our generation didn’t invent the principles of marketing.  

Awareness: attracting customer interest

If you can make a customer aware of a problem or an unfulfilled desire they didn’t know they have, you are much more likely to sell them on your solution later on; this is the earliest stage of the sales path I mentioned previously. As great example would be a cloud storage company demonstrating how vulnerable your laptop’s digital media is to physical dangers like water, fire, theft, etc.

This might seem like the ‘scaremongering’ stage, but it’s more accurately the stage in which you set the context for a conversation with your customer. The intent is to create a prompt to educate and persuade the customer down the road – calls to sign up for or view more information here are key.

Education: prepping the customer to be persuaded

Once the customer knows they want to solve a problem or satisfy a need, they are likely to seek more information prior to purchase. If your customer is in this middle stage of the sales path, your marketing objective is to educate them towards your solution.

Continuing from the example above, your video could demonstrate exactly how your amazing cloud storage service prevents the annihilation of their cat photos and twerking videos in the wake of biblical destruction, or the specific features and benefits that differentiate your product from its competitors. In either case, the message must be concrete and credible. If the video ends without your potential customers believing or understanding how your service fits their needs and wants, you’ve failed.

Persuasion: closing the deal

The latter stages of the sales path are purely emotional. The target is informed customers aware of their options and the trick is to make them forget everything but your solution, turning the opportunity to make a smart purchase decision into the base desire for emotional catharsis through consumerism.

You might think I’m overselling this point, but Apple has excelled at crafting emotionally persuasive video content for years. The call to action here is either the purchase button or waiting in line on launch day – it’s time to close the deal.

Regardless of industry or sales stage, your video has a much greater chance at being effective with one marketing objective, one message, and one call to action – what I like to call the “1:1:1″ rule. If you’re targeting different customers across multiple sales stages, make multiple videos targeted to their needs. Trying to do too much will achieve limited results.

Alex Dorward