How Short-Form Video Can Transform Your Marketing Team

April 27, 2017 Jay Baer

Remember the good old days of communication? You know, the time before all our messages transmogrified into cold bits of zeros and ones?

Wouldn’t it be nice to reinject a little more humanity back into our work lives? After all, those emails and text messages can’t relay the facial expressions and voice inflections that make interpersonal communication truly effective.


Download our free brief, "Discover The True Cost of Email and Spreadsheets," to learn more ways email is ineffective.


As marketers, we’re expected to collaborate with team members, competently plan and execute projects, and amplify successes to our organization.

But as digital strategist Jason Falls cautions us, “Managing everything out of your inbox doesn’t scale, and it’s not effective or efficient.”

So, what’s a better way to satisfy those marketing expectations and keep it real?

The answer is video. Specifically, short-form video.

Let’s take a trip down an educational memory lane, shall we? The VARK model, developed by Neil Fleming in 1987, defined four modalities of how humans learn new information:

  1. Visual – diagrams, charts, static images
  2. Auditory – spoken word, music
  3. Read/Write – copy, captions, transcriptions
  4. Kinesthetic – doing, feeling, physically demonstrating

Historically speaking, the most successful tribes are those whose members evolve; they pick up new skills, implement them as tools, and share knowledge for the betterment of the group.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that marketers who embrace learning styles will get the best long-term results from their teams—and their projects.

I’ll give you one guess as to which modern-day tool addresses all four VARK components? Yep, it’s video.

In a single medium, video provides multiple reinforcement opportunities through its creation (K, R) and consumption (V, A, R).

That means video can be a valuable tool to help team members learn—and teach—in your business. As the old adage goes, "Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I understand."

All Right, Stop! Collaborate and Listen.

I already see video growing in usefulness, so I’ve been implementing more of what I call “webinines,” short-form video webinars that are nine minutes or shorter. We most recently have used these to work with partners on short webinars. Providing viewers with excellent, focused content in a fraction of a traditional webinar time.

I also routinely shoot four to six-minute team updates to share client and team wins, provide internal announcements, and update the team on my thoughts for the coming weeks. 

For marketers like me who travel a lot or whose calendars always look like solid blocks of meetings (you know who you are), the short-form video approach provides two major advantages to maintain timely team communication.

First, it has a low barrier to entry. You don’t need a lot of fancy studio equipment to get started with video (although you may want to upgrade later)—a modern smartphone and free-to-affordable recording and editing apps are all you need to make a short clip.

In addition, it’s efficient. Videos can be pre-recorded or streamed live, which means your audience has both synchronous and asynchronous opportunities for viewing. This is particularly helpful when remote team members are in different time zones and on different work schedules.

I wrote in Youtility that just about every employee has useful knowledge locked in their head. By involving a wide variety of team members in video creation, Martin Webster says that even “those who think they have little power can make a difference.”

Plan It, Janet.

Beyond its ability to bring a human face back to group communications, think about the ways that video might play a part in planning and executing marketing projects.

I mean, wouldn’t it be a lot more interesting to use video to kick-off a campaign? You could get a lot more buy-in from the start if instead of plodding through a typical PowerPoint presentation, your manager live-streamed the overview and introduced each team member, vendor, or partner and their role on the project.

For projects already underway, why not share video updates on the works-in-progress, or to recognize milestone accomplishments? I bet you’d have more people actively watching and keeping motivated than passively ignoring yet another status email.

In The NOW Revolution, I brought up the concept of a "Message of the Day," where the marketing department would send a message to employees active in social media, recommending messages that team members might want to spread to their own networks.

Short-form video is great not only for documenting the progress of a project, but also (if the material isn’t business-proprietary) makes for some instant social media content to share with your customers and partners.

These bits of snackable content could be previews for longer marketing content such as blog posts and full length videos.

Show Me, Don’t Tell Me.

The digital world has exponentially increased the quantity and speed at which data is accessible, and our attention spans are getting shorter. This is especially true at the C-level.

Yet again, short-form video is perfect for communicating project results.

In their “Three Ways to Improve Your Review and Approval Process” report, Workfront found that 65 percent of senior marketing executives believe that visual assets, such as photos, videos, or illustrations, are core to communicating.

Because video is so easy to create, it might even be worth making separate clips for each C-suite requiring reports. The more that marketing insights are short yet insightful, relevant, and understandable, the better off your team will look.

After all, telling executives that your marketing team rocks may get the message across. . . but utilizing video to show what your team has accomplished will really demonstrate your team’s thought leadership to senior management.

Walt Disney knew this. He’s the one who said, “Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language.”

Let’s Get It Started.

If you’re not already utilizing short-form video in your business, there’s no time like the present. The process of creating and viewing video encourages involvement, learning, and sharing. And once created, video content can contribute to team collaboration, project management, marketing materials, and reporting.

With advantages like these, what are you waiting for? Start making short-form video a part of your marketing mix and let me know how you’re using it. I guarantee you’ll see more creativity, participation, and success than you expected.


See "5 Ways Video Can Help You Communicate Better" for more advice on using video to make an impact.

About the Author

Jay Baer

Jay Baer is a renowned business strategist, inspirational keynote speaker, and the New York Times bestselling author of five books who travels the world helping businesspeople gain and keep more customers. Jay has advised with more than 700 companies since 1994, including Caterpillar, Nike, Allstate, and 32 of the FORTUNE 500.

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