Why You Need A Proof-of-Concept Video For Your IT Product

 
 

'IT product' is a broad term that encompasses Software as a Service (SaaS), iOS/Android apps, basically anything that needs a walkthrough to explain it. 
This post will show you how and why a video can be really valuable, even if you haven't built your product yet. 

You want to sell your IT product. Sure - you might have altruistic goals to make the next 'Uber of...' but at the end of the day, you've made the product to stack some cash. Nothing wrong with that - here's how a video can really supercharge your sales and get you on top of your competitors.

Focus on benefits of your IT product to sell it before it's made

Seems simple, doesn't it. But so often, purveyors of IT products forget this fundamental when selling their products.
Why does anyone care about your product?
'Well it's compression rate is optimised and latency is...' - WRONG. Boring. That's a feature, not a benefit. (Yes - I have been watching a lot of 'Silicon Valley' lately.)
  
'<Your product> helps <your customer persona> <achieve their goal/solve their problem> by <doing something cool>'. Boom - much better.

It's a difference that businesspeople of all types forget to focus on, usually because their ego is too attached to whatever their product is. 

We get it - you've worked hard on it, it has cool features under the hood. But both you and I are going to buy something that has clear benefits for me, rather than knowing what's behind the curtain.

"But what if it hasn't even been built yet?"

That doesn't matter! The beauty of IT products is that you can illustrate key benefits without having to show exactly how it works just yet. But at the same time, you still need people on board to be potential buyers.

And that's where a video explaining its benefits is an extremely powerful tool, before even a line of code has been written. 

Here's a proof-of-concept video we made a while ago for an app that helps punters get involved in local sporting activities. 

 

You can show functionality without actually showing the screen. The product should be a collection of logical functions already, that should be able to be explained visually - so explain it, and sell it.

Simplify the complex to make it appealing to your customer base

Some IT products are simple (Uber, Airbnb etc) and some require more specialised knowledge (Photoshop, Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro). Both types of products can use video as a vehicle to explain it before it has been built.

We made a video for an e-learning software product, that was specifically designed for HR departments in government. Quite specialised, with a specific purpose for a specific audience:

 

Guess what - this hadn't even been built yet. 

The screen recordings were wireframes that our skilled animators overlaid onto an iPad screen template animation. Let me be clear - this product didn't even exist or work properly yet. But the client was able to show this video to the people they wanted to sell it to, and ended up selling it. 

How cool is that?

You can do this too - it's a really great way to not only sell your product ahead of time, but get you to iron out any potential kinks in the product itself going forward. 

Putting 'cart-before-horse' for your IT product (by making a proof of concept video) is a great idea. You can leverage your ideas and visualise your product to sell it before it has been made. Whatever your product is, it should have benefits that can be visualised and explained clearly. Any complexities can also be explained to make it an appealing, beast of a product, ready to fly off the shelves. 

Until next time,

Pete

PS - if you like the idea of putting cart-before-horse in order to sell things, you might like to share my post. 

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How Consulting Firms Can Leverage Video For Their Government Clients

Consulting firms are discovering new and engaging ways to win government contracts, and maintain them. This post will tell you how video is a powerful tool to expand your digital capabilities in the government space. 

There are a couple of simple points that video can help you with your government engagement. The first will outline how video you will help you win contracts, and the second will go into how video will keep them.

Let government departments know who you are, and what you do, with video

If you are approaching a government department panel, or even just for a one-off contract and you're not one of 'The Big 4' (Deloitte, PwC, Ernst & Young, KPMG), you'll need something to get ahead. Trust me - they have a lot of materials in their arsenal to win big, not just their reputation.

Big firms have in-house or outsourced digital media teams at their disposal to make them the best and keep them up the top of the pile. Video is increasingly becoming the go-to option for tier 1 and 2 firms to impress government clients. 

What you might not know, though is that video is not just reserved for the big dogs - it's available and powerful for the smaller firms.

Some common misconceptions I have come across about video:

  • It's too expensive;
  • It's too difficult and time consuming to make;
  • It's reserved for digital products / specialised offerings only - what I like to call the
    'Esoteric Enemy'.

Let me dive deeper on these points...

"It's too expensive"

You can produce (well, we can for you) a video that will cost less than what some Sydneysiders pay on parking per month. Seriously.

Your video doesn't have to be a long, waffley piece of garbage. It should be sharp, targeted and effective in winning you business.

Ideally it's something reusable that you can just plug into any bid or email, or have pinned on your website / Facebook / Twitter feed. Live action and animation both work well here - whatever fits your brand the best. 

"It's too difficult and time-consuming"

Not to toot our own horn, but why do you think businesses like Video Spartan exist? We are here to show you that video ISN'T hard or time-consuming.

Firms often make the mistake of 'taking out the middle man' and hire a bevy of cheap freelancers on Upwork or Gumtree to make their video. Go ahead and do that if you want to:

  • Make your video unclear and unprofessional;
  • Get stuck in the weeds of video production and iterative production nightmares;
  • Have your production process exceed 6 months (yes, really).

Platforms like Youtube and Vimeo have levelled the playing field (with the aid of high definition cameras in your pocket) for anyone to make a video easily.

Gone are the days of expensive and lengthy shoots/edits - get it done right, with some polish, and done quickly - and this will make your government clients love you forever, and keep coming back.  

Our experience with working directly with government, is that they obviously want it done right - but also quickly. Quickly is usually the key metric for them. Deadlines.

And as I mentioned, time constraints usually makes the product suffer - but we proudly produce high quality videos in short periods of time. (That one was a two week-er...crazy). 

"The Esoteric Enemy"

Some consulting firms can only see their services within the lens they work in. Some aren't open to the idea of video, because they don't think it can apply to whatever they do. 

We chuckle at this, because that's exactly why you should invest in a video - to make the esoteric message accessible to all. 

Are you primarily enterprise architecture? Awesome, show them your track record of saving government departments millions of dollars. Do you deal more in IT systems design and product development? Great! Advertise your awesome in-house software and implementation steps. 

Another misconception is that firms believe that if they aren't making digital products, then video is therefore irrelevant.

On the contrary - we recently completed a project for a large Australian Government department, which was a paper-based cash flow management tool.
 


Nothing about this product was digital - but we made a video that made the esoteric concept a simple, easy to follow narrative that ended up helping make the firm win a design award (!).
Not bad for plain old paper. 

Sometimes, it comes down to ego. Make them the best.

I'm sure a lot of you remember the Department of Finance video from earlier in 2017. If you can last 30 seconds without cringing, I tip my hat off to you.

Now, this is not the first graduate program video to be produced, and it won't be the last - but one lesson to learn from it, was that it was (overly) flashy and produced, and lacked a real cogent message.

This is because government departments like to look the best to the outside world - even at the expense of alienating the entire generation with whom they are trying to impress. 

It's a shame, because if they had used actors and not 'gov-speak' in the script, it would have been a great insight into what working at Finance would be really like. 

The failure here is not recognising the target audience and linking that with the ultimate goal of the video - to attract young graduates to work at Finance.

Government departments are looking for the best and brightest young minds to join them, and a great video is the gateway for the next generation of pear-and-banana-bread public servants.

Instead, have real interviews that aren't tightly scripted and use b-roll of the office and cafes around - make it real, personable and unpolished.

Or use short animations with some interesting facts that might appeal to potential Finance graduates, with a young voiceover artist guiding them through it. 

This is the kind of video content that can be so powerful and can be the difference between 600 applicants and 6000.  

The point is that you can use good video content, repeatedly, for your government clients. It will add a fantastic dimension to your digital services capabilities (and non-digital services!) and make your consulting firm an agile, professional and impressive enterprise. 

And that's it. If you are a consulting firm undecided about using video for your government clients, consider the above. It's a powerful tool that, if done correctly, can bring you up to the level of your Big 4 competitors.

Until next time,

Pete

PS - If you know the 'estoteric enemy' only exists in your mind, and not reality - you might like to share this post. 

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