Hey, startups: 2014 is all about results, not buzz

Results of the analysis

This article was originally published by Entrepreneur.com on February 4, 2014. 

Companies whose products many of us use daily – Dropbox, Twitter, and, of course, Facebook – all sprouted from tiny startup seedlings. And while these all serve as great success stories, the truth is that most startups won’t see this level of achievement. It’s no secret that for every Instagram, there are hundreds of other apps that fail simply due to oversaturation. And yet that fact hasn’t slowed the startup buzz machine.

But the promise of the next big startup win may be losing some of its luster, leaving both investors and brands to look beyond the glam and glitter, instead focusing on business fundamentals and results.

David Berkowitz, CMO of marketing agency MRY and AdAge contributing writer, postulates in his article, “Why Brands Will Focus Less on Startups in 2014,” that lack of results, along with clutter and PR, is the reason why startups’ relationships with brands and agencies will fade like a tired high school fling this year. And I couldn’t agree more. In 2014, brands are looking for results, not hype.


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3 ways brands are using Interactive Video to engage with customers


This article was originally published on Adotas.com on December 5, 2013.

Video is no longer just a lean-back experience. With the touch-heavy world of mobile devices, video is becoming more of a lean-forward, interactive experience. Digital video can support user interaction through gestures, voice, touch and clicks, and brands in the know are implementing Interactive Video (IV) projects into their marketing campaigns.

These brands are seeing remarkable results in terms of engagement with customers and brand awareness, and their viewers become more informed buyers likely to make a purchase.

But some brands aren’t. According to the recent Forrester report “Move Beyond Awareness with Interactive Video,” most brands’ video campaigns just aim to inform as many potential customers as possible about a product. Most companies think of online video advertising as just an extension of TV advertising, simply posting their made-for-TV ad on YouTube.


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Don’t squander your videos: How self-segmentation boosts ROI


This article was originally published on Wired’s Innovations Insights blog on November 19, 2013. 

Online video is the single most powerful tool companies have to communicate with customers. Videos can grab attention instantly and forge an emotional connection in moments – something a website alone almost never achieves. Videos travel well and can be distributed across owned sites, ad networks, and social networks alike. And let’s face it; the average customer is much more likely to click on a video for additional information than they are to pick up a phone or even send an email.

And yet, as Forrester pointed out in a recent report, most companies fail to optimize their online videos for effective content delivery. Instead, they resort to the lowest common denominator: using video only to drive broad awareness.

The thing is, marketers already know the principles behind turning videos into effective tools for promotion because they use them every day on their own sites, giving viewers the ability to effectively self-segment.


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A note about change: FlixMaster becomes Rapt Media

flixmaster-becomes-rapt-mediaA few years ago, we embarked on a mission to transform how online video was created and delivered. I was running a video production company and my co-founder was a video game designer. We had a realization – the standard online video of the day was completely missing the point. After all, what is the internet great at? Interactivity, user-navigation, and personal relevance. Were our videos doing anything to harness that? Absolutely not.

So we set out to create an interactive series that empowered the viewer with choice. We wanted an online video experience that was engaging, actionable, and fun, and while we could write the script and coordinate the gaming aspect in no time, there was no easy way to build or publish this experience online, and there was certainly no chance of scaling it to produce multiple episodes over time.

Remarkably, video technology had not kept up with the rest of the web and our new direction became clear – rather than build one project that inspired some, we needed to build a platform to inspire millions, a platform to empower people around the world to create these kinds of rich, immersive online video experiences at scale without the pain, timeline, or expense of custom one-off projects. Thus we created FlixMaster and it quickly became the essential online video platform for indie producers and enterprise creatives who want audiences not only to watch but also to interact.


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