Managed Service Providers Flip for Video
It started about a year ago. Each time I attended a managed service provider conference, I saw executives and attendees shooting quick marketing video using the Flip camera. This week at the Cisco Partner Summit in Boston, everyone — more than 1,500 attendees — is armed with a Flip video camera (care of Cisco). But do MSPs really have time for video capture and video marketing — especially when many MSPs are still struggling with basic marketing tools like a blog?
The experiment at Cisco Partner Summit proves MSPs and VARs are ready to at least experiment with video. Cisco gave more than 1,500 attendees the Flip video camera (a simple $200 device) for free.
The giveaway was the smartest $300,000 investment Cisco ever made. And now, those attendees are running around the conference, shooting video and uploading the content to YouTube and The Vibe (a private social network for the conference).
Trial (And Error)
Is the video content any good? In most cases, no. But don't miss the bigger picture. First, more and more people are discovering how easy it is to capture and publish video content to the web. Second, the more VARs and MSPs experiment with simple devices like the Flip, the better their content will become.
Think of it this way: There's only one way to learn how to blog. You do it over and over again. Gradually, you develop a voice and a style. And hopefully, an audience.
Now, the same communications process is repeating itself with video. Try and try again, develop a voice, and make your brand consistent across video.
The Picture for MSPs
Already, industry software providers like ConnectWise and Zenith Infotech offer high-quality video content and education content to their partners. And in many cases, the video features partners themselves.
Plus, MSPs increasingly leverage video on their Web sites. When Alpheon recently re-launched its web site, President and CEO Greg Donovan put a quick video front-and-center on the the company's home page. Previously, I've mentioned similar examples involving such MSPs as Master IT and Jenaly.
On the one hand, those videos greatly enhance search engine optimization because the content is distributed on YouTube with the appropriate tags.
But on the other hand, those examples include highly polished video that someone — either the MSP or a vendor — paid to produce. The Flip video camera and competing low-cost devices change the rules of the game.
Now, anyone can produce video — similar to how anyone can produce a blog. The only way to succeed, in either case, is to practice, practice, practice.