This article describes how to create effective marketing videos using eLearning techniques. It’s reasonable to assume that viewers choose to watch technology marketing videos not to entertain themselves but, rather, to educate themselves. Like most adult learners, they are result-oriented and hope to learn something they can apply, on-the-job, right away.
I’ve been exploring tips and tricks shared among eLearning professionals, to look for ideas that will help us create more effective videos for our technology solution provider customers.
According to eLearning expert Dr. Joel Gardner, the fundamentals of instructional design haven’t really been improved upon since you learned how to add and subtract: Tell-Show-Do-Apply.
Here are some ways this model can help you create an explainer technology solution marketing video using eLearning tricks.
Tips for opening the video: the “Tell” strategy
According to Gardner, the first component of good instruction is the Tell strategy: you tell the learner what she’s going to learn.
This eLearning blog post suggests some effective ways to introduce new learning:
- Use appropriate attention-grabbing techniques — a specific problem, a comparison, a memorable visual, a thought-provoking question, a clear contrast, a checklist
- Tell learners how what they’re about to learn applies.
- Refer to prior learning to link what you are about to teach to personal experiences.
- Discovery learning: help learners discover and become aware of what they already know.
Any of these ideas could be useful in crafting the crucial opening scene of a video.
- Is there an arresting — practical — problem we can pose at the outset?
- Can we summarize the who-what-and-why of our solution so enticingly that viewers will want to keep watching?
- What interesting connections can we make to what our viewer already knows?
Tips for demonstrating relevance: the “Show” strategy
The second basic element of instructional design is the “Show” or “Demonstrate” phase. Tools you can use to demonstrate concepts and principles include
- Real-life examples. Examples help viewers nail down the concept, and reinforce the relevance of your video.
- Contrasting examples with non-examples. This is considered a best practice in instructional design, and seems relevant to technology solutions, where common concepts like “end-to-end visibility” really come to life when you provide contrasting examples showing limited views. The more contrast, the more memorable the concept.
- Case Studies. Result-oriented adult learners latch right onto a problem-based learning approach.
- Realistic scenarios allow you to dramatize and humanize problem-solution stories with characters.
- Step graphics and tables. Breaking a process down into steps is a great way to keep viewers engaged.
- Software examples. In marketing videos, it’s usually more important to put across examples of what you can accomplish with software than to show how it’s done. But if you can come up a series of software screens that tell a story and exemplify the concept, you can turn an abstract concept into something that feels like real life.
Tips for what to “Do” next?
If you really want your lesson to stick, you’ve got to get the learner doing something. Technology marketers have been slow to get involved with interactive videos — including calls-to-action, branching, quizzes, even chapterizing their videos. These are all good ideas I’ve written about here and here.
The “Apply” phase
The “Apply” phase doesn’t relate directly to marketing videos in the sense that people are going to go out and practice what they have learned. But a video can include “Apply” in the call-to-action — like downloading a free trial or uploading some test data to play with