When determining which product format is right for your market, take several factors into account:
How does audio hold up as a product and/or marketing tool in your industry?
If you are a professional speaker, it’s best to use video for marketing, since your stage presence is such an integral part of your performance. However, occasionally you will find those who would prefer an audio brochure as a sample of your speaking ability. The same is true for the music industry. If you are a band trying to get gigs, a video will work best, but it’s nice to give your prospect the option to listen to audio. These days the audio tracks on video can sound excellent—it used to be the opposite when video was first coming into use. Don’t sacrifice quality in your marketing materials and always accommodate your audience.
Do people in your industry actually listen to audio demos?
An audio demo could be your whole performance, or just a portion of it. It could be a slick compilation of your best material. I know for a fact that audio brochures do their job. People do listen to them, especially if you’re creative with the packaging.
Should you use video, audio or CD-ROMs in your product line?
The answer lies in the nature of product. If it’s a training product, my experience is that all three formats should be considered to give your customers options. You want the information to be as easily accessible as possible. Videos can be watched during corporate training sessions. Audio can be listened to passively while exercising, driving or housecleaning. CD-ROMs or enhanced CDs (ECD) can be used for individual workstation training and stored on the company server for easy access. Employees can then take the training by watching the video portion of the CD-ROM and take the test or complete a study guide also programmed on the CD-ROM. In fact, a web site link could also be available to take the student to your web site for additional products or programs, tests and other accountability checks.
Video CDs or DVDs?
Both serve their purpose, but DVDs are where the industry and the standard are today. You have an optional second side of storage on a DVD, which allows you to create longer products that have more perceived-value. Video CDs or MPEG1s are becoming more and more obsolete.
What’s your investment comfort zone?
An important consideration in choosing the best format for your product is the financial investment. Audio products cost less to produce than video. As a rule of thumb, single audios cost about $3,500 to $4,500 (start to finish) for a quantity of 100 to 200 professionally edited and packaged copies. The cost could go down considerably if mixing and editing are minimal. Professional videos cost about $5,000 to $10,000 (start to finish) for a quantity of 100 to 200 DVD copies when using a professional from beginning to end.
Think about the nature of each medium.
People generally listen passively while doing other things. This is both good and bad, depending on your program material. Will your audience be able to take in the message through audio-only? An audio recording will generally require more repetition to get the message across. On the plus side, audio recordings are more flexible—people can listen to them while driving.
Videos, on the other hand, capture more attention since they must be watched. Whether you’re a professional speaker or a musician, your material is probably going to hit home harder, because you’re using body gestures and facial expressions to dramatize your communication. Generally, the more of your audiences’ senses you can engage, the more powerfully you will come across. Plus, video offers more creative opportunity. You can use graphics, such as superimposed text or live-action footage to further underscore your main points. You do not necessarily have to be on-camera. On the downside, repeated viewings are less likely, unless you do outstanding stand-up or unless you’ve created a masterpiece on par with Gone With the Wind.
Or you can do both video and audio.
You could lift the audio-track off the videotape and create a bonus audio product. Pay particular attention to the effectiveness of the audio without the video. Make sure people can get the message without the visuals. Music can be enjoyed without seeing the performers. Needless to say, if you’re a dancer, audio won’t work.
Interested in learning more about professional media services like audio/video? Contact me at 800-647-4281.