© 2019 Guest PostGreg Mischio is the Owner and Chief Strategist at Winbound

Manufacturers who want to stand out at trade shows are incorporating a new feature at their exhibits: virtual reality (VR) video. Find out how its mind-blowing capabilities helped one manufacturer introduce a new production facility in a powerfully memorable way.

We spoke to video production specialist Jeff Long of True Focus Media about the marketing potential of VR and what manufacturers should know before they venture into this emerging technology.

With his 16 years of experience, Jeff also shared insights on how manufacturers can improve the way they use video in general.

His big takeaway was crystal clear. “Manufacturers should be using video more strategically to generate leads and boost sales.” More on that in a bit, but first, let’s delve into VR.

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VR takes visitors on a facility tour they won’t soon forget.

Jeff recently produced a VR video for animal nutrition brand Provimi. For the annual International Production & Processing Expo in Atlanta, Provimi wanted a video showcasing a major facility renovation. 

But not just any kind of video. They wanted people to tour the facility as if they were actually there. Enter VR. 

To create a real-world viewing experience, Jeff created a VR video using a special 360-degree camera that’s covered in lenses to capture all directions. He then used VR editing software to render the footage, including 3D features, viewable through VR goggles.

At Provimi’s trade show exhibit, people who put on those goggles were: 

  • Transported visually to a 160-foot production tower under construction in Lewisburg, Ohio.
  • Escorted by an engineer through each step of the facility, from raw material receiving all the way to packaging.
  • Experienced a firsthand look at a facility dedicated solely to non-medicated and antibiotic free products -- a growing priority for customers.
According to Jeff, Provimi said visitors were “amazed” by the immersive quality of the VR video and gained a firsthand experience of the company’s commitment to continual improvement.
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VR delivers a wow factor with substance. 
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Jeff says the wow factor of VR video is undeniable. But he adds that it can give trade show attendees a uniquely powerful experience of who you are and what you have to offer by allowing you to:
  • Take viewers on a virtual tour of your offices or facilities to highlight your company’s differentiators.
  • Engage viewers in the experience of a new product or service.
  • Demonstrate a new manufacturing capability or technology with a firsthand view of it.

For manufacturers looking to leverage the latest show-stopping attraction at their exhibits, Jeff says, “VR will be hard to beat for the foreseeable future.” 

And as long as users have viewing goggles, possibilities like those above aren’t limited to just the tradeshow floor. “I have clients who plan to send VR goggles to select prospects,” says Jeff.

Expert VR support is essential for success. 

Provimi’s internal video production team initially set out to do a VR video themselves. But Jeff says they turned to his team because of the technical challenges that can come with VR. 

Because many common production and editing techniques aren’t feasible with VR, “It has to be planned, shot and edited in the right way,” says Jeff.

For example, rather than film while walking through rooms, taking elevators and climbing steps, Jeff knew a stationary camera was required. Otherwise, the viewing experience can leave people feeling sick or dizzy.

But technical challenges for any kind of video can usually be overcome, says Jeff. A much more critical challenge for marketers is figuring out how to use video more strategically.

Video marketing mistake: Failing to establish a clear goal

Provimi had a clear goal in mind for their VR video: Present a trade show attraction that separated them from the competition and generated excitement about their impressive new non-medicated production facility. 
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But Jeff says manufacturers too often fail to identify a goal for their video. 
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A common example is a general corporate video. Jeff describes this as an “inwardly focused,” highly produced video about a company’s history and core products or services. 
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These types of videos aren’t inherently bad, says Jeff. The problem is that they may languish on the internet, producing no tangible results. 
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“I'll follow up with a client and ask, ‘Hey, how's that video working for you?’ But they often won’t know much beyond that it’s on their website, and maybe Youtube and LinkedIn.”
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The solution: Use video as part of your content marketing strategy. 
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Jeff says when you establish marketing goals for your video, you start making customer-focused, results-driven content including:
  • Educational videos
  • How-to videos
  • FAQ-styled videos
Just like blogs, newsletters, and white papers, “These videos should follow the buyer’s journey from stranger to delighted customer,” says Jeff.He suggests companies do six to 12 videos over the course of the year that are simpler to produce and less expensive than a big corporate video.
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“These have more meat on the bone in terms of their potential to generate leads and other positive results,” says Jeff.
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Also, include some form of lead magnet rather than just your website or a phone number. “For example, tell them that if they want to learn more, download a free report or case study,” he suggests.
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Deliver valuable video content all year long.
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Manufacturers have the opportunity to leverage VR and conventional video in new and powerful ways, says Jeff. But it’s not about video for video’s sake. “If you want an edge, be strategic throughout the year,” says Jeff.
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For example, VR video’s immersive quality can draw a crowd and awe trade show attendees. But for maximum impact, make sure your video strategy extends beyond the trade show into your day-to-day marketing.

Greg Mischio

Greg Mischio is the Owner and Chief Strategist at Winbound, a manufacturing marketing firm specializing in content marketing.  Winbound provides a unique, all-in-one content marketing approach that combines content specific to the sales, search and SEO channels. Visit their website or follow Greg on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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