The first step in selecting a video production company is deciding what videos you need and how you’ll use them toward your marketing goals. The second, is deciding between a production company and an agency. My digital creative agency gets inquiries that range from brands, businesses and startups that know exactly what they need, to marketing directors who know what they want to achieve but need guidance on how to get there, to brand managers who need video as a part of a larger digital strategy.
1. You know exactly what videos you need and your marketing strategy is clear
If you’ve got your creative concepts and scripts already, you just need a production company to set everything up including casting, locations and post production (editing, FX and music). If you’re going the animation or motion graphics route you don’t even need casting or locations.
Pick a production company or digital creative agency that matches your style
Unless you’re sold on film, most online productions and many broadcast productions are shot on HD video. Look through the production company’s work, talk to them about how they approach projects, turnaround time and number of editing “passes” or changes you’ll have before final delivery.
Production value is important and should match the creative concepts. If you need cinematic, live action scenes with great locations, invest in a production company that has experience providing high production value. If you’re doing a viral video that’s supposed to look like someone shot it on their iPhone, go with a company that understands that homemade-looking videos often have a lot more going on behind the scenes than meets the eye.
What to avoid:
Stay away from:
production companies that don’t produce the kind of work you’re looking for. For example, if you want comedy videos, go with a production company that has comedy directors and funny videos they’ve produced. Otherwise, even the best ideas will fall flat.
2. You’d like help with video concepts and someone to produce them
Many production companies can help with creative ideas. Digital, creative and ad agencies can too. If you already know how you’ll be integrating video into your online and offline marketing strategy, then you need ideas that will work with that strategy and forward your agenda.
Pick a company that can show you their great ideas
Good and bad video ideas are subjective. Take a look at companies’ past work and see if you can determine the results. Likes vs dislikes. Comments. See if the video was talked about or mentioned on blogs and publications or linked to online.
What to avoid:
Everyone thinks they have great ideas, and unless you’re an expert at sorting that out, make sure your ideas are being created by a company that has experience creating the kinds of ideas you want, and the examples to prove it. If you’re looking for ideas that are unexpected and memorable, and that will be shared online, you don’t want standard TV ad ideas that could bore your audience and make them tune out.
Also, a digital agency will often have more experience seeing which ideas work and which don’t, because of their involvement in the marketing process.
3. You’d like to use videos and social media marketing but don’t know where to start
This is where you’re really into digital creative or social media agency territory. Most production companies are great at producing, some develop ideas, but most are not experienced in the marketing side of things.
Pick a digital creative agency that has experience in both online marketing and production
Most agencies will have relationships with production companies to get your videos produced. Some also produce video content in-house, making the trip from marketing goals to digital and social media strategy to video concepts to production as streamlined as possible.
What to avoid:
Stay away from social media and PR agencies that are great at posting on Facebook and Twitter but don’t know their way around the larger social media marketing landscape including digital marketing strategy and content production. Managing a social media campaign and creating that campaign from scratch are two different things.
If you need more help deciding, give me a shout: firstname.lastname@example.org