Press Play | Episode 14: Bad Testimonial Videos
Episode 14: Bad Testimonial Videos
On this episode of Press Play, Ben and Justin wrap up Testimonial videos by taking a look at two bad examples of bad Testimonial videos.
The key elements that are discussed are:
Ben’s Example: “Marketo Customer Testimonial: Rackspace” – Marketo
Justin’s Example: “Describe Republic Wireless In 3 Words” – Republic Wireless
As an added bonus, here are a few of the other bad examples of testimonial videos that Ben considered for this episode.
At Storyboard Media, we specialize in designing and implementing video strategies for growth-stage companies. If you want to learn whether testimonial videos are right for your business – and avoid creating bad testimonial videos – contact us today.
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00:04 Ben: Well, hi-de-ho there neighbor, welcome to Press Play, where we take a look at the best and then worst video marketing content out there. I’m Ben, that’s Justin.
00:12 Justin: Hey.
00:13 Ben: And today we’re actually going to go back to episode one, testimonials. We took a look at a couple of good examples of testimonials, but now we’re gonna take a look at a couple bad examples of testimonial videos. And I believe we defined it originally as an authentic statement made by an actual user. Do you want to go into the four key elements that make a good testimonial?
00:35 Justin: Yeah. So the first thing is the authenticity, it’s gotta be a real statement. That’s part of the definition. We gotta make that piece, element one. Second is relevant. I think that means a couple things in marketing, it’s not just about the content, but it’s about the timing, the placement, what is in the content itself? All of that plays into this, this is typically a more bottom of the funnel piece of content. So where are people seeing this? What is the message? And that brings us to our third point, which is this really ought to help someone decide, “Yes, I wanna buy.” Or, “No, I don’t wanna buy.” And fourth is, anybody can make a video, anybody can make a video these days, which is great.
01:29 Ben: It’s how we got here.
01:31 Justin: But the problem is that everybody can make a video and there’s a lot of the same old shit out there. We’re tired of seeing just the people in a board room talking about a product or whatever it is. So I’m trying to find interesting and creative ways of doing it. These probably don’t have that. [chuckle]
01:52 Ben: Probably not. Again, for our bad episode disclaimer, these aren’t necessarily bad videos. This was actually one of the episodes that I found the easiest to find bad examples. It was actually hard for me to pick the right one to choose. I tried to pick one of the better looking ones actually, but in the comments, there’s an entire list of, I think four or five additional videos that I thought are really terrible and just decided not to bring because maybe they’re almost too bad. They don’t really make our point for us. So if you’re here just to watch a train wreck, maybe check out on the comments a couple extra, really bad testimonial videos. But the one that I decided to bring is from Marketo, it’s a customer testimonial from Rackspace. Why don’t we just take a look at it and then we can talk about it?
02:40 Justin: Press play.
02:41 Ben: Press play.
05:32 Justin: Really, wrapped up strong there at the end, the climactic music. I’m just feeling jacked.
05:38 Ben: So, I’ll give it a little bit of a disclaimer, I think it was 2012 that that was made. It’s still on their YouTube page which I think is a sin.
05:47 Justin: Yeah, YouTube is not a reservoir to just throw all of your videos. It should be curated, it should be culled at sometimes so that’s just a little note there, don’t just put everything on your YouTube page. Company like Marketo, their company is marketing.
06:06 Ben: They should know that.
06:06 Justin: They should clean that up a little bit.
06:07 Ben: And they create a ton of content.
06:09 Justin: Clean up their act.
06:14 Ben: Technically it wasn’t great. There was a really crappy green screen and there was no story line. Knowing how things were in 2012, you give it a couple mark, a quarter point back here and there kind of thing. But it just didn’t… It wasn’t terrible, but it was nowhere near good. I felt this way about how you feel about some of the bad videos sometimes, like I could not connect with this. If you asked me to bullet point what was there, I zoned out in the middle.
06:46 Justin: Yeah.
06:47 Ben: I have no idea what happened. There was nothing I could latch on to. It’s like well what’s in it for me? Like if I were to use Marketo, how might it help me? There was that one moment at like 2:10-2:15 where she says, “And that makes me a hero… “
07:02 Justin: Yeah.
07:02 Ben: And that was kind of where I reengage. I was like “Oh, there might be something going on here. Okay. That’s something”.
07:09 Justin: I’m back.
07:09 Ben: “I wanna be a hero”. But then it just fell flat again. There was just nothing special about it and it was just kind of meh.
07:17 Justin: Yeah. I think that… So two things. The timing, yeah. Like six years ago this could have been a very power… Like better than a written testimonial.
07:29 Ben: Yup.
07:30 Justin: It would have been something.
07:32 Ben: Yeah.
07:32 Justin: And the second part of that, I think our word of caution is don’t make this today because which is kind of what we’re getting at.
07:46 Ben: Yeah, yeah. So let’s take a look at our points. Authenticity.
07:51 Justin: I have to assume it was there.
07:53 Ben: Yeah, I have no reason to ding it on authenticity. She seemed like a real user and she seemed like she was speaking from experience. So I’ll give ’em a check on that one.
08:01 Justin: Yeah. Go for it.
08:02 Ben: Relevant to the viewer. Again, I think I kinda touched on that. I kept waiting for the moment of like “what’s in it for me?” Like how can I connect to her story? She was talking so much about kind of… Not even really how they use it. Just that they use it. It was a little feature heavy.
08:20 Justin: Yes, very feature heavy.
08:22 Ben: And it was less about what that did for their company or what that did for her and why Marketo… That was something unique to Marketo also.
08:34 Justin: Yeah.
08:34 Ben: I’m sure if I was going through my journey of considering them and I do get down to the lower parts on the funnel, maybe I’ve got more context and there are ways that I’m already thinking that I might use it. And so maybe one of those examples would have jumped out a little bit. But I don’t know. It just left me unconnected to the whole piece.
08:54 Justin: Yeah.
08:55 Ben: So that’s kinda why I dozed off in the middle there.
08:58 Justin: Yeah. Unconnected is a good word because you don’t disconnect ’cause you never actually connect with it. You just remain unconnected.
09:07 Ben: And so to that end, I don’t think it would help me or any other viewer make a decision. Again, the way that you’re structuring content through your buyer’s journey now, there would… Like some of that stuff would be parts of other pieces of content, I would think.
09:22 Justin: Yeah.
09:23 Ben: So again, six years ago maybe cramming all of that stuff into one statement was better than just having a landing page about that or something. But I’d still… It just… It wouldn’t have moved me on. The only thing it would move me on would be to watch another testimonial to see if someone else had something relevant to say to me.
09:44 Justin: I feel like number four we can’t even address ’cause it was so long ago.
09:48 Ben: Yeah I mean it was definitely that documentary style, off to an interviewer, off the side of the camera that you can’t connect with and it was… Even in 2012 that was very common.
10:02 Justin: Yeah.
10:04 Ben: So…
10:04 Justin: Because we’re in the testimonial video, talk about that for our guests. What is that that you hate so much or we hate? [chuckle]
10:13 Ben: Yeah, so there’s an opportunity to use a camera as like the eyes of the viewer. So if I’m sitting here talking to you like this and making eye contact with you, that’s much more engaging than if I’m looking at an interviewer right over here. And first of all you’re not even gonna hear the question. You’re just gonna hear my answer to the question and I’m off and you’re like “Who the hell are you looking at?”. So it’s much more engaging to be able to make eye contact and that’s what’s gonna keep someone’s attention so much more than that kind of standard easy doc style.
10:46 Justin: It’s a misused tool of documentary filmmaking.
10:50 Ben: Yes.
10:51 Justin: In the corporate video world.
10:53 Ben: Yeah. And…
10:55 Justin: There’s a right time and place for it. But testimonial videos don’t have to be that way. That’s all we’re saying.
11:00 Ben: Alright. So let’s take a look at what you brought for us.
11:03 Justin: So something new, I’m at least making an attempt at is finding companies in the North Carolina area, some that we either… Either we know or we don’t, but there are some companies in the area who are doing really great stuff and I’m excited to show those. There are some that are just pumping out dull content. And one of our check points is same old shit. I’m gonna rip on ’em a little bit.
11:31 Ben: Alright.
11:31 Justin: So anyhow, this one is from a company who actually does some really nice content. Republic Wireless. Some really, really great stuff. I like some of the products. I like where the company is going. But this piece is a little lackluster and well we’ll get to that. So anyhow, this is something like, give me three words that describe Republic, something like that.
11:55 Ben: Alright. Let’s find out what it is.
14:00 Justin: Okay.
14:02 Ben: Okay, Was that one older also.
14:04 Justin: It looked like it.
14:05 Ben: Yeah.
14:07 Justin: It looked like at least an older camera, but it was published in middle of last year.
14:16 Ben: Okay.
14:17 Justin: So it could have been an older video that they, maybe re-edited and then put out.
14:22 Ben: Yup.
14:22 Justin: In ’17 or something. I don’t know that I would have republished it if… Do you have something? Go ahead.
14:29 Ben: It felt to me like, the marketing department was going through some messaging work, and they decided as one of their exercises to bring in some of their customers, and do a keyword exercise. And then they just decided to film that and that’s what we got. And then you get this kind of a jumbled up mess, that it ended up being, again I couldn’t, it was paced nicely.
14:58 Justin: Sure.
15:00 Ben: So, there was a little bit of interest in what each of the next people was gonna say, until like the fifth person, and then I was like, “Okay. How many more people do I have to watch struggle through, what they think their messaging is.” So, I think if you’re gonna do something like that, have you messaging in place and know where you want people to go, and use those… Which I don’t think takes any of the authenticity out of it, right? You don’t coach them on it, but at least know where you want it to go. Instead of just being a, “Hey look we could… ” it comes off as a, “We could be anything for everybody”, as opposed to, “This is really what we’re all about”.
15:36 Justin: Yeah. That’s pretty close to what I was thinking too, one of the reasons I picked this is because it in some ways mirrors that train one from episode one, like, “Tell us about your experience with this company?” but the Canadian Rocky… Was it? The royal…
15:56 Ben: Rocky Mountaineer.
15:57 Justin: Rocky Mountaineer did such an incredible job with it, where as this came off, as like they didn’t try it too hard. I like the way you put it. It seemed like they are having some messaging workshops. So, the only one that really works for me was the guy at the end. I hated the shots, it showed like his crotch for a while and then part of his face. With the cross dissolve and then his crotch again.
16:21 Ben: But he seemed very thoughtful.
16:23 Justin: He was thoughtful, so he came up with three words and then talked about it. And then I’m like, “Okay, you say innovative, I can’t… Anybody can say innovative, and it doesn’t mean anything to me.”
16:35 Ben: It’s such a throwaway buzzword too.
16:37 Justin: Yeah. So to just throw out, three, they’re not random words, but just three words doesn’t give me a whole lot to connect with. So to see a bunch of people saying this, it doesn’t help me through number three which is, well, we’ll get to it.
16:54 Ben: Yeah, We will. So lets start at number one, authentic.
16:57 Justin: I am assuming they are real customers, they seem like they are real customers.
17:02 Ben: They didn’t seem like actors.
17:03 Justin: No.
17:05 Ben: So, we’ll give them that one, authentic, what about, relevant to the viewer?
17:12 Justin: This isn’t called, Republic wireless testimonials, but it is a testimonial type video. I don’t know, where you would use this video.
17:28 Ben: You could even see a shorter version of it being a TV commercial almost.
17:32 Justin: Yeah. For an awareness kind of thing.
17:35 Ben: Yeah.
17:36 Justin: And just getting people to understand that Republic exists.
17:40 Ben: Yeah, again if you were driving to something, Right. If you could dr… If you had a tagline, that was three words.
17:47 Justin: Yeah.
17:48 Ben: Right? And you showed, six people giving you, maybe 12 different words, but each of the three in your tagline were words that everybody touched on somewhere.
17:58 Justin: Yeah.
18:00 Ben: That could be something.
18:00 Justin: Yep.
18:01 Ben: Maybe.
18:03 Justin: And then, when you said driving you to some point like a webpage, that might help explain something or flush out those three words a little bit more.
18:12 Ben: Yep.
18:12 Justin: But, I don’t know how they would use this, I didn’t find it relevant.
18:16 Ben: Okay.
18:16 Justin: So, no.
18:17 Ben: So, if it wasn’t relevant, did it help you make any kind of decision on whether you’d be more or less likely to buy?
18:24 Justin: No, it… No.
18:27 Ben: Okay. I can’t argue that. What about, I think I could go either way on this one, what about not being the same old shit?
18:41 Justin: It feels like the same old shit.
18:44 Ben: It kinda does.
18:44 Justin: It does. I think they asked one question and got a lot of different people’s responses rather than one person with a lot of questions. So you get a variety, I don’t know if that’s different necessarily.
18:58 Ben: Yeah. So just to play devil’s advocate, I’ll go ahead and say that at least they didn’t sit one person down and asked them a whole bunch of questions, and get that narrative like the Marketo one did. So at least… Now there may be accompanying content where they dug in deeper with all of these people and they put that… I don’t know how many people were in there, call it a dozen people.
19:20 Justin: Yeah.
19:21 Ben: Maybe they end up with a dozen different testimonials that get more into those people’s actual experiences and things like that, and that’s additional content, I don’t know. But at least it isn’t that, but that’s all I can really argue for it…
19:36 Justin: Yeah.
19:37 Ben: Not being the same old, same old.
19:40 Justin: Yeah you’re right, the pacing was nice because there were different people…
19:44 Ben: Yeah.
19:45 Justin: But I don’t think there’s anything unique or special about it, so I’m gonna give it a minus, or X.
19:51 Ben: Yeah. Put that one an X, alright. So, there’s a couple bad examples of some testimonial videos. Again, go back and watch episode one and see what our good examples were and we’ll see you next time on Press Play.
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