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Magisto CMO, Reid Genauer: Video’s Industrial Revolution

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Magisto has lowered the barrier to entry for video production, making professional videos attainable to anyone. Now it plans to bring these benefits to the world of business.

With over 80 million registered users and over two billion photos and videos uploaded, Magisto’s claim to be ‘the world’s most popular video storytelling creative platform’ carries some weight. The company’s stripped back, super accessible approach to video editing software was a revelation when launched back in 2009, lowering the previously prohibitive barrier to entry by such a degree that even users with little to no video editing experience could produce professional looking content.

Magisto CMO Reid Genauer has been with the company since 2012, overseeing a process he and the company call ‘the industrial revolution of video’. In his B2B Marketer series interview with Hot Topics, Reid explains the difference between appealing to B2C and B2B video audiences, the evolution of B2B video online, and making video an everyday component of the marketing mix.


HT: Over the course of your four years at Magisto there has been a company focus shift from consumers to include B2C & B2B video as well. What are the fundamental differences in your marketing strategies for those two different demographics?


That’s a good question. In some ways it’s easier for consumers because there are just two channels. It’s Google Play and iTunes, because that’s where consumers go for app-based software. But businesses aren’t going to the app store as readily.

There are a few things happening at once that drove us to start looking at a business solution. One is seeing that the world is becoming ‘video-ified’. When you look at Facebook; it went from virtually zero video content to 10 billion video views a day over the course of a year and a half. You see the marketplace evolving.

What we saw happening with [our own offering] was businesses using a product that wasn’t designed for them to more or less hack a solution. You’d see a retailer making a ‘30% off’ clothing sale video using a ‘Happy Birthday’ theme. Immediately when you start to see enough of those happen you say, “Well, what would happen if we actually gave them the solution that they needed?” It’s not that drastically different from what we’re already offering because [business were already] doing it. The first thing that we did was to ask, “What is the product market fit and what are the different needs of the business user versus the consumer?”

It’s ongoing. As opposed to thinking about how consumers are taking photos and using them as a mode of interpersonal expression and connectivity, it’s understanding the use cases in which businesses are using video, how it’s benefiting them, how it’s different across segments, and across different sized businesses within those verticals. It’s fascinating because what video meant 10 years ago was a television spot more or less, or pre-roll. It means a zillion different things now. That’s been a really interesting learning curve.


HT: How has the evolution of B2C and B2B video as a medium affected how you market to customers?

For small business – for businesses in general – there’s a steep education curve. They’re stuck in some ways in thinking about B2C and B2B video as this expensive, time-consuming, unattainable monolithic thing that you do at best once a year, if you do it at all. I worked at Snapple for a few years, and we did our big TV spot once a year.

I think two things are happening. One is that businesses of all sizes are starting to understand, and need to understand, that they can do it. The barriers to entry are much, much lower. Two, that the usage occasion is much, much broader. Instead of saying there’s one channel and one way that I can use video which is to make a television spot, you could use video every day to tell a different message, share a little story, a narrative. You can use it across all sorts of different platforms.

Even if you were just to look at Facebook alone, there’s no reason that a business, like an individual, couldn’t share a new video at least once a week if not once a day. I liken it to [an individual’s personal] Facebook page. If you posted the same picture of your kid over and over again, the return on that dives after a day. Maybe the first time you get a bunch of likes, the second time you get a fraction. By the third time you post that image you’re done. Nobody wants to see the same picture of your kid. The same holds true for businesses trying to speak on social. They need content. Teaching people that that’s a ‘thing’ is a lot of our focus.


HT: How have you told your story to B2B video customers versus consumers, and what channels have you used?

I think the strongest way to do it is through illustration. The luxury is we have 80 million registered users. 50% of those are of working age. One of the things that we’ve been working hard at is just showing our existing users [that they] can use the same application they know and love to tell a different kind of narrative. To express themselves professionally more or less, because the core premise of storytelling is the same. It’s the context in which the story gets told.

We’re very focused at the top of the funnel right now about awareness. We’ve been doing content marketing for how to create and shoot B2B video. Even though the barrier is way down, there still are barriers. There’s still the creative challenge of what users are going to need for raw assets and how are they going to tell a story. There’s a learning curve.

A lot of times you’ll talk to a business and they’ll say, “I don’t see how I can use it.” Then you say, “What about this?” The way some DJs use Magisto is after they do a party, a wedding, or sweet 16, they send a video of the event to the host as a thank you. It has this compound effect. One is their customer satisfaction goes through the roof. It looks semi-professional, if not professional. Two is they get all this business through word of mouth. They’re just giving them this magical asset to power word of mouth. I said the same to IT guys, “What about if you just sent a follow-up video of showing your guys doing the installation, the front of the building and the logo, some of the key employees, and just said, ‘Thanks for your business, everything is going great.'”

This education process is saying [this is] the industrial revolution of B2C and B2B video. When the cost is low enough and the quality is high enough, there’s a whole breadth of ways that you can use video that you never imagined. A lot of the content marketing that we’re doing is articles, example videos, case studies, examples of somebody doing it well.


HT: How do you measure the success of your own content marketing?

We have historically focused on earned and owned and just have a referral driven product. Somebody makes a movie. It has Magisto branding on it, they see it, they check it out. That’s how the bulk of our business has grown. We have the product marketing component. We’ve adjusted a lot of the messaging, examples, the type of content, and the places that we’re speaking to customers.

The truth is, it’s harder to measure [success] than say a performance-based Facebook ad. You have a little blind faith that you know that the market needs education. There’s proof of that too. If you Google ‘best practices for Facebook marketing’ you get a 100+ returns because people are looking for that. Do that for the consumer and there’s almost nothing. Consumers aren’t Googling ‘how do I make a video with an app?’ It’s a different sales process and a different mindset.

We’ve tried different things. I’m mostly interested, obviously, in the tracked sale. It’s really interesting to see what articles people are reading. That’s amazing. The average is something like a minute on an article spent. They’re hungry for the information. It’s clear by the amount of content and by the engagement that we’re getting.

We look at other things like the number of likes and shares, but for me, it’s really about ‘are people getting value out of the content?’ We devise little tests to turn the content marketing on in a geo-location. Look at the growth rate of a geo-location over a period of time versus the rest of the country, and the difference between the two is the number of customers. You’re going to divide that by the money you spent and you’ve got at least a rough CPA.


HT: One of the themes of this series is the multitude of relationships the B2B CMO has to have internally, whether it’s head of sales, CFO, or the relationship with Product. How do you manage such a diverse number of relationships successfully?

I’d say that was a transition that I had to make when I started working for a technology company. You’re more of a service provider as far as the sales team is concerned. They need collateral. They want to know which landing pages convert, and they don’t have as big a team to execute.

We [marketing] have been much more involved in the customer development process. I’d say we’ve gone from being like a funnel of information to being a fire-hose of information. Previously there was a lot of just collecting anecdotal evidence through customer service, media testing, and surveys. Now we’re interviewing businesses and understanding what their needs are. We’ve even started doing some of the usability testing on our own, so that we can bring in our own perspective [to product discussions].

HT: What emerging trends have you noticed within marketing that have affected your own strategy? What’s working well?

There’s a little cluster of trends that we’ve seen that I think are really interesting. One is that the line between content marketing and advertising is just all but obliterated.

Particularly in social, there is a spectrum. There’s stuff that sits in the middle where it’s really not clear what it is. With millennials, there is more and more emphasis going into social marketing and the culture that surrounds it, which is fresh content, authenticity, and storytelling. They’re teaching us that, they just get it, it’s their culture. It’s almost like the difference between the 50s and the 60s, like understanding rock and roll or not. The kids in the 60s just got it because they were born with it, and to this day they’re going to see Dire Straits. [People born] a decade before were just like, “What is this..?”

Then you see these legacy companies trying to bring mobile, video, and social into their market strategies. There’s no doubt that they have to do that more and more, because the millennials have stronger buying power. There’s a psychological gap that I think is fascinating. That’s another part of the education that we’re working on. It informs product development.