Do You Hear that Train a’Comin?

Blockbuster Video had 9,000 stores and 60,000 employees and $5.9 billion in revenues at their peak in 2004.

Then the installation of cable modems made streaming video possible.

Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy protection on September 23, 2010.*

Technology is a freight train that doesn’t care who is standing on its tracks.

Flashback – In the year 2000, 4.4% of American households had a home connection to broadband; by 2010 that number had jumped to 68%.1

Let’s look at 2005 in particular. Katrina wasn’t the only hurricane that year. Hurricane YouTube and Hurricane Facebook also made landfall. Then, when Hurricane iPhone hit us in 2007, the whole world began recording and uploading pointless drivel. Reactionary prognosticators, drunk on technology, predicted that social media would completely replace traditional advertising.

Have you noticed that no one is saying that anymore?

But business people still like to think the web is the great equalizer because every customer is carrying a mobile device and every business has access to the same social media platforms.

But it’s not the platform that gives you success. It’s the content.

How good is your content?
Is there an audience for what you have to say?
How well are you saying it?

One of the great myths of marketing is that promoting a business though social media is cheap and easy. But the people who are using social media successfully will tell you that nothing could be further from the truth. If you want to play at today’s table, you’ve got to stack real money on it. And even then, there’s no guarantee you’re going to win.

Last week I hired a major-league video guy to work for me full-time because I don’t want to be seen as a Wiffle ball player swish-swish-swishing the air with my little plastic bat. I didn’t hire him to create videos for my clients. He won’t have time for that.

I would have used Sunpop Studios, the online-video company owned by my sons, but they don’t have the ability to give just one client the number of weekly man-hours my projects will require. So they hired my major-league hitter for me.

If you’re serious about engaging the public, you need better video than you can get from that “really tech-savvy college kid” you know. Everyone knows that kid. Heck, I know that kid wearing 12 different faces but the kid can’t swing the hammer. He’s not limited by intelligence or talent. He’s limited by experience.

Hammers don’t build mansions. Skilled carpenters do.

Low-cost video equipment is a hammer. You can do marvelous things with it if you have the skill and experience.

But you can also smash your thumb.

My sons have demonstrated to me that an experienced professional using inferior equipment can make major-league videos, while an amateur using the best equipment on earth will make Wiffle ball videos.

No one looks up to a Wiffle ball player.

You need to begin adding video to your web presence.

And you need the help of pros to do it well.

Roy H. Williams

* Blockbuster turned down the opportunity to acquire a little DVD-mailing company called Netflix for just $50 million in 2000, when that price represented Blockbuster’s revenue for just 3 days. Netflix market value now stands at $32.9 billion; a number that exceeds the value of the CBS network.

Comcast chose not to buy Disney. Yahoo turned down the opportunity to buy Google. Yahoo and Friendster both turned down the opportunity to buy Facebook. But rather than shake my head and laugh, I ask, “Will anyone be laughing at me tomorrow? What opportunities am I missing?”