By Bill Smith, APR

IN THE 21st CENTURY, everyone is a photographer and we all have the tools at our disposal to be filmmakers. When I was a kid, the thought of making movies was the stuff of dreams. Sure, some of our parents had 8 mm film cameras and projectors, but they were few and far between and they were, quite frankly, a pain in the neck to use. Today, though, most of us carry advanced film equipment around in our pockets all day long. We take for granted equipment that amateur videographers of the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s would have killed for.
You might be thinking, “what does this have to do with marketing?” The smartphone video cameras and apps that we take for granted—or even ignore—can also be powerful marketing tools. Marketing is about telling stories, and videos can be tremendously powerful ways to tell stories.
What’s Your Video?
Think about your products or services, the types of stories you have to tell, and how video could help you tell them. Do you manufacture and market a parking technology? Wouldn’t a video demonstrating how your technology works and benefits end users or owners appeal to your customers? Or perhaps you provide parking design and planning consultation. Would a video showing the design of a particularly impressive parking facility or one demonstrating how a downtown parking plan has benefited a community impress clients and prospects? Or maybe you rep­resent a municipal or campus parking office. Would a video illustrating the city’s or campus’s parking resources help users better utilize those resources? We live in a visual age, and having the ability to show people what you do and how it benefits them can be extraordinarily powerful.
Let me give an example of how one parking technology client of mine has used video in their marketing. This client designed a frictionless parking system for a large retailer. The system integrated a number of different technologies, including PARCS, license plate recognition (LPR) systems, parking guidance, and pre-booking, to provide a seamless hands-free parking experience. Parkers reserve a space in advance and enter their license information and payment credentials. When they arrive at the garage, the LPR recognizes the vehicle by its license plate, and the gate opens to permit entry. Then the parking guidance directs them to an open space with their name prominently displayed over the space. When they leave, the LPR recognizes the car and bills the appropriate amount to the credit card on file.
No doubt, as you’re reading this you’re thinking, “Wow! That’s cool!” But think about how much more powerful this description would be if it were accom­panied by a video showing an actual parking session. That’s exactly what this client created: a video, from the driver’s perspective, showing just how easy and convenient it is to park in this garage.
Where to Use It
There are a number of ways you can use a video like this—or similar videos that tell your story. First, you can put it on your website. That way, anyone visiting your site or looking into your capabilities will be able to see it. You can also create a YouTube channel where you can post this and other videos demonstrating your capabilities and programs and telling your story.
The links to the videos on your website and YouTube chan­nels can be a prominent part of your social media program. In fact, whole campaigns can be built around the stories you tell in your videos and posted on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and other social media and networking platforms. Posting links to your videos on blogs, social media posts, and LinkedIn updates is simple and will provide quick and easy access to your videos.
Likewise, the videos can be used in public relations efforts. I love to include links to my clients’ videos in press releases and story pitch letters. When I’m telling an editor that I think has her readers or viewers would be interested in my client’s project, it’s a huge advantage to be able to actually show a vid­eo of the project and the benefits it provides. It’s not unusual for editors themselves to include the link in their stories, which of course greatly expands the universe of people who have access to the video.

Video can be a powerful tool for enhancing your marketing program, and it’s easy to use. So get out there, get filming, and add video to your marketing.
BILL SMITH, APR, is principal of Smith-Phillips Strategic Communications and contributing editor. He can be reached at or 603.491.4280.