Research company eMarketer says that 157 million people will be watching online video by 2010. That could mean a marketing advantage to entrepreneurs who know how to benefit from the medium, says Ted Page, co-founder of Captains of Industry, the Watertown, Massachusetts, creative agency behind online videos for Dunkin' Donuts and online backup service LiveVault. Bonus: Viewers often share interesting clips, creating referral viewership. "We've come a long way technologically, but we're still a bunch of cavemen trying to find the neatest fire to share with each other," says Page, 48, who started the company with Fred Surr, 46.
Affiliate Summit Corp., a Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, trade show producer, posts seminar videos on Google Video and exhibitor highlight clips (read: testimonials) on its website, affiliatesummit.com. The company recently launched a video contest that allows prospective attendees to post brief pieces on YouTube about why they want to attend the company's events. "We're promoting this to our attendees and through press releases," says co-founder Shawn Collins, 37. He and partner Missy Ward, 40, are banking on the increased buzz to keep attracting high-level exhibitors.
Whether you're demonstrating products or sharing your company's vision, online video has many marketing applications, Page says, and they don't have to be expensive. "It's fine to do something low-budget as long as the result is appropriate for your brand," he says. Avoid coming out with messages that run counter to your company's image--don't be goofy if your message is serious. And cheap is good. "Instead of having one half-million-dollar campaign," Page says, "you can spend far less and try numerous [approaches] to get your message across."