Archive for February, 2011


A recurring question I’ve been asked this past week since this video launched, “Was that hard to do?”

Thought it might be useful to write about it. But in return, I’d like to ask readers to give their opinion on a question. I’ll ask the question first so you can be thinking about it.

In watching this video, how would you characterize the “commercial use” nature of it?

Yes, no doubt the intended purpose is to drive brand loyalty and attendance at future ICMG meetings. But the video is not ‘for sale’, not driving direct revenue, noone’s going to buy it, etc. In my mind, that would be a commercial use worthy of paying royalties. So if we used, for example, a U2 song as the music bed rather than the royalty free one, shouldn’t that be fine without jumping through all the IP hoops? No money is changing hands because of the song. Regardless of whether you are a legal expert or not, what do you think? What’s your gut feeling? Just curious… Plus it’s free publicity for the musical artist, too?

350+ clicks in a week. Mission accomplished. A few tips without going into an exhaustive essay:

  1. Find a theme for the video. Funny, Short, True. If these are the three keys to a viral video, how can you follow a theme through the vid that accomplishes all three? In this case, the idea came to me based on a true story of what Mark Hill I believe once said about me taking pictures at insurance conferences. “Mike, it’s like you’re on a safari! You’re taking pictures of insurance people in their native habitats!” So funny. The coup-de-gras this time around though…? I must give credit to Craig Blake who encouraged me to get a safari hat on the way to the conference – brilliant because it reinforced the theme as I got pictures and sound-bites from people.
  2. Get some good media elements that support the theme – again Funny, Short, True. Good quality pictures and lots of them; sound bites and other audio elements. Of course we have to serve the ROI expectations of the vid, right? So you can’t lose focus on the economics of the thing – it’s got to serve the goal of the organization. So notice in the vid the opening question is, “What did you get out of the conference?” That serves the business purpose – simple enough. Don’t need a lot, just a representative sampling. Note that I probably got twice the number of comments that I ended up using. That’s cool. I set the expectations with the folks I interviewed. But the key to making it funny was to get them to do something funny – no small trick in a business setting – while still keeping things professional and not embarrassing, right? Thus the animal sounds. Had no idea that that would be as funny as it came out. IMHO, the really funny part is the laughter after.

What really generates “virality?”

  1. Of course humor. Be careful here though. Humor’s a fine line. Get a lot of eyes and ears on the thing before you ‘Go Live.’ Funny
  2. Lot’s of faces so people can say, “Hey, that’s me! I remember that! Hey Chris, look at this!” Share-able. Common sense – if you’re using public events and real people, places, and times, make sure your content positions the people in the video in a positive light. And again, get their approval all along the way. Critical.
  3. Makes or proves a point so that people can use the vid to reinforce or support their efforts. “Dude, I told you you shuda come. Check out this vid of the event. Make sure you plan to come next year…” Useful.
  4. Speed is everything with something like this. It’s either got to be released right away or wait until the selling season for the next event. Proximity to Event.
  5. Short and sweet – Nuf said … even at 3:45 this is a tad long, but the intro and outro are key ingredients and added a minute.

Do you have anything to add? What have you seen that works? What’s your favorite B2B viral video? Key word: B2B (as opposed to B2C – tons of those..)

Thanks for reading and Sharing. Appreciate any Shares on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin. Spread the word. The world needs more stuff like this happening – very powerful communication tool for all sorts of messages.

Let me know if you want to do one for your business. I’m working on couple others as we speak. Don’t want to be the “viral video guy”, but want to help insurance folks get started.

“Thrive with Social”

Additional resources:

3 Examples of Awesome B2B Marketing Viral Videos

HubSpot… More good ones in the Comments on that post.

B2B Viral Campaigns that Delivered: 6 Examples

The Web Video Marketing Council – ignore the formatting issues – good content.

REELSEO – Great tips, nice source.

Live Search on Twitter

(results will vary depending on when you click through)

Comments MUCH appreciated in advance. Remember, Lurking is Lame. :-)
Picture of the Post
A homeless guy showed up at a Kairos prison ministry event I’m preparing for and started preaching to us. And he used my “life verse” as his teaching point. Glad I had my camera that day. Unforgettable. Ask me about it if you’re interested in what he said.

“I’m Mike Wise, President WebWisedom. I’m helping insurance companies and agencies with e-commerce and Social Technologies. I’m also working on a viral video of the conference. I’m wearing a safari hat because I’m looking for insurance creatures in their native, natural habitats! (chuckle) So I’ll be at the bar and on the golf course!!! (laughter)”

Thus went my 30-second introduction at the kick-off of ICMG 2011 at Doral two weeks ago. The people I subsequently met appreciated the attempt at humor. To my surprise, they were also more than happy to share with me sound bites that included their take-away from the meeting as well as what their favorite wild animal is – and what kind of noise it makes!!! The video is in review by the Board at this point. I think it’s hilarious. Look for something shortly, possibly even today.

My take-away? ICMG gets better every year. This year set a record for registrations and tied a record for on-site attendees. “Snow-pocalypse” in the Midwest cost about 30 people, but there were about 40 walk-ups as well. On a bizdev level for WebWisedom, I’m encouraged that the group is moving towards more and better e-commerce efforts. Social Technologies, Social Media Marketing, and Social Networking is starting to become more commonplace in their language. So good things.

What seemed very worrisome to the group (based on informal conversations) is the whole PPACA debacle and its adverse impact on the brokerage community, not to mention the carriers. Obamacare seems to be causing serious issues in the health insurance industry – loss of commissions, increased risk, lower profitability, fewer people covered. It seems to be getting clearer all the time that the way the legislation is crafted, the actual impacts are turning out to be the exact opposite of the intended impacts: fewer people will be covered, higher costs on premiums and care, and decreased quality of care. At the same time, other legislation, new federal government programs, and actions by the Treasury seem to wrecking an already weakened US economy. So I left the conference pleased with ICMG but once again upset with the administration and the direction of the economy in general and “health care reform” (which is really health insurance reform now).

Next on the horizon? Follow-up conversations with ICMG’ers about Socially Facilitated Selling and teaching the large blocks of agents how to leverage Social Tech in their sales efforts. Whether independent agents, career, or captives, the agents in the field are dealing with an increasingly savvy constituent with meaningful, powerful, and growing Social Networks.

In fact, 3 out of 4 American use Social Networks. And 85% of Social Network users expect to interact with their brands and service providers via Social Networks and Social Media.

So the obvious question for the ICMG folks is, “What is your strategy for dealing with this situation? And is it working for you? Is it driving sales?” If not, that’s where I come in.

I’m hoping to spread the word among the group that I’ve spent quite a bit of time learning about Socially Facilitated Selling and crafting effective ways to communicate the concepts of Socially Facilitated Selling to insurance executives, managers, and train feet-on-the-street sales guys.

Mobile seems to be a critically important aspect of Social Tech, not only for content distribution, but also for access to information, Social updates and Sharing, signing up for stuff, of course dreaded email, but also app’s like calendars, navigation, search local businesses, photo’s and video, etc. My one recommendation is for sales people to seriously UPGRADE their mobile technologies. In order to play in the Social space, like anything else, you have to have the tools and equipment, n’est ce pas?

What comments do you have? Were you at ICMG? Whajathink? What about insurance agents and Social? I heard a few concerns at ICMG. What are yours? Share in the Comments below and see if we can leverage the crowd of readers to learn and grow relative to insurance agents and sales within the Social era. Thanks in advance for the Comments. I’ll pipe in as well. And thanks again to all who participated in a great ICMG 2011. Solid effort.


Running in between PIMA and ICMG with tons of follow-up from the former while getting organized for the latter. Geesh! All the while, Cleveland and the Midwest is getting pummeled by “snow-pocalypse”.

Future note to keep me accountable: At the closing session, I asked several attendees the question, “What is the one thing you would say to someone who wasn’t here regarding all the innovation content we heard?” And then, “What is the one BIG barrier to innovation that we must overcome?” Really looking forward to sharing the content with you.. very interesting mosaic of comments. Look for that next week.

In the meantime, a few thoughts collected real-time. Curious for reader comments. Btw, if you are serious about Social Technologies, especially as they relate to Innovation, Mobile, Viral Marketing, e-Word-of-Mouth, etc., I’m meeting with a few clients at the Scott Klososky Enterprise Social Tech Bootcamp in Dallas in early March. I’ve got one open spot left.

Seismic changes in this age of the consumer, disruptive technologies….

“Innovation is a necessity.”

Unknown and unarticulated needs

Culture of failure is important

No such thing as B2B anymore – just the relative distance from the consumer.

…the things that didn’t work… “We lucked into innovation…”

“Big Slow Staid Bureaucratic”
good descriptive of our industry

“All the innovation is already there; you just have to unleash it.”

Mobile is changing everything – right in our customers hands

recognize failure “a lot” – words of encouragement

Lessons Learned
#1 Solve for Ideas
Innovation process… THEN product development process
#2 Unpeel you Onion – innovation is already there…

“disruptive innovation: product or utility that does less and cost less”

Huffington – embrace the new economy, embrace the link economy

Extreme Affinity – LA City Employees Association – referral from American General

“Insurance wasn’t enough”

Captivating and compelling use of innovation. Gobs and gobs of take-aways…


PIMA hashtag search

Next Meeting – The Broadmoor

Meantime – Brand project, continuing the discussion on Linkedin, lots of client engagements, Innovation

What was your take-away from the conference? Good for you? What about some of these concepts? If you weren’t there, feel free to ask questions. Perhaps the reader crowd can bring clarity. Please Comment below. Thanks in advance.

Archives to 2005