How to Concept and Executive Produce a Short, Effective Video Production

(Or everything you need to know about video production but don’t know how to ask)


We all know that short, attention-grabbing 1 to 3 minute video productions can be extremely valuable tools in today’s marketing realm, so this article isn’t about the need for video. We are going to cut right to the chase and cover the video production process from nose to tail – so when you do decide to produce a custom video (and you will, trust me) you will know exactly how to proceed and what to expect.

For reference, here is a link to a sample video to give you a baseline of what will be covered in this article: (Add link to Ketema or Spec Seals video)


How do you start?

This is often the biggest stumbling block and it’s the first step. It’s what seems to mystify the most. So where to begin? The first step before approaching a production company or agency for a proposal is to determine how long a video you need, and the range of your budget. Attention spans are getting shorter, so brevity is paramount. If it’s a complicated subject, think of producing multiple short video “modules” instead of a 15 minute snooze-fest.

As far as budget is concerned, prices from production companies vary wildly, but plan on spending at least $3,000 to $5,000 for a quality finished product in HD. Three finished minutes for $5,000 is a good rule of thumb, depending on location and number of shoot days.

Next, find and bookmark a few videos on YouTube or Vimeo that you like or would like to emulate. They don’t even have to be related to your industry. Then write up a detailed outline of what topics you would like to cover – keeping in mind more than 3-5 major topics or points in a short video becomes an unwieldy mess.

With the length, budget, style and topics determined you are armed with a solid initial vision that will help get you a solid custom video production proposal.


The Production Process

“What’s involved, and how long will it take?” is the next big question. Let’s break it down:


The Script

Generally, the video production people will take the outline you provided and flesh it out into a script for the voice over or on-camera talent. The script will most likely go back and forth a couple of times for approvals, revisions or tweaks. From there the script gets recorded by a professional narrator or on-camera host.

Note: It’s very important to really nail down the exact script verbiage, because it gets expensive to make changes after everything has been recorded and edited. Trust us on this; it’s pure wisdom.


The Shoot

Unless it is a complete 2D or 3D graphics production, there needs to be “video for the video”. Most short marketing or company overview videos are shot on location over the course of 1-2 days at a corporate office, plant, construction site or wherever the desired activity is taking place. It’s always good to get a few shots of every job or process for plenty of variety. Wide establishing shots of the offices, lobbies or facilities are always a must.

A super-effective and flexible video production tool is green screen technology, where you can have the host of a video appear in multiple locations without the need for travel. With modern keying technology, equipment and techniques it can look very crisp and realistic, and can add another dimension to your project.



So you have your script written, your narration recorded and your raw footage in the can…it’s editing time, people! There are two approaches: Let the video editor take all the assets and come up with a first cut for your review and revision, or sit with him or her the whole time.


Unless it is very technical subject matter I strongly discourage the latter approach as it invariably takes way more time and having someone sit there often drives the editor nuts. Just the way it is. Some editors may want you to hold their hand the whole time, but that’s not who you need. A professional should drive the process at this point, with input from the producer as needed. Like the script, there will be couple of rounds of back and forth, and then it’s a done deal!


Delivery and Formats

Finished videos should be delivered in a few different formats. First and foremost, an full-resolution HD mp4 file that can be used for both uploads to YouTube and played from a computer connected to a large screen TV; an HD Windows Media version for older PC media players that don’t play .mp4s and a physical DVD – either standard or Blu-Ray. 


Time Frames

Video production time frames vary depending on scheduling, availability, script and video draft approvals and a number of other variables – some often unseen. That said, in a reasonable world the whole process should take about a month. Basically, a week each for scripting, shooting, editing and revisions/approval is a good rule of thumb.

Naturally the timeframe could be compressed, but that can often result in higher fees. Plan on a month if you can and help keep everyone involved sane.


Every project is different, but these basics apply to the vast majority of short video productions. If you need a proposal for a project or need more information about any type of video production, contact Total Spectrum at 714.637.3600 and ask for Mark. (He is hell on wheels when he is half-drunk at the editing bay.)

Creating Effective Marketing Content Efficiently

Content Doesn’t have to Cost the Crown Jewels

Introduction to “Content”

You’ve probably heard it before in the modern marketing realm: “Content is King”. Over time, the chorus kept growing louder: Content! Content! Content… so you think to yourself, “The marketing gurus just won’t let this one go.” You know the drill: “Gotta have more content to drive more people to the website”, or blog or whatever.

While it is certainly true that in today’s marketplace prospects gather 65% to 90% of their decision-making information before contacting a salesperson – and the company with the most quality content regarding its product or service has a much better shot at closing the sale or landing the business – creating all this “content” is very difficult and costs the proverbial arm and a leg, right?

Wrong. That’s been proven to be pretty much a myth. In fact, if you use the right methodology it can save or stretch marketing dollars significantly. The purpose of this short article is to help take the mystery out of the whole content creation process and show how it can be implemented in almost any company’s marketing and lead generation plan.

Without going off on a major tangent, keep in mind that content-driven marketing doesn’t necessarily replace traditional marketing methods, but instead adds more arrows to your quiver. And we can all use more and sharper arrows.

The Process

First, let’s define “Content” as it relates to helping potential customers self-educate via your website or other portal – and how it can all flow from just a few key sources. “Content” is:

  • Website or YouTube Videos
  • Thought Leadership Articles
  • Blogs
  • Case Studies
  • White papers
  • Magazine Articles
  • Advertorials
  • Instructional materials
  • eBooks
  • Podcasts and more

So here we go. The first step is to identify 2-3 (or more) experts in your company, the industry at large and even customers or distributors who are willing to be interviewed in depth on camera or audio recording. Interviewees should be asked probing questions that require full explanations. A few punchy short sound bites here and there are OK, but the key is to get them to open up and talk on important topics related to your industry. 30 to 45 minute interviews are good target lengths.

Once the interviews are “in the can” they can be transcribed to text and used as content source material. 2-3 successful in-depth video interviews can provide enough material to generate a ton of quality content in numerous formats and delivery systems – essentially many or all of the items listed above.

The #1 Rule of Content Creation

This is a biggie, so read carefully. If you ignore this advice, proceed at your own risk. Although you may be tempted to fire up the video camera on your smart phone and shoot some interviews, or take on writing a thought leadership article or blog article once a week, DON’T DO IT. The fact of the matter is it probably won’t get done, or get done properly. Leave it to the writers and other professionals who do this stuff day in and day out – as they will provide much more quality and value in both the short and long run.

Why Go Pro?

Professionally-shot video interviews in an office or studio with proper lighting and sound will give you a huge advantage in creating great-looking and sounding YouTube or website videos. Good sound is also essential for a podcast. A professional freelance writer can knock out a quality white paper or case study in a couple of days – and there are plenty to choose from out there.

Re-purpose, Re-purpose, Re-purpose

Naturally, any content gleaned from the interviews can also be repurposed in traditional marketing methods such as print ads, brochures, direct mailers, etc. If you do it right you can base a completely integrated ad campaign on the acquired content that also dovetails with your new and improved educational content library.


Content is king, but it can be created efficiently. The hardest part on your end of the content creation process is asking the right people the right questions about the right topics – and capturing it effectively. Once you have the raw material in hand, hand it off to the pros and watch your content library grow.

Need a hand holding the camera steady or asking the right questions? Contact Total Spectrum and we’ll get you started in the right direction toward creating quality content.

Marketing Automation: What is it and why you need it

If you’re in business, “Marketing Automation” is a term that has been getting tossed around A LOT lately. It sounds cool…especially the “automation” part – that has to be a good thing. But what does it really mean, and what does it do?

If you ask around, chances are you will probably get a bunch of circular marketing-speak that will shed little light on the situation, and more than likely confuse you more. To begin, let’s look at a few official definitions gleaned from key players in the MA industry and see if it helps.

“Official” Definitions:
This one is from Marketo, one of the top dogs:

“Marketing automation is a category of software that streamlines, automates, and measures marketing tasks and workflows so that companies like yours can increase operational efficiency and grow revenue faster.”

That didn’t help at all. Sounds good; nice little sound bite, but it doesn’t tell us much – marketing speak for sure. Let’s look at another one:

“Marketing automation is the use of software to automate marketing processes such as customer segmentation, customer data integration, and campaign management. The use of marketing automation makes processes that would have otherwise been performed manually much more efficient, and makes new processes possible. Marketing automation is an integral component of customer relationship management.” SearchCRM

Good grief, that was longer but possibly even worse. I still don’t know what it really is. All either definition has told us is that marketing automation uses software to automate stuff and make it better. Let’s look at one more:
“At its best, marketing automation is software and tactics that allow companies to buy and sell like Amazon – that is, to nurture prospects with highly personalized, useful content that helps convert prospects to customers and turn customers into delighted customers. HubSpot

Now we are sort of getting somewhere. This has some meat on the bone because instead of circular marketing speak they give an example, Amazon. Still fuzzy, though.

Let’s see if we can nail this down a little better:

The Heart of the Matter
Marketing Automation apps and software do all the CMS tasks and processes as referenced in the above definitions (customer data, campaign management, etc.), but it it’s also a cross-functional marketing tool that connects multiple touch points and channels including email marketing, social media and content marketing. A key point of marketing automation is to “nurture” prospects for the long-term; in other words, concentrating on other goals beyond direct sales.

Now we are talking! That makes sense but “cross-functional marketing strategy” sounds a bit complicated to pull off. It CAN be at advanced levels, but the beauty of marketing automation is that is VERY scalable, and it really all starts with an email.

Yes, automated (but not necessarily impersonal) email. No one ever mentions that marketing automation is essentially email-based. That’s what all this talk of “nurturing” is all about. With marketing automation, there are a “whole lotta emails going on.”

Disclaimer: we are NOT talking about SPAM or shady email marketing tactics which has given email marketing a very bad rap. More on that below…

But back on topic. Email is absolutely key to marketing automation. Email:

  • Allows you to directly reach audiences 1 on 1, and people tend keep their email addresses for years.
  • Now lets you connect with users regardless of what device they’re using. People generally use email addresses to create multiple accounts like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and hopefully even your website.
  • Can help you jumpstart your company’s lead nurturing flow – which will also span multiple devices

Mini lecture: email lists and spam:
The best and really only way to determine your marketing automation strategy – and lead pipeline – is to build your database organically. It’s often tempting to just write the check and buy a list, but this is typically a waste of money, can make people mad, get you in trouble and possibly fined by the government – or all of the above.

Instead of buying an email list with recipients who have no idea who the heck you are, glean emails from your existing customer base, or try launching a blog to build your own list internally. Patience is essential.

Remember, when people sign up for your company’s email list on a website or landing page, they’re providing value with their contact information. To get value, you need to give them value – which requires you to make an investment upfront – by producing an ebook or case study, offering a promotion, or even hosting a contest or drawing. This is called Content Marketing. For more on content marketing, visit

Scalability – It’s easy to get started
As mentioned earlier, it all starts with an email, which can be created (along with a corresponding landing page to collect information), sent, tracked and analyzed within the marketing automation software or web-based app.

An excellent entry-level example would be a simple “Thank You” email that is automatically sent after a customer completes a purchase. The email could also have a link to a coupon or promo code for future purchases. This allows continued interaction with the customer beyond the sale…or “nurturing” if you will.

Or a marketing automation campaign can efficiently manage a complex, workflow-based campaign with multiple sales conversion funnels to automatically manage leads, deliver content and alert sales people of activity so they can instantly react or respond.

The point is marketing automation solutions are available for companies of any size. You don’t need huge revenues to get started. The key is to construct foundations early to help your company grow. It’s not a quick magic bullet.

Get help to do it right
It’s important to have a solid foundation in content marketing, brand-building and analytics – or partner with a marketing agency that does. Even though you’re deploying marketing messages, marketing automation is not a “push” mechanism. The most successful companies position their campaigns as “pull” mechanisms. The new paradigm is to draw people in with interesting or educational content, not relentlessly hammer them over the head with the usual sales materials.

One more thing…
It’s easy to start equating marketing automation with software. In reality however, marketing automation is not all about software. It’s also about psychology and the conversion funnel. But those are are topics for another article.

There is WAY more to tell. For more information, contact Jim Bogenreif at Total Spectrum, at 714.637.3600. He is a pretty affable fellow and can give you the 60 second “elevator speech”, a 20 minute overview or a 5 hour dissertation on marketing automation.

Learn More About Our Marketing Technology Solution, Spark

Website Design Trends: Out with the Old & In with the New

Website design has come a long way in the past 20 years, and it continues to change and evolve over time. Here’s a roundup of the design trends that we’ve been seeing…what’s trending out, what’s becoming increasingly popular, and the reasoning behind it all.

Out: Static Design / Mobile Versions

In: Responsive Design

Why: Remember when most people accessed the web through their desktop or laptop computers? Back then organizations would either create separate “mobile versions” of their site, or simply write off smart phone and tablet users altogether. Today 64% of American adults own a smartphone, and organizations cannot afford to ignore their needs. Responsive design, which optimizes the viewing experience across a wide range of devices, has become the new standard.

Out: Clicking

In: Scrolling

Why: As more people access websites using (mouse-less) smart phones and tablets, “fat finger syndrome” makes clicking cumbersome. Today’s popular “endless scrolling” approach creates a better experience for mobile users. As an added bonus, scrolling sites usually load faster, too.

Out: Flat Design

In: Semi-Flat Design

Why: Flat design is a minimalist approach that strips design of all fluff and frills, such as gradients, shadows and textures. As such flat design uses bold colors, simple typography and simple shapes. But it’s very…well…flat. As part of the backlash against this, many designers are now using what’s known as “semi-flat” or “almost-flat” design. While still eliminating the clutter, semi-flat design gives some elements a little depth and dimension, in order provide a clean look and feel with a bit of a flair. 

Out: Generic-Looking Stock Photos

In: Large High-Quality Images

Why: This is really the convergence of two trends. First, many designers are moving towards the use of large images in either the foreground or the background. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words – and many of today’s site visitors are not interested in doing a lot of reading. The second trend is that people are simply getting tired of seeing generic stock photos. Bold, original images that reflect the brand’s personality are therefore trending in instead.

Out: Complicated Designs

In: Minimalist Approach

Why: This design trend is also tied in with the trend towards designing for mobile devices. After all, cluttered or fussy sites just don’t render well on a four-inch screen! Consequently, “less is more” seems to be the new mantra. Excess graphics, unnecessary sidebars and submenus, and other non-essential elements are either hidden or eliminated altogether.

Out: Disorganized Content Hierarchy

In: Tile-style Layouts

Why: Although tile-style layouts, like what is seen on Pinterest, are not for every content type, this design trend is continuing to gain in popularity. Tiles work well in responsive designs, and can provide a simple and very visual way for visitors to browse through and find the information they need.



If your website not mobile responsive or is in need of a “face lift” contact us. We have the expertise to develop a website that represents your company well.

Marketing Automation vs. CRM

What’s The Difference and Who Wins?

The question is often asked, what’s the difference between marketing automation and a Customers Relationship Manager or CRM system? Which is superior? In this short article, we will compare and contrast marketing automation’s easy-to-learn functions with customer relationship management (CRM) software such as SalesForce or Zoho.

This no-nonsense comparison/throw-down will cover three key areas: lead generation, sales and return on investment or ROI. As you will see, the differences are quite stark.

Round I: Generating More Leads

As far as generating leads is concerned, CRM software can:

  • Import a CSV (Comma Separated Values) of leads

On the other hand, Marketing Automation functions and features include all of the following:

  • Import a CSV (Comma Separated Values) of leads
  • Visitor ID for identifying anonymous web traffic
  • Dynamic form fields for building complete leads profiles
  • Third-party and native-form integration
  • Tracking email communication with leads
  • Automatically connect on social media
  • Qualify leads based on position in sales cycle
  • Schedule an email to a lead for future delivery


That’s a whole lot of flexibility and functionality. Marketing Automation clearly wins that round, hands down.
Lead Generation Score: Marketing Automation 8, CRM 1


Round II: Driving Sales

Moving on to driving sales, CRM software can:

  • Score the leads based on engagement and sales-readiness

To compare, Marketing Automation offers the following sales-related features and benefits:

  • Score the leads based on engagement and sales-readiness
  • Valuable sales insights pertaining to a leads interests
  • Receive notifications when leads are sales ready
  • Automatically segment your leads based on their behavior
  • Targeted messages for near one-on-one communication
  • An illustrated time line of a leads activity with your website
  • Increased engagement with segmented messages

It’s clearly another blowout round for Marketing Automation.
Driving Sales Score: Marketing Automation 7, CRM 1


Round III: Proving ROI

Finally, let’s get down to brass tacks as they say. ROI is where the rubber really meets the road. Once again let’s compare. CRM software can:

  • Record deals won and deals lost

While Marketing Automation Software offers that and much more:

  • Record deals won and deals lost
  • Detailed email analytics
  • Eliminate wasteful marketing spends
  • Online and offline monitoring of leads activity
  • Automatic return on investment calculations

Once again, Marketing Automation dominates and takes the round handily.
Proving ROI Score: Marketing Automation 6, CRM 1

So our final score for this throw-down is Marketing Automation 21, CRM 3 – pretty much a blowout in favor of Marketing Automation. As mentioned earlier, the differences between the two is quite stark. CRM only offered one feature in each category. That’s not going to fly in today’s digital marketing world.


If you are interested in learning more about Marketing Automation, or have any questions about this article, call 714.637.3600 and speak with the specialists at Total Spectrum. Or email

Marketing Automation vs. ESP

What’s The Difference?

Marketing Automation vs. Email Service Providers (like MailChimp)

Another frequently asked question is “What’s the difference between marketing automation and an Email Service Provider, or ESP; don’t they do the same types of things?” In this short post, we will compare and contrast marketing automation’s intuitive, easy-to-learn functions with email service providers like MailChimp, ConstantContact and Vertical Response.

Let’s quickly look at three key major areas of interest and concern: generating more leads, driving new sales and return on investment, or ROI.

To have a little fun with this, a simple automotive analogy is in order: If Marketing Automation and Email Service Providers were new cars for sale at a car dealership, the window sticker that lists the various features and options of each would look quite different:

Window Sticker #1: Lead Generation

First, let’s take a look at the comprehensive range of tools marketing automation offers in the lead generation realm:

  • Importing lists of contacts
  • Visitor ID for identifying anonymous web traffic
  • Dynamic form fields for building complete contact profiles
  • Third-party and native-form integration
  • Simple CSS adoption to make your forms blend in
  • Automatically connect on social media
  • Qualify leads based on position in sales cycle
  • Schedule an email to a single contact for future delivery

Now for email service providers:

  • Importing lists of contacts

It’s fair to say that there isn’t much of a comparison here; but keep reading.

Window Sticker #2 Driving New Sales

With marketing automation, you have the following basic and advanced sales tools at your disposal:

  • CRM integrations
  • Easy-to-use email designer
  • Notification sent to sales team of a leads online activity
  • Automatically segment your leads based on their behavior
  • Targeted messages for near one-on-one communication
  • An illustrated timeline of all emails each contact received
  • Increased engagement with segmented messages

While ESPs offers only a couple tools:

  • CRM integrations
  • Easy-to-use email designer

Well, that’s a modest ESP improvement over their one “Lead Generation” category feature, but they are still wildly outnumbered by marketing automation. This is starting to look as bit like Custer’s last stand.

Window Sticker #3 Return on Investment (ROI)

Finally, let’s review what marketing automation has to offer in the world of ROI:

  • Open rate and click through rate tracking
  • Website behavior reports
  • Identification of contact’s position in sales process
  • Online and offline monitoring of leads activity
  • Automatic return on investment calculations

ESPs don’t offer much as far as ROI is concerned:

  • Open rate and click through rate tracking

In this final installment of our new car analogy, things clearly didn’t improve for ESPs at all. They are quickly becoming irrevelent and quite frankly getting their “doors blown off” by marketing automation technology.


If you interested in learning more about Marketing Automation, or have any questions about this article, call 714.637.3600 and speak with the specialists at Total Spectrum. Or email your questions to

5 Secrets of Effective Content-Driven Sales

It’s a fact: research has shown that prospective customers are more likely to buy from and feel better about companies that offer valuable content educating them during the decision-making process. 77% of all prospects will gather decision-making information before their first contact with a salesperson.

If you provide high-quality educational content about your product or service, customers will come to you.

Learn more by downloading the free eBook, “5 Secrets of Effective Content-Driven Sales” by Total Spectrum Advertising and start generating solid in-bound sales leads.



Download the eBook by clicking on the link below.

5 Secrets of Effective Content-Driven Sales