A discussion with SWITCHR’s Mark Cafiero, and how B2B tech companies can scale marketing content successfully, with video at the center of your strategy.
For Switchr Founder Mark Cafiero, the decision to
return to marketing was akin to "going back to the roots."
Recently on our #GrowUpWithGROW podcast series, GROW Powerful’s Managing Partner, Brett Schklar, sat down with Mark Cafiero, the Founder and CEO of media-based marketing service, Switchr, to discuss the ways in which emerging B2B tech companies can expedite and scale growth programs, and how video content is ushering in the future of demand creation.
Is This Really a Marketing Strategy?
The short answer? Yes!
Here’s why: If you’re not doing it, your competitors (or companies who are competing for the same dollars someone would spend on you) are doing it. Don’t believe us? Head over to YouTube and search for keywords for your company.
The Rise of the Studio
In a world where media is consumed on the go, during dog walks and school runs alike, the need for easily consumed, bite-sized video and audio content is now more dire than ever, and far more in demand.
The rise of featurettes such as YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels emphasize our collective, growing desire for short-form video content, a movement that, Cafiero says, he has been anticipating for the past few years (thanks, TikTok!)
“When I did put myself on the fast track into the corporate marketing world,” says Cafiero, “one of the first things that I noticed is that the video content—and this was not long ago, and it hasn't really changed much—was just tired. It was lame and boring.”
At a previous startup, after making the push for more multimedia content, Cafiero single-handedly constructed a built-in studio at company headquarters, meant solely to serve as a space for the creation and production of polished content for the company’s social media accounts. After surveying the company’s client base on their preferred method of media consumption, Cafiero says he received surprising results.
“The response we got was profound, because it was a perfect even split. It was literally one-third of our audience preferred to consume content through reading blogs, one-third watching videos, and the other third liked to listen to podcasts.”
And so where did this leave Mark?
“We realized we were really only building blogs at that point,” says Cafiero, “so, we're not serving two-thirds of our customers the type of content that they prefer to consume — that was all the justification that we needed to get moving.”
Creating Your Niche
During the initial workshopping stages of Switchr, Cafiero began to identify gaps in the marketplace where potential clients were being left behind. He found that the process behind traditional content creation was still being separated by medium, as opposed to Switchr’s now full-focused integration model. Enter: the studio.
“When you start thinking about things a bit differently, you ask, ‘What if we really focus on building content in the studio?’ If you were to try to take a blog post and try to use that to create video content, it's like you're doing twice the work, but if you start in the studio, you're going to have an expert in. You've got a host, just like what we're doing here today — a starting point.”
Translating this model into the work of the Fractional CMO work is fairly simple:
For the Fractional CMO who is primarily focused on client relations and establishing growth programs, this work may initially sound quite daunting, but the arena of content creation in the modern age of marketing can be a crucial venture for generating widespread visibility.
Establishing a brand identity on social media with companies like Switchr means having the ability to align desired messaging with intended target audiences, as opposed to marketing to pre-existing company employees, hopeful candidates, and corporate contemporaries.
Additionally, with added elements such as Instagram’s promotional features and YouTube’s ‘Boosted’ option, the addition of a studio is a priceless investment in the overarching goal of streamlining content, which can include easy-to-use tools such as automated social media scheduling, analytics monitoring software, and ROI trackers. In the Fractional world, the name of the game is work smarter, not harder.
Transforming traditional long-form video assets into macro-sized content, henceforth maximizing promotional content, minus the extra effort. All frills, no fuss.
“When you have a lot of people who might be interested in watching that full length video,” says Cafiero, “there's a lot of people out there who are just trying to look for the nuggets that came out of that, so you've got this collection of short-form video that you can plug into your YouTube playlist, and it gives your audience an opportunity to see the value that you're providing, quickly.”
As print journalism continues to decrease in popularity and use, the age of the blog has continued to explode with endless opportunity, and with that comes the addition of channels linked to audio and visual content, which, according to Schklar, can also act as an indicator of credibility.
“The work that [Cafiero] and Switchr are able to do can turn it into something much more automatic for the company, for the CMO, for the CEO, and for the content team, who’s thinking they might have to outsource this to people who don't understand it because of cost reasons — it be incredibly costly. And yet, here you are with a quality program that is effective and efficient, but also provides an incredible level of quality for companies.”
So, how do all of these elements work together to create the perfect, seamless pipeline process for content production? Let’s get into the individual elements, shall we?
Invest in Your Surroundings
Cafiero says: invest in your environment! Whether it’s a basic camera-lights-microphone setup, or a completely refurbished studio with all the bells and whistles. It’s important to cultivate a space in which you and your team can work at the highest possible caliber, and, perhaps, more importantly, a space that sets you apart from the rest. Quality is everything, and viewers at home absolutely take note of that — especially your prospective clients. You don’t always need to have the newest and the shiniest toys; passion, knowledge, and decent lighting will get you most of the way there.
Have a Host!
Whatever you’re interested in recording, whether that be a short interview or a promotional demo, make sure you have somewhat of an “expert” on hand. This can come in the form of an informative host or seasoned product engineer, but it’s always nice to have an engaging personality highlighting the specific features of your content.
Setting Your Settings
“Make sure that you have all of your settings set up correctly so that once you're done recording, you have all of your different assets that you can put together in post to create a really nice asset,” says Cafiero. “This is all the work that we do at Switchr; all of that complicated post-work.”
From Zoom call settings to camera presets, expedite your content production process by having those to-do’s already checked off when it comes time to create campaigns.
In the ever-expanding arena of live-streamed versus prerecorded videos and webinars, Cafiero says there’s a third, more accessible option. “One thing I like to just tell people is that if you don't have the capability to live-stream, or if it tends to overwhelm you, another alternative to being live is to being semi-live, meaning that you are essentially recording, presenting it live.”
“When I say that you’re presenting it as a live stream, it doesn't mean that you’re trying to trick anyone out there; it's always good practice just to be honest with your audience and say, ‘This is prerecorded.’ It gives you an opportunity to be live as a moderator.”
Going the semi-live route allows the host to act as a pseudo-real-time podcast moderator, minus the distractions of having to actually manage messages or incoming questions in the middle of the show.
Mapping Your Conversation
When constructing an idea for a predominantly audio-generated medium such as podcasts, it’s paramount to still maintain the conversational style of your script, with a bit of room set aside from your key talking points. Once you’ve snagged a transcript, provide a copy to the lead writer so that any subsequent blog posts are able to maintain the professional structure of the podcast episode.
Take Advantage of Playlists
One of the biggest mistakes that clients make is not taking advantage of YouTube playlists! Think of it as a one-stop-shop for your audience, allowing them to tailor the kind of content they consume. Classifying videos into playlists is a foolproof way to appeal to your listener base, while still illustrating a key concept of your company.
The Power of the Infographic
Lastly, don’t underestimate the power of an infographic! Video content has somewhat pushed infographics by the wayside, but they can be highly effective visual tools for breaking down complex ideas. While video and audio may be reigning formats at the moment, Instagram and LinkedIn feeds are still fantastic locations to feature infographics and charts. Creating a wide variety of content means increasing user accessibility for your audience, which is a win on all fronts.
“I also want to point out that the blog post can include all of these things,” says Cafiero, “because you can cut out little snippets from your infographic and insert those in your blog post. If you're really trying to make an important piece for your customers, you can have the little shorts and you can sprinkle those out throughout your blog post as well. So, all the more reason to have it.”
So, we’ve laid out some of the foolproof ways in which you can develop your own studio space to generate content production, but where does one go from there, and when is it time to hand the process over to a service like Switchr?
“Well,” says Cafiero, “I am always happy to have a conversation no matter what. So, if anyone wants to call us and just have a conversation, I will tell you as much as I can about how you can set up your own company for success.”
“It’s a process, and it does require time to get it working like a machine, and that's really what we've created at Switchr is this machine. We have a team of writers, video editors, audio engineers, illustrators, and Photoshop experts, and we have this process dialed.”
According to Cafiero, keeping efficiency at the front of their mission is the Switchr M.O.
“Once we start working with a client, you send us a 45-minute to an hour long video, and in two weeks in between, we will create up to 20 different types of assets for our clients, because we have the handoffs all figured out. We've got the process dialed in; it takes a lot of time to work out that process to where it truly does work like a machine the way that we've done it.”
And for Fractional CMOs?
“The exciting part about this is, if you're a company and you're just a little bit low on resources—maybe inflation and the costs are causing you to scale back a little bit—this is a great opportunity, because we can create far more content far more quickly than it would take if you actually had a full in-house creative team.”
We here at GROW Powerful agree: content generation is the turbocharged route to brand awareness, so don’t be afraid to maximize your assets!
Using companies like Switchr—or even constructing your own studio—to upgrade your company’s brand to the next level is the most efficient way to ensure that your company’s marketing is operating at the highest possible level, and Cafiero’s own success with Switchr is a testament to that.
“It's been my passion project for the past 10 years, and I've been refining this. I've been in the corporate workforce working for tech companies, and it's just refining it consistently over and over and over again, and I feel very excited and blessed that we have been able to create this program that does one thing really, really well.”
All the best,