Video Marketing Strategy: Expectation vs Reality

There are very few things as exciting as creating your first video for your brand. Whether you own a local coffee shop, a clothing line that’s starting to take off, or an event planning service doing business around the country, you love what you do and you’re excited to show it off! Along with this excitement comes some anxiety because you’ve never made a professional video for your company. What should your video be about? How should it look? How do you get started? In a previous article, we outlined some tips and tricks for hiring a company to help with your small business video marketing. In this article, we’re going to help you set realistic expectations for the process so you get exactly what you’re looking for.

There are three main components when it comes to creating videos for your small business.


Making videos takes time. A lot of time. This is one of the most important truths about the film and video industry and one that frequently gets overlooked. For example, the target length for most small business marketing videos is around 2 minutes. A well-produced, 2-minute business video may take over 10 hours just to film. If you’re not intimately familiar with a process it’s easy to underestimate its complexity. While many people think, “Oh, you just point the camera there, hit record, and you’ve got a video,” this thinking will leave you with a disappointing end product. A great business video consists of hours of planning to make sure you’re conveying the right message through carefully selected visuals. 

While filming you have to pay attention to not only what appears within the camera frame, but also those elements outside of it such as lighting, audio, and performances. Once the filming is complete it’s on to editing or post-production, which is the most time-consuming aspect in most cases. Having a realistic expectation of how much time it takes to create a video is key to your success.


Like any service-oriented business, video production costs money. Just because you’re not walking away with a physical product doesn’t make the process or resources required any less expensive. There are literally thousands of dollars worth of equipment being utilized on any given shoot. The professionals handling this equipment have invested not only the money but hours and hours of time devoted to learning how to skillfully operate this equipment for maximum efficiency. It’s crucial to budget realistically for your business video projects.


You’ve seen amazing videos and you’ve seen cringe-worthy videos. You may not consciously be aware of what makes a video good or bad but you absolutely know it when you see it. Audio and visual are the two primary elements of every video. If either one is off, your whole video marketing project gets dragged down. Audiences have developed keen eyes and ears and have come to expect high-quality videos across the board. Perhaps the most frustrating mistake you can make is putting out a mediocre video and expecting your audience to accept and appreciate the amount of effort you’ve put into it.

Application to your video marketing strategy

We’re visual artists which means we hate math, so our team of accountants prepared this very complex formula for us to pass along to our clients:

Time + Money = Quality

The more time you give to the process and the more money you have to spend, the higher the quality you can typically expect in your videos. It’s a counterbalancing system so sacrificing one over the other will have an effect on the formula.

For example, You own a small cafe and want to create a 5-minute video that showcases how you prepare your signature breakfast dish. You need the video completed in one month and have $10,000 to spend. Given these parameters, you’ll have no problem expecting to get this produced with resounding success. Now let’s assume you’ve only got a week to produce the same video and you’re only able to spend a fraction of the original budget. 

This changes the reality of your situation and likely means the quality of your video will be impacted. Shifting expectations can help salvage the project. Instead of a 5-minute meal preparation video, you brainstorm with your video production team to conceptualize a high-quality, 2-minute personality-driven video that connects with your audience in a more impactful and targeted manner. By shifting the scope of the project to a more intimate interview with b-roll, you can reduce the amount of equipment and ease back on editing costs. Expectation vs reality.

It’s equally as important for the video production company you hire to manage expectations vs reality. If you’ve got the time and budget to create the equivalent of a short film, your crew needs to understand what’s involved in a production of that scale and be honest about their ability to deliver.

All of the information above can be perfectly summed up with two stories involving real-life 2 East 8th clients. The names have been omitted to protect the innocent.

When expectations and reality don’t align

We were contacted by a potential client who specialized in speaking engagements and lectures based on their main skillset. After learning about their business we began discussing the ideas our client had for some very innovative video content surrounding their field of expertise. In short, the concept involved a multi-camera setup documenting their story on a weekly basis. They would also need extensive editing and assistance with distribution. While we’re always willing to be flexible and sympathetic to clients’ budgets, this client didn’t want to spend anywhere near the amount necessary to accomplish the goals of their vision. 

While we understood the expectations and ambitious vision the client had, our job was to help them understand, via the video formula above, the reality of their situation and to propose alternative solutions. At the end of the day, the client decided to scrap their idea because they didn’t want to produce something subpar but they also weren’t willing to make adjustments around time and cost. From our perspective, we didn’t want to take the client’s money and provide them with video content that didn’t meet our standards.

Being flexible is key

We’ve had the great pleasure of working with multiple clients in the world of comedy. One client in particular had an idea for a very funny video with the potential to hit a wide audience. They had the time but a modest budget. We sat down and went over the reality of what it would take to achieve the full vision they had for their video. In this instance, we were able to come together and construct a creative alternative to their vision that was more in line with their budget. Finding this balance between time and cost with the client led to one of our most viewed videos to date on YouTube.

Final Thoughts

We’ve had experiences where expectations and reality never quite align. We’ve also had experiences where they intersect perfectly which enabled us to produce videos that both we, and most importantly our clients, are proud of. Video is an extremely powerful marketing tool. In the current market, businesses, and brands that are not utilizing video marketing are actually in the minority. A well-produced video that honestly represents your company is monumental for building trust and loyalty with your customers. A clear understanding of your video marketing strategy and realistic expectations centered around budget will save you money in the long run and get you that high-quality content your customers will come to expect from you.

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