Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

It's Time to Sell Podcast: Strategies for 21st Century Selling

Aug 8, 2018

“Video is one of the most compelling and impactful ways to capture that more authentic version of a brand.” – Jason Hsiao, Animoto


Curious about how to use video effectively to market your business? Hit that play button right away.

Today’s guest is Jason Hsiao, Chief Video Officer & Co-Founder of Animoto. Animoto is an award-winning online video maker that makes it easy for anyone to create professional-quality video.

Used by millions of consumers, businesses, photographers and educators, Animoto is deeply rooted in the belief that making videos should be simple, cost-effective, and accessible to everyone.


In this episode, we talk about

  • how Animoto started,
  • niching down,
  • how to be customer-centric,
  • video as a sales tool,
  • video as a marketing tool,
  • how to use video to build relationships,
  • why you should be using video to promote your business, and a lot more.

If you read my show notes, I often say “there’s a lot to learn from this episode, so stick around.”

I meant it the last 106 times, and I’m going to say it again today:

There’s a lot to learn from this episode – not just about video marketing, but also about business. So stick around and enjoy the show!

How Animoto Came To Be

My previous life was as a TV producer. I was doing a bunch of stuff for MTV, Comedy Central. My friend, who is now my co-founder, Stevie, he was actually also working in TV, doing documentary work for ABC – a big network here in the States.

We actually both had pretty successful careers going for us in TV and film. The backstory is we actually went to high school and college together with a couple of other co-founders. We’ve been friends for a long time; we always loved video and the magic of video. We were always making all sorts of videos in the evenings and weekends, and in school.

Fast forward 10 years after college, the fact that we were both going to be in New York City, living our dream jobs and working in television was pretty cool.

But I think for us, it was this time of anxiousness. We could see how quickly everything was changing around us. Technology was just changing everything, and these mobile things – they were getting smaller and smaller to the point that you could fit them in your pocket and even fold them up.

It just seemed inevitable that these things would probably one day have internet connection or maybe even a camera. And then this whole emergence of cloud computing right then, they just blew our mind about what could be possible with all that.

It felt inevitable that everything was going to change very soon, and that video had to be central to a lot of that, that video would no longer be reserved for these big, huge, giant companies like Viacom and stuff that could afford 200-person teams to put out one minute of video.

“Everyday people should be able to embrace and enjoy the power of video.”

When I say that today, it’s like, “Well, duh?” But 12 years ago, that was not the case. Phones did not yet have cameras or internet or anything like that.

Niching Down

This is probably the best thing you can do for your business. A lot of people would give their left arm to have multiple lines of revenue and customers, but in the early stages of small companies and startups, it’s really important to have that laser focus.

“In the beginning, we had a lot of “faux” success.”

But here’s the thing – I think this is a great lesson and not something uncommon to a lot of entrepreneurs out there.

When we launched Animoto, we had a lot of different people using it; more people creating videos than we could have thought. We had photographers, moms, travelers, churches, nonprofits, realtors, restaurants, marketers – all sorts of businesses – and we’re like, “Oh my gosh! This is amazing!”

Who wouldn’t want their product or service being used by everyone?

Fast forward a few years after that, I think what we realized is not only did it become really hard for us operationally to run a business where we were serving a little bit of every one –.

“When everyone’s asking for different things, how do you prioritize and who are you actually good for?”

To be honest, we became a bit of a patchwork quilt, kind of like a Frankenstein of a product and organization, because we’re just a little bit all over the place and it was reflected in the product experience.

So we had this big moment maybe five years into it, where we said,

“Listen, would we rather be kind of good at a lot of things, or best in the world at one thing?”

Imagine if every single person in our company was pointed in the exact same direction – not kind of generally in the same direction, but laser-focused in the exact, same direction – how powerful our impact could be?

Video as a Tool to Amplify Your Marketing

I think the other misnomer [sic] is that

“Oh yeah, videos on social media – it’s just about capturing awareness, very top of the funnel type of thing, just come and get people’s attention.”

But what’s happening is, increasingly, you can serve more and more parts of that customer journey before people even get to your website. You can not only create that awareness; you can get people interested, you can actually even educate them about what it is you have to offer.

It’s amazing. Increasingly we just hear people, “Oh yeah, by the time I get to their site, I just buy because I’ve already learned everything.”

We work with a bunch of younger folks, they don’t even go to websites anymore.

When they hear about a new brand, the first thing they do is they go on social to see what’s happening on Instagram or Facebook. And they’re like, “Oh yeah, I love this company.”

“Have you ever been to the website?”
“No, why would I?”

Because it’s all on social, right?


Connect with Jason on Twitter and LinkedIn


Jason’s special offer for our listeners: