By definition, a tool is something designed to be used. What better way to demonstrate that utility than with video? That's the driving force behind the show-and-tell approach Milwaukee Electric Tool takes to its online marketing.
To reach its audience of tradesmen—such as professional contractors, plumbers and electricians—the Brookfield, Wis.-based manufacturer and marketer of professional, heavy-duty power tools and accessories offers prospects and customers membership in its Heavy Duty Club. Members receive information on new products, rebates and promotions, testimonials, and other content via solo e-mails and e-newsletters.
"With the promotion of our products, two things dovetail together ... or actually, three things now," says Vicki Chiappetti, Milwaukee Tool's e-marketing project manager. "We have the e-mail marketing piece; we have the social piece; and then we have great content, which we enhance with videos."
For the past year or so, the B-to-B marketer has been building demand for its distributor-sold products by incorporating product and product testimonial videos into its online marketing program, specifically its e-mail marketing campaigns. With the help of e-mail and one-to-one marketing services provider ExactTarget, Milwaukee Tool developed an e-mail template that draws on the branding elements of the marketer's video channel on YouTube, called Milwaukee Tool TV. In the e-mails, a laptop graphic serves as the video window with a "click to play" arrow on it; near this graphic is an image of whichever Milwaukee Tool product is being promoted. When recipients click on the product image, it takes them to the product detail landing page, which provides features, technical specifications, application photos and videos, cross-sell/upsell offers, etc. If they click on the video screen shot in the e-mail, it directs them to the video on YouTube that also links back to the product detail page.
Why provide an indirect route to the video? "I've been doing e-mail marketing since, I don't know, 2002, and I just know what kind of bandwidth a server will take when you have, let's say, a thousand of your closest friends hitting it at the same time," Chiappetti explains. With the Milwaukee Tool TV channel on YouTube, "it can handle any kind of rush hour traffic that a campaign provides for us. The user experience is then seamless. And we can have [the videos] in HD."
For a related reason, Milwaukee Tool—and most other marketers using video in e-mails—does not embed the entire video into its e-newsletters. "That would be, I think, painful for some [subscribers] who don't have the bandwidth," she says.
The videos themselves, outsourced to a production company in St. Louis, run about a minute, and Chiappetti's analytics tell her that viewers stick around on average for the entire time for most products. She uses Coremetrics for Web analytics, which lets her know which videos get watched, in what format (videos are in .flv format for viewing and .avi for downloading) and for how long. "Then YouTube, they make it so easy for people to see where, what, how, who, how old, gender ... And [these data points do] complement what's on the [Milwaukee Tool] site. I like being a data geek, that I can show those kinds of synergies between the social sites, the Web site. And then, just because we're extra special, we also have that integrated into ExactTarget so we can also see the performance in a full-circle view," Chiappetti explains.
Speaking of performance, she reports that the e-mail marketing program is finishing three points ahead of standard industry levels. Furthermore, Web site traffic has increased 30 percent and video traffic by 118 percent between 2008 and 2009. And perhaps the most satisfying stat is one that holds the most promise for continued success: Milwaukee Tool's e-mail subscriber file has grown to six figures since it started deploying e-mail-to-video landing pages in 2008.
Going into 2010, the B-to-B marketer is picking up steam with 10 new videos launched in late February. Chiappetti emphasizes the importance of the quality of the application videos, noting how well done and on point the content and execution are. "They make you want to buy a tool, and that's what it's all about. So the videos really illustrate what the brand is all about—the heavy duty-ness, the superiority in construction and then obviously the application in which you can use [the tools]," she says.
Clearly, video and e-mail are two indispensable devices in Milwaukee Tool's toolbox.