The Return of Tutorial Marketing?

Tutorial MarketingThere’s an interesting discussion going on that’s followed Michel Fortin’s rejection of the long, scrolling, hype-filled sales letter. As Michel has made clear since, it’s not that a lot of copy (information) is no longer required, it’s the ability of the evolved web to allow us to deliver information in the way the prospect prefers.

Web copy, PDF, audio, video… plus combinations that are only limited by the imaginations of savvy online marketers. It’s not only about telling people a story they want to hear, it’s also about how they want to hear it.

Tony Clark has launched a series of posts about what he calls “video white papers,” and white paper guru Michael Stelzner has joined in on the conversation. In the second installment of the series Tony explains what he means by the term:

A few years ago, I began taking the concepts used in developing white papers for clients and applying them to video-based presentations. Not really canned slide-shows, not really product demos, and not just sales presentations, but a mix of the three. I started calling them video white papers, because like a good white paper, they focused on the audience and their issues, not the authors and all the amazing benefits they have to offer.

This is an interesting concept, and it ties in directly with what Michel Fortin is talking about. To make a sale, you’ve got to provide enough information. And why not increase your chances of making a connection by providing the information in various formats?

This type of educational marketing has been the cornerstone of my online marketing efforts since the late 90s. Tony sums up the approach nicely in part three of his series:

Useful content intended to educate, that also provides a marketing platform for related products or services.

It’s the only way that I’ve ever felt comfortable marketing. And guess what? Done strategically with great copy, compelling stories, and powerful offers, it works like you wouldn’t believe.

It’s what I had previously been calling “tutorial marketing,” up until I backed off the term because I thought it lacked the proper punch. There’s never been any doubt about the concept of tutorial marketing… in fact, it’s growing in popularity as interruption and high-pressure techniques continue to lose effectiveness.

And the term tutorial marketing itself?

Maybe it wasn’t that lame after all, especially since I haven’t come up with anything more descriptive to communicate the “don’t sell… teach” philosophy. It’s a nice juxtaposition of two things you wouldn’t normally associate together that when combined work really, really well.

After all, permission marketing wasn’t all that sexy… and it did ok. :)

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  1. How about:

    “Screencasting” – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Screencast

    The term was coined by Jon Udell a while back after a survey of readers.

    I think of screencasting as ‘video-lite’ – all the bells and whistles of multimedia presentations – without the requirement for video cameras, lighting, studios etc. etc.

    TomC

  2. I’m familiar with the term screencasting. :)

    Tutorial marketing encompasses all educational marketing media… text, graphics, audio, and video. Whether in a multi-media collection or each individually.

    That’s what I’m trying to define and brand.

  3. Hey Brian – Thanks so much for the links.

    I began using the term video white papers in software and engineering work. A lot of folks I worked with were using demos and presentations as sales and marketing tools, but using what I felt was the wrong model – lots of hype and no real substance. In the same circles, white papers were being used very successfully to provide info and educate, while really focusing on a single vendor’s solution. I tried to adopt that model when using video and presentation tools – hence the “video white paper.”

    Fast-forward and I see Tubetorial and your recent post on video marketing and long copy pages. After talking to some folks who were interested in the idea, I saw that they were thinking more infomercial than info-product. Again the wrong model – but the white paper model still works well. The main goals being to inform, educate, and present your expertise in a way that provides something of value to the audience.

    I think the whole tutorial marketing concept and what Tubetorial is doing is incredibly cool. No matter what it’s called it offers a real opportunity for those who do it right.

  4. Brian. I think you ALREADY have coined the most appropriate phrase for tutorial marketing – “Tubetorial Marketing”.

    If you want to shortin’ it, call it “Tu-Market” as in tu market we will go.

    Regards
    Shane

  5. …or MarkeTEACHing

  6. Shane, you’re already a convert. We’re not going to let you vote, as you might skew the results. ;)

  7. Hey Brian;

    I think ALL of this falls under a category I label “educational marketing.”

    Simply put, you educate someone doing research and they will build affinity and trust. That is the first step towards a relationship and ultimately a sale.

    Bob Bly calls it Edu-Marketing in his book “The White Paper Marketing Handbook.”

    I call it educational marketing in my book.

    Now to video…

    I think both video and audio are just different ways to get a message across.

    This is why I think what matters most is the message.

    Tony Clark might be onto something.

    Because the term “white paper” is so well known in the world of b2b (esp. high-tech), it may resonate with many people.

    What say you?

    Mike

  8. Brian

    I went looking at some other word combos.. but nothing was available – lots of cybersquatting.

    The only one that was free was:
    Mediatorial.com
    (because you use all media)

    Of the ones I searched for, I liked ‘webucation’

    However, I think “Tubetorial” is a good brand for you – in the longer term – like 3 years ! (…brands are usually longer term things anyways)

    It relfects the fact that you cover all media that is sent through the “tube” .

    When TV and Net are integrated.. then “tube” will be especially relevant
    (Don’t you guys call the TV “boob-tube”?).

    Regards

    TomC

  9. If I can weigh in, I like tuturial marketing, I’m never a fan of contractions they just seem a bit tacky to me!

    It’s an interesting prospect the use of other media to present white papers but you should never under estimate the number of people who don’t have access to sound on their work computer.

    Scary in this day and age!

  10. Mike – You nailed it with this:

    “Because the term ‘white paper’ is so well known in the world of b2b (esp. high-tech), it may resonate with many people.”

    That’s why I originally chose the term. Not a lot of thought went into it – I was actually on the spot and blurted it out. But it did strike a chord. Particularly in technical fields, “white paper” comes with certain pre-conceived notions. And to be honest, I utilized that to drive home the benefit of an educational approach versus another moving brochure set to music and bad PowerPoint.

    FWIW Shane, I like “Tu-Market” – I think it would look great on a t-shirt with a good mascot. We could call him Tu-Mark and give him some street cred. ;)

  11. Hear that Brian? T-Shirts! I like that, too, Tony.

  12. ..Tony, I can envision going to a convention hall for the “1st Annual Tu-Mark Convention” for tutorial marketers.

    Where do I sign up, Brian?

  13. IMO Mediatorial is one of the best
    that you can use, sounds to be very good and effective one for long long term.
    Tubetorial is also good but personally I feel that to odd to pronounce. Apart from that I don’t think there should be any issues.
    ATB.

  14. tutorial marketing has such a nice ring to it.

    “I’m not selling this to you I’m teaching it”

  15. “Useful content intended to educate, that also provides a marketing platform for related products or services.”

    I’d just like to chime in on how powerful a sentence that is. In order to succeed you must provide value. One surefire way method of providing value is to identify something that people want to know, and give it to them. Once you’ve provided someone with the information they’re seeking, you can count on the fact that they’re much more likely to act upon some sort of follow-up.

  16. I think the term “tutorial marketing” works great here. Teaching something in order to sell it is a model which works very well. It lends credibility to the teacher as well as demonstrating benefits of a product or service.

    Great post Brian!

  17. “Education based marketing” is a similar term that’s been in use for many years.

    I think one marketing idea that many copywriters overlook is offering a series of sales letters or reports for a product or service – each focusing on one major product benefit.

    If they’re written in report or white paper style all the better.

    And if some are audio, some are video better still.

    Once you have your prospects email address you can market to him over and over.

    It seems more than a little crazy to rely on just one long sales letter to make a sale when you can send your prospect to a series of shorter, sharper sales letters each focused differently using different multi media presentations.

    Kindest regards,
    Andrew Cavanagh

  18. E-gads, theres another shane out there. SPOOKY. My take on TUT-marketing is this. All of our decisions have already been made for us. Think about it… Why do you dink 1% milk as opposed partly skimmed. BECAUSE SOMEONE TOLD YOU TO. Why do you wear that nice red sweater. Because some couture house decided that red was in and did a big show that many retailers boought into , which then filtered down to your local retailer and You bought that red sweater.
    All decisions you think you are making have already been made for you. So the purpose of tut-marketing is in fact telling people what to do. Getting them to make a deicision they think is their own. Sick huh. But thats the way of marketing. Telling people what to do , how to do it and when to do it.

  19. There are also a few websites where you can share educational videos, those websites could help a lot, I have seen the Yobler.com and videojug web sites and all I could say is wow, communities that tend to market their products using educational materials

  20. Whatever name you guys call it, I think this new concept rocks!
    After reading Michel Fortin’s ebook and listening to your teachings on”Delivering Your Message Payload With Multimedia Storytelling” I think my site(www.hopeavenue.com) will look much better once I start applying all those principles.
    If I am not mistaken, I think I read a piece about it from david meerman scott also many months ago.
    I am just priviledged to be at the forefront of this new concept anyway.
    Hey, check out http://www.successchef.com also. (No affiliation)
    Thank you