Submitted by: Rebecca Chase, Production Manager, Lorél Marketing Group

In an environment where consumers are constantly exposed to unending YouTube videos, a picture may be worth a thousand words; a moving picture is worth a lot more. Many industry experts agree that video is slated to play a key role in the digital advertising strategy of marketing executives this year.

In a recent poll, 80% of businesses surveyed plan to use video this year, compared with only 15% that planned to do so in 2009. And as the technology continues to mature, the use of embedded video for digital catalogs, email marketing, websites, SEO campaigns and social media will become the norm for multi-channel organizations.

Often called the “ultimate customer engagement tool,” video is utilized by companies as a way to connect with new prospects, provide relevant information in an entertaining way, and breathe new life into their brand. The results: increased website traffic and conversion rates, a broader customer base, and ongoing customer loyalty.

It’s easy to understand why video is a more engaging medium than text…and why it produces more benefits. Video allows marketers to deliver a relevant message to a specific targeted group, which then establishes a connection between this group and your brand. And video is something your customers encounter on a daily basis. The explosive growth of the mobile smartphone market, the internet and the iPad is fueling both content and usage at an exponential rate. According to Neilson, the number of individuals watching mobile video has grown 70% over last year. Video is considered to be the fastest growing content channel and continues to dominate the web. In July 2009 alone, an astounding 158 million US internet users, that’s 80% of the nation’s online population, watched online videos, according to comScore Video Metrix.

So how do you capitalize on this engaging channel to attract more customers? First and foremost, utilize your website as a hub. Then, try partnering with like-minded sites. Make their customers your customers and vice-versa. Create a video library on your homepage or host a microsite on a partner’s website in order to facilitate widespread promotion of your videos. Another tactic is to use video in eNewsletters that are sent to prospects in order to introduce them to your brand. Bring your marketing and sales teams on board by having them send links to customers that in turn send them to a video landing page that announces new product l