In the past I’ve pushed brands to produce videos that show off their products. To date, adoption has been slow, which surprises me because video can serve as a powerful piece of marketing collateral.

All the hyperbole laced marketing copy in the world can’t compete with a video that shows the features and functionality of a product AND case studies of how the product can be used.

For example, we’ve produced some videos for various companies in the video production space such as Wafian, Bogen Manfrotto and Datavideo.

More companies are starting to realize the power of video to help tell their story. One would think some of the first brands to jump on the online video bandwagon would be companies that manufacture video production equipment. They do, after all, sell gear to people who produce video for a living. And they certainly know how to shoot, edit and light a video.

It is finally starting to happen.

Ikan is one such company that has started to produce videos that appear on the Ikan web site and are made available to retail partner sites that sell Ikan equipment.

In my case, I stumbled across Ikan product videos while I was recently looking for video monitors that I can use in an upcoming TV pilot we are producing.

The marketing collateral brands deliver to their retail partners to help people like me make my purchase decisions includes marketing copy, product details / specifications, photos and, finally, video.

Technical specifications and marketing copy are great, but nothing shows a product like a video.

I watched the following video on the ProFlixSales site, which helped me to make my decision when I was looking for a new video monitor:

We recently received our Ikan V8000HDMI-P 8″ High Def 16×9 HDMI LCD Monitor from ProFlixSales.

Product videos are a win for everyone. I asked Shimon Hirschhorn, VP Sales & Marketing at ProFlixSales, to comment on how video provided by vendors helps him in his sales efforts.

“I think that a video is a much easier and user friendly way of explaining to a customer how a product works. I recently had a customer who asked me about a sun hood for the Ikan v5600. Instead of trying to explain to him how the sun hood attaches and acts as a screen guard verbally, I sent him a link to a product demo. Having seen the product demonstrated for him, he bought one.”

We are, however, in the early days of companies producing product videos. “They are the exception, rather than the norm”, Hirschhorn told me. “Very few companies provide me with good videos. I would ideally like a 30 second commercial that briefly calls out the products high points and a longer 1-2 minute clip that answers the 2 or 3 top questions and lets the customer see the product in use. Until then I use the online chat to answer pre-sales questions.”

The retail site can display a video that helps me, the prospective buyer, to take a lot of the stress out of a purchase decision. Most of my stress comes from concern over buying the wrong product.

For example, in my scenario, I was looking for a small, portable monitor that can work with HD cameras such as the Sony EX1 and SD cameras such as the Panasonic DVX.

Digging deeper, I talked to Clint Milby, Director of Marketing at Ikan. We had a back and forth email conversation that went a little something like this:

When did you start producing online product videos?

I’ve been producing videos online since 2002 when I won a short film contest sponsored by Rob Zombie. Since that time, I’ve been keenly aware of the power of online video content both professionally and in the realm of social media networks. At ikan, we have successfully used streaming video to not only promote our products but to demonstrate how to use them, as well as sponsoring our first user-generated short film competition.

Where do they live (e.g., on ikan site on product detail page, vimeo, do you also push to youtube and other viral video outlets to maximize possible reach through search)?

We felt Vimeo users were more representative of our potential and current customer base. We followed the lead of our friends at Zacuto and invested in our own channel on Vimeo.

What has the response from people who have watched them (production people who buy / use gear and distributors who sell your products to those production people)?

This has been very successful not only as a promotional tool but also as technical support for our dealers and end-users. It’s a lot easier to watch a person showing us how to do something rather than just reading. With streaming video we can create a stronger relationship with the people using our products.

Are videos now (going forward) a part of the core marketing assets you plan to deliver to retail outlets that sell your products? e.g. ProFlixSales, where i watched this video.

Streaming video is definitely a huge part of our marketing efforts. Currently, we are promoting our own short film contest, the “Wish I had an ikan” short film contest, where we will be offering over $5,000 in cash and prizes for the contestants who can make the best video featuring either the ikan name or the product in a clever narrative short film.

We’re doing this for several reasons. First, it gives people an incentive to get to know our products. Second, it’s one thing for me to tell you how great our products are, but it’s another thing to hear it from your peers and colleagues. User-generated content is a necessary part of any strong marketing effort.

Beyond the media we are producing in-house, we are trying to keep an active record of the vast sum of media that exists on the net. For instance, we just found video of J.J. Abrams being interviewed by a shooter using the 5D Mark II with an ikan monitor. If I merely told you this, you might not believe me, but if I can send you a link and show you JJ Abrams investigating the rig and wanting to know more about it… well, that carries real weight.