Friday, April 25, 2008

In a complicated world, simple still works

I just completed a series of interviews with Bob Regular, the editor and publisher of, which is a terrific web publication with a core audience of movers and shakers in the e-commerce industry. These are the folks who have set up shop on Web 2.0

The interview reminded me of how much our society has evolved in the way we communicate because the interviews will be in both text and video format on the Adotas web site. Just a couple of weeks ago I was a guest on “FOX & Friends®” and also on the “FOX Business Channel.” These were both traditional media interviews. However, a few minutes later these same interviews were available on the “FOX News®” web site. This time around was again a video interview with Adotas, but streamed directly to you via the Internet accompanied with a text version.

Bob Regular (left) of interviews John W. Scherer

During the one-hour interview, we focused on just how Video Professor has grown and succeeded for 21 years by keeping our communications processes simple.

Video Professor is a vertically integrated company. Our creative services, web design, SEO, public affairs, legal and marketing are all under one roof. We even have our own television studio and our creative teams, who work in both video and the Internet, have all the bells and whistles to produce spectacular material.

What we’ve learned thus far is that you can’t let these bells, whistles and other toys distract from the message.

Outside vendors, contractors, web design companies etc, come to us every day with all sorts of ideas. They tell us to fancy this up, or add elements to this and that. The few times we actually listened, it didn’t work.

I think this is especially the case with social media. What is often lost in the conversation is the importance of clarity of message. Does it pass the “so what” test?

Our commercials and infomercials focus more on our product than the pizzazz, the value and benefit instead of the gaudy flash. The same goes for our web site. It’s basic, easy-to-navigate and gets you where you want to go with minimum fuss and maximum efficiency.

This makes selling easy and service after the sale even easier. It’s worked for 21 years and we plan on being around for much longer! This isn’t about resisting change, but actually embracing change without losing focus on the simplicity of the message. There are multiple pipelines to consumers these days and we use them all. Customers are busy, they want to find out what we have to offer, and then order what they want. If they need help after the sale, getting service should be just as quick and easy. As I told Regular during our interview, everyone in this building is focused on the customer. It’s simple, but it works.

During my interview, I was asked more than once to give advice to the young entrepreneurs just starting out.

First and foremost you have to get your brand out there. When we were starting out at Video Professor, we quickly found out that television was a good way to do this. However, it was, and still is expensive. But, you have to have your name and product or service available to as many eyeballs as possible. For us, the investment paid off.

The visibility through our commercials and infomercials has made transitioning our brand to the Web much easier than if we were starting from scratch. The Web, web sites and social networks can be much cheaper and just as efficient for new businesses today.

Your web site design must be clean, uncluttered and easy to navigate. Your customer comes to your site to either learn more about your product or to buy it. Make it simple.

You should maintain a relentless focus on customer service throughout the process. You will get complaints. They are part of business. But, how you field these issues could be the difference between success and failure.

Don’t let a very few negatives slow you down, keep your focus on that 99 percent of successful sales.

Looking back at the last 21 years and looking forward to the next 21 years, I remain so very excited about what we’ve accomplished the millions we’ve taught and the terrific new products and services we have planned for the future.

We plan to always keep it simple and direct. You can count on everyone at Video Professor to provide you with the tools that make learning easy and if you ever have a question or concern, we’re just a phone call or e-mail away.


John W. Scherer, CEO & founder, Video Professor, Inc.

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