These case study videos are sizeable productions, with in-house and local crews and multiple cameras (including a drone!). Each shoot requires careful planning, coordination and execution.
I recently asked Jeanne to take me behind the scenes of her case study video production process. In a candid and insightful conversation, Jeanne detailed each of her steps, including how she:
- chooses which customers to profile
- plans the 2-day shoot
- ensures the people she interviews are at ease and the stories she captures are authentic
Jeanne also offers 3 tips for producing successful case study videos—actionable advice that anyone dipping their toes into video production can use, no matter what the production size.
Interview with Jeanne Nitschke, Head of Customer Marketing, Motive
Fun facts about Jeanne:
Vacation you’re dreaming about: Mediterranean cruise for my honeymoon this year
Your favorite musician/band is: Journey
Your all-time favorite movie is: Shawshank Redemption
You’re a parent to: Nicole, an amazing 22-year-old transgender woman, and 3 step-children
One of your all-time favorite quotes is: “Move energetically toward the greatest good you see and be willing to be redirected.”
Your most treasured possession is: My grandmother’s antique vase
Please introduce yourself and what you do.
I’m Jeanne Nitschke, Head of Customer Marketing at Motive. Since I started with Motive 8 months ago, I’ve traveled over 20,000 miles and met with over 100 customers.
Why was it important for you to meet so many of your customers right away?
In my customer marketing role, it’s important for me to meet my customers for two reasons. One is to build authentic relationships. And second, for me, coming into a completely new industry, I needed to see it to understand it.
Motive’s customers work in construction, oil and gas, agriculture and trucking—industries that are running our physical economy and are in tangible environments that I have no experience with.
Getting to know these customers, their industries and seeing those operations was important for me to do right out of the gate. It’s been exciting and also humbling to see and learn about what our customers face every day.
I am building Motive’s customer marketing and customer advocacy function from the ground up. We had some customer stories already, but no case study videos at all.
We’re also going upmarket—Motive has been known for supporting small businesses and commercial organizations. But as technology has advanced and AI has come into play, we are at scale now with massive enterprise customers that are outfitting their entire fleets of vehicles and equipment with Motive technology.
How do you select customers for case study videos?
We start by looking at our customers and the types of case study videos we want. We want to feature larger customers who represent the scale that we can support. We want visual stories. I also choose customers to feature that represent the company’s aspirational goals around product adoption and industry growth.
We also need customers who are comfortable in front of a camera, and customers who can legally allow us on-site—sometimes we can’t go on-site for privacy, security or safety reasons. We have a lot of criteria and select the customers carefully.
From there, I talk with Motive’s CSM about our target customer’s account:
- What products are they using?
- What challenges are we helping them solve?
- What results are they seeing?
- How is the partnership with Motive today?
- Who is your customer champion and what’s their persona and personality?
Assuming all of those things are in a match, the CSM introduces me to the customer. I have an initial conversation with the customer about what we’re hoping to accomplish and what participating in the case study video would mean for them. We also talk about the approval process at their company and I ask for an introduction to their communications lead at the outset.
What ARE the benefits for the customer of participating in case study videos?
All of our customers have safety as their number one priority. In our case study videos, we want to shine a spotlight on the incredible work they are doing around safety.
That’s valuable for a reason you might not anticipate. Recruiting and retaining drivers and employees at many of these companies is difficult. When a company makes a significant commitment to safety, it supports recruiting new employees and retaining existing ones.
We also commit to giving them all the case study video footage and still photography for their own unlimited use. Many of these companies might not be able to produce that level of video, photography or drone footage on their own.
I would estimate the value of these videos, photos and footage at $40,000 or $50,000, so it’s significant. We have a full crew, including a still photographer, camera operators, director and producer, someone doing lighting and sound, a gaffer and a drone operator. It’s a two-camera shoot. We roll in with a lot of people and a lot of equipment. It can be intimidating and so I make sure to set expectations with our customers of what the experience will be like.
This is underestimated in our industry, but when someone walks onto a set for the first time, the amount of equipment is overwhelming. And it’s equipment most of our customers have never seen before. That’s scary.
To help overcome that, in advance of showing up on site, I explain to the customer what they’re going to see when they step onto the set, and that my job is to make that disappear for them.
All they need to focus on is looking at me and having a conversation. If I’m doing my job right, the rest fades away. The greatest compliment is when they say, ‘I forgot the camera was there.’ That’s one of the starting points that makes a great video case study.
Tell me about the logistics involved in a case study video shoot of that scale.
We ask our customers to sign a location agreement, allowing us to be on their property with video and photography equipment.
We then organize a pre-call where we talk about what will happen, what we need, the space we require and the type of people we’d like to interview. We also need to understand the location to make sure we adhere to FAA regulations for the drone.
Often we work with agencies to help us find crews in the areas; our customers are not often located in major metropolitan areas.
How do you structure the shoots? How much time do you require?
On Day 0, we scout the location for about an hour. We usually receive photographs or videos in advance, so we do have a sense of the lay of the land. On the initial site visit, we walk around and lock in on where we want to conduct the case study video interviews, where we might use the drone and where to gather B-roll.
We often rent equipment and so after the site visit, the crew has a ton to do to get it ready, and to plan how they’re going to set it up the next day. On Day 0, we also lock in the shoot schedule.
The next morning we arrive on site somewhere around 10 a.m. Set up is typically 2 to 3 hours—because of the complexity of many of these sites. That also gives us time for the crew to have a break. We bring in breakfast and lunch for everyone.
We usually start shooting at around 1 p.m., depending on how many interviews we have planned. On some sites, I’ve interviewed two people for the video case study, and others, up to six.
I don’t typically give questions ahead of time. It’s a controversial topic in customer marketing. You want to give the customer enough in advance so that they feel prepared, but I also don’t want them to over-prepare. Authenticity is important. I do give them themes and some direction on the metrics and the benefits that we’d like them to be able to talk about.
Usually, the interviews are around 45 minutes each, with a 15-minute buffer in between. After each interview, the crew backs up the footage, resets equipment and checks the lighting.
That evening sometimes we’ll gather B-roll at golden hour, just before sunset—or at the crack of dawn the next day. And that’s often when we do the drone footage too.
That’s typically the flow, Day 0 through Day 1 ½.
That’s a major production!
It’s massive. We also have a still photographer for behind-the-scenes shots, portraits and headshots of all the people that we’re interviewing. At the same time, we’re building our stock photography library. Stock photography is incredibly expensive, and there’s the risk your competitor will use the same stock images. We shoot the customers’ vehicles and equipment, but we also take shots that are industry-related with no logos in them.
It takes a village when it comes to case study videos
I can’t and don’t do it all alone. At Motive, it’s a team effort with our creative services team. They’re experts in so many things that I’m not, and vice versa. They can see and hear things that could impact the video quality that I would never hear or see.
In truth, we are all storytellers but we bring different experiences and skill sets to the project. For example, I might love a sound bite but we might need to cover it with B-roll. The clips I choose for the script might not flow as well with the visuals once we see the rough cut.
Circling all of this is the importance of the customer experience with the entire process. Always remember, and remind your production teams, that the experience of the shoot is equally as important as the footage they capture.
I’ve gotten a few shocked faces when I’ve said that to my crews. Your customers are not actors. And they shouldn’t be treated like actors or expected to operate on set like actors.
By the way, I don’t create all customer videos with a full production crew. Who has the budget for that? I also use ShoutOut for rapid, authentic remote capture videos with customers.
We could have another whole interview about what happens once we have a first cut for the customer. We’ve only covered perhaps one-third of the process. But that’s a conversation for another day.
Do you have any other tips for people planning case study videos?
1. The story has got to be authenti
It has to be the customer’s story. When we do that right, we win by default. That’s always been my approach. There’s got to be mutual value.
2. Help the customer become comfortable
When someone first sits down in that chair, often the crew is still tweaking lighting and camera angles. Don’t wait. Start talking about anything—their family, their hobbies, their shirt, the weather—anything other than what’s happening around them.
Get their focus on you and the nervousness will fade. Before you know it, you can start the interview without them necessarily realizing that cameras are rolling.
3. Don’t leave anything on the cutting room floor
I make an anchor video that is often long—maybe 4 minutes. Then I typically do 2 to 3 cutdowns of about 30, 50, 90 seconds for various channels, as well as a video of each person I interviewed.
Sometimes there’s a thread that would never make it into a final cut that is a really critical message for a segment of our business. I clip that out and make sure that our teams know that can be used independently of the full cuts.
Each interviewee has their own story to capture, but they also align to different personas. For example, a story of a director of fleet safety will resonate with directors of fleet safety. I also slice out the most amazing quotes in the video—those are the magic nuggets. I never leave anything on the cutting room floor.
Thanks for spending time with us!
Thanks to Jeanne for taking us behind the curtain – I mean – camera – for a look at her video case study productions—and thank you, reader, for spending part of your day with us. I hope you enjoyed my chat with Jeanne as much as I did.
Here’s how you can connect with Jeanne:
Want to read more about customer marketing and case studies?
Check out these related Uplift blog posts:
- How to Measure the Performance of Customer Stories – with Alison Bukowski, PeerSpot
- Case Study Insights and Trends You Need to Know – with Emily Amos, Uplift Content
- ChatGPT Tips, Opportunities and Risks – with Lauren Turner, Alyce
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