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If you’re planning to produce a marketing video in the near future, you need to be careful your video doesn’t go down the tubes through:

– Going over budget,

– Being delivered too late

– Being plain ineffectual at achieving its goals.

Yet no marketing manager in their right mind would plan for this. Or at least not knowingly.

Having had the opportunity to see a lot of marketing videos produced over the last two decades, here’s a list of the 18 most common things that I’ve seen go wrong

– and how to avoid them.

I’ve categorised them under:

  • Content issues
  • Specification issues
  • Schedule issues
  • Goal issues
  • Money issues
  • Expectation issues
  • Time issues

The name of the game is to try and not let any of these issues catch you out when it’s your turn to produce a marketing video.

Content issues

Content is about what appears in the video.

1 – The talking head appearance is a non-starter

2 – The demo doesn’t work properly

3 – The expert cancelled

4 – Relying on images, eg, photos that never materialised

5 – Relying on using someone else’s copyright, eg, pinch a bit of footage off youtube

6 – The talking head doesn’t speak good enough English

Solution: Never assume. Whatever material is going to be used in the video must be available, legal and confirmed as agreed.

Specification issues

Specification is about what you get for what you paid.

7 – Expecting to get 10 minutes of runtime from a single day filming. Obviously, there isn’t enough shoot time allocated to do the job. What should take 2 days can’t be filmed in a single day

8 – Assuming the video crew could film in in 3 different locations miles apart – all in the same day

9 – Using own staff to play customer roles and looking amateurish. A professional actor then has to be hired, with cost overruns and delays

Solution: It’s better to overestimate and pay a little more, than underestimate and get caught out later.

Schedule issues

Scheduling is really about avoiding delays and broken promises.

10 – If there are layers of corporate approval required for scripts and storyboards, then this can add 3 weeks to a schedule – but no one thought of this

11 – You delayed unexpectedly, and this had a knock-on effect with the video company, who added to the delay when reshuffling their schedules to accommodate the original delay

Solution: Allow at least a week for each layer of approval, whether C level, legal, your own colleagues, or even the overseas business development manager whose opinions count too.

Unclear goals or audience

Goals mean being precise about what you’re shooting for.

12 – Having goals that try to please too many people, and ending up pleasing none

13 – Using a video like a short range scatter gun instead of the long distance sniper’s rifle that it truly is

Solution: Don’t let others pile on additional goals to your video. It’s about winning business in a given market sector. Nothing else matters.

Money issues

Getting the money wrong often starts with being badly advised by your video company.

14 – Not having amends & iterations included in the original cost specification

15 – Expecting ½ day shoots when video crews mostly only work full days

16 – Thinking a 90 second video would work, when in reality a 2.5 minute video is what’s needed to tell the winning story

Solution: Buying too cheap will leave holes in your video spec. Get detailed quotes and expect to ask detailed questions. Ask yourself “who do I trust?” then listen to them.

Winning Trsut With Video Marketing

Expectation issues

17 – Expecting a Hollywood blockbuster on a tight budget

Solution: Expect to produce a video similar to the samples you were originally shown. Anything else is a bonus.

Time issues

18 – Not realising how much management time it’d take to produce even a digital marketing video 

Solution: On and off, a video can take up to 4 days of a marketing manager’s time. It’s a job of work that needs allowing for.


It’s smarter to avoid problems before they occur.

Now you’re well armed with 18 ways a marketing video can go wrong, you’ll be smart too.

Good luck with your project.

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