Creating an Introductory Video for the Marathon LS Pacer Program
Marathon Pacer Partners with SVG to Produce an Introductory Video
Skillman Video Group had the opportunity in March of 2023 to work with an ideal client in Marathon Life Sciences to create an introductory video that introduced their unique Pacer Program to their target audience for an upcoming life sciences industry event.
The challenge for Marathon LS was that they offer an innovative service with the potential to revolutionize their industry but need compelling ways to capture their target audience’s attention that supplement their website and sales efforts. Marathon LS’ research into Boston regional video production agencies for possible partnership led them to SVG, where they were immediately captured by a sample of our past work in a style that leverages an inspirational narrated script, stock content, and animated text graphics to convey the company’s essential value proposition.
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Once Marathon LS had discussed their needs, budget, deadlines, and concept for the project, they commissioned SVG to create their own roughly two- to three-minute, narrated, stock-content and graphics animation style introductory video.
Creative Director Christina Skillman sat down virtually with their executive and marketing team for a lengthy chat to discover all she could about the company, from their product and service offerings to their target market, from the challenges faced in the life sciences laboratory management industry to the ways that the Pacer Program directly addresses those, and the barriers to Marathon LS’ target customers taking advantage of what the Pacer Program has to offer.
The Marathon LS’ Pacer Program is a third-party vendor managed laboratory inventory control system, which is a lot of information to absorb, whether that’s presented in print or in an audio-visual format!
In essence, a biopharmaceutical company with a laboratory that’s conducting research and development for varied processes and end products could outsource through the Pacer Program all of their ordering, counting, re-stocking, just-in-time delivery, and even overflow storage of all of the equipment – especially “consumables” supplies – that their scientists will need, from their preferred suppliers, at the right volumes and competitive rates, all through a recurring subscription schedule.
To achieve this, Marathon LS leveraged their wealth of deep industry knowledge and brought together the supplier relationships, the off-site storage capacities, a team of on-site account managers who deliver and audit the supplies, and, to top it off, proprietary software with an easy to understand dashboard and reporting capabilities, which offers their clients the greatest control, transparency, and insulation from supply chain disruptions.
While it’s easy to work with them, what they actually do and how it can save their clients significant time and money, not to mention aggravation, can take a bit of explanation. While Marathon LS’ website clearly explains these cutting-edge service offerings, they lacked video collateral to share that could spark the initial interest of their target customers and entice them to visit that virtual space where they could learn more.
SVG drafted a creative brief that identified who the introductory video should appeal to and what they most needed to hear. The audience that Marathon LS is looking to attract includes operations and laboratory managers as well as CFOs or other budget approvers.
These two groups’ main concerns are slightly different, so we had to make as broad an appeal to both the convenience and affordability as possible but without trying to include so much information in the limited runtime that we diluted the key messages.
These included freeing up the laboratory teams to focus on their critical work and ensuring an optimized volume and frequency of the needed materials with choice in their suppliers, all while retaining insight and control.
Once we’d agreed on the complete list and basic order of these key messages to convey, we had a final creative brief based on which Christina could begin drafting a script.
Marketing video offers the opportunity to tell a story in spoken words and moving pictures about how a company is the answer to their customers’ pain points, and – when they’re watching and not reading brand marketing content – it’s at least equally if not more important to engage the viewer’s emotions than their intellect, as they begin move through the “sales funnel” from knowing you to liking you to trusting you, before they’ll buy from you.
Keeping that in mind, SVG comes up with concepts for video that will create a strong, positive, emotional first impression of a company. This informed Christina’s approach to the script as a story of partnership and triumph rather than a litany of facts and figures.
As Christina synthesized the technical information about Marathon Pacer that would be most significant to their target customers, she began strategizing about how we could spark the audience’s imagination and elicit feelings of pleasant surprise in discovering that such a program exists and a desire for the relief that it could offer with a solution to their unwieldy laboratory inventory management challenges. Fortunately, Marathon’s very name offers an opportunity to tell that interesting story in their introductory video.
Marathon LS’ name is inspired by literal marathons – the long-distance footraces – and the strong associations they conjure: the concentration of innovative life sciences companies in the Greater Boston region; a grueling exertion over a long time and distance in the face of challenging conditions without certainty of success; and accomplishment of something rare, difficult, yet very rewarding. Their Pacer Program is even aptly named for a particular type of seasoned companion runner who partners with a marathon runner to help them maintain a steady pace over time and distance.
Christina was struck by the creative opportunity to exploit the marathon analogy between the third-party vendor managed laboratory inventory program and the well-known footrace to show the way it feels to have a partner run alongside you, to keep you steady, so you can manage your resources and focus on your race, to cross your finish line.
The script for the introductory video opens with an invitation for the viewer to “Imagine running a marathon…” Right away, the spoken words and imagery to be used evoke the parallel between difficult efforts and celebrated achievements, be they the demanding sport or innovative scientific research, and the viewer is invited into the story of a marathon runner.
In the final round of revisions to the script, Marathon LS trusted SVG’s guidance to trim for length, preserve a spoken narrative tone instead of some of the more technical terminology phrasing that describes their offerings, and really lean into the metaphor of Marathon LS serving for their customers as a pacer does for a runner in a race.
Once the script for an introductory video was finalized, SVG created a storyboard that matched visuals to the written words, using a mix of stock and original content to reinforce the concepts of running a race and managing laboratory supply inventory by taking advantage of the best available support and efficiencies.
While we were beginning to source visuals, SVG also began searching for the narrator of their story who would speak life into those written words. Since they needed a professional to read the lines with the right intonation, but hadn’t settled on specific characteristics of the voice they were looking (or listening) for, we sourced auditions from a broad sampling of both male and female voiceover actors so that Marathon LS could hear a couple of their key lines read in different pitches, timbres, pacing, and emphases, then choose an avatar who could relate their key messages to their audience most appealingly.
While several stood out, the choice was clear, and SVG brokered with the selected talent for her final reading of the script to set the pace (pun intended) of the introductory video. The audio track would become the basis to time all of the visual elements.
Even though the statement of work for the project called for stock content rather than a shoot for original footage, we needed to make sure that visuals fell in line with Marathon LS’ marketing brand standards and the key messaging. SVG worked to incorporate their colors, fonts, and logos into animated intro and outro title bumpers and full screen animated iconography and text graphics.
We curated a library of possible stock footage and music tracks that could work to convey the important themes. We assembled these elements over a few rounds of revision to figure out what Marathon liked best and incorporate their feedback, especially where we relied on their industry knowledge to tell us if the stock content was a reasonable representation of the kind of laboratory or warehouse or boardroom meeting in which they might routinely operate. Together, we were able to identify not only what worked or didn’t, but why, then refine our selections quickly based on those filters.
Some of Marathon LS’ other brand marketing material was updating in real-time in parallel to producing their video, so we worked with them to make sure the industry jargon matched up. Because they were also updating their physical brand collateral, we were able to collaborate with their in-house graphic designer to digitally key-in their logo, frame-by-frame, in a few shots that showed storage boxes on stockroom shelves or a delivery van. It was important to them that their customer see their logo in scenes that conveyed how Marathon LS would show up for them and take care of their inventory, and we were glad that they had capacity to tackle this customization.
SVG convinced Marathon LS to shoot and upload even a few seconds of amateur cellphone footage of a real customer supply closet to use where there wasn’t ideal stock footage available for purchase in the virtual markets that conveyed the right scale and type of storage to tell their story in the introductory video.
We also sourced some employee headshots to feature, visually illustrating the spoken statement of their combined years of expertise in their market and specialties. SVG allayed concerns about how evergreen the content would remain if staff updated over the years. For one thing, their collection of video content can continue to be refreshed and built out as they grow. For another, this introductory video’s main focus is on the relationship between the pacer and runner and there’s not-to-be-missed value in showing their prospective customers some of the real people who could become business partners in the near future.
We also sourced screenshots of their software dashboard that give viewers a sneak peek at what it looks like and how easy it might be to use. Finally, our animator created original graphics such as full screen animated text graphics and animated iconography, such as a breakdown of the typical cost savings that reinforces the matching verbal pitch. We were able to find the right blend between generic stock footage and original Marathon LS images and a few special effects to give their introductory video a consistent and catchy style.
While SVG can usually edit an introductory video on a shorter timeline when we’re sourcing stock content and working from a fixed script rather than planning and conducting a full video production shoot and synthesizing conversational interview style footage, it’s no less important that we use visuals and other stylistic elements that effectively reinforce the narrative and key messaging for this type of end product.
Introductory Video Product Launch
Marathon LS staff attended their life sciences laboratory supplier networking event to raise awareness of the ways that they can broker and streamline these relationships and processes. There, they were able to feature their final introductory video in two ways:
Firstly, the video was shown on the event big screen in a spot with two others. Their marketing team reported back to SVG that theirs was far and away the best produced and had the most “wow factor” of them all, offering great exposure for follow up in-person conversations.
Secondly, they copied the file onto “video cards” that they could distribute as event swag. These were company branded booklets they’d special ordered, which open to a simple LCD panel player. The laboratory managers with whom they’d connected at the event could rewatch the video and “bring that excitement back” with them as digital content in a portable physical medium to rewatch and share with decision-makers in their workplaces.
Long after the event, Marathon LS can also host the final video on their own website and leverage it over and over again for future events, social media posts, and sales conversations. We’re glad that they are so pleased with the outcome of their introductory video and look forward to collaborating with them to expand their video marketing collateral to leverage as they continue to grow and revolutionize their industry!
The Completed Video
Take a look at the final video below:
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