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Episode 8 - Give the Gift of Laughter featuring Tim Washer of Cisco

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Welcome to the eighth episode of the Marketing Nation Podcast, live from the "Princess Corner" (see picture) of the Marketo offices, presented by Marketo and hosted by Marketo’s Digital Marketing Evangelist, DJ Waldow.

Tim Washer, who is in DJ’s top 3 comedians of all time, is a corporate comedy writer who currently works with Cisco in their marketing messaging department. Tim joins us today to talk about what it’s like to produce videos for YouTube, how to tie in the holidays in marketing messaging, and his new venture, Better Marriage Through Powerpoint.

Tim has a special skill for making non-sexy products look great through funny and interesting videos. For example, last year he worked on producing a Valentine’s Day video that promoted one of Cisco’s corporate routers:

Can't see "A Special Valentine's Day Gift...from Cisco!" video? Try watching directly on YouTube. Trust me. It's worth the 59 seconds of your life.

His experience taking improvisation and comedy classes has helped him learn what makes people interested and what turns them off so that he’s able to create content that focuses on the former and avoids the latter.

When it comes to the holidays, Tim recommends playing off the ones that don’t have any strong religious implications so that you don’t alienate your audiences. Also, even if you do take some of the themes of the holiday into account for your content, your branded messaging shouldn’t change. It’s important to be clear about what you want to convey in your videos, while keeping in mind that not every single video has to have a direct selling point for your audiences. Some videos can be fun forthe sake of providing entertainment and joy, especially around the winter holiday season when most people are feeling the warm fuzzies every day.

Again, if you can't see "A Special "XMAS JAMMIES" video, try watching directly on YouTube. It's pretty amazing.

Some of the best ideas for videos are the simplest ones. Take WestJet’s holiday surprise video for example, which delighted its passengers with the gifts of their choice.

Did I mention how incredible this "WestJet Christmas Miracle: real-time giving" video was? If you can't see it for some reason, try watching directly on YouTube.

This was a very well-produced video, but if you don’t have the budget that an international airline has, Tim recommends tapping into the local colleges and universities to provide film students with internships. These students can produce high-quality work with their university’s top-line equipment, plus they’ll be excited to work on a project that they can add to their reel.

In his shout out, Tim told us about a new project he’s working on with Ann Handley, #BMTPPT (which stands for Better Marriage Through Powerpoint). You can subscribe to get updates through Ann’s blog.

To make great corporate videos, companies must ask themselves, “What are the pain points in my industry?” and “Which problems can we solve?”

You’ll have to tune in to hear about Tim’s secret service pat-down in Boston and find out what he wants for his birthday. Thanks for joining us!


Want to be a guest? Have a topic you’d like to share? Email us: podcast@marketo.com or drop us a tweet using the #MktgNation hashtag. Oh, and if you love this episode… share it with your friends, co-workers, colleagues, and family.

Before joining Cisco, Tim Washer served as head of social media video production for IBM, where he wrote and produced the company's most successful YouTube series, The Art of the Sale, and helped launch the Smarter Planet campaign. His work has been covered by Advertising Age, Adweek, National Public Radio, and The New York Times, and he's presented on social media at SXSW Interactive, MarketingProfs B2B Forum, New York University, and Harvard Business School. Tim moonlights as a comedy writer/actor, and his credits include The Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Saturday Night Live, and The Onion Sports Network.