The Catch 22 of 23 – Creating more with less

Table of content
  1. Introduction
  2. Power of partnership
  3. Strip back to basics
  4. Utilise your community
  5. Optimisation
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90 Seconds
12 months ago・9 min read

Economically, times are tough with the world in another recession. With challenges and pressures facing the global economy dominating headlines, political and social conversation, it’s a topic occupying the minds of us all. As inflation rates reach record high levels and a cost-of-living crisis knocks at our door, brands, businesses and consumers are looking to cut costs and scrabble back cash wherever and however they can.

Everywhere we turn, both businesses and individuals are being hit with rising costs, and purse strings are tightening. At a business level, companies are slashing headcount, reducing budgets and looking to streamline resources. And as marketers, we know that in times of financial strife, marketing, communication and brand budgets are the first to take the hit.

The recent IPA Bellwether report1 indicates that marketers are feeling increasingly pessimistic about future budget buoyancy, with cuts already starting to be requested across the board. While businesses were able to “squeeze out” another quarter of marketing budget growth last quarter, momentum has faded “quite significantly,” according to Joe Hayes, senior economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence and the author of the Bellwether Report:

Budget cuts are being seen across the majority of the monitored segments of marketing spend as companies move into retrenchment mode due to soaring costs and slowing demand,” Hayes says.

Inflation is cited as the major determining factor for this, with GDP expected to reduce from 0.5% to 0.2%, and – most relevant for the marketing industry – predicted advertising spend growth forecasted to crash to just 0.3% from 0.8%.

And yet, content needs are only increasing. Consumer demand is rising at an exponential rate, with the average person having spent 100 minutes per day watching video in 2022, and nine out of 10 consumers overtly stating a wish to see more video content from brands and businesses in 2023.2 And while these figures stand globally, countries across APAC are experiencing the fastest growth in digital video viewers, with this momentum set to continue right through to the end of next year.3

Consumers are essentially calling for content from the rooftops – and are happy to put their money where their mouth is, with a stark rise in openness to video advertising reported with 56% recently stating they are happy to watch ad-supported video streaming services in exchange for free content or cheaper subscription fees. What’s more, a further 20% are willing to share their data with advertisers in exchange for receiving more relevant and personalized video ads.4 Such figures illustrate that demand is there, as is clear ROI potential for brands looking to create.

We know that video is all the more important for brands and businesses during times of economic hardship, delivering clear returns and driving revenue faster than any other medium. In fact, brands who use video, on average, grow revenue 49% faster than brands who don’t, generating 66% more qualified leads per year.5 So, with media budgets falling for the first time since the height of Covid-196, yet a consistent investment in content creation proving to rocket brands out of recession, it comes to stand that marketers are increasingly finding themselves caught in a classic Catch 22. With businesses slashing marketing budgets and content costs, how do you take advantage of the strong consumer content demand and leverage the unparalleled power of video? Less budget, more content demand… What’s a brand to do? In this article we explore how businesses can stretch and maximize budget, without sacrificing the quantity – or quality – of their video marketing content.

Power of partnership

90 Seconds is the world’s pre-eminent video content creation platform with an unparalleled global footprint and a pool of over 14,000 expert content creators, spanning the entire spectrum of content creation – from VFX artists to video editors, animators to copywriters. We’ve worked in over 900 cities across 160 countries around the world, capturing expertly-shot, culturally-relevant content for some of the biggest brands in the world – like Marriott, KPMG, Moet-Hennessy, Amazon and more. We’re the best at what we do – modesty aside – and yet, the beauty of our working model is that our expertise needn’t come with a hefty price tag. The very nature of our model means that by tapping into our local network, content creation is shot in a cost effective and sustainable way.

If brands produce in-house, not only does this weigh heavily on internal resources, but when one takes into account day rates, script development, creative ideation, production costs, hireage and infrastructure costs, things add up. And there’s costs associated with talent sourcing, among a litany of other hidden charges. And this doesn’t even take into account the cost to the environment, with carbon emissions racking up as quickly as the budget, by flying crew to far-flung locations for lesser results. This is why it pays to bring in the experts and our USP is not only our credentials, but the very model our business is based on which draws on local know-how, relationships and expertise to keep costs down and efforts streamlined.

As with most creative disciplines, the range of cost associated with video production can vary based on a number of factors – scale, resource and of course, location. For this reason, the question ‘but how much does it cost?,’ can draw frustratingly vague answers. While the average cost of a video is near impossible to ascertain without an idea of parameters, a half day shoot – shot and directed by a professional operator – could cost as little as US$1,072. And if you’re wanting us to manage the whole production, a video shoot – complete with talent both on and off the screen – could set you back just US$3,716.

Strip back to basics

According to Cisco, in 2022, online video made up 82% of total internet traffic – 15 times higher than what it was in 2017.7 Suffice to say, in a digital-first world, producing video content is non-negotiable; however, it needn’t break the bank and if your budget doesn’t hold much stretch, consider stripping back to the very basics. Brilliance needn’t be expensive, and a creative idea will still cut through the masses just as effectively, if not more, than extravagant delivery.

Blendtec, the kitchen appliance manufacturer, spent less than US$50 producing their very first YouTube video8 ‘Will it Blend?’ which has gone on to surpass seven million views. Showcasing the power behind the product, the brand blends everything from a can of fizzy drink to a bag of marbles – perhaps one of the most effective product demos we’ve ever seen.

Product demos, as demonstrated by Blendtec, as well as explainer videos and customer testimonials are some of the more effective – cost and cut through wise – forms of video content for brands to utilise. If the budget doesn’t extend to bringing in the experts, consider making the most of more readily available software, such as Zoom or Teams Live for webinars, or even an iPhone for recording. While it may not appear as professionally done as you’d like, there can be real power in this type of more simplistic, stripped-back content, fostering feelings of authenticity and trust.

Utilise your community

Among any customer database is no doubt at least a few loyal brand advocates, keen to sing your brand’s praises in exchange for free or discounted products. And with customers who end up on an e-commerce site through a user-generated (UGC) video being 184% times more likely to purchase – and when they do, spending approximately 45% more9 – harnessing the power of UGC is a win-win in terms of cost savings and driving results.

UGC also drives trust through the authentic nature of the video and with millennials trusting UGC twice as much as content from brands10 businesses should look to harness the power of UGC as an integral part of their marketing strategy.

Utilise your own network and ask key customers to create and share videos using or reviewing your product or share testimonials of your brand. Better yet, combine UGC with professionally shot content as when produced in partnership, brand engagement is increased by an average of 28%.11

Many marketers falsely view UGC in a social media prism, associating it with TikTok and little else, when in actual fact customer testimonials and stories bring the same weight and sway when it comes to establishing authentic connection and trust with prospective customers. They’re an incredibly powerful medium of video, helping to garner new business, foster trust and belief in your product, as well as raise brand awareness.

If UGC isn’t your area of strength, then allow 90 Seconds to pick up the slack for you with our Customer Stories product, where we harness the power of your own network and customer base, alongside our expertise and pool of professionals, to create content that sings your praises without you even having to open your mouth. This Customer Story example in partnership with Amazon does just that by focusing on their relationship with MaryCraft – showing how Amazon, a global conglomerate, can support smaller, local businesses, conveying a sense of trust and bringing their global brand to a more personal and less intimidating level.

Optimisation

Finally, when creating content, whether that’s with 90 Seconds or on your own, keep efficiency in mind always – this means multiple takes, longer cuts as well as shorter soundbites, taking advantage of the situation to capture b-roll which may be used later or for alternative productions etc.

90 Seconds platform allows clients to edit and produce multiple versions of content at varying lengths, optimised for each social platform. For example, a video produced for an Instagram feed should be kept to 60 seconds – the preview limit – in order to get maximum cut through12, whereas for LinkedIn it is recommended a video doesn’t exceed 30 seconds13 for the desired results. All of this can be managed via 90 Seconds workstream, including producing multiple cuts, adding translation, managing distribution and finally, measurement for tracking results.

While demonstrating ROI has been a marketing imperative since the inception of the profession, in 2023 it is going to arguably be more important than ever before, with budget belts tightening and all eyes on profit lines. And with businesses finding themselves caught in a Catch 22 with shrinking budgets, yet expanding content needs, bringing on the right partner – like 90 Seconds – can help drive results and bring solutions. In short, by partnering with us in 2023, you can have your cake and eat it too.


  1. IPA | Q3 2022 Bellwether Report
  2. IAB Video Advertising Spend Report
  3. Digital Video Consumption Is Spiking in Asia-Pacific – Insider Intelligence Trends, Forecasts & Statistics
  4. Video Advertising  | Criteo
  5. 10 Video Marketing Statistics You should Know for 2022 [Infographic] (oberlo.co.uk)
  6. Media budgets fall for the first time since the height of Covid (marketingweek.com)
  7. 10 DIY Tips for Creating Great Video Content on a Budget – GrowthMode Marketing
  8. Will It Blend? – Marbles – YouTube
  9. 43 Statistics About User-Generated Content You Need to Know – Nosto
  10. How UGC is Redefining Marketing in 2020 (socialmediaweek.org)
  11. User-Generated Content Statistics Every Marketer Should Know – Ampfluence | #1 Instagram Growth Service
  12. What is the Ideal Instagram Video Length? (5 Formats Compared) | Demand Curve Blog
  13. Everything You Need to Know About LinkedIn Video (hootsuite.com)