Vincent Messina, CEO and founder of Otimo Sales and Marketing, helps small organizations manage their marketing needs by counseling them on all the options available to them, from software to multimedia resources. Through his work as a mobile marketing agency, he had an opportunity to create a mobile walking tour for Healthy Futures Greater Milford, a nonprofit group in Massachusetts. Healthy Futures Greater Milford is focused on the promotion of healthy living through diet and exercise. As a result of his work for this one nonprofit, his new venture, txt2tour.com, an SMS Software company, was born.
The Challenge: People and Backgrounds
Messina was originally asked to create a QR Code that would link to a mobile map PDF. Messina says, “But I didn’t like the idea of using a stand-alone QR code or a PDF map on mobile devices.” “I decided to go a step further and create a walking tour with map images, photos and video of a small Massachusetts town”.
Animated videos seemed to be a logical fit. Through his work with his sales and marketing company, Messina had discovered the power of using video marketing to tell stories using animation services. “Someone had introduced me to an animation service, but the service didn’t have real people as characters.” That is when a Google search for alternatives led him to Vyond.
The Solution and Results: Vyond Walking Tours
Messina went online to search for self-service animation, and Vyond was the first company listed in the Google search results. He discovered that Vyond would allow him to use people and adjustable backgrounds, and he could change and add photos from the tour sites to use as backgrounds. The service was perfect for creating marketing videos. It is even better for creating animated video tours.
“With Vyond I created a walking tour with maps and pictures, added music and a man who walks and talks, and the entire combination made for a very engaging and entertaining experience,” he says. Initially, Messina had no plans to build a business around the Vyond video, but he saw the effect the animated tour had on the community he was serving, so he launched txt2tour.com. He believed that the animated videos would substantially enhance the text message marketing efforts of his clients.
“The video (best viewed from a mobile device) was everything,” he declares. “People were attracted to the animation, because it was both entertaining and educational. If it weren’t for the Vyond videos, txt2tour.com wouldn’t exist.”
Soon, Messina was referred into other communities to create more tours, and he plans to use Vyond as the foundation of his handheld-tour service, commenting, “Vyond videos are so engaging that they have been almost singlehandedly responsible for rallying people around the tours and causes, such as combatting breast cancer and hunger, for other nonprofits I work with.” He has created an eco-system around each video that provides consumers with images, text, locations of important sites and the ability to donate to a cause.
Messina was especially grateful for the ease with which he could use Vyond to create his projects. “I’m not a graphic artist,” he notes. “I’m a small-business owner. I know just a little about Web design, and I don’t like to read instructions. Go Animate provided a very easy navigation experience. I could get started immediately with good animation features and tell a story.”
In producing the Vyond videos, Messina not only appreciated the ability to set animated characters to the backdrop of photorealistic destinations, but also being able to upload a digital voice file. “If I’m doing a tour, narrating it comes across better with a human voice,” he observes. He also enjoyed the ability to use perspective in Vyond, giving the appearance that a character was moving in or out of the image.
Messina plans to do many more Vyond tours and is working to engage museums, historical societies and towns.
He also is continuing to use Vyond to create videos for his sales and marketing clients, communicating the essence of software that he helps others sell. “Vyond helps me present what a software demonstration would,” Messina said. “I present it via an animated story, creating a feature instead of a lecture.” Messina has found that Vyond videos are played at nearly four times the rate when compared to non-Vyond videos on his company’s homepage. Similar video play ratios were observed throughout his company blog, Facebook and Twitter handles at 6-to-1, 18-to-1, and 20-to-1 respectively. Messina’s also notes that marketing messages via Vyond videos are resonating with readers of his blog as, at a minimum, 89% of the video is consumed.
Vyond has enabled Messina to create and to continue expanding his business. “It’s funny what an animation character can do,” he reflects. “People love it.”