Visual marketing and communication: It’s important to show your work

By Mike Stephenson

Your Facebook feed is cluttered with photos, videos and graphics. Your attention constantly bounces from checking your Twitter feed to skimming your email to thumbing out a text-message reply.

But what do you remember? What communication is breaking through?

Increasingly, it’s visual marketing and communication.

While studies show people remember 10 percent of what they hear and 20 percent of what they read, they remember 80 percent of what they see and do. Video traffic will make up 82 percent of all consumer Internet traffic by 2020, according to a 2016 Cisco Systems white paper. Content with a visual component gets 94 percent more views than posts without. In this three-part series for AMA Tampa Bay, we will examine the emerging wave of visual marketing and communication and provide tips for how you can get your business involved.

“The overarching goal of most marketing campaigns is to connect with people,” said AMA Tampa Bay president Glenn Zimmerman, whose MadBear Productions specializes in video storytelling. “Showing images or videos of people helps bring the story and thus the connection to life.”

Some statistics:

Visual communication clearly is important in getting the message out about your products and services.

Seventy-five percent of articles published each week include visual or multimedia content, but most entrepreneurs and communications professionals who pitch news organizations include no multimedia resources.

Just 27 percent of companies have a plan in place to aggregate, organize and manage visual assets used across teams, according to a 2015 survey by the Chief Marketing Officers Council.

“There seems to be a massive gap between what journalists need, and the way corporate communicators are catering to these needs,” said Salvatore Salpietro, chief technology officer at ISEBOX, a content distribution platform. 

To connect with the audience, you need to show and not just tell. Whether you engage with a professional visual marketing firm or seek to produce in-house photo, video and graphic content, incorporating a visual communication strategy is critical for your firm.

So what should you consider when formulating your visual communication strategy? Some key points drawn from Killer Infographics’ checklist

  • Keep your foundation in place. You’re aiming for the key audiences and buyer personas you should previously have developed. Use that same research, content, voice, tone and SEO strategy to select and publish your visual topics. 
  • Think about how you can align your visual content with the perception of the brand you want to convey.
  • Consider how your content will be viewed on a mobile device. For instance, you might be able to assign the focal point of a photo or add a responsive design element to an infographic.
  • Keep it brief and to the point. Remember attention spans are short, and you want viewers to get to your call to action.

In part two of our visual communications series, we’ll provide practical advice on taking photos and creating memes and graphics. Part three will delve into video.

Key Takeaways

  1. Visual communication is becoming dominant
  2. Most companies don’t have a visual communications and marketing strategy
  3. Marketers who use video grow revenue at a faster rate

Mike Stephenson is Editorial Manager at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. He spent 23 years as an editor at the Tampa Bay Times. He does freelance editing and writes personal histories through his website, He joined AMA Tampa Bay in September and wrote on email marketing for the blog in November.