62% of US 12th Graders are NOT Proficient at Reading!

American’s can’t read: you need to use video to market today.

Still confident about marketing materials that must be read as the right solution for your company? You shouldn’t be.


American’s can’t read…and the 1/3rd that can read are doing so much less.

What you write may not matter nearly as much as what videos you produce.

Your Target Audience: The Real Numbers

First, the numbers you see in the title above are different from how they were reported in the Wall Street Journal. The WSJ reported that “Students’ 2013 performance in the National Assessment of Educational Progress didn’t budge since the prior one in 2009. About 38% of students scored proficient or higher in reading, while about 26% did so in math—matching the 2009 results.” Source: Federal Test Shows U.S. 12th-Graders Aren’t Improving in Reading and Math, WSJ – May 7, 2014

In case you missed it, only 38% scored at the proficient or higher level for reading. So (just in case you are NOT part of the 26% who scored at the proficient level or higher in math) to calculate the percent who are NOT proficient you do the following:


Yes, 62% of 12th Graders are NOT proficient at reading!

Now ask yourself this important question:  Do people read more after school is complete or less? Who thinks reading and math skills improve once your education is complete?

Perhaps this explains why many successful companies scrapped their web site and focused on their YouTube channel. The views on YouTube dwarf most web sites.

If you want to reach today’s market, you need to use video.

It’s interesting to see that even the educated segments of the elderly are spending more time watching video today than reading (and prefer it).   Even the WSJ has video articles on their site now.

Heads up: You can get away with pretty weak writing on your website since 62% of the US population won’t notice, but your video must be top notch. Think about it: all that time in high school and the students can’t read! What were they doing? They watched so many videos that they can critique a video at a scholarly level. They know if something is professional or not. They can spot it in less than 1 second, and that is not an exaggeration. Your video quality must match your message…else it does more harm than good.

You need to completely re-think your marketing.

The direction is clear. It’s video all the way. Creating a video library matters more than your written material.

Consider this: The asset protection law firm that does more international trusts than anyone else in the world (Lodmell & Lodmell) has over 90 videos on its YouTube Channel.  The #1 CRM software company in marketshare (SalesForce) has over 220 videos on its YouTube channel, with over 30 client case study videos (testimonial videos).

[SalesForce Customer Story Example Video]

Learn more about the importance of having your customers tell your story for you on video.

Both of these company’s YouTube channels contain single videos that have been viewed more than 30,000 times. Do you have an article on your website that has been hit that many times? Of course you don’t. Yet it is extremely common with video on social platforms like YouTube. It’s because people watch video more than they read. Stop fighting it. Just get it.  Understand that these video libraries on YouTube played a significant role for these firms to achieve respectively their #1 market share.

With America cranking out 2/3rds of its high school graduating class incapable of reading at a proficient level, this trend won’t change during your career.

I selected English as my undergraduate major back in 1987 because that was the language we used to communicate in business. Today the language is video.  During the beginning of my career, my ability to communicate through writing was linked to my ability to earn a living. However, when I became the Chairman of a streaming media company in 1999, I watched the world shift. To succeed this century, you must become competent at communicating through video.

It is as important to communicate through video today as it was to communicate through the written word during the 1900’s.

Shifting your marketing to video isn’t a “trendy” thing to do. It is a fundamental communication shift that won’t be replaced for centuries to come.