Using video as a B2B marketing tool

In the B2B space, online marketing channels are gaining a lot of traction because of their lower delivery costs and higher response rates, as well as the potential for greater ROI than can be seen in traditional mediums like print.  Meanwhile, video is said to be one of the most important decision influencers in buying decisions.  It’s also the fastest growing content channel “in the history of the world.”

To me, this means it should be, at the very least, considered as a marketing option.

It can be easy to implement, it’s visual – which is one of the most appealing forms of content – and can be consumed quickly and easily, it builds awareness, and allows for an inside glimpse into your company, which may not happen a lot in the B2B setting.

A few things to remember:

- Don’t create a video just to create a video.  Remember, it has to be interesting enough and valuable enough for someone who doesn’t live and breath your company to want to keep watching after the few seconds of attention span they’re going to give the video.

- Because of that short attention span, keep your videos short as well.  A good rule of thumb I like to use is to shoot for between 1-2 minutes, and keep it snappy and energetic if possible.  Alternatively, if your video is focused on education and information, you may not need the snap, but make sure you’re still making the video short enough.  Anything upwards of 5 minutes or more should be taken to the editing table.

- Most of the time when people set out to create a “viral video,” they fail.  This is especially true in the B2B space.  So try and steer away from that as a goal. If it happens, great, but the “viral” part is an organic process that occurs after you have produced a video and people engage it in.

- SEO and tracking are important.  Make sure you build in a measurement system and optimize the video for online consumption.  There’s a pretty good write up here of making your video SEO friendly, and you can also start by using this search.  If you’re hosting on YouTube (not a bad idea!), there are a few ways you can increase the SEO for your video.

- You may have different types of viewers that come to your site, and you’ll want to cater to several different types.  It may be that not just one video is persuasive enough.  With this in mind, it’s still important to have consistent messages and brand images across your different videos.

- You don’t need to pour a ton of money (or any money) into video, but in the B2B space, it’s not as easy to get away with the ad hoc hand-held videos that can work really well for B2C organizations (Note: This is partially my opinion, although one held by many experts.  There are certainly B2B companies that have done this successfully).  Again, think through who will be viewing the videos.  Is it the hip, iPhone wearing 23 year old, or is the mid-40s COO of one of your client companies?

Here are a few ideas on what could make a good B2B video:

  • Talk with your floor manager about how they’re tailoring production to reduce costs, and how that affects customers.
  • Testimonials! Have a client that likes working with you?  Ask them if they’d be willing to tape it and post it up online.
  • Going to a conference or a trade show?  There’s plenty of fodder there. Offer videos for those in your industry that may not have been able to attend.
  • Make clips of how your products are used.  Better yet, try and get clips of you actual customers using your products.
  • I’ve you’ve got an energetic employee, let him or her take your viewers on a (quick) tour around the plant.
  • If you have very close and/or long-term relationships with existing clients, you could create a message tailored specifically to them or to a group of them.
  • To make your site that much more dynamic and client-friendly, you could introduce upper-level management through a 30-second video clip, followed by a link to their full bio.

Do you have any more tips for using video as part of a B2B marketing strategy?

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11 thoughts on “Using video as a B2B marketing tool

  1. Tips videos…help out those in the industries of your best clients…or in your own field (give away some content). It establishes you as an expert and once someone has gained info of value from you…they are more likely to use you. People inherently want to help out those who helped them already.

    More generically, for those thinking about video or brainstorming, there is a free ebook called “The New Rules of Online Video for Businesses” at http://www.peekproductionsvideo.com/the-new-rul

    It is released under creative commons.

  2. Good one. We're using video more and more with our B2B clients. For tech companies, quick, breezy product demos can work really well. Can be as simple as screenshots with audio.

    We've also done customer tesimonials and a video shot in a small village in rural India (for a solar powered mobile telecom client).

    I agree with your views on 'virals'. When we do them we don't expect them to 'go viral' — we make sure we distribute them everywhere they're relevant.

  3. Good post. Another tool for videos is to use them to disseminate study or survey data. Use one of your more dynamic spokespeople and tape them delivering the data in short sound bites and use some nice visual charts. It is a great addition to the company website and you can make several of them easily.

    If you are promoting an event you can also interview key decision makers in the field or at the company, perhaps academics or advisory board members if applicable and them post them up on the site the day of the event. If you don't have the capabilities in-house you can use Snippies (http://www.snippies.com) or a similar company.

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  6. A lot of B2B marketing professionals or departments have wondered what, if any, benefit they would get out of adding social media

  7. A lot of B2B marketing professionals or departments have wondered what, if any, benefit they would get out of adding social media

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