Today the customer has more purchasing power than ever. In fact, as Jay Baer pointed out at ExactTarget Connections ’13, it typically takes 10.4 pieces of information before a customer makes a purchase, so it’s safe to say the buzz over content marketing isn’t just hype. Our job now as marketers is to make sure that we have the right content for customers to select our product or company as the perfect choice.

Do you have enough content pieces to be persuasive?

Marketing materials aren’t just for creating interest any more, they’re the first line of case deflection for customer support. Customers prefer self-serve information they can access conveniently at any point in the buying process, and especially when performing product research. If your company can be known for a brilliant resource centre, you’re in a great position when customers need information and remember you as a trusted expert.

If we consider what types of materials are created today (infographics, white papers, blog posts, customer reviews, etc.), we’re seeing that customers want information quickly and will take an actual customer’s word before the company in question.

Video for all parts of the customer journey

Impress your customers with how-to video contentAs a consumer, think of the last purchase you made. Where did you start? Chances are you went to Google first and YouTube second. You were probably looking for customer reviews, blog posts, or even video comparisons to ensure you were making the best choice possible.

Now, cut to once you’ve purchased the item. Regardless of what you bought; sometimes you have to figure out how to use the product or there’s an issue, or you just have some questions. Where do you go to get your question answered? My guess is that YouTube is usually your first destination. You probably look for how-to video content to teach you how to use the product, or search Google to find further, more detailed information.

How-to video content can be a great way for companies to free up support as it’s an engaging resource, can be tailored to interests, and delivers an on-demand experience. Let me give you some examples of customer case deflection situations based on video content marketing.

I recently bought a Canon Rebel T3i camera and became interested in buying a new lens. I went to the website but with so many features and settings, I didn’t want to spend tons of time reading so I turned to YouTube for all of my learning. Canon has never received a call from me, nor have I filed a support ticket because the video content answered my questions.

In much the same way, my brother has a Harley-Davidson Sportster and the spring on his kickstand fell off. Being a newer rider he didn’t know what to do because these springs are very tough to expand, let alone re-attach! His first thought to figure out how to solve this was head to YouTube. He never went to the dealership to pay to get it fixed, nor did he call in to Harley-Davidson.

Finally, a good friend of mine bought a toilet at Home Depot and after months of use, there was an issue with it. Instead of going to the store and asking questions, he turned to YouTube, found the highest-rated video and watched all of the details.

All of these examples underscore the fact that video is captivating and as time-pressed learners, some of us want to be shown rather than read about “how to”.

How B2B marketers use how-to video content

The examples I have given have all been B2C at this point, but I want to give you a good idea of what great customer service case deflection looks like from a B2B standpoint. LinkedIn is doing a really great job with their how-to video content which explains new product features, navigation, and they’ve even got webinars from a recruiter for job-seeking advice.
Users are looking for this valuable how-to information and LinkedIn’s YouTube channel is a great way to drive leads back to their website to explore the features and get the most of their experience.

As you create great content about your company and products, I strongly suggest that you consider using how-to video for 2 reasons: 1. lead generation and 2. customer support. If you have great content available, prospects and customers will leverage this to make a decision to buy. A strong library of how-to videos keeps you top of mind and keeps customers engaged. To quote Jay Baer, “the difference between selling and helping is only 2 letters”.

Karl Ortmanns