Recently I sat down with Demand Gen Report to talk about the role of video in B2B marketing. I wanted to provide some additional commentary on the subject but frankly the more I thought about the topic I realized I really don’t like that pesky ‘B2B’ designation in front of the topic. The truth is, if I asked you to make a list comparing B2B content to B2C content, I’m pretty sure I know how you’d describe the B2B side – dry. Okay, you might be too polite to say it but you’d probably be thinking it. We all know B2B is the land of solemn white papers and earnest case studies, right? A colorful infographic is about as wild as we get. But B2C, well, they churn out exciting real time video responses to trends, engaging ads, edgy social campaigns, and fun contests. They also make those popular videos that get passed around the Internet like miniature Hollywood productions.

But B2C doesn’t own video. They don’t own being fun or interesting, either. In fact, as YouTube, Vine and Vimeo rise in popularity, the time is ripe for B2B marketers to explore how video can boost their content game – from brand awareness to lead generation.

Consider that Forbes says 75% of Fortune 500 executives view online video while they’re at work. Or that eMarketer says approximately half of marketers who use video in email campaigns see an increase in click-through rates, time spent reading the email, and sharing and forwarding. The fact is that B2B marketers who exclude video from their content program are making a colossal mistake. Why? Video gets watched – that’s why. I looked at how I consume content over the last two weeks, you should try this at home as well. More than 80% of the content I read had some sort of video component. Those that didn’t, I found myself breezing through unless it was something really engaging. Did Drake bomb the Apple iOS keynote? There’s a video for that. John Chambers at CES… video. Who is the most talented generation? You guessed it, video. When I thought about the types of content we are creating as B2B marketers, video is the talk track, but we’re not taking full advantage of it yet – and we need to be.

Consider these benefits:

  • Video has a high persuasion factor. Written case studies are great, but nothing’s as powerful as a video showing the face and voice of a customer testifying to your value.
  • It’s a great training resource. If you’ve developed a suite of on-boarding and implementation materials, videos are an invaluable educational tool. Instead of following along with a manual, your new customer can see a real person from your company offering help and support.
  • Your brand is humanized. There are multiple decision-makers and influencers involved in the typical B2B sales cycle, but only a few of your people will meet a few of their people. Video lets you personalize your brand and turn names into faces, increasing the sense of a meaningful connection.
  • Your audience will be entertained. Even the most staid B2B company can use animation, humor, and music to create videos that people want to watch. By breaking up the monotony of a library of text-only content, you can recapture attention and drive home core messaging.
  • Viewers like sharing it. While your buyers may or may not want to share yet another white paper, many will send a quick video via email or on their social platforms.
  • Some viewers prefer to learn visually and aurally. We all have different favored learning modes. Some people like reading long content and some prefer content they can hear and watch. By offering a range of materials that cater to all preferences, you expand your pool of leads.

Of course, video isn’t a separate asset that lives apart from the rest of your content ecosystem. It still needs to be mapped to overall business objectives and meet your brand guidelines. Here are a few best practices to ensure your videos drive multiple rewards.

  • Measure and modify. As with other content, you’ll still track analytics, views, shares, click through and conversions to guide your strategy. Don’t forget to use your marketing automation and other tools to handle tasks like lead capture and routing.
  • Mix it up. If you’re just getting started with video, start small. But eventually you’ll want to explore a range of possibilities, including customer testimonials, weekly podcasts, product demos, influencer interviews, major announcements and even holiday greetings. Be creative – your buyers will appreciate it.
  • Be professional. The last thing you want to distribute is a phone video that looks like it was filmed in the office break room. Your videos reflect your brand as much as your site design or social pages, which means they should look polished and branded, with compelling copy and design and a strong CTA.
  • Think integrated marketing. Your video content strategy should be mapped to your funnel just like any other asset – and the videos should connect to other content pieces. Write a blog post on your latest video. Include a link at the bottom of an infographic.  Mention upcoming events or a new ebook during the video. Promote your YouTube channel on your site and social platforms.
  • Host your video on a landing page. Lots of viewers will close out of your video or get interrupted before completion, which means they might not see the call to action at the end. By building a landing page specifically for our videos, you can include the CTA there along with lead capture forms and other core messaging. Just remember to optimize for mobile.

As B2B marketers, we don’t have to stay stuck in the world of text-heavy content. We can have an energetic multimedia presence just like anyone else. And with the right video assets driving engagement, leads, brand elevation and more, smart marketers will jump into the game and find new ways to turn this medium to their advantage.

Want to learn more about using video as a lead gen tool? Discover the top 3 ways to use video to boost demand gen results in Demand Gen Report’s latest research study:

Research Report Video

Justin Gray