Seventy percent of B2B buyers and researchers are watching videos throughout their path to purchase. That’s a 52% jump in only two years.
Google/Millward Brown Digital
B2B Path to Purchase Study, 2014.
Google and research partner Millward Brown Digital tracked clickstream data from 3,000 “B2B Researchers” over 13 months into 2014. The findings are summarized in an article at ThinkWithGoogle by Kelsey Snyder and Pashmeena Hilal.
There are some notable changes since this same study was fielded in 2012, which may make you want to redirect some marketing strategies and resources.
70% more millennials
Half the B2B researchers in the study were under 35. That’s a big change from 2012, when the generations were more or less evenly represented. When these buyers joined the workplace, everyone was already using search engines. As the researchers point out, they’re digital natives. Plan your content and media channels accordingly.
More than anything else, buyers want insight. Videos that are rich in visual information can deliver a lot of insight.
This is the third post in a “What are the best subjects for technology marketing videos?” series. Click here for Part 1 and here for Part 3
According to the social media analytics firm Simply Measured, video content gets shared 12 times as often as links and text posts combined. True, the videos behind this stat are promotions by Facebook’s top ten brands, and your technology solution video may attract a different sort of fans. But video, and visuals generally, are more likely to be shared online than content that requires more effort to grasp. And what is the quickest and easiest thing to grasp? Pictures. Information presented visually.
Visualizing the value proposition
A hypothetical, but realistic, value prop calculation, can challenge the viewer to think hard about the vision you’re presenting.
If you can quantify your value proposition or proof points visually, you’ve got the makings of a very persuasive video. Of course, sometimes there are too many unknowns and complications to come up with a back-of-the-envelope value calculation. But if you can find something to say with numbers, you can gain credibility and demonstrate your understanding of the customer environment. Here’s a down-to-earth excerpt from a BMC product video in which it’s clear that the company is savvy about mainframe costs and the value of their solution.
One of the best subjects for technology explainer videos is the concept that underlies the solution you’re marketing.
This is the second post in a “What are the best subjects for technology marketing videos?” series. Click here for Part 1 and here for Part 3
In a recent survey of B2B marketing and sales execs, one of the top obstacles to “video marketing success” was reported to be “creating compelling content” (45%, second only to “lack of budget” at 47%. Source: The State of B2B Video Marketing. )
One thing marketers can do to overcome this obstacle, and possibly free up some budget resources at the same time, is to stop thinking in terms of product videos. Videos about technology products are hard to produce — let alone make “compelling” — because, for one thing, most tech “products” aren’t products at all — they’re collections of capabilities and ways of doing things. And having defined this nebulous product, product managers and marketers feel compelled to include all its capabilities in their video. This pretty much rules out compelling.
This is the first post in a “What are the best subjects for technology marketing videos?” series. Click here for Part 2 and here for Part 3
Technology buyers are doing their own research before they contact sales. This opens up many new opportunities for marketers to deploy videos, because there’s no doubt that people who are doing their own research will watch videos that are relevant. But, for the most part, you don’t really know what these self-directed buyers already know, or what they want to know, or where they are on the Buyer’s Journey. So how should you allocate your video resources beyond producing a general overview?”
A good place to start is to ask yourself “What things do people generally want to know that are best explained visually?”
Explaining a methodology visually
What is the methodology? This 30-second video excerpt illustrates how elements of a consulting engagement can still be a good subject for visual explanation, without many words being spoken.
For example, one of the hardest things to explain is consulting services, because they basically come down to We help you 1) figure out what to do and 2) get it done.
Video viewing on mobile devices grew 700% between 2011 and 2013, and didn’t slow down in 2014, according to the Ooyala global video index. Does the conjunction of B2B video and mobile growth matter to B2B video producers? True, most of this viewing was sports and entertainment, and there is still considerably more digital viewing on desktops than on mobile.
But here’s why you should care: as reported on Forbes.com, a survey of 511 executives found that
70% use mobile devices to look up product or service information on first hearing about it
57% use mobile devices to conduct further research
More than 33% say they continue referencing information on mobile devices up to the point where they finally make up their minds
It’s easier and cheaper to grow your business with existing customers than it is to acquire new ones. So why don’t technology companies devote more video resources to this marketing tactic? Because most marketers think of making videos in just a few categories — overviews, testimonials, executive presentations, demos. But there is a more appropriate way to think about video to increase penetration at key accounts.
A templatized approach
Here’s a cost-effective approach to producing animated explainer videos to support major account penetration, when the following conditions apply:
In fiction, everyone in the audience starts out knowing little or nothing of the story — and looks forward to the telling. Effective commercials tell stories. Most technology marketing videos tell the story of characters (e.g., the CXO) overcoming difficulties (e.g., bad data, poor performance) with new technology solutions. This article will discuss approaches to explainer video scriptwriting in chapters.
The case for chapterization
But a good case can be made for “fragmented” storytelling in marketing videos — loosely connected chapters that can stand on their own. For one thing, buyers today are doing their own research, so they already know some of your story — and you don’t know exactly how much they know.
If you did any holiday shopping for, say, appliances or fitness gear — items that are practical and not cheap — you probably watched online videos. You tried to envision yourself and/or your giftee actually using the product. Maybe you watched the same video more than once, to reassure yourself. Maybe you sought further assurance in other videos, testimonials, reviews and social media.
You tried, in other words, to get as clear a vision as possible of what the thing is, how and why it works, what it looks like in use. Videos helped.
This process is obvious and familiar in the marketing of consumer goods. But it is not so prevalent in the marketing of technology solutions.
Words are not messages
Too many videos simply assert their message — as if making the word PERFORMANCE perform acrobatics on screen (“kinetic text”) will persuade a buyer that performance is what your solution delivers. What’s worse, many storytelling videos with character animation convey no clear message at all if you watch them with the audio off (or in a noisy environment like an exhibition hall).
Who should be responsible for producing a sales enablement video for technology solution vendors? Well, marketing usually controls the budget, and has responsibility for inbound content marketing and lead generation. So, marketing is responsible.
But how responsibly do they fulfill the sales enablement function? As noted in a previous post, formal agreements between sales and marketing (budget commitments, for example) are pretty unusual in B2B companies. Marketing works hard to generate leads, which sales hopes to transform into “opportunities.” But marketers tend to think of video in this context as advertising or collateral, not as a tactic for capitalizing on sales opportunities.
What is an “opportunity”?
From the technology sales point of view, an “opportunity” is frequently a team of individuals evaluating solutions, each from his own point of view. Or an “opportunity” may be the chance to increase penetration in existing accounts. Or to cross-sell or upsell solutions marketed by lines of business the salesperson doesn’t work for directly.
A recent LinkedIn post asks “Are B2B sales reps getting spoiled by inbound marketing?” Now, I don’t know about all B2B sales, but in my experience with technology solution sales, I’ve certainly never run into a sales professional who seemed overly satisfied with the leads produced by inbound (or any other kind of) marketing.
A recent Hubspot report provides the telling stat that only 24% of marketers have any formalized agreement with sales on who does what and when. This has been construed as marketing “forgetting” sales, which may be unfair,
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