B2B technology videos: explaining things that are hard to explain

Speeding the B2B technology buyer on his way
The value of video in speeding people on their technology-buying journey is simple: there’s no faster way for a person to pick up a high-level understanding of a subject that would otherwise take a lot of hard work to understand. Animated B2B videos, in particular, can make difficult subjects very approachable. With a B2B marketing video, you can dramatize the problem your solution addresses — and catch the attention of your most qualified prospects — very quickly. If you do present a problem dramatically, and the viewer is not familiar with the problem, chances are he wouldn’t turn out to be a qualified lead, anyway.

Exactly who in the business are you talking to?
So, the first step in explaining a solution that’s hard to explain is to define the audience as narrowly as possible. Settle on the most obvious problems they have in common. They should be those problems that almost go without saying, because those are the issues that are giving your best prospects sleepless nights.

It’s inbound marketing
Here’s a question we often ask our clients’ salespeople about things they include in their own sales pitch: “Doesn’t everyone you talk to already know this?” It helps everyone focus on those key things that are causing those sleepless nights, and this leads to fruitful conversations about what prospects know and don’t know. That’s important, because an awful lot of B2B marketing video content is consumed as part of a research process. Your best prospect is almost certainly aware of the problem you say you can solve — or he’s begun to research the problem — poking around your website, attending your meeting, looking you up on LinkedIn, or otherwise engaging with you. So you’re really doing the viewer a service if you get to the differentiators as quickly a possible.

Visual explaining or verbal messaging?
A lot of video animation you see on the web are little more than PowerPoint bullets given some typographic pizzazz, and set in motion. Viewers perceive that as messaging — an assertion of something, but not necessarily an explanation of anything. Look for opportunities to lead a viewer by the hand through a process or diagram, particularly one that clarifies something that very few people would be eager to read about on the page — say, a consulting methodology, or how interconnected features work together. Visual metaphors can be useful too. For example, the overused word “optimization” doesn’t have much life of its own any more — but an animated character trying to change settings for familiar variables on a machine where every change results in changes to other settings can bring it to life (in a way that the preceding words certainly don’t 🙂 )

Not a major motion picture
On the other hand, you need to be very selective in making comparisons. Likening your solution to racetrack management or piloting the Starship Enterprise may sound good in the script, and could be very helpful in a sales pitch delivered in person, because it will certainly create a visual in the viewer’s mind. However, the expense of someone’s talents to create that visual on the screen. That can be expensive and time-consuming (and might still look cheesy). It can also be distracting if it doesn’t look like what the viewer would imagine on his own, or it gets too elaborate.

Done right, it’s amazing how much information you can communicate in a short video if you think hard about who you’re talking to and come up with high-impact visuals that make your point — without turning your marketing video into a major motion picture.

Bonus tip: Engineers are a good source of visual ideas that are practical and thoughtful. Include them in your B2B video project.