UPDATE: 25/02/2013 – here’s a great post looking at a thoroughly strategic approach to generating results from online B2B video. Thanks to Claire Thompson for sharing it.
Is the B2B buying process all about the facts and nothing else? And where does good PR and communications fit into it?
The element of emotion may well play the major part in consumer choices, but it has a role to play for the B2B decision maker too – and there is one medium that works especially well on that level: video.
In fact, the latest report by B2B Marketing into technology marketing trends suggests that B2B video marketing is the “most powerful to capture buyer interest”, with almost one-third (27%) of IT marketers deeming it “very important”.
If you’ve just landed from Mars, you might think video is all about a new Twitter application called Vine which gives smartphone or tablet owners the facility to create and share 6-second videos online. It’s certainly creating a buzz and some genuinely memorable and on-message mini-clips. But if you really don’t have the Spielberg gene, it’s best leaving the job to professionals:
Lewis Webster, managing director of Manchester-based Little Orchard Productions – and an avid film maker since the tender age of eight – is convinced of the emotive value of video:
“On one level, video can be used to help an audience understand the technical benefits of a product. But, more importantly, video engages people on a personal level and gives them the chance to hear from an individual. And that is what helps the emotional part of a purchase that applies also to B2B.”
Lewis’ previous work for the Ideal World shopping channel – challenger to QVC – accelerated his learning curve on what connects and engages with a television shopping audience and taps into their emotions.
B2B video marketing gives birth to B2B stars
“You are more likely to get a client buying on an emotional level and video gives you the emotional effect: from the way you present a business’ people, their passion and dedication – you can hear it and almost smell it from people who are confident in front of the camera. That resonates through the lens into the final video edit.”
The key, according to Lewis, is finding the “stars” within your business and making full use of the “light” they give off.
“You can have knowledge stars, people stars, motivational stars – those shining lights within your business. These are the people new clients want to meet and video presents them effectively, giving customers and prospects confidence in their breadth of knowledge and experience.
“CEOs and directors are obvious star candidates, but they can also be account managers who you want to make stars internally. Showing how they uphold best practice and proving there are people who embody all a business’ aspirations helps other staff replicate their success much more quickly.”
In practical terms of explaining complex ideas or product features to customers, video can achieve more in 30 seconds of film than hours spent with two-inch-thick booklet!
B2B video online
But the issue that B2B businesses need to grasp most is how to make the best of video content online.
Using video to show off your experts’ knowledge is perfect when people are searching for an answer via Google. Appropriate video content providing the answers and made available via a YouTube channel is asking for your business to be found online.
Producing a simple video today runs into hundreds, not thousands, of pounds. It’s possible to achieve professional, good quality video with respectable production values for less than £1,000. You won’t get a Hollywood-level Ang Lee or Peter Jackson production, but it can be a really useful start for some companies to get an idea of how video works for them without “losing their shirt”. A more artistic and in-depth production will cost more in the region of £3-5k.
So, what’s popular in business video usage? Lewis says: “Client video testimonials are very powerful. It’s hard to put words into people’s mouths that they don’t believe and you see their expression and their emotional commitment. A number of videos gives a real feel that there’s consistency in client satisfaction. Equally, when you see a video, it’s clear there’s been a commitment on both sides to creating the testimonial.
“Also, as Research and Development has been in decline during the recession, clients are revisiting their existing product lines and are trying to find an emotional value to revitalise their marketing – video is a strong way to do that, either B2B or B2C.”
Have a look at how video can work for a B2B business: