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Five Reasons B2B Marketers Who Don't 'Do Video' Are Getting Left Behind

For a long time, B2C marketers have dominated video advertising. But the evolving landscape of video advertising has opened up opportunities for B2B marketers, too, driven in large part by a changing demographic of B2B buyers and their video-consumption behaviors. According to a recent Google study, 70% of B2B buyers watch videos along their path to purchase—a whopping 52% jump in just two years.

Are you still on the fence about whether to take advantage of video in your marketing program? Consider these five reasons to take the plunge.

1. Video works for long sales cycles

B2B marketers love to point to their longer sales cycles as one of the key differentiators versus B2C marketers. The question is this: Does video have a role to play when the purchase isn't instantaneous? The answer is yes, though it requires a thoughtful, full-funnel approach.

The key to video strategy for B2B marketers is to mix brand (top of funnel) videos with direct response, or DR, (bottom of funnel) videos. That requires two different types of creatives: one designed to raise awareness and the other designed to drive purchase. Working together, these different videos can accompany the buyer through a longer purchase journey, initially sparking interest for brand retention and later offering the consumer more relevant, sales-converting information.

So instead of hedging your bets on a single video asset during your campaigns next year, opt for a three month—or longer—flight that strategically mixes brand and DR video.

2. The No. 1 B2B social network is (finally) paving the way for video advertising

Until recently, LinkedIn has been a thorn in B2B digital marketers' sides, with a notoriously slow adoption to video, especially compared with its video-first cousins (and B2C advertising hubs) Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. That's changing: Last year, LinkedIn launched a native video uploading feature, letting users upload videos directly to the site via LinkedIn's app. Soon to follow (so we hear as of this writing) will be company videos and, thereafter, in-stream video advertising. B2B marketers should be ready to react when LinkedIn joins the 21st century of digital advertising.

But beyond LinkedIn, B2B marketers should be responding to the changing demographic of the decision-makers they're trying to reach: According to a Google/Millward Brown Digital study, nearly half of B2B researchers are Millennials (18-34-year-olds)—a 70% jump from 2012. Follow the digital behaviors of those Millennial decision-makers and start considering Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and, yes, Snapchat, as possible channels for video engagement.

The big boys are already doing that, by the way: Microsoft recently launched an SMB-targeted campaign for its Office 365 + Teamwork products. In addition to the obvious digital channel (YouTube), Microsoft made a big push with the creative on Facebook. Part of the appeal of the social platform likely includes the ability to target audience by job title on Facebook—including "small business owner"—among other granular demographic parameters.

3. Video will have a positive impact on your current marketing tactics

Although the comparatively higher production cost of video has scared away digital marketers in the past, consider the ripple effect it has on other marketing. Mentioning "video" in an email campaign subject line can increase email clickthrough rate by up to 300%. And adding a video to your website can significantly increase the chance of a front-page Google result.

4. It's personalized and scalable

Savvy B2B digital marketers know that buyer segmentation is key to effective marketing. But the more buyer personas you develop—CMOs, CSOs, CEOs—the more personalization of tactics is required. Personalization been relatively easy with low-production marketing tactics like email or e-books and whitepapers. But video is now joining their ranks.

Decreasing video-production costs over the past decade have driven brands to get more from their spend. Budgeting for a shoot day? Make sure you're capturing 2-3 variations of your video (at least!) to tailor to each of your personas and their various pain points, motivations, and positions in the customer journey.

5. You can now test creative for maximum ROI

Testing creative isn't a new concept, but increasingly affordable production costs are also driving a surge in A/B-testing, which is helping B2B brands get even more ROI from their video advertising.

In the past year, we've seen our clients increase the number of variations of each spot requested from a standard single 15- or 30-second cut to 4-6 variations of each cut. You can now plan ahead to test end card variations, landing pages, and even talent used, and then just put your spend behind the highest performer.

* * *

With all these new opportunities and possibilities, it's harder than ever for savvy marketers—B2C or B2B—to justify avoiding video marketing.

Whether you create customer testimonials, product features, professional influencer product reviews, or full-blown commercials, get creative by integrating video into your B2B marketing strategies. Don't let B2C marketers reap all the rewards!


  • by Peter Altschuler Mon Mar 12, 2018 via web

    Video has (and always has had) a place in B2B alongside other media, not as a replacement for any of them. In the 1980s, my clients used video for testimonials, how-tos, product comparisons, corporate capabilities, and training. In the '70s, corporate films did many of the same things.

    Even with the much higher cost of production at the time, video was considered a vital addition to the communication mix. But it was one option, not the only one. That was simply because we knew that the people involved in the purchase -- a months' long process -- consumed and shared information in different ways.

    A video showing the ease of a product's installation and use could, honestly, be reduced to a four-page document with illustrations. For the more technical people in the review/approval cycle, it was much faster for them, we learned, to rely on the printed version. (And there probably isn't a video that can't be transformed into audio, text, or illustration that takes less time to absorb.)

    And, yes, lower costs today make testing more viable, but that doesn't lower the investment in scripting, storyboarding, and the additional expense of creating alternate versions -- re-editing, creating different visuals, performing different scenarios, changing the CTA, and so on.

  • by Ethan Beute Mon Mar 12, 2018 via web

    The missing piece in this post is video for relationships. Not personas or personalization - truly personal videos in which you greet someone by name, thank them for their time, restate objections and opportunities, and describe next steps. Video for marketing is obviously effective, as well, but the greatest B2B gains are found when you replace some of the plain, typed-out text you're sending with a truly personal video.

  • by Peter Altschuler Mon Mar 12, 2018 via web

    @Ethan Beute That's much more of a late-stage sales tactic -- after Marketing has qualified the lead and sent it to Sales. If you're envisioning a live person making that video presentation, it ups the cost of the response (even in today's grab-an-iPhone-make-a-movie world). Doing a text-based greeting using on-screen titles will require a bit more effort, as well.

    Yet McKinsey published a study this year that points toward a far more personal approach when prospects are at the point of having expressed objections: a phone call. It provides instant feedback, offers additional insights (on both sides), and allows for a certain amount of bargaining. (An in-person visit only makes sense on a five or six-figure sale because of the bundled cost of travel.) Video, by contrast, is still a one-way conversation.

    If I were advising a client about how to use video at the overcoming-objections stage, I'd suggest that they make initial contact by email or phone, outline the sticking points, and offer the prospect an invitation-only online video that addresses their concerns. That video can have an introductory page that thanks the person, by name, for watching; screens the presentation; and ends with an on-screen offer.

    Alternatively, Sales can be alerted when the prospect has viewed the online video, allowing them to follow up by email or, more directly, by phone.

  • by Becky Tue Mar 13, 2018 via web

    This is so true and one of the things I just need to get in the habit of doing more regularly. Thank you for the gentle push.