There’s an age-old assumption that given the highly specific target audience of a b2b organization, it only has a handful of marketing tactics to play around with. This assumption is fast being dispelled. The digital disruption has opened new vistas for companies across the board, introducing new and exciting opportunities for marketers to shake things up a little bit and get creative.
B2B in the Midst of Change
B2B marketing has changed on a fundamental level in recent years. For one, B2B marketing efforts have largely shifted to the digital medium. Moreover, the B2B consumer journey is far more complex and protracted now, with search constituting a major stage in the purchase funnel. Yet another change is the fact that interestingly, half of these B2B buyers are millennials- the digital natives, a generation saturated in anything and everything tech. In light of these developments, b2b marketers are facing the challenge to recast their marketing strategies and accommodate the needs of the modern b2b buyer.
Content Marketing has formed the heart and soul of B2B Marketing for a while. Be it blog posts, e-books or white papers, much of the B2B marketing strategy has focused on churning out generous amounts of content for its dedicated niche audience. But with the digital landscape already so saturated with brands pushing out a plethora of content, b2b marketers need to come up with ways that allow them to stand out in the competitive digital landscape and have a unique voice and presence.
The Rise of Video
Luckily, B2B marketers don’t need to mull over this dilemma for too long to decide how they can turn over a new leaf. Video has already begun its ascent as an innovative and empowering tool in the hands of the B2B marketer.
In recent years, video consumption has witnessed a massive upturn and marketers have been quick to harness this development to their advantage. On the digital medium, people are simply consuming more video than text or imagery and it’s certainly more shareable. Here’s proof:
According to a from Cisco, online video will constitute four-fifths of global Internet traffic.
Video has proved to be a great innovation for the B2B marketer for many reasons but most importantly because its most suited for the requirements of the modern consumer. The modern consumer doesn’t just want to be well-informed and get finely detailed information, but also wants to do so in the shortest amount of time.
Video content is therefore great for B2B buyers because the amount of search they conduct before making a purchase decision is unprecedented. With video, not only can consumers gain deep insights about the product or service, but they can do so in a way that’s more compelling, engaging and also a great time-saver!
It’s no surprise therefore that B2B marketers have been quick to adopt this change to drive organic traffic and generate leads. Have a look at the burgeoning presence of video in the marketing sphere:
· 96% of B2B companies plan to use video in their content marketing over this year. (Social Media Today)
· 73% of B2B marketers believe that video has a positive impact on marketing ROI.
· 70% of B2B buyers and researchers watch videos on their path to purchase.
There are multiple ways that B2B marketers can integrate video into their marketing efforts. That’s the best part- as a platform, video is so flexible that marketers can get creative and adventurous with how they choose to employ it. Here are some unique and interesting ways you can gather leads and drive organic traffic with video as your primary tool:
1) Host a Live Webinar
Live Webinars have been enjoying their day in the sun as an extremely effective and cost-efficient tool to generate and nurture leads. In fact, B2B marketers across the board have been jumping the bandwagon to have their share of the pie.
Marketers can conduct webinars to establish themselves as a thought leader by discussing a topical issue in the industry, or they can share information about their product or service by giving product demos. The content shared by presenters is available not only for viewing but in many cases can be downloaded. The content thus remains evergreen, generating leads long after the live session is over.
Webinars also enable the host to nurture relationships with prospective clients; they can engage their audience through a Q&A session and respond in real time to their questions. This also allows the host to gain critical feedback and understand the perspective of the audience so they can tweak their product and strategies accordingly.
2) Client Testimonial Video
Testimonials are routinely used by companies to build brand credibility and trust. These days, social proof has become the ruling factor in the purchase decisions of individuals. In this era of social connectedness, people are increasingly relying on the word of their friends, colleagues and family members to make a decision. They’re reading reviews online and asking around for a second opinion before making any purchase.
Seen this way, client testimonials can very successfully build credibility for a brand because a client giving a positive review will always feel more genuine and authentic than a company blowing its own trumpet. What’s more, such testimonials become even more compelling when captured on video. Hearing from your clients what a wonderful experience it was working with you can help build confidence in you and develop a positive estimation among the people who are interested in your brand. This can be instrumental in pushing buyers further down the sales funnel and facilitating conversions.
3) Case Study Video
Another way to build brand advocacy is to develop case study videos that highlight the success of events and the relationship you share with your clients. While client testimonials are short, feel-good and generic, case studies are far more detailed and structured. They chronicle the whole process of working in close coordination with the client- from planning to execution.
Such videos can therefore give revealing insights into your working style, the approach you adopt and how you deal with your clients. Past clients’ experiences can thus efficiently be utilized to foster trust with future buyers by emphasizing your success stories and allowing them to get a feel of your process.
These videos aren’t costly to make at all, and yet can generate highly valuable content that can help prospective customers understand you better that can be extremely helpful in drawing them in.
4) Product Demos/How-Tos and Explainer Videos
B2B companies have most frequently been using product demos and suffice to say, they’ve been the bread and butter of B2B companies’ digital marketing efforts.And considering that more than 50% of consumers claim that product videos make them more confident in making online purchases, it’s easy to see why companies are focusing on them.
Some solutions and products aren’t that easy to get a grip on, and you’ll need the assistance of the product manager or an expert to understand its various elements and features. A visual demonstration will always be clearer and more understandable than text so product demos can be a great way of giving the buyers a product overview and convincing them about its viability and appeal. Once people understand how your product works, and how it can add value to their work, they’d feel much more confident about purchasing it.
Explainer Videos have been another growing trend in the B2B landscape. Often animated, these corporate videos, are fun and engaging and can be used as a promotional tool to draw the audience toward your product.
But what’s the difference between product demos and explainer videos? Sure, they do belong to the same family and do in fact share a lot of similarities, but they tend to be relevant for different stages in the sales funnel. Explainer videos can help during the consideration and awareness stage by communicating to the viewers the core idea behind your product.How-to videos, for example are a form of explainer videos that present a problem and show via a step-by-step process how your product solves it.
On the other hand, a product demo becomes pertinent when the customer’s entered the decision phase of the funnel and need to know all the nuts and bolts of your product before making the purchase.
5) Company Culture Insights
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges for a B2B firm is that it’s perceived as a faceless, impersonal entity. Given the highly tech-charged and clinical nature of their solutions, there’s often a tendency on the part of the customers to feel a certain detachment from them.
Customers therefore struggle to cultivate a warm and friendly association with B2B brands, and this barrier often keeps the leads from converting because they’re unable to warm up to or identify with them.
As a way around this obstacle, company culture videos can go a long way in humanizing the brand, thus making it appear much more personable. By posting videos that give an exciting and playful peek behind the scenes, your audience can get to know the people behind the business and learn a little more about the personality and spirit of the company. Such videos can really animate and perk up your brand in the eyes of your customer, thereby allowing them to feel closer to you.
Content like this can be very beneficial and valuable for the customer, who’s now enticed less by hard-sells and more by content that adds value- that delivers experiences, shares stories and connects with the customers. Video can be a great enabler for such content, thus giving a huge boost to your B2B marketing efforts.
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