October 3, 2017
Why Video Makes Sense for B2B Marketers
By Patrick Kirby

Action star Jean-Claude Van Damme’s most recent career comeback wasn’t in some ultraviolent shoot-’em-up but a viral video. The video featured the Muscles from Brussels demonstrating an “extreme split” that demonstrated he was still very flexible even now that he’s into his 50s.

What’s most surprising about the video though was the client: Volvo Trucks. The point of the video — aside from providing some laughs — was to show off a new dynamic steering system in the trucks. Volvo designed a series of splashy videos, including Van Damme’s, to act as an umbrella for outreach in local markets. More recently, Volvo Trucks had another hit with “The world’s largest unboxing,” which featured a 3-year-old boy named Joel opening the package for an actual truck.

A recent report from Vidyard shows that most B2B marketers have taken note. According to the report, the average B2B-focused business has published 293 videos. Though you might think that target customers for B2B products would prefer a deep dive into white papers to research their purchases, you’d be wrong. Here’s why:

  1. Time is at a premium.How-to videos are hot on YouTube because consumers realize they can learn the material quicker by watching than by reading. The same is true for info on B2B products. People retain 80% of what they see and only 20% of what they read. Forrester research has estimated that one minute of video is equal to 1.8 million written words.
  2. Video humanizes a business.Most companies put digital barriers between themselves and their potential customers. Because they’d rather not waste time on unqualified leads, websites more often than not have contact forms instead of email addresses of actual humans and few sites offer phone numbers. Video can offer a means of offering a human face while also maintaining those barriers. Vidyard’s research shows that most B2B-focused videos aren’t slick and have low production values. Even large companies like SAP can use video to show that their companies aren’t faceless monoliths but are staffed with real people.
  3. Targetability offers relevance. If you’re in the market for a $20,000 piece of equipment, that means you have a big responsibility to make sure you’re making the right call. In that frame of mind, a video offering more information about such equipment is helpful, not interruptive. Thanks to advanced targeting techniques, marketers can reach executives via title. Targeting by device (most B2B consideration happens during work hours and on desktop) can also minimize irrelevant messaging, ensuring that the videos reach execs when they’re in the right frame of mind.
  4. Videos don’t have to be expensive or go viral. As mentioned, the vast majority of B2B-focused videos aren’t slickly made or designed to go viral, like Volvo Trucks’. Instead, think of B2B-focused videos as canned demonstrations and sales calls. Rather than reach out directly, B2B consumers can use video to check out what you’re selling first.

The largest argument in video’s favor is that it’s taking over the Internet. The web used to be a text-focused medium, but Millennials and GenZ, in particular, are watching more video and reading fewer blogs, according to eMarketer. B2B marketers should be increasing their video output just to keep up. But visionary B2B marketers will greatly increase their video output to get ahead, or in Volvo’s case, to add some muscle.

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