Video Marketing Makes Its Mark on B2B

Video may have killed the radio star, as The Buggles famously sang, but, as a recent survey indicates, it may help create the next marketing one. Or so many B2B marketers seem to hope.

In June, Demand Metric, in partnership with Ascend2, released « B2B Video Marketing: B2B Benchmarks Best Practices. » The survey-which was sponsored by the video marketing platform Vidyard-garnered 398 responses, representing marketing, sales, and business professionals from around the world.

To Michael Litt, CEO and co-founder of Vidyard, one of the most important findings of the survey is that 82% of the B2B organizations that responded reported they are experiencing some level of success with current video marketing initiatives; 15% said they consider their video marketing « very successful » at achieving important objectives, while 67% said it has been « somewhat successful. »

« The vast majority of marketers are investing; the vast majority has said that they’ve had success with it, » he says, « and that momentum is just so compelling … obviously as the CEO of an organization that’s focused on helping B2B marketers use video more effectively. »

One of the key questions in the survey asked respondents to name some bumps in the road along the way to video marketing success. Three big ones were identified: lack of budget (chosen by 47% of respondents as the biggest obstacle), lack of resources (45%), and lack of compelling content (also 45%). Litt thinks problems with getting adequate budget or resources for video marketing go hand in hand with what he feels is the most surprising results of the entire survey-« which is how few marketers are focused on conversion. »

Indeed, one of the questions on the survey asked respondents what they felt was the most important video marketing objective. More than half-52%-said it was to « increase brand awareness, » followed by 45% who said it was to « increase lead generation. » Less than a fifth of respondents-a mere 19%-felt that the most important objective was to « increase conversion rate. »

But conversion is a crucial objective, Litt feels, because it can provide evidence of just how successful-or not-a marketing campaign is. You can drop $10,000 on a campaign, he argues, but « if you’re not focused on conversion, … you don’t actually know how effective that spend is. »

« To get budget in marketing, you have to show results, » Litt continues. « You have to prove that if you spend $10,000, you might make $30,000 to $40,000. To help marketers get more money for video production, they need to be measuring the success of the video assets that they’ve already produced. Without that data, you actually can’t justify the spend. »

Another part of the report Litt finds interesting was that, for 63% of respondents, video marketing spending is on the rise, either slightly or significantly-and another 32% said their budget for video marketing would remain the same for the upcoming year. A mere 5% of respondents said they are planning to decrease spending in the year ahead. « There’s just more and more momentum going into video marketing spend, » he says, « which is really awesome. »

However, Paul Gillin, a B2B social strategist, is less than impressed with this part of the survey. He says that had respondents been asked about more than just video, the answers may have been more interesting. « Marketing budgets as a whole are on the rise, » he says. « One of the shortcomings of this survey is that it didn’t ask about spending plans relative to other media. That would have yielded more interesting insight. »

With the explosion of networks such as Facebook, marketing via social media has taken off in recent years. In fact, Gillin himself has authored or co-authored two books on social media marketing. Interestingly, though, only 49% of respondents said they use social networks such as Facebook-compared to 81% who use a company website or 73% who use YouTube-and a scant 8% feel it’s even an effective means to distribute videos.

But Litt doesn’t seem overly surprised with those relatively low numbers for Facebook, as, for B2B, « social is a tough thing. » « Social is generally more effective for consumer brands, » he says. « For B2B brands, they have a much smaller base of customers, and social has a very, very, very broad reach. To target your customers on social, you essentially need to take a nuclear bomb and make a huge, huge, huge splash to get that type of reach [because] it’s still very hard to target to a specific audience on Facebook. »

B2B brands, Litt continues, are « trying to find a way to focus in on their target audience on social » and are experimenting with things such as demographics-based targeting, which he says has been successful. He also says that some B2Bs are starting to see the value in getting others to post video testimonials on Facebook, for example. « There are some really cool things B2B brands can do on Facebook [that] they’re just starting to wrap their heads around, » Litt says, « because ultimately, they’re just starting to wrap their heads around video in general. »

Ultimately, Litt feels the focus, and spending, on video marketing is only going to get higher as the years go by. He says if brands that have been using video have seen success with it-and, again, 82% say they have-« that generally means they’ll be spending more money on it in the future. » And now that brands can measure and track videos’ effectiveness, Litt says he « fully expects » to see a larger investment in video content.

For his part, Gillin says the report « does seem to indicate that video is growing in popularity with B2B companies. » However, he adds this doesn’t necessarily mean companies have to break the bank to expand their video marketing. « I think [the increase in popularity] is part of a realization of the flexibility and unique value of video for purposes like explainers and demos, and that it doesn’t have to cost a fortune, » Gillin says. « I’ve seen some very clever videos done entirely in PowerPoint. You don’t need actors, a script writer, and a professional camera crew. A copy of Camtasia on your desktop can do the trick. »

But whether they’re spending more or simply producing more, it does appear that companies that have had a taste of video marketing will be doing more of it. And, they no doubt hope, reaping the financial rewards.

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