Author: Bruce McKenzie

 

2024 AI video marketing trends

I asked Anthropic’s Claude.ai to help identify notable video trends in marketing to IT buyers using video in 2024. I was shocked when the list of trends came back with no of mention AI.

When I suggested that an AI writing about the future of anything tech-related without mentioning AI seemed pretty weird, Claude answered apologetically with some sensible (and some pretty dubious) suggestions, the most salient of which was “tapping into AI tools to help scale and customize video marketing.” Sounds right. This is already happening now and is well worth your attention.

Scale and customize video — more, more, more.

Scale matters because 90% of IT buyers watch many videos during the vendor research process, and because the buying teams are getting bigger.

Videos enable IT teams to quickly screen and compare solutions, seeing them in action side-by-side. Visually comparing how use cases play out saves buyers significant time, especially compared to scrolling through pages of collateral and demos. Videos also help buyers confirm and explain why they favor one over another.

I’ve written previously here and here about nifty ways AI editing tools help human editors turn out more videos faster by taking over humdrum tasks, like disguising jump cuts. But I don’t think Claude’s prediction that AI will “auto-create dynamic video content tailored to individual prospects” will be happening this year.

Still, there’s more to scale than simply producing more videos — more viewers, attracted by better search results, for example. The searchable text in transcripts and subtitles improves SEO. Subtitles in several languages greatly improve accessibility. Clickable transcripts can improve the user experience for buyers looking for specific use cases and functionality.

Most video platforms today, including YouTube, auto-generate transcripts and captions you can edit. An ai-powered platform we use, muse.ai, will even create a nice-looking, uncluttered video web page for you.

Platforms such as muse.ai can auto-generate web pages containing searchable captioned videos and clickable transcripts that help the viewer find what they’re looking for instantaneously.

Other AI-capabilities available from platforms include:

  • Index — identifying and communicating the main topics in a video upon upload
  • Search your entire library of videos for words, people (e.g., faces), objects, text, sounds, actions, related concepts in a video
  • Transcode video for different streaming devices
  • Add on-screen labels to the video to help viewers find what they’re looking for, and to emphasize key points
  • Make clips. The quickest and easiest way to increase the ROI of a video — repurposing relevant sections for a particular audience.

2023 was such an astonishing year for artificial intelligence that people are already starting to take it for granted. Practical benefits for video marketers will undoubtedly continue to multiply, but there’s plenty of opportunity to boost the value of your videos in 2024 with tools that are already out there.

 

Personalizing Videos with AI

Sixty-three percent of B2B technology buyers disregard content that is not personalized to their interests, needs, industry, or role. Interests and needs can vary widely across industries and roles. This makes producing “personalized” videos at scale a challenge. Which makes personalizing videos with AI worth investigating.

AI makes repurposing videos more cost-effective.

Repurposing clips from existing long videos like webinars is one cost-effective solution. But it has been underutilized by tech companies — probably because it takes a fair amount of work to rewatch a long video, make judicious selections, and repackage clips to appeal to specific audiences.

But new AI video editing tools can speed up the work and lower costs. So it may be time to take another look at expanding your video library with repurposed videos keyed to different buyer interests and roles.

Here are the some of the ways AI can help:

  • Transcribing the Text and Generating Captions: AIs are language-based, so they start out by quickly transcribing the text and generating captions. This is useful, and something you should do in any case, because transcriptions and captions are great for SEO, hearing-impaired viewers, and anyone who wants to check out the content before they click the play button.
  • Selecting Clips: Being language-based, AI editing tools can save time by identifying segments based on keywords. But since AI understands nothing, someone who is attuned to the words, the pictures, and what the audience wants to know, will still need to trim or extend the AI-selected clips.
  • Rearranging Clips: Some tools allow the editor to move video clips around by selecting and moving text around. In other words, edit the video by editing the words. That’s awesome.
  • Enhancing Clips: There are tools that can remove pauses — even whole sentences — and generate new video to smooth the resulting “jump cut.” Other AI audio capabilities include normalizing audio, removing background noise, adding music. Video capabilities may include merging clips, reframing for different aspect ratios used in social media, even eye-contact correction.
  • Contextualization: AI-assistants can generate on-screen text, add title screens, incorporate new graphics and video, and keep the repurposed video in line with brand guidelines. Of course, the more contextualization, the more creative work you’ll need — but repurposing a video is still going to be lot cheaper than starting from scratch.

How to Benefit from personalizing videos with AI

AI is moving quickly. A web search today will likely turn up many interesting tools comparable or superior to the tools I explored as I wrote this, such as PictoryGLOSSAiMunch, and Wisecut. But you should disregard any suggestion that anyone can use AI video editors to generate a spiffy new video from existing videos with a few clicks. These are all editing tools that rely on editorial judgement and skill.

Nonetheless, AI tools can save time and expenses for professional video producers. That will make repurposing videos even more cost-effective than it already is — for everyone.

 

How To Use AI To Organize Content And Accelerate The Customer Journey

More than 80% of today’s buying journey is driven by independent research and internal buying group discussions. Not only does that require companies to generate lots of digital content to help buying teams who are doing their own research, there also needs to be a better way to organize it so buyers can easily find what they’re looking for. There is — now you can organize content with AI.

Buyers responding to a recent Demand Gen survey urged B2B vendors to “ditch the traditional style of organizing assets by content type, such as videos, reports, blogs, etc.” Today’s buyers want and expect content that is organized by:

Buyers’ preferences for content organization. Source: Demand Gen Report: Content Preferences Survey

AI-assisted presentation apps offer an elegant solution. With Gamma, the online tool I took for a spin, you can easily organize all types of content in personalized packages that guide buyers to the information they are looking for.

Shareable Decks, but Not PowerPoint

Gamma’s output is a deck of “cards” containing editable blocks. That may sound like PowerPoint, but I’ve been a power-PowerPoint user for many years, and the Gamma experience is very different. For one thing, with Gamma’s text-based editor, you won’t need to spend much time tweaking fonts, or resizing and aligning things. The AI enables you to create a professional-looking product while you focus on tailoring the content your buyers.

Organizing for Breadth and Depth

Suppose you want to organize a deck of cards around pain points. But whose? Functional users? Compliance officers? Application owners? No problem. You make the topics clear on the very first card and let users choose their own path. Breaking down your subject into interactive chunks will personalize the buyer’s experience.

Each card can be sized to neatly fit the topic. Cards can be nested for deeper dives. A card can contain multiple levels of detail. Headlines and subjects toggle to reveal more information. Footnotes provide even more context.

There doesn’t appear to be any limit to how many different types of content can be embedded at different levels. Not just headings, bullet points, graphics, and video — buyers get one-click access to white papers, case studies, even entire web pages.

Better Use of Video

It can be hard for a researcher with limited time to judge in advance whether a video is worth spending their time on. Gamma cards can contain multiple videos surrounded by enough context to tell the buyer whether or not it might be relevant to them.

Since people prefer video to text, there are lots of opportunities to showcase bite-size videos with

  • Animations of machines and processes
  • Tours of hardware, software and facilities
  • Stories of real customer cases
  • Subject matter expert insights

You’ll probably be able to use segments from existing videos that relate directly to your intended audience. Repurposing videos as excerpts not only saves time for the buyer, but it also increases the ROI of the video.

Shareable and Tweak-able

Card decks can be presented by a speaker or shared in emails or on social media. Since any deck can be copied, sales teams can tweak a deck for additional personalization.  That could mean reworking cards for different roles on the buying team, different industries, or target audience.

Organize Content with AI

PowerPoint was developed 35 years ago as a desktop publishing tool that could replace carousels stocked with 35mm slides. It’s still powerful for presentations, but it’s never been known for organizing different types of content in convenient packages. Apps like Gamma, on the other hand, have been designed from the start to organize content for digital engagement.

 

Unleashing The Power Of Video In Industry Trade Shows and Conferences

Even though buyers and sellers now prefer digital self-serve and remote human engagement over face-to-face interactions, industry conferences still offer matchless opportunities for networking, learning about innovative solutions, and fostering business growth. And they’re making a comeback. Event organizers plan to make 55% of their events in-person experiences in 2023 (up from 45% in 2022), according to a recent survey by Bizzabo, a leading event software company. V Even at live conferences and tradeshows, video provides a powerful sales tool. Here are some best practices for using video in industry trade shows and conferences to:

  • Increase engagement
  • Create lasting impressions
  • Drive business success

Personalized Invitations

Use video to attract people to your booth in advance. Platforms like SendsparkBHuman, and Synthesia can be used to create and send personalized video invitations at scale. Or keep it simple: create a single video that explains why yours is a must-see exhibit, host it on the web, and send out personalized email invitations to pique the curiosity of potential visitors to your booth.

Video in industry trade shows: on the edge

You need at least one video screen continuously displaying compelling reasons why visitors should cross the “invisible line” between the aisle and your exhibit. There’s a good chance the invitation won’t be heard, so make sure it works on “mute.”

Video In Industry Trade Shows as Sales Support

Team members in the booth don’t want to watch prospects watching a 1-minute narrated video sales pitch. But, they will appreciate the ability to call up short videos to demonstrate specific features. Video excerpts can also enhance scheduled presentations for a larger audience.

Touchscreens

Interactive video in industry conferences will bring your product to life, with more productive conversations and more memorable experiences. If your product is software, consider showing it on an oversize touchscreen that looks like a smart phone or tablet. Even if it’s not possible for the visitor to “run” the software, a video simulation on a big phone will be memorable.

Live Streaming and Virtual Attendance

Streaming key sessions, interviews, or behind-the-scenes content for an audience who is not attending the conference can greatly increase the ROI of the event itself, and the sales-support videos you create for it.

Interviews & Testimonials

Share the insights and experiences of industry experts, influencers, and satisfied customers. These authentic interactions captured on video at industry conferences have a lot of credibility.

Maximizing video in industry trade shows for post-event exposure

Video content can continue to generate value long after the event through social media and other platforms, especially if you edit out anything people will want to skip. Add captions and transcripts to make the videos discoverable to your target audience.

Video for Post-event Follow-up Communications

Strengthen connections by using personalized video messages when following up with leads or contacts made during the event. It increases engagement and helps maintain the connection.

As conferences regain their momentum, harnessing the power of video can significantly enhance the in-person experience. And focusing on re-useable videos to support the efforts of the people working in your booth will increase the ROI for the videos you create for industry conferences and trade shows.

 

Using AI To Generate Video Text-to-Video

Like many professionals these days, I’ve been wondering how about artificial intelligence is working its way into fields where I use my intelligence. Since my company is frequently tasked with turning text — like case studies — into video, I decided to take a look at Pictory, an AI tool considered one of the best at text-to-video tasks.

Text-to-video: Transforming an Article into a Script

For my experiment, I used the text of my most recent Biznology article, which talks about the content preferences of buying teams who are evaluating software solutions. Like most text, the article was written with no thought given to how it would work as a video. That makes text-to-video a challenge for any form of intelligence.

The AI highlighted keys sentences and phrases before making storyboards. Its choices seemed whimsical, but not random.

The AI started out by highlighting the key points in the text. I don’t think that any human reader would have a made the same selections. But Pictory’s interface is so simple and user-friendly that It only took a few minutes to edit the AI’s work to reflect the ideas that I thought would appeal to the viewer of the video.

From Script to Storyboard

The AI’s next task was to create storyboards. Instead of still images, it cranked out a series of scenes with the text of the key script points superimposed on a video clip that came from Pictory’s library of some 3,000,000 clips.

The AI’s video selection here was off the mark, but fun. Its weak grasp of its subject at this point was quite obvious, but oddly endearing. For example, the scene in the video where the buying team shops for a technology upgrade at a mall’s Black Friday sale made me laugh. These tech decision-makers didn’t know about Cyber Monday? But, again, I was impressed by how easy it was to find more appropriate video clips in Pictory’s library.

A much bigger problem was the series of scenes which amounted to nearly two minutes of reading on-screen text on top of video. Although this was more-or-less appropriate, it was also distracting; so it made it harder to absorb the information.

Text-to-video editing

I should say that while I’m good at working with video editors, I’m not in the least skilled at DIY editing. I found Pictory’s tools to be simple and fun to use, but somewhat frustrating.

It took me around five hours to combine and condense my scenes to make the 30-second text-to-video production I’m (reluctantly) sharing here. I don’t think it’s very good — but it’s not terrible.

Thumbnail of text-to-video demo from Pictory by TBV Link:https://vimeo.com/822309899/4aeb6de092

In this experiment, video AI service Pictory converted text-to-video by adding titles to stock video.

Also, note that for this experiment, I didn’t substantially change the text in the article. To make a real video, you start with a script like a screenplay that specifies everything that is seen and heard on-screen.

Pictory does allow you to work from a script, and to upload your own video clips and images. You can add your own music and narration. or use music from their library and have the production narrated by one of their AI voices.

Give It a Try

To sum up, I don’t think AI is coming for my job any time soon, but it can generate some pretty good content for your library and outreach programs.

For example, AIs like Pictory can help you with tasks besides text-to-video:

  • Transcribe a webinar and turn selected scenes (including software demos) into short videos.
  • Create a personalized invitation
  • Create a teaser for a blog post or white paper
  • Add captions and titles to an existing video
  • Transcribe a Zoom meeting and add captions

In short, it’s pretty clear that AI can help companies make better use of video to explain what they do. And I’m cool with that.

 

What types of video speed up the customer journey?

Speeding up the customer journey sometimes looks like an iffy proposition. Gartner’s version of the modern customers journey below makes you wonder how it could ever be completed. Yet, businesses are demanding even  faster buying decisions for software purchases. If you agree that video is one of the fastest ways to move ideas forward, then it makes sense to look into how can we use video to help buying groups evaluate solutions.

It stands to reason that if anything can speed up this journey, it’s video 🙂

Here are a few things we know from about buying decision-makers:

  • 81% of B2B buyers prefer digital channels to face-to-face encounters
  • 63% of B2B buyers disregard content that is not personalized to their interests, needs, industry, or role
  • More than 80% of the buying journey it taken up with independent research and buying group discussions

These findings are drawn from a Netline eBook, Nology – State of B2B Marketing for Global Tech, [download link]. The findings point to this conclusion “the breadth and depth of your content is the single most important variable in your marketing strategy.”

Technology product videos for speeding up the customer journey

Today’s customers want videos throughout the buying journey. Survey respondents said they watch product information videos (81%), videos about trends and predictions (59%), and real-world scenarios or case studies (56% ).

Business decision makers are more likely to watch advice or tutorial videos “with actionable takeaways.” IT is more likely to watch videos reporting on research summaries or in industry trends.

To increase the breadth and depth of a video library, real-world scenarios and case studies are good subjects, because viewers like to learn from stories. The everyday issues tech buyers care about — onboarding processes, learning resources, ease of integration, and the like — make humdrum reading on the page but can be brought to life in video.

Five minutes appears to be the upper limit on attention spans for these types of videos.

Advice or tutorials (actionable takeaways) 4–5 mins
Product information 2–3 mins
Real-world scenarios / case studies 3–4 mins
Research summaries 2–3 mins
Trends and predictions 2–3 mins

Demos and webinars

Webinars continue to be a good source of product information. Respondents said they’d prefer to hear from several speakers, not just one, and agreed that 30–60 minutes is a good length. The more show-and-tell, the better. Recorded webinars are easier to watch if they include clickable chapter titles and edit out irrelevant introductory material.

Training resources

Training resources represent a key differentiator for software buyers. First-rate training materials often contain videos resources that can be highlighted in videos  describing why your implementation and support services contribute to making yours the winning solution.

Chatbots

70% of respondents participating in the survey were using chatbots when this survey was conducted — prior to the recent explosion of interest in AI. Clearly, we should all be thinking about what kinds of video chatbots and other AI tools we will want to use. AIs learn largely by reading text — another reminder that videos should be published with transcripts and captions.

The takeaway

Buyers want videos they can learn from and share, containing information that is immediately useful for evaluating vendors and making decisions. They are looking for videos that are more than “explainers” in name only.

 

Take Advantage of 2023 Software Buying Trends

Gartner’s 2023 Global Software Buying Trends (free download with registration) touches on several issues that will interest sales and marketing teams looking for a competitive edge. Below, you’ll find some ideas for crafting videos to take advantage of these software buying trends.

Top software buying trends: productivity, security

Not surprisingly, improving productivity was the top motivation, cited by 37% of business leaders surveyed. But other reasons, (> 25%) were meeting growing technology needs, addressing security and cyberattacks, expanding product offerings, and targeting new customers.

Content that demonstrates awareness of these motivations, and documents your solutions’ strengths, will be useful at the awareness stage of the buying cycle.

How buyers research and compare software

At the consideration phase of the buying cycle buyers rely heavily on customer reviews, but they also attend personalized product demonstrations and review product documentation and training. Video is widely used in these areas, though most companies will probably agree that there’s plenty of room for improvement.

A frequently overlooked marketing opportunity here is repurposing (shortening and anonymizing) personal demos to highlight use-cases.

Software evaluation

The report found that ease of use and security are top factors buyers consider when shortlisting software, followed by product features and functionalities.

Ease of use, including details about features and functionalities, are what the buyer is looking for in the consideration phase, not a short explainer video. However, tutorial videos that have been repurposed to show “how easy it is to accomplish X” could be persuasive for some members of the buying team.

Gartner also notes that most buyers opt for customized solutions versus off-the-shelf products. So, it makes sense to highlight custom and integration options in marketing content.

IT Influence

Though certainly not a new software buying trend,  survey responses underscored the fact that IT stakeholders are usually the most influential in software purchases, and their biggest concerns are the learning curve and potential downtime.

Demonstrating quality in training resources and implementation guides can make or break a deal.

Somewhat surprising software buying trend: faster purchase decisions

Another key finding in the Gartner report is that “while a majority (35%) of businesses took 3 to 6 months to finalize a software purchase in 2021, that percentage grew to 47% in 2022.” (Also, they are evaluating more software providers.)

It follows that providers gain an advantage by explaining their solutions efficiently and effectively. In many cases, that will be a visual explanation, and that’s a good way to think about video: an efficient tool for creating visual explanations. A good video team will be able to come up with several cost-effective options for quickly explaining something that’s hard to explain.

 

How virtual events can outperform in-person events

It’s now common wisdom that the big shift from in-person to on-screen sales engagement is here to stay. Virtual events can outperfrom even traditionally schmoozy get-togethers like trade shows and conferences  in important ways:

  • more attendees
  • greater flexibility to attend multiple sessions
  • much lower production costs
  • little or no T&E expense
  • better audience analytics

Still, according to a 2021 Forrester study, most marketers admit to having a tough time replicating the “compelling storytelling and lead-generating aspects” of in-person events. Well, of course. As a customer experience, online business events are mostly okay, but far short of “compelling.”

Reusable marketing assets for virtual events

Nevertheless, marketers are upbeat — 80% agreed that their virtual events and hybrid events could eventually achieve the same or greater success as in-person events with the right strategy and software solutions (e.g., those available from BlueJeans, the company who commissioned the study).

As to virtual events strategy, the Forrester study suggests that marketers should revise their thinking to “focus on creating reusable marketing assets and a personalized, educational CX.”

Because video is often the most efficient way to deliver information and can help fend off Zoom fatigue, many of these assets will be videos. But it’s also true that the video formats most marketers are comfortable with today — product-centric explainers, webinars, demos, tutorials — aren’t intended for a “personalized, educational customer experience.”

For that, you need to develop an easy-to-navigate library of videos on the specific product features and benefits that customers and prospects ask about. The value of this approach goes beyond virtual events. Videos that make virtual events more effective can easily be re-used in sales presentations, on website product pages, in social media, even in text documents like white papers. And, unlike the interactions in live events, engagement with videos can easily be measured, providing valuable insights into what your audience really cares about.

Where to start

If you look closely at your existing video library, you’ll almost certainly discover segments that can be re-edited to enliven virtual events. You can start creating new marketing videos and demos with segments that are easy to excerpt. Slideshares, process diagrams, and other graphic assets can also form the basis of short videos used in online events and reused elsewhere.

Online events play an important role in the competition for customers — and an effective video strategy will be a competitive advantage.

 

How LinkedIn Can Transform Your Video Strategy

More than 80% of B2B marketers think their lead-nurturing programs should be a lot better than they are, according to a recent Demand Gen Report survey. LinkedIn video is an opportunity many aren’t taking full advantage of.  The professional networking platform grew to 830 million users during the pandemic, and has continued to introduce new tools for segmenting audiences and sharing content. Indeed, users are complaining about oversharing. Still, many users use LinkedIn mostly for research, not for socializing. Compared to other social media, there’s far less quality content — particularly LinkedIn video content — competing for attention. Superior videos will be appreciated, whether people are checking out your company page or you’re reaching out to nurture leads.

LinkedIn Video = Native Video

What’s more, there’s a good chance your competitors aren’t taking full advantage of LinkedIn’s tools yet. For example, you probably already post links to videos you’ve posted on other platforms like YouTube and Vimeo on LinkedIn. There’s a much better way.

Native videos are video files uploaded directly to, or created on, LinkedIn. LinkedIn’s algorithm gives native videos preferential treatment in searches and feeds. Given that native videos get about ten times more shares than video links get on Facebook, the same should be true for LinkedIn native videos. In addition, LinkedIn’s content (and video content, generally) does well in Google search results.

Optimize Existing Videos

Just like other social media, most users connect to LinkedIn on their phones, so video in square or portrait format takes longer for users to scroll past, compared to videos in the horizontal HD format commonly used for explainers, demos, and most other business videos.

The simplest way to optimize horizontal videos for LinkedIn is to use editing software to place the existing video in the center of a square frame. Add titles or headlines above the video and captions under it. Now, you’ve got a video that communicates on three levels. Captions are important because most people watch videos on social media without sound.

Include a Helpful Description and Hashtags

Your optimized video will be sure to catch the eye — but it’s even more likely to get watched if the text around it helps people evaluate its relevance to them. Include links to your other relevant content, too. Meaningful hashtags can help your video reach the right people. Here’s The Only Article You Need To Read About LinkedIn Hashtags.

Narrowly Target Content

Obviously, LinkedIn video offers many opportunities to target content for different roles. There are lots of ways to create or edit video in order to speak directly to those different roles. Here are three effective ways to do that:

  • Use different characters to represent different personas
  • Structure explainer videos in chapters or as listicles
  • Share appropriate excerpts from demo videos with LinkedIn contacts

The next time you plan a video, or your annual budget for video, consider the new opportunities LinkedIn can open up.

 

Sales Transformation and self-service video

You may have noticed that more and more sales management roles are adding “Sales Transformation” to their job descriptions. It’s not hard to see why.

  • Today buyers spend 80% their buying time researching independently and talking with other decision-makers on their team (Gartner).
  • 99% of B2B buyers would opt to make new purchases through self-service, if they could (McKinsey).
  • And, even when they do meet with vendors, they prefer meeting online. (Gartner)

Where does video fit into this necessary Transformation?

Virtual selling and visual selling

We all know from experience that it’s very easy for attention to wander during online meetings. That’s why it makes sense to use as many relevant visuals as you can in your online presentations. Short-form videos are attention-grabbers. Did you know that videos under 60 seconds draw 57% of YouTube views (as of July 2022), compared to just 11% two years earlier?

Self-service and the microlearning model

With self-service B2B buying efforts, the buyer’s attention is more or less guaranteed — but so is their frustration if they don’t find out what they want to know. White papers and blog posts are valuable learning resources because the content is easy to skim. Information-rich visuals like diagrams, charts, and screen grabs get the point across quickly.

Many videos can be skimmed, too. YouTube and other platforms automatically add chapters and subtitles (though adding them manually gives a better result).

Still, traditional video forms aren’t designed for self-service learners. Explainer videos and testimonials are sales-y, webinars are slow, tutorials get too far into the weeds.

Perhaps the best model for self-service selling can be found in microlearning —  the use of2-5 minute lessons that deliver bursts of learning for people who are eager to learn. Microlearning lessons are typically devoted to a single problem and its solution — the opposite of an overview.

Leveraging short-form videos

If you can break down your messaging into interesting problems and solutions, you can easily make short videos that can be leveraged and shared it in multiple channels.

Your sales team’s cadence, for example involves a certain number of emails or text messages, some of which can include video. And Sales always needs follow-up messages.

What’s more, these problem-solution videos are extremely effective because they are very easy to share within the buyer’s organization.

A more consultative role for sales

In a recent Salesforce survey, 74% of sales reps said that their roles have become more consultative and less transactional since the pandemic. Buyers will have done their homework when they talk to sales—  and sales should know what content they’ve viewed.

As the conversation develops, having new insight and guidance —   subject matter expert perspectives, software demos, customer stories — readily available can be a real confidence booster for both the seller and the buyer. At this stage, videos don’t need to be slick —  but they can’t waste time getting to the point, either (the same is true for other content).

All of this is to say that sales transformation will require changes in how we think about the role of sales support content, including video.