An interesting post at Forbes.com by Patrick Spenner featured this chart. The gist of the article is that:
- What prevails in the technology decision-making process is group dynamics — politics, fear of sticking one’s neck out, inertia
- The probability of buying plummets the instant the second team member comes on board
- There’s another steep decline when the group grows to more than five members.
- Group dysfunction is highest in the early stages when they are trying to define the solution.
- At that point, long before any vendor has been contacted, the purchase decision is approximately 37% complete.
It’s a wonder any B2B technology ever gets sold.
Defining the solution
This early stage dysfunction has implications for the content of explainer videos because they typically get watched early in the decision process. But how can a video address something as dynamic as group dynamics?
The main reason disagreements arise to how to define a solution in the first place is that everyone comes to the group from a different perspective and with a different agenda. What marketing needs to do (according to a followup article by the same author) is “focus on shared needs by emphasizing under-appreciated areas of common ground.”
How can video content address group dynamics?
Shifting focus is something that video can do very well. One of our clients, Compuware, has built a marketing campaign for their Application Performance Management solutions around the theme of finding common ground. The aim is to redefine the products as DevOps solutions. DevOps (Development + Operations) is an approach to software development (and by extension, to Applications Performance Management) that emphasizes collaboration. As a concept (or buzzword) DevOps is probably something most IT shops would agree is a good idea, but it may not be on everyone’s shopping list. The Compuware marketing pitch is essentially “Look at it this way: we have the tools to make DevOps happen more or less by itself — and that’s good for everyone.” This comes across very clearly in the video.
Not that a video (or any other marketing communication) can clear away all the stumbling blocks group dynamics can erect. But keeping the group and its varied perspectives in mind as you structure your content will force you to expand your thinking about ways to depict the problem.
Speaking of structuring content check out the podcast of my conversation with inbound marketing expert Joshua Feinberg about the role of video in inbound marketing.