Newsletter Archive

Try this Experiment with AI

Every webinar you produce represents many hours of good work by talented colleague. Wouldn’t you all like to get more value out of that work? And attract new viewers to the recorded webinar? And share relevant excerpts with selected buyers?,

Do this. Run one of your long webinars or demos through an AI-assisted video service to extract excerpts. Even without any editing, you’ll be surprised by how many excerpts the AI produces that are almost ready to share.

It won’t take much work to add a title screen, call-to-action, and maybe some on-screen text. It will take even less work (for you) to have your video professionals make the AI version look really professional. Those costs should be minimal, especially compared to the work that went into the original production.

Free and easy trials

Most services of this type (there are lots) have a free trial that will give you a good idea of what they can do without putting in a lot of work yourself. Here are a few worth looking at:

  • Opus Clip specializes in repurposing long-form content like webinars into shorter, engaging videos.
  • Pictory uses AI to generate social media-friendly video snippets.
  • Descript allows you to edit the video by editing the transcript it creates.
  • Veed.io AI-powered tools include automatic transcription and enhancements like color correction and noise reduction.
  • FlexClip is an easy-to-use editing tool with lots of templates and other professional-looking creative resources 

ICYMI: The Role of AI in Decision-Making: A Business Leader’s Guide

We liked this concise and practical summary. It includes a tidy history of AI, beginning with Claude Shannon’s 1948 paper A Mathematical Theory of Communication and its discussion of n-grams as a way to model and predict text. And there are clear definitions of AI terms, like the difference between deep learning and machine learning.

That’s all for now.

Bruce McKenzie & Lorna Pautzke

Broaden the reach of your video content with AI

Like everyone else, we’re watching what AIs are up to in our business — which coincides with yours if you need to reach IT buyers with video. Here are some practical ways we’ve found that AI video tools can help you reach more buyers faster in 2024.

DIY AI

Auto-generate captions and clickable transcripts so your video will show up in more search results and users can scan your video’s content. (You’ll need to edit the text.)

Auto-generate a nice-looking web component containing your video, clickable transcripts, and clickable chapters to help buyers navigate to the use cases and functionality they’re looking for. (Here’s an example.)

Search your entire library of videos for words, people, objects, text, sounds, actions, and related concepts in videos.

Transcode videos for different streaming devices.

Add on-screen labels to videos to emphasize key points.

Generative video and other creative tools

Creative video tools will work best for you when they are handled by creative professionals. That said, there are new and improved AI tools arriving daily that make it easier for you and your video team to produce needed new content for your buyers.

To get an idea of the current state-of-the-art in generative video, check out this amazing demo from Pika, which bills itself “an idea-to-video platform.”

Here are some leading text to video tools can help repurpose existing videos.

Here’s a list of AI voice generators. AI voices are especially useful for narrations of tutorials and other how-to videos.

For AI-generated avatars to host your videosbrowse this comprehensive list from Synthesia, whose tools, unsurprisingly, lead the list.

How to get the most from AI now

If you’re budgeting for videos to explain your technology, you should be able to save costs and increase ROI with AI.

Don’t count on AI for creative input, but you should be able to share in some of the big productivity boosts video professionals are getting. The Late Show graphics team, for example, reports reducing editing time from 5 hours to 5 minutes. (Check out this entertaining behind-the-scenes account.) Like many creative processes, video editing involves numerous tedious labor-intensive tasks. Here are a few video editing tasks you can speed up with AI tools:
  • Excerpting clips from a video library to repurpose for multiple uses
  • Generating videos in aspect ratios (square, tall, wide) preferred by different social media sites and devices
  • Generating human-like voiceovers from text. This can work for new videos, for repurposing clips, and for dubbing videos in different languages
  • Speeding up common editing tasks like covering jump cuts, scene transitions, and creating new backgrounds

AI for Creative Content Creation? Not yet.

But the most important creative work in video production is done by writers and graphics pros before a single frame of video is output. This work is not well-suited to AI’s large language models. An AI that promises to turn your text into video is going to do it with on-screen text, stock images, and stock video — sure signs of “marketing” to an audience that doesn’t want to be “marketed to.”

Still, you should be able to count on AI to free up your creative team for more creative work, done more efficiently. That is, you should be getting more video for your budget these days.

ICYMI

This article from Zapier, written from the standpoint of a video creator, does a good job of summarizing how different generative video tools can speed up the video production process.

How-to. Capture Buyers’ Attention

Think about this: technology decision-makers say a “How-to” video can keep them watching for 14.3 minutes(!) [Source: Foundry (IDG)]. Clearly, you need more How-to videos ASAP. But wait . . . aren’t videos (other than recorded webinars) supposed to be as short as possible? Well, the things IT decision-makers are trying to learn are complicated. But a good case can be made for making both long and short How-to videos.

Take a page from YouTube creators

YouTube content creators whose subscribers are educating themselves about complicated software publish lots of free YouTube “shorts.” These concise video How-tos aren’t just helpful to people in a hurry to learn something. They show up in search results for specific queries. They promote the channel. If they provide a satisfactory answer in a minute or two, they will likely gain a new subscriber.

Buyers researching a technology solution also want quick answers to specific questions, not just deep dives. If they find your short How-to video helpful, they’ll watch longer ones. Many of the long-form videos in your existing video library already contain answers to How-to questions buyers may be struggling with. If so, you can start generating new How-to videos, long and short. And get more value out of work that’s already been done.

ICYMI

How-to is a good hook for a video. Here are some other good hooks for videos, from MarTech

  • Behind the scenes
  • Did you know? / Statistics or facts
  • Common problems
  • Myths
  • Benefits
  • Industry information
 

 

How AI can help repurpose video

New AI-powered services are popping up every day with promises to repurpose your long form video by turning it into a bunch of viral videos “with one click.” Don’t count on it. But AI editors can speed up the work of human editors. Here are some ways AI video editors can help you share more repurposed video clips.

Transcriptions and captions

AI video editors are text-based, so they begin by quickly transcribing the spoken words. They’ll take a stab a generating captions, too. This will help you locate the best segments to re-use. Transcriptions and captions are important for SEO and accessibility in any case.

Clip selection

AIs can also choose stop-points and start-points from the text, using keywords you supply. But you’ll still need to adjust them by hand.

Rearranging clips

Some tools allow the editor to move the visuals around by moving text around. This is a really helpful time-saver.

Eliminating long pauses and other distractions

AI editing software can automatically remove a speaker’s pauses — even whole sentences — and generate new video to cover the resulting “jump cut.” Another useful (and pretty awesome) time-saver.

Audio and video enhancements

AIs can handle routine audio improvements like speech normalization and ducking background music under speech. Video capabilities may include merging clips, zooming in on the speaker, reframing for different aspect ratios, and even eye-contact correction.

What next?

For technology providers, repurposing video isn’t slicing and dicing with one click. It’s making new videos from existing ones, with new material added to contextualize the subject for the viewer. This requires the skill and judgement of video editors and subject matter experts. But AI editing tools can speed up the process for these video creators, which will make repurposing videos much more cost-effective for businesses.

ICYMI

GIFs are rarely used to explain technology solution concepts — which may be a good reason to make some. It’s cheap and easy to turn any interesting video snippet — a step-by-step process, for example — into a GIF and insert it into an email. Here are some tips and best practices from ConstantContact and MailChimp. That’s all for now. Bruce McKenzie & Lorna Pautzke

Videos that make the buyer’s job easier

If the decision whether or not to commit to your technology solution comes from a buying team, you want to make sure each team member is getting positive takeaways from your online content. But team members have different concerns
  • IT execs want to see architecture diagrams, security and compliance specifics, and interoperability.
  • Business stakeholders and functional users want to see real-world workflows and use cases.
  • Finance wants to see how the promised ROI and cost reductions are achieved.
  • The project sponsor wants to see how you’ll help them get buy-in across the organization.
Sure, you can address all of these issues to good advantage in videos, but who gets priority? And what about the viewer who sees nothing of interest in the first 60 seconds? How long will they hang on wondering how you handle their big issue? Make the buyer’s job easier. Invest in short videos that start with something that the viewer wants to know about, rather a single video that tells them how you define your solution.

GIFs for you

GIFs are used to surprise and amuse us all, but they’re rarely used to explain technology solution concepts. It’s cheap and easy to turn any interesting video snippet — a step-by-step process, for example — into a GIF and insert it into an email. Here are some tips and best practices from ConstantContact and MailChimp.

ICYMI

Online AI-enabled tools like Gamma offer an attractive way to organize resources and help guide buyers to the information they are looking for. Gamma’s output is a deck of “cards” containing editable blocks. That may sound like PowerPoint, but you won’t need to spend much time tweaking fonts or resizing and aligning objects. Instead, using Gamma’s text-based editor, you can easily assemble decks containing text, images, videos, tables, diagrams, and other content into attractive and well-organized packages for different audiences.That’s all for now. Bruce McKenzie & Lorna Pautzke

Generating Interest vs Furthering Understanding

Gartner reports that more than 80% of today’s buying journey is taken up with independent research and buying group discussions. While a single piece of content like a video might be enough to generate interest, you need a lot of followup content to satisfy decision-makers who want to understand how the solution will work in their environment.

A new way to organize content

Online tools like Gamma offer an attractive way to organize your resources and help guide buyers to the information they’re looking for. The output is a deck of “cards” containing editable blocks. Blocks can contain images, gifs, videos, tables, diagrams — and lots more. That may sound a little like PowerPoint, but using Gamma’s text-based editor, you won’t need to spend much of your time tweaking fonts and aligning objects. The AI enables you to produce a professional-looking product as you focus on the content. Flexible, skim-able, expandable, interactive, and shareable. Each card can be sized to fit the topic neatly, with optional levels of detail. Headlines and subjects can be toggled to reveal more information. Cards can be nested for deeper dives. Footnotes provide even more context. Card decks can be presented by a speaker or shared with email or social media. AI assistance. Gamma AI tools help with outlining and writing, typographic elements, and creating charts like Venn diagrams. AI helps you incorporate your own images, videos, white papers and other content. And it helps you find new images from outside sources. Personalization. Breaking down your subject into interactive chunks personalizes the buyer’s experience. And any deck you make an be reworked for different roles on the buying team, different industries, or target audience, to increase personalization.

Better use of video

People like learning from videos. But it can be hard for a researcher with limited time to judge in advance whether a video is worth spending time on. If you’re organizing content for “buyer enablement,” you’ll want bite-size videos that show
  • Animations of machines and processes
  • Tours of hardware, software and facilities
  • Stories of real customer cases
  • Subject matter expert insights
Fortunately, most companies will be able to repurpose excerpts from existing videos, which increases the ROI of those videos.

ICYMI: AI-recommended AI video resources

That’s all for now.

Bruce McKenzie & Lorna Pautzke

Can AI make technology solution videos from your text?

Yes it can. You should try it. Generative AI’s ability to create visuals based on detailed natural language text input is astonishing. Hollywood-style special effects like, say, an explosion in the desert, can be summoned by typing “an explosion in the desert.” Bruce’s latest article in Biznology describes his attempt to turn an online article of his into a video using the Pictory app, which is (per Bing AI 🙂 ) “the best service for turning text into video.” Here’s what he found: 1) It’s definitely worth a try. 2) Limited functionality makes it easy to learn. 3) Unfortunately, text-to-video doesn’t replace the text with video; it overlays the text, like a title, on a visual background you select (video, photo, or graphic). 4) Consequently, unless your subject is, itself, visual (e.g., an explosion in the desert), viewers will need to understand the text and simultaneously decode other visuals. That can lead to mental fatigue pretty quickly. 5) In other words, it’s not likely to fulfill Pictory’s promise to “easily convert blog posts into stunning videos.” “Editing” a video with this service means stringing together a series of snippets. The service provides access to tons of stock footage and goofy gifs to pep things up, and you can upload your own images and video. The best sales/marketing applications for this app today are short videos — announcements, teasers, and lively graphics for online publications. Trying to shape a video to explain a complex concept persuasively is going to be frustrating.

Great for subtitles and transcripts.

We should mention that Pictory is good at producing subtitles/transcripts automatically. That’s the easiest way to add value to any video for SEO, hearing-impaired viewers, and people whose first language is not the one used in the video.

AI thinks these video services are worth a look

We’d love to hear what you think!

ICYMI

Gartner’s 2023 Global Software Buying Trends is worth a look [free download]. Here are three findings relevant to content strategy (video and otherwise) •    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 That’s all for now. Bruce McKenzie & Lorna Pautzke

Which types of videos engage software buyers?

The single most important variable in your marketing strategy is “the breadth and depth of your content,” according to a report on the content preferences of business and IT decision-makers released by NetLine, NologyState of B2B Marketing for Global Tech [download link]. Asked to name their favorite topics (and lengths) for videos, decision-makers responded
  • 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
Decision-makers also like getting product information from webinars, especially when there are several speakers, not just one. 30-60 minutes is the preferred length for webinars. Note that any live webinar should be edited prior publishing the recorded version, for length, and to get rid of the irrelevant stuff, like instructions for submitting questions. Pro tip: For the recorded webinar, delete the host’s speaker introductions. You can present more informative and impressive speaker bios in the text surrounding the video on your website or other hosting platform

ICYMI

Gartner’s 2023 Global Software Buying Trends is worth a look [free download]. Here are three findings relevant to content strategy (video and otherwise) •    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 That’s all for now. Bruce McKenzie & Lorna Pautzke

Which types of videos engage software buyers?

If you sell software, Gartner’s 2023 Global Software Buying Trends is worth a look [free download]. We found the report interesting because its findings are pertinent to videos produced to influence software buyers.

Link product features to business goals

Here are the top five goals software buyers reported for 2023: 1) improve productivity, 2) keep up with technology, 3) address security and cyberattacks, 4) expand product offerings, and 5) target new customers. Gartner recommends building content around use cases. Videos that demo use cases for software features are inherently more interesting to more people than product tours designed for functional users.

Ease worries about the learning curve

Nearly half of businesses (45%) say that the software learning curve or downtime is their biggest worry about any new technology. Buyers are going evaluate your implementation guides and training materials. If you’ve already got a good library of video tutorials, it should be easy to make a video that highlights its value.

Support fast purchase decisions

47% of businesses needed only 3-6 months to make software purchase decisions in 2022 — up from 35% in 2021. It follows that providers who explain their solutions more efficiently and effectively gain an advantage. Short videos designed for straightforward explaining (as opposed to marketing or training) work best.

ICYMI

Adding captions to online videos improves accessibility, SEO, user experience, user watch time, and lots of other things. There are lots of easy ways to generate captions. Caption editing is built in to video production software like Adobe Premiere, so your video team can create captions along with any video they create. Video platforms (e.g., YouTubeVimeo) generate auto-captions you can edit. Also, here’s a link to Brandwatch’s new 2023 Social Media Image Sizes Guide. That’s all for now. Bruce McKenzie & Lorna Pautzke

Video Content for Sales Transformation

More and more subscribers to this newsletter have “Sales Transformation” in their job title. Why does Sales need “Transformation?”
  • 33% of all buyers desire a seller-free sales experience (Gartner)
  • Buyers spend 80% their buying time researching independently and talking with other decision-makers on their team
  • and 87% (!) of business buyers expect sales reps to act as “trusted advisors.” (Salesforce).
How can creators of sales and marketing videos help? Bite-size videos are attention grabbers. You know this from TikTok and YouTube, where, as of July 2022, videos under 60 seconds made up 57% of views, compared to just 11% two years earlier. (Forbes). You know short-form videos get shared a lot. You may not know that most are watched most of the way through (Hubspot).  Microlearning for customers. Can you break down the messaging in a sales training module, a blog post, or a white paper, into short problem-solution stories that will engage people who want to learn things quickly?  Sharing one or two videos from which the viewer learns something useful seems like something a “trusted advisor” would do. Sales Cadence. Your sales cadence involves a certain number of emails or text messages. And Sales always needs follow-up messages. In either case, it makes sense to share a short video that buyers will want to share with their team. It doesn’t need to be slick (probably shouldn’t be). It just needs to be something a “trusted advisor” would share. Seller-free sales experience. To learn a new piece of software, most people like to download it and see how it might fit into their workflow. As soon as they hit a stumbling block, they want to figure out how to get over it in a minute or two, not start fresh on a comprehensive tutorial. Think about ways you can deploy learning resources for customers. You can probably start to develop lots of short-form how-to videos by repurposing long-form videos and/or text materials.

ICYMI

Creative Trend Predictions for 2023, from Envato, a supplier of graphics, audio, and video resources for creative pros. Top three trends:
  • TikTok Overtakes Google
  • AI Copywriting Dominates PR
  • Creators Turn on Instagram
Wow. That’s all for now. Bruce McKenzie & Lorna Pautzke

More ways to stretch your 2023 video budget

Scalable video production with AI

Now that AI voices have been trained to mimic human intonations, pauses, and breaths, an AI voice generator is a option worth considering. They won’t be as charming or persuasive as a professional voice actor. But they will sound human, not robotic. And they will probably sound more at-ease than many of the employee-narrators now recording screencasts and webinars to explain your solutions and services. Here are three ways to get more out of your video production budget with AI voices.
  • Generate multiple demos and tutorials in different versions that are scripted and edited so as not to waste the viewer’s time — or that of your subject matter experts.
  • Make interim versions of videos with AI voices to check the pace and length of an explainer video. You’ll still need a well-paid professional voice actor for the final cut, but a relatively inexpensive AI voice can help you improve the script as you work.
  • Add narration to diagrams, photos, and animations in blog posts, social media posts, and announcements.
Amazon and Google have text-to-speech tools you can try. Microsoft’s Azure lets you copy and paste your script into their publicly available converter to hear your script read back. WellSaid Labs lets you try out their top-notch voice generator free. They offer a wide choice of voices and promotional, conversational, or narration styles. It’s easy to add emphasis and correct pronunciation by making edits to your script with tools accessible through a browser.

Budget Guidelines

Here are some guidelines you can use to plan your 2023 video marketing budget:

  • DIY or semi-professional videos cost $1,500 – $3,000
  • Professional-quality videos cost $5,000 – $20,000
  • Ad agency-quality videos (as seen on TV) will run $25,000 – $50,000
  • Top-of-the-line videos (as seen on the Super Bowl) cost well over $100,000

ICYMI

Those DIY videos will be less onerous to produce if you start with a template. Here, for example, are Vimeo’s templates for different types of announcements. Here are some good ideas from Vidyard for using video for sales in 2023. That’s all for now.
Bruce McKenzie & Lorna Pautzke

Stretch your 2023 video budget

Video is effective, necessary, and not inexpensive. Here are some guidelines you can use to plan your 2023 video marketing budget:
  • DIY or semi-professional videos cost $1,500 – $3,000
  • Professional-quality videos cost $5,000 – $20,000
  • Ad agency-quality videos (as seen on TV) will run $25,000 – $50,000
  • Top-of-the-line videos (as seen on the Super Bowl) cost well over $100,000
Here are three tactics for increasing the value of each individual video.

Differentiate

Standing apart from the competition is the most prevalent challenge salespeople faced in 2022, according to a recent Hubspot survey. A video that quickly explains what makes your solution truly outstanding will have a big impact.

Get four for the price of one

Professional-quality videos (like the ones we make) can be written in chapters, each describing a different benefit, or aimed at a specific role in the buying organization. The sales organization can share excerpted chapters with relevant contacts.

Use LinkedIn “native” video

According to LinkedIn, 78% of social sellers outsell peers who don’t use social media. Upload videos directly to LinkedIn instead of linking to videos you’ve already uploaded to YouTube or other platforms. LinkedIn gives these “native” videos preference in searches and feeds. And, since there aren’t as many good videos vying for attention on LinkedIn as there are elsewhere, a good video stands a better chance of standing out.

ICYMI

Check out the official Vimeo video marketing crash course from the popular platform for B2B video sharing. That’s all for now.
Bruce McKenzie & Lorna Pautzke

Why you should upload videos to LinkedIn

If you think of LinkedIn as a directory of people, businesses, and opportunities, you may be overlooking an underutilized resource that kicks in whenever people are checking out you or your company: LinkedIn Native Video.

What is LinkedIn Native Video?

You probably already use LinkedIn to share links to videos you’ve posted on other platforms like YouTube. “Native” videos aren’t links — they are video files uploaded directly to, or created on, LinkedIn. The advantages?

  • Given that native videos get 10 times more shares than video links on Facebook, the same should be true for LinkedIn native videos
  • LinkedIn’s algorithm gives native videos preferential treatment in searches and feeds
  • LinkedIn’s content generally does well in Google search results
  • There’s a good chance your competitors aren’t taking advantage of this channel

Optimizing existing videos

As with other social media, most users connect to LinkedIn on their phones. Consequently, video in square or vertical format commands more screen real estate, so it takes longer to scroll past than videos in the horizontal HD format (16:9) 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. Place titles or headlines above the video and captions under it. And now, you’ve got a video that communicates on three levels. (Captions are important because most people watch video on social media without sound.)

Include a helpful description

Your optimized video will be sure to catch the eye — but it’s 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.

Add hashtags

Meaningful hashtags really can help your video reach the right people. Here’s The Only Article You Need To Read About LinkedIn Hashtags.

ICYMI

Along the same lines, it’s a good idea to keep up to date with the Always Up-to-Date Guide to Social Media Video Specs That’s all for now.
Bruce McKenzie & Lorna Pautzke

3 video tactics for your sales strategy

Where digital selling prevails, video is arguably the best form of sales communication, according top-performing sales professionalsneuroscience, and common sense. Here are three key tactics for a video strategy that could boost your sales team’s performance.

The cadence

Sales cadences for new prospects typically use 6 to 20 messages. It’s rare to see more than two videos in the mix. An opportune tactic would be to add videos to the cadence by growing your library of concise videos about use cases, specific product features, competitive advantages and differentiators. These are things prospects want to learn about — but maybe not in the form of yet another text-heavy email.

Show. Don’t tell.

If you’re explaining software that makes it easy to do something that your prospect is struggling with, a sound tactic is to let people see for themselves what the software in can do. An animated GIF in an email can deliver a lot of bang for the buck.

Tacking on.

There’s no need to create elaborate videos to get your point across. Sales team members can create simple video messages to tack on to other content — videos, white papers, blog posts, etc. The word “video” in the subject increases opens, so make sure it’s there. You can increase clicks with an attractive thumbnail that clearly tells the prospect what they’ll learn by clicking thelink.. That’s all for now.
Bruce McKenzie & Lorna Pautzke

Making Videos Your Customers Value

Research tells us that 95% of B2B buyers watch videos, especially product reviews and demos, before they make their purchase decisions. The “most valuable” content for buyers researching B2B purchases in another report (video wasn’t included) is research reports, case studies, and webinars. These finding suggest that some non-traditional video types that should be highly valued by customers.

1. Use-cases “based on a true story”

Use details from actual customer case studies and testimonials as the basis of videos featuring composite characters who represent your target personas. Here’s an example we created.

2. A demo that tells a story

If the subject matter experts delivering your demos are telling stories about real-life use cases and problems solved, it’s not especially difficult to turn a recorded video into a professionally narrated storytelling video with simple graphics that clarify and simplify the story.

3. Make your valuable videos easy to find and navigate

If video is important to your customer’s online product research, you’ll want  make sure its value is clear in their Google search results. Here are two excellent resources for learning how to do that with key moments snippets and timestamp links.

That’s all for now.

Bruce McKenzie & Lorna Pautzke

Getting the word out

Platforms for sharing video

Even though every B2B seller (and everyone else) is producing more video content than ever, it’s easy to overlook the fact that video content doesn’t work its magic unless it’s shared.

Dedicated video sharing platforms and tools

There are lots of business-oriented platforms for sharing video, each with its own capabilities, use cases, and costs ranging from $0 to $1,000+ per month. Here’s a list of the 25 best tools to share videos online (compiled by one of companies on the list).

Under-utilized video platforms

Zoom, et. al. By now, most businesspeople probably think video-conferencing solutions like Zoom are over-utilized. But, beyond deciding whether or not to turn on the webcam, most of us ignore these platforms’ ability to stream all kinds of content, including video. When was the last time you saw a meeting “room” energized by someone sharing a video clip? It’s easy to stand out in Zoom meeting if you’ve got a standout video clip. Video messaging Some subscription platforms make it easy to share “private” video messages securely. Video messaging — where you record yourself talking directly to the recipient, on-camera, off-camera, or both — is much better than email, especially if you can walking the recipient through a concept or a process in a way that they can share with colleagues. Some video messaging creation and sharing platforms (e.g. Loommmhmm) offer free trials to explore their tools for personalized video sharing. That’s all for now.
Bruce McKenzie & Lorna Pautzke

The slightly new normal

Video trends in technology solution

selling in 2022 Here are three trends we anticipate will become trendier in 2022.1. Interactive video Possibly the slowest-arriving video trend, ballyhooed for more than a decade, has been interactive video for B2B sales and marketing. You probably haven’t given interactive video much thought at all, unless you’re involved in training. But you’ll still be doing a lot of it. After all, online interactions are interactive video, and they’re getting even more interactive with tools like chat, non-verbal feedback, polling, hand-raising, on-screen annotation, and breakout rooms. And you’ll see them becoming even livelier as participants level up by dropping engaging video animations into online sales presentations. Nothing beats video for explaining key processes and new product features.

2. Video messaging

Video messaging is better than email, especially when you can successfully deliver an Aha moment by walking the recipient through a concept or a process with visuals. The visuals can be diagrams, video snips, even something you draw on a white board. To make and share video message recordings takes some practice, but not a lot of technical equipment or video experience. You can leverage video creation tools built into Windows, MacOS, or online meeting software. Specialized video messaging platforms with more options for creation and sharing (e.g. Loommmhmm) offer free trials.

3. Search-optimized Videos

You’ve probably noticed that the top results you see in your consumer searches are apt to be videos with chapter titles and timings. Labeling B2B video content and detailing what’s in each segment can work for B2B, too.

4. Motion Graphics Trends

Envato, a big supplier of creative assets (stock video, photos, etc.) annually publishes interesting takes on creative trends. This year’s roundup of trending motion graphics styles predicts that you’ll be seeing more of these styles in 2022: Animated Collage Kinetic Typography Glitch Isometric Shapes Retro Grain Effects & Texture Morphing Liquid Motion
Have a great 2022.Bruce McKenzie & Lorna Pautzke

A cheap and easy way to share customized videos

Personalized interactive video for sales

Since everyone started spending so much time participating in online meetings, these meetings have gotten much better, with collaborative and project management tools, comfy virtual rooms, whiteboards, polls, and presentation tools. The app mmhmm has introduced a tool with features that make it easier to use video in online meetings, and to repurpose your online presentation as a customer-friendly interactive video.
  • For the meeting, you have a tray of “slides” at your disposal, from which you can pick and choose on the fly.
  • A “slide” can contain text, images, video clips, apps running on your phone, or other show-and-tell assets
  • You can make the presentation with a teammate, sharing the same set of “slides.”
  • You don’t need to “share screen.” You’re already sharing whatever you see — yourself, yourself plus a “slide.” or a “slide” full screen.
  • You can share a recorded version of the entire presentation. The viewer can view the presentation just as they would a slide deck — skipping to the parts they care about.
It’s a pretty easy way to create an interactive video, and a good way to share expertise within your own organization.

Even cheaper and easier interactive video

Did you know that your videos on YouTube have transcripts that can be used to navigate in the video? Viewers can access the transcript by clicking the horizontal ellipsis icon (3-dots) to the right of the save button below the video. YouTube generates transcripts from its own auto-generated captions, or from subtitles you added yourself. Try it yourself — it’s a great convenience when you need to revisit part of a video tutorial.
That’s it for now. Stay well. Bruce McKenzie & Lorna Pautzke

Reusable and insight-rich marketing assets

Personalizing video for digital selling

In a new DemandGen study, 74% of marketers agreed that personalized content is “important” for digital selling, and another 25% say it’s at least “somewhat important.” 99% agreement! What about personalized video, then? In our niche — videos aimed at enterprise technology buyers — gimmicks like inserting the viewer’s name into a product video risks being seen as “marketing fluff.”  Still, there are ways to give videos more “personal” appeal. Here are three:
  • Forget about trying to make sure the viewer “understands” your product and its benefits. Show how it impacts one significant “job to be done.” Fires put out faster. Boss impressed. User satisfaction increased.
  • Provide salespeople with time-coded links to positions inside the video (like https://youtu.be/8qsDCUqxvAM?t=32) so they can alert customers to video content that addresses specific situations.
  • Make your “overview” videos modular, so segments can be shared with different audiences, or sequentially.

Why subtitle?

Adding subtitles is the easiest and most fool-proof way to increase video ROI. Subtitles make your video more accessible to everyone, and more noticed (because most online videos start playing on mute). Captions also make concepts more memorable. That’s it for now. Stay well. Bruce McKenzie & Lorna Pautzke

Zoom fatigue causes and cures

What causes Zoom fatigue?

In Nonverbal Overload: A Theoretical Argument for the Causes of Zoom Fatigue Professor Jeremy Bailenson of the Stanford Virtual Human Interaction Lab suggests these stress-inducing attributes of online meetings:
  • Eye gaze at a close distance. All these people are staring at me!
  • Cognitive load. The mental effort of parsing a lot of talk with few nonverbal cues (gestures, body language)
  • Looking at yourself all day. Viewing a reflection of yourself tends to make you more self-critical.
  • Reduced mobility. People are comfortable in face-to-face meetings moving around, stretching, making notes, refilling their water glass. But walking off camera (or forgetting you’re on camera) can be problematic.

Three ways to reduce Zoom fatigue — for yourself and others

  1. Use speaker view. There will be fewer people staring at you — and a less distracting view of yourself.
  2. Bring an object for show-and-tell. Encourage everyone else to put you on speaker view.
  3. Share a short video — a short narration-free video showing your product or service or idea in action will come as a welcome break.
That’s it for now. Stay well. Bruce McKenzie & Lorna Pautzke

Digital selling with video

Don’t ignore these emerging trends

1. Stories within stories

Explainer videos, especially those with stories and characters, can be a rich source of attention-grabbing excerpts and teasers that can carry the messages to a wider audience. You can break the story into parts, without narration, simply by adding titles. If the story revolves around appealing characters, you can turn them into animated gifs of brand spokespeople.

2. Prerecorded inserts in live streams

20% of Facebook videos are live streams — and so is a Zoom meeting. Viewers respond to the authenticity of “live” streams, even in recorded versions of the live event that run after it’s over. But even professional performers — late night hosts, for example — use prerecorded segments (e.g., fake commercials, staged interviews) to enliven the viewer’s experience. In a webinar, for example, you need a live presenter, but prerecorded contributions from subject matter experts or software demos are likely to benefit from editing.

3. Video meetings are here to stay

Businesses have become so dependent on Zoom, Google Meet, and similar video platforms, that “Zoom Fatigue” has entered the language as an ailment common to all of them.  Most observers expect these platforms to continue to replace many in-person business meetings even after things return to post-pandemic “normal.” Zoom’s excellent Mindful Meeting Checklist (free pdf) can help you guard against Zoom Fatigue. That’s it for now. Stay well. Bruce McKenzie & Lorna Pautzke

IT buying teams want more info

3 ways to upgrade your tech videos in 2021

1. Really informative videos

“43% of Buyers Feel Strongly That Volume of Information Overwhelming” That’s the alarming headline from a recent post by Gartner’s Hank Barnes. But you probably don’t need to worry about information overload — because the shiniest nugget in the research Barnes describes is this: technology buying teams that are led by IT  or “exhibit good cooperation” between IT and the business want more information, not less. “They want the details; they want to understand keys to successful implementation; they want checklists; and more,” Barnes writes. Obviously, a lot of buyers will prefer video to text, so you should consider adding informative (not sales-y) videos to your sales content.

2. Pep up online meetings

The most influential tool for sales success in 2020 was video conferencing, according to Hubspot. In the same article, a spokesman for Zoom asserts that video more 34X more effective(!) Anyway, while the fear of looking bored leads video-conferees to turn off their web cams as soon as a meeting gets going, it’s pretty easy to capture everyone else’s attention with a well-crafted show-and-tell. And, since the meeting itself is a video, a video demo will fit in smoothly.

3. Video FAQ gallery

Imagine you’re on one of those IT-led buying teams with a thirst for more information about a technology solution. Wouldn’t you appreciate an FAQ Page chock full of videos where it’s easy to pick and choose what you want to learn?  Think along the lines of a product video gallery that’s easily browsable for customers, and a great resource for your salespeople who need to nurture prospects with engaging new content. That’s it for now. Stay well. Bruce McKenzie & Lorna Pautzke

How much for asynchronous engagement?

Video budgets for digital selling

Working up the annual video budget usually involves numbers related to marketing campaigns, product introductions, and sometimes sales training. But shouldn’t the coming year’s video budget reflect 2020’s urgent shift to digital selling in response to the pandemic? Organizations have discovered that sales teams and buying teams can both be very effective working from home. With fewer in-person interactions, keeping up engagement after online meetings is tough. Who has the bandwidth to join more meetings than you’re already committed to? So, support for “asynchronous” online engagement is critical. And what type of digital sales support content works better than video?

Cost components of new video content

These costs are common to all B2B sales/marketing videos:
  • Time spent identifying what you want the viewer to take away
  • Time and talent writing, visualizing, and editing the story
  • Time and talent creating, capturing, and editing visuals and sound.
There may also be out-of-pocket expenses like travel, on-screen talent, and production crews, but very effective videos can be made without them.

Imaginative repurposing

Did you notice that the cost elements listed above are all editorial? You simply can’t make an effective video without editorial skill and imagination. If you’re looking for a steady stream of videos for sales support, you should take a look at your existing video library. It probably contains a wealth of relevant visuals that can be edited, and added to, in order to clarify common misconceptions, address customer objections, and reinforce sales messages. It just takes a professional video writing/editing team working with your sales team. You’ll be surprised how many professional-quality videos can be speedily produced with this common-sense approach.

How much do visuals cost?

Of course, there are lots of situations where talking heads and repurposed visuals can’t get the job done. Sometimes you need to shoot on location, which costs what it costs. Sometimes you want to use animation to make unfamiliar ideas look simple and unthreatening. You can get an idea of the relative cost of different animation styles here. The most expensive style costs about four times as much as the least expensive one.

ICYMI

Speaking of animation, here’s a historical take on The 100 Sequences That Shaped Animation That’s it for now. Stay well. Bruce McKenzie & Lorna Pautzke

Beyond Live Meetings

How much should a video cost?

We’re not actually going to answer that question — of course “it depends!”  But it depends more than anything else the creative effort involved in the visual style you choose. Here’s a resource that shows 12 explainer video animation styles in order of creative cost. The most stylish style takes about four times as much effort as the simplest.

Keep the conversation going

For enterprise solution providers pitching products, upgrades, add-ons, and services to IT departments, the purpose of video is to get people to consume more information (e.g., download a white paper), not to drive orders. Short videos are a great way to provide more information as a followup to an online meeting. For example, suppose your online meeting is structured around a software demo. And, to vary the pace, you’ve cleverly broken up the demo into interesting stories about how easy it is to accomplish one task or another (as opposed to a recitation of product features). This gives your sales team an opportunity to follow up immediately, with
  • a summary of key points in the video
  • responses to any comments or questions raised in the online meeting,
  • and, most important, a link to the video that can be shared in the customer’s organization.
It’s a good way to reach out with worthwhile videos that are easy to share, and won’t be seen as a commercial interruption.

Pro Tip for MacBook and iOS users

If you’re a MacBook and iOS user working in online meetings, take a look at the Camo app. Even the free version lets you significantly improve your online appearance by making it easy to use the excellent video camera in your iPhone or iPad in place of the mediocre webcam in your MacBook.

ICYMI

Speaking of animation, here’s a historical take on The 100 Sequences That Shaped Animation Stay well. Bruce McKenzie & Lorna Pautzke

Beyond Live Meetings

Using video for “asynchronous engagement”

“Tools like Zoom can be great, but if sales have no way to maintain the engagement after an online session, it’s hard to gain real traction.” says Glenn Eckard, head of client success and experience at Journey Sales (a long-time client of ours). Having launched their highly-regarded Salesforce-based digital selling solution, called Smart Rooms, in 2015, Journey Sales works with a variety of sales organizations, including some of the largest and most respected brands. So Eckard has been uniquely positioned to observe the urgent drive to master digital selling in real time. “Salespeople need to make their presence felt, and they can’t do it the old way — by just dropping by. Add to that the pressure of closing, say, eight deals right now and simultaneously teeing up eight more for the next quarter. No-one has the bandwidth to do all this with online video meetings alone. This “asynchronous” side of digital selling is crucial for sales. Eckard says video will play an increasingly a pivotal role in digital selling because of its put across a lot of information clearly, in short order. Here are five ideas for using video to increase the effectiveness and follow-up of online meetings.
  1. Online meetings on computer screens are video. Keep things moving by planning it out in segments, more like a talk show than a PowerPoint presentation.
  2. Add variety using props, video inserts, and meaningful backgrounds like charts or customer quotes.
  3. Make the “demo” segments into short stories about getting results. That makes them easily reusable in followup emails.
  4. Make short videos summarizing key insights in research reports and other publications
  5. Record subject matter experts giving expanded answers to questions that come up in the online meeting. You can use these videos to keep the conversation going and start new ones, in social media, for example.

ICYMI

Videos uploaded directly to social media (as opposed to links to videos hosted on platforms like YouTube) get higher engagement. Preferred formats vary across platforms and are subject to change. This Always Up-to-Date Guide to Social Media Video Specs should come in handy. We hope your sales team finds these resources useful. Stay well. Bruce McKenzie & Lorna Pautzke

Recommendations for improving online sales conversations

Using video for superior sales demos

Do’s and Don’ts

Most of us are becoming more comfortable with online video meetings. We recommend the HubSpot/Zoom’ publication Using Video for Sales. It’s especially strong on demos, with tips on documenting demo click paths, renouncing PowerPoint, following up, and more.

Give Vimeo a try

To be sure, there are many reasons why every business should share videos on YouTube, including SEO and the fact that it’s free. But if you’ve got several people collaborating on video production, you should consider adding Vimeo (free trial) for its team features, including time-coded reviewer comments, versioning, and file sharing. And Vimeo-hosted videos embedded on your website will play free of the clutter YouTube imposes.

Try Interactive Video.

You can enhance videos with clickable navigation buttons, polls, quizzes, supplementary text and graphics, and other interactive elements with open source software from H5P. It is compatible with WordPress and other CMS.

ICYMI

Enhancements in Zoom 5.0 are mostly related to security and controlling who can join and what privileges they have. There are minor improvements to the user interface and controls, too. We hope your sales team finds these resources useful. Stay well. Bruce McKenzie & Lorna Pautzke