There’s little doubt that video as a medium can have empathy. Reality TV shows may increase empathy and bring out the best in us. But let’s consider the kind of videos I know best, technology marketing videos. These are mostly short, high-level solution overviews for lead generation or account management.
What is empathy in marketing?
The production of marketing content — video in particular — focuses on packaging messages efficiently. How often does anyone ask, “How do you think the person who looks at this content will feel about it?”
Brian Carroll at B2B Lead Blog writes interestingly about humanizing the sales and marketing processes. In “How Empathy Will Grow Your Sales and Marketing Pipeline” he notes that customers are deluged with so many impersonal marketing messages through so many channels, they are just worn out. We can all empathize here.
But the idea of empathy in marketing is that people warm to a message that addresses hopes, fears, and other feelings we all have. For example, if yours is a complex sale, Brian suggests focusing on the risks perceived by your customer. That’s a fruitful idea. I would add that, with a buying team, you need to address multiple kinds of risk-averseness to help encourage consensus. I’ve written previously about contending with group dynamics.
How to add empathy to technology marketing videos
In terms of video, empathy doesn’t necessarily mean trying to take hopes and fears into account. I really like Carroll’s formulation that “the best marketing feels like helping.” Customers aren’t looking for solutions.
What made Candace Payne’s Chewbacca Mom video so irresistible was sharing her enthusiasm. Shared enthusiasm obviously plays a big role in day-to-day buying decisions, too. Consumer marketing gets a big boost from customer video reviews, “influencer” tweets, tutorials on enthusiast websites, etc. B2B subject matter expert videos can share enthusiasm, too.
Why don’t we see a lot of this contagious emotion in B2B marketing videos? Well, it’s not that technology companies lack employees who are enthusiastic and savvy advocates for their solutions. Or that these people can’t talk on camera — most of them probably use FaceTime, Skype, or online video conferencing software.
The value of subject matter experts
We research and write scripts for our 2-Minute Explainer videos by talking with subject matter experts. That’s the best way to hit the right conversational tone, use the right words, and most important,
Here is another list of technology marketing video best practices that comes out of our experience creating videos for enterprise technology marketing. It’s a list of things that are easily overlooked.
1. Did you take account of the word count?
For my company’s videos, I like to limit the word count in the script so the viewer only has to listen to about 125 words-per-minute. Most people talk faster than that, but we believe viewers absorb more when using the brain’s auditory and visual processing systems together. (They work differently.) We try to maximize the information conveyed in the visuals, allowing the narrator to take a much more easygoing approach.
2. Did you set the narration style and music early on?
The tone of the video is set when the script is being written. In most cases, you’re looking to set a conversational tone. This can make for difficulties in editorial reviews because what will sound good read aloud by a professional actor is not what most people hear as they read to themselves. This is especially so if the narration is written to sync with on-screen visuals. Viewers won’t need descriptive adjectives and adverbs when they’re watching the action.
As to music, technology explainer videos may benefit from music, as long as it doesn’t get in the way of the explanation or sound like a commercial. A search for “corporate” and “technology” in a large music library will produce many tracks with an appealing techno sound that won’t call attention to themselves.
3. Do you know who your reviewers and other stakeholders are?
Figure out who they are up front and try to keep them involved. It’s your reviewers, not your video team, who are most likely to jeopardize your timeline.
Here is an explainer video production planning checklist list of best practices that is based on experience creating explainer videos since 2004. These tips apply to technology marketing videos intended to help customers “get” why they consider a software or I.T. solution.
1. Have a specific goal
Obvious? Maybe. That doesn’t make it easy to write down a specific goal .
If you’re selling a technology solution with a price tag in the thousands, it may not be realistic to set goals in terms of sales, conversions, shares, or even views. The most important goal is to produce understanding and sales engagement among buying team members. Over time.
The temptation with product-oriented technology marketing videos is to rattle off as many features and benefits as possible. But even if you succeed in covering all the bases, you’re unlikely to hit it out of the park. You’re more likely to produce a ho-hum video, indistinguishable from all the other marketing content buyers see.
Here are some specific goals a well-crafted video can accomplish:
Increase awareness of a specific issue that your solution addresses
Enable prospects to understand how your solution differs from the competition
Make an attention-getting use case come to life in a memorable way
2. Nail the first 15 seconds
If you have a specific goal, you’ll find it a lot easier to decide on what to present to the viewer first. That’s crucial. Buyers’ time is the most precious commodity on the Internet — and technology buyers have precious little to waste on information that isn’t pertinent. Make sure they’re not tempted to tune you out before you ever get to the point.
3. Have a budget
With a well-defined goal, you’ll almost certainly get your money’s worth from a reputable video production firm. But