In an interesting blog post, guru-to-the-startups Rita Baker makes a strong case that, if your product or the needs of your market are complex, it is sales, not marketing, who should run the show. On that logic, since most tech solutions are designed to eliminate or hide complexity, the answer to the question “Should sales or marketing produce your videos?” could well be “sales.” But that’s not the way it usually works. Marketing usually produces video and other content, which goes on the website and gets used in campaigns and sales automation. But what about video for sales engagement?
Is video for marketing, sales engagement, or customer experience?
Explainer video depicting a new view of the buyer’s journey advanced by Hank Barnes at Gartner. Many marketers use video to create awareness about a product or solution. But video can create a lot of customer engagement.
Current thinking about buyers and sellers puts the emphasis on the customer experience over time. In my favorite buying cycle model, from Gartner, there is an “owning cycle.” Most customer journey models for tech products appear to call more for empathy and hand-holding than for conventional content marketing. Marketing content may bring in leads, but the rest of the process depends on engagement.
Stalled opportunities in their pipeline
This Journey Sales explainer video on transforming SalesForce CRM into a collaborative engagement platform gives an idea of the many kinds of content needed for a personalized B2B buyer experience. Their “Smart Room” solution opens up many new ways to use video for sales engagement.
In tech companies, business development goes hand-in-hand with innovation. It’s about getting people to try something new, namely your tech solution. Usually, a video helps to launch a tech solution. Is that enough video for business development?
Business development for technology solutions is often a drawn-out process where you’re trying to nurture a group of buyers. Every buyer appreciates the time-saving immediacy of video communication. But they’re all not interested in the same thing.
A better user experience for business development
You’re not talking to a lot of people. You don’t care about audience size. You do care about engagement. You want viewers to do something — take another step in your direction.
Interactive web videos for business development present clickable objects on screen. The viewer can make choices. Instead of watching a video, they get a personalized user experience. Clickable objects in an interactive web video can be chapter headings that allow the viewer to jump right into the feature or value proposition they’re most eager to understand. Clickable objects can be pop-up buttons inviting deeper exploration. They can be markers that allow the viewer to take their own path through the experience.
Anyone in your company can improve your videos
User engagement you can measure
Interactive web video for business development collects data on user interests and behavior. Use it to plan additional sales engagement content, refine your messages, measure video effectiveness.
New life for old videos
The explainer video can direct viewers to more detailed information in existing videos, such as webinars. Or, interactive sales training and similar learning applications can include webinars and subject matter expert videos.
New ways of using existing content and web apps
Use interactive videos to run meetings or book demos. Integrate existing web forms and other web apps such as shopping carts, calculators, and polls.
Time to get started
There is not likely to be a better time to start experimenting with interactive video. It’s easy. It’s not expensive. All that’s required is imagination and editorial skill. And a desire to see more customer engagement coming out of your marketing video investments.
Explainer videos explain. Marketing videos create awareness. And then what? What do viewers actually do after they click the “Play” button? Who knows? This is marketing video’s big fail — an impersonal user experience that captures no user data. The big opportunity is interactive web video.
This used to be specialist technology. It didn’t really scale. It didn’t work on iPhones.
Now it’s HTML5 and works in a browser. That’s instant scalability. With the release of Apple’s iOS X, it works on iDevices. That’s big.
No clicks means no data. It’s scandalous that marketers make do with so little data about how viewers respond to their videos. Even YouTube only generates 0.76% click-throughs. But the 16X improvement with interactive video represents a big breakthrough for marketers, opening up new opportunities to engage with buyers and use real data to improve performance. Source: HapYak
Interactive web video: a new kind of personalized user experience
Why is this such a big opportunity? Because instead of one-way passive communication, you can provide customers with what are, essentially, video web apps. Users have control. They can choose their own path. They can give you feedback right in the video. They can learn on their own, in the bite-size chunks eLearning experts recommend.
They are also generating data that tells you how specific leads and prospects engage and interact, data you can send to your CRM or sales/marketing automation tools to guide further interaction.
Better user experience
Let’s say your product has three major differentiators, X, Y, and Z, and you usually pitch them in that order. Some viewers are really interested in Y. Others care more about Z.
Now you can let viewers skip ahead — they’ll like that. (And why do you care if they skipped X? Unless everyone skips it.)
If they skip to Y, you can pop up a button offering to show even more information about Y. Now you’re guiding the buyer’s journey.
Better video content management
Product explainer videos are usually under two minutes long. Important details always get left out. Now they can be “included” in the video production process, so viewers who want to learn more can do it with a click. It’s never going to be cheaper or easier to create that additional content than it is when you’re producing the video it’s additional to. It’s like planning — then using — what otherwise would have been left on the cutting room floor.
Another way to create additional related content on the cheap is to record subject matter expert interviews conducted during pre-production, as you write the script. “More info” links can then guide viewers to additional relevant content.
Interactive web video opens up numerous such opportunities to develop well-coordinated video content strategies.
Engagement and learning should be the goal of interactive video marketing
In a recent LinkedIn discussion of content marketing, a commenter noted that “there’s not a lot of demand” for interactive video marketing. That’s been my experience, too. Clients for our short videos get interested in call-to-action buttons, chapterizing long videos, even quizzes and branching, but they don’t follow up.
Why marketers don’t do interactive video marketing
Demand Metric recently released a Brightcove-sponsored report on interactive video. Participants were Brightcove partners and customers, many of whom are large providers of video (broadcasters, publishers, big companies in healthcare, travel, etc.) In otherwords, a savvy survey sample. But, even among this crowd, a third of respondents asserted that their reasons for not using interactive video are:
Don’t have the budget
Don’t have the skills
Don’t understand how it works
And 25% admitted that they don’t understand the benefits.
89% of consumers want control over ads they view online
64% of consumers are more likely to spend more time watching video if they have more options to interact with it
68% want to be able to control offers and updates they receive from brands via email
Videos with choice can triple viewing times and double conversions
This is comes from a recent survey by Rapt Media. It’s consumer research, not B2B. But don’t these numbers seem to seem in line with your experience watching videos online?
Pretty cheap interactive transcripts
The CaptionBox below the video contains social media buttons and acts as a navigation panel.
CaptionBox is a tool available from the inexpensive transcription service SpeakerText. SpeakerText does a good job of transcribing your video, which improves SEO as well as accessibility — and the first 5 minutes is free. Then, when you put the video into CaptionBox, your video becomes interactive – viewers can scan the content, and click to view the sections that interest them. It’s chapterization at a very granular level.
Quizzes and lists with video and potential virality
Have you ever clicked on one of those irresistible quizzes like “What City Should You Actually Live In?” Of course you have, and there’s a good chance it originated at PlayBuzz, the source of more Facebook shares than any other publisher. You can create all kinds of swipers, flip cards,