The most important thing
According to a recent survey conducted in the LinkedIn B2B Technology Marketing Community, the three most important elements of effective content are “audience relevance” (71%), “engaging and compelling storytelling” (56%) and “triggers a response/action” (56.7%).
Source: 2013 B2B Content Marketing Trends Report
Request a copy here: http://www.slideshare.net/hschulze/b2b-content-marketing-trends-2013
These were the only categories more than half the marketers surveyed agreed upon. “Effectively delivers a message” got 40%, no other category scored over 25%. Only 6% considered for “low cost” important — good news for B2B video producers like me.
The customary process
A lot of videos — some quite effective — are produced by a process that goes along these lines:
- Marketing hires creative firm.
- Marketing defines audience, message
- Creative firm turns message into engaging and compelling storytelling
- Marketing measures whether the video triggers a response/action.
Marketers of B2B technology products tend not to be very “definitive” in defining the audience for a new video even though “audience relevance” is the factor they consider most important.
“Well, the CIO is going to be involved, so we need to emphasize ease-of-use.” “And, the marketing people are really concerned about the customer experience.” “And we also need to appeal directly to developers and IT architects.” “The CFO wants to hear about ROI.” “Also, security, so let’s not leave out the CSO.”
This is a production process that is likely to result in a video with more storytelling than relevance to a any particular audience. And,often with new technology products, the product messages themselves may well be works-in-process, further blurring the focus. If relevance is the most important thing you’re after, a collaborative process is the best way to target your audience and narrow your focus.
The collaborative process for creating video marketing content
In a collaborative process, marketing professionals draw in people who talk to customers — usually sales professionals, engineers or other technical folks. Not only are they closer to current market conditions, but they are more likely to have held relevant jobs. Some will have been recruited from target industries.
And these people will probably have some compelling stories about the B2B solution you’re trying to pitch. They may be “tales out of school” you can’t use as-is — a story about a state government’s data-base administrator who inadvertently changed everyone’s gender to “M”, for example. Actually, come to think of it, we did use that one.
Now the storytelling process becomes one of crafting the story around real-life incidents and experiences and then layering on the messages. It’s a good way to build a story — and a good way to keep the focus on relevant content.
Another advantage to collaborating with sales and technical types is that it catches mistakes early, before they become costly. We build videos in 20-30 second increments so they can be socialized in our client’s organization as they are created. A few weeks ago we were developing a video for a large software publisher who markets both to consumers and to IT. So we took a light, cartoon-y approach that went over well with the marketing team. But the sales people on the enterprise side of the business (the ones responsible for pushing this particular product) turned thumbs down — too “consumerish” for their serious-minded target customers.