I didn’t write a “2020 B2B video marketing trends” piece last year, and I am so glad to not have to revisit that and laugh at how insanely obsolete it became before the end of March. These predictive pieces are fun to write and discuss, but let’s not pretend anyone accurately predicted what would actually happen in marketing and the world in 2020.

But here I am writing your 2021 B2B video marketing trends anyway, because we are going to see a lot of interesting changes coming out of 2020. And hey, I could use a laugh around mid-March when I’ve been proven wrong — or right!

We don’t know for sure what changes will be permanent coming out of the pandemic. Will brands be more conservative? Or grab the opportunity to take a risk? Price conscious? Or looking to try something new? Either way, we do see some common themes emerging from our clients that will likely continue into 2021.

Top 3 B2B video marketing trends for 2021

  1. Asynchronous video messaging

  2. User-generated content

  3. Brand building

Trend 1: Asynchronous video messaging

I’ve written before about “Zoom fatigue.” Throughout 2020, we defaulted to replacing in-person meetings with Zoom calls. Then we replaced phone calls with Zoom calls. And happy hours with Zoom calls. And movie nights with Zoom calls. You get it. We’re all sick of Zoom.

That means your prospects are sick of Zoom. B2B buyers increasingly want self-service options, especially early in the sales journey, instead of needing to get on a phone call or Zoom call with your sales team. That doesn’t mean your sales team gets to sit back and let the prospect do all the work. Asynchronous video messages (in other words, personalized video messages that the receiver gets to watch on their own time) are a perfect way to combat Zoom fatigue while customizing your message.

After an initial email or phone conversation, a salesperson can record a customized product demo with tools like Vimeo and Loom.

Asynchronous videos are:

      • Customizable and high touch
      • Simple to make
      • User friendly and easy for the prospect to refer back to

The biggest boost that asynchronous video messaging platforms are getting out of 2020 is that people are all used to Zoom calls and webcam quality. We all know what a webcam-recorded video will look like, and as long as the content is useful, we don’t care that it’s not as good as a professional camera. For a quick customized sales response, your prospect doesn’t expect or need a beautifully animated product demo. A screen recording paired with a helpful salesperson might be all it takes to close the deal.

Trend 2: User-generated content

Building off my last point about asynchronous video, I anticipate seeing B2B brands starting to embrace more user-generated content in 2021.

Even if you haven’t checked out TikTok yet, I’m sure you’ve seen viral videos that started on the platform. Most TikTok videos are shot on smartphones. Judging by traditional video production standards (and even by YouTube star standards), the production quality is usually not great. The lighting is just sunlight or ceiling lights, the camera is a smartphone, the talent has no makeup. But people can’t stop watching them! The answer why is simple: Because they’re entertaining. You get value out of watching them.

People will forgive mediocre photo and video quality if the video brings them value. For a B2B marketer, that means that it’s time to consider value to the user over production value.

Image of a person recording a video of themselves on a smartphone. User-generated content

Many B2B companies are afraid that user-generated content makes them look amateur or unprofessional. They want their brand to look fully buttoned up.

We say: The medium is the message. If you want to project authenticity, consider user-generated content. A testimonial video is an easy step into UGC. For example, Salesforce shares self-taped customer testimonials on their social channels.

A user-generated testimonial is great because:

      • It’s a very low time commitment from your client or customer
      • It’s fast and easy to make, making them great to release on social regularly
      • It oozes authenticity, which is what you want from a great testimonial

User-generated content is best kept on social media or for internal communications. We wouldn’t recommend a user-generated brand film, which brings us to the final video marketing trend for 2021.

Trend 3: Brand building

Have you ever heard the saying “The only way to get famous is to get famous”? Probably not, because I just made it up. I believe it’s true though.

As much as we tell ourselves that B2B buyers are totally rational creatures who only make decisions based on features and benefits, the truth is that B2B buyers are human beings. And human beings make work decisions that are low risk.

The old cliché “No one ever got fired for buying IBM” (I did not make up this one) proves this point. A company like IBM doesn’t become the default choice without years of intentional brand building behind the quality products. You cannot become the default choice without a strong brand.

(If right now you’re thinking, “wait a second, I came here for video trends! Brand building is just general marketing!”, stick with me.)

GDPR hobbled cookies and data collection, and Apple is blocking them by default on their Safari browser. The days of microtargeting are ending. The solution is brand building.

And video helps build brand awareness. (See, I told you I’d bring it back. Thanks for your patience.)

Video builds brands by:

      • Being an engaging centerpiece of your website
      • Making your brand stand out, instead of sinking into a sea of competitors
      • Catching more attention on social media (Video outperforms every other post type on Facebook)

For more on B2B brand building, on this check out this report from the B2B Institute.

Do I know what’s going to happen next year? Hardly. But whatever does happen in the wider world, we do expect to see more video messaging, user-generated content, and brand building in B2B marketing.

Disagree with me? Tell me about it on Twitter @hopemorley

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