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Everything you ever wanted to know about B2B video marketing

b2b video marketing guide
Step 1

Research & strategy

Step 2

Creative

Step 3

Production

Step 4

Evaluate success

The benefits of B2B video marketing

Traditional thinking held that B2B buyers made decisions based on price and profit potential alone, not on brand popularity, status or other emotional triggers. Marketing that appeals to emotions, feelings, and personal circumstances has been siloed to the business-to-consumer (B2C) realm.

Those distinctions ignore the reality of who is making purchasing decisions. When a business assigns someone to find a new product or service, that person may dive straight into the facts, but all of it will be influenced by their emotions and feelings as a human.

B2B video marketing, done well, is uniquely suited to convey a business’s marketing message while grabbing a viewer’s attention.

B2B video marketing works

Videos have become an effective and fast way to demonstrate what your company has to offer to potential clients. Cisco’s Annual Internet Report found that by 2022, online videos will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic; that’s 15 times higher than it was in 2017.

According to a survey of marketing professionals worldwide, 51% of them name video as the type of content that delivers the best ROI (return on investment). And Brian Halligan, Co-founder & CEO of Hubspot, says 50% of your content should be video. That’s a lot of videos!

Video internet traffic

The benefits of using video

If “people like watching them” isn’t convincing enough, here are the top three benefits of video:

1 – Sharable

Have you ever seen a funny billboard but then when you try to explain it to someone it just doesn’t come across? Sharing a video can be done simply and quickly, and no explanation is needed.

2 – Easy to digest

If you’re marketing a complex solution, you could give prospects pages of charts showing the benefits of your solution. Or you could make a video using an analogy to describe what your solution does in a way that informs and entertains prospective clients.

3 – Attention grabbing

An ad on Instagram only needs to be 5 seconds to get your marketing message across. The same can’t be said of flyers, emails or even blog posts. If both text and video are available on the same topic, 59% of executives agree that they are more likely to choose video.

Convinced? Read on to learn the full process for how to make an effective B2B marketing video.

Step 1: Research and strategy

step 1 of b2b video marketing process

Research: do your homework

Getting to the point of having an effective video requires intention and planning. And, like everything else, there are best practices for creating effective videos. So where do you start? You start with the thinking.

Making a great video starts with understanding your organization and the problems you are trying to solve. In “business speak” this means doing an in-depth brand analysis with responses more detailed than “market changes.”

To start your brand analysis, ask yourself:

  • What is your current position in the market? 

  • Who are your current prospects and clients?

  • How do they like to receive information? How did they find you?

  • What are their struggles or challenges? Where do they need help?

  • How do your prospects and clients currently see you? 

  • Why do they come to you? Is it your expertise? Your prices? Your ability to make them feel educated and empowered? 

  • What do you bring to the industry that sets you apart? 

  • How do you anticipate the value of these key differentiators faring in the future?

Primary brand research

Often, the best way to answer these “reputation”-type questions is to do some primary research. This can be as simple as talking to some of your key and best clients and asking them the above questions. Or you could go as far as conducting primary research using research partners like Google or Ipsos to identify samples and create data sets and summaries.

Accurately understanding your current position in the market is vital to properly developing the goals and objectives for your video.

video marketing tips

Strategy

Once you understand your current situation in the market, you can identify where you want to be and how to get there.

The answers to the below will help you craft your video marketing plan and identify the best way to:

    • Bring prospects down the sales funnel
    • Select the type of video(s) to make and how long to use them for
    • Write your script, interview questions, or create storyboards
    • Use and place your video for maximum impact with your target audience(s)
    • How to measure the success of your videos

Using the information you gathered in the “research” phase, you can ask and answer questions like:

  • How do you want prospects and clients to see you? 

  • Where can you provide the most value? 

  • How can you stand out in the market and differentiate from your competitors, both direct and indirect? 

  • How can you impact the “consumer”? Where are there gaps?

  • What type of content is most desired by your key audience? How can you use that medium or mediums to meet them where they are and add value to their experience vs just interrupting it?

Bringing prospects down the sales funnel

Most marketers have used the sales funnel chart in one form or another. It’s a great tool for understanding the buying process, how each stage builds on the next, and how a multi-faceted marketing plan is the best way to bring a prospect from awareness through purchase.

It’s also a tool we use frequently in video marketing to help us determine the best type of video to make, depending on the buying cycle stage we are focused on. It consists of four steps with a fifth follow-up:

    1. Awareness
    2. Consideration
    3. Decision
    4. Win
    5. Repeat and delight
The B2B marketing sales funnel

The video marketing funnel

At the top of the funnel, you’re capturing a wide variety of people. You don’t want all of them as clients, and they don’t all want your product. As they move down the funnel, they are taking steps toward purchasing your product. It’s your job to help them realize the product is right for them, or if it’s not!

Reminder: you should eject people out of your funnel at every stage. No business wants every unqualified lead to make a purchase. Those unqualified leads become unhappy clients. Ok, back to the funnel.

1 – Awareness

The first step in the funnel is making prospects aware that your business exists. At this point they may or may not have decided that your solution solves their problem.

For example, if you sell time-tracking software, a prospect in the awareness stage might be searching for information on how to budget projects. They aren’t yet even thinking that time tracking should be part of their budgeting process.

Your marketing content at this stage should introduce your brand at a high level and provide educational content. This often means sharing your brand’s mission, values, and ideals, not specific products or solutions just yet.

2 – Consideration

At the second step in the funnel, prospects are considering making a purchase.

The prospect searching for budgeting processes now realizes that time tracking software will help her make informed decisions on project profitability.

She is exploring your website or reaching out to a sales rep to get more information, but is still at an information gathering point. She may be comparing features, breaking down costs and implementation timelines, and deciding whether between different solutions that may not even be traditional competitors (ie. SaaS vs hiring another staffer).

3 – Decision

By the third step in the funnel, your prospect has decided that a product like yours will solve their problem. At this point, they are making a final decision of which company’s product to purchase. They now want to be reassured that your company or product is the right decision for them.

4 – Win

The purchase! At this stage, your prospect pulled the trigger and became a client. Ring that sales bell and celebrate! And then start thinking about step five…

5 – Repeat and delight

Now that you have a wonderful new client, you need to keep them happy and coming back. Your video marketing content can support this goal too.

While there are a lot of variables in determining video type, we recommend aligning your video budget with the sales funnel. Bigger budgets sit at the top with awareness goals and lower budgets at the bottom. This general guideline can then inform the video creative you select, the types of videos you make, where you place your video, and how to measure their success.

Types of B2B marketing videos and where they fit in the sales funnel

While certain types of videos fit best in certain areas of the sales funnel, none of these are hard and fast rules. Before deciding what kind of video to make, have a clear understanding of your customer journey and where you want to invest in content.

Brand film

Description: The brand film is the most high level video. Its purpose is to introduce prospects to your brand and elicit an emotional reaction and connection. A brand film is often one of the most expensive types of videos to produce.

Use: Company home page, live events, social media

Life span: 2-3 years

Sales level: Awareness, consideration

Customer testimonial

Description: A testimonial is a filmed positive review from a client. It should serve to reassure prospects at the Consideration and Decision phases that they will have a positive experience with your company.

Use: Product page, social media

Life span: 1-2 years

Sales level: Consideration, decision

Product walkthrough

Description: A product walkthrough can be as simple as a screen recording of a software product, or it might involve an animator recreating screens or building a 3D product model. A product walkthrough should help a prospect understand how your product works and see it in action, which in turn will help them understand if the product meets their needs.

Use: Product page, email marketing and post-purchase

Life span: Varies, may be as little as one year if product updates are regularly rolled out

Sales level: Decision

Teasers

Description: A teaser is a short (no more than 30 seconds) video that gets a prospect or existing user excited about a new product or feature. The goal of a teaser is to get a prospect to seek out more information (ex: talk to a sales rep, sign up for email updates)

Use: Social media, live events

Life span: Very short, several weeks to several months

Sales level: Awareness, repeat

On-boarding, how-tos, and help videos

Description: These videos are best done in high volume and low budget. For software or services companies, consider having your employees make these videos themselves with simple cameras and equipment, even screen recording software. These videos aren’t trying to impress anyone. Their purpose is to be helpful and easy to use.

Use: Client portals, welcome emails, FAQ pages

Life span: Long, often don’t have to be updated regularly

Sales level: Win, repeat

Lifespan of a B2B marketing video

The lifespan of a video is highly dependent upon the way the video is used. Consider the consumer journey and ecosystem the video lives in.

If you are using your video specifically to close deals during in-person client meetings, as long as any information or branding shared in the video hasn’t changed, you could easily use the video for a few years.

If the video is being used for large media buys with high TRPs (target rating points) and impressions, the length of effective use may be less, dependent upon the specific buy. Media buys should inform how long you plan to use the video for. Take into account when you plan to refresh it with new creative or different versions.

Setting KPIs for B2B marketing projects

Now that you know where you want to go, you need to decide how to tell if you’ve been successful in creating a video that works. You need to identify your KPIs (key performance indicators). What objective metrics will tell you that you’ve made it?

Companies should define their KPIs based on what is important to them and where the video will be used. They shouldn’t just be based on what some article tells you (yes, including this one!).

What’s your marketing goal?

Are you using your video to drive sales online? To increase the number of deals you close? Or the number of leads for the quarter? Maybe it’s reducing employee turnover. Or increasing overall brand health metrics like unaided recall? Or delivering on ROI numbers (like ROAS) and lower cost of sale?

Prioritize what is important to your organization and make sure that the metrics you pick not only demonstrate the success of your marketing channels (for example, social media followers) but also the results’ contribution to hitting overall business objectives (sales, donations, contributions to the bottom line). That way, when annual and quarterly planning roll around, you’re prepared to deliver objective stats on the mind-blowing results of your hard work and the value it has delivered to the organization.

video marketing budgets

Budgeting a B2B video marketing project

The costs of making a video or suite of videos is something you need to include in your annual and quarterly budgets.

When evaluating how much you are willing to spend on a video or suite of videos, the potential benefits of a successful video should be considered.

Let’s use an example. Let’s say that your minimum engagement (product or services) with a new client is $50,000. Your team averages 100 in-person prospect meetings a year with a 60% close rate. That means if a video could deliver an additional 10% in closed business during these in-person meetings, your team is looking at an additional $500,000 in new business for the year. If you were presented with these statistics, spending $50,000 to create an effective video that results in $500,000 in new business (ROI – 10x) starts to seem a lot more reasonable.

The above further supports the importance of defining your KPIs before you begin a project. It helps you define success, set your goals and objectives, and evaluate how much you are willing to spend based on how much you stand to gain.

Learn more about making the most of your video budget.

Putting it all together

These KPIs can also help you and your agency team decide where best to spend the budget. For example, if you are showing your video mostly in in-person client meetings on either your computer or your client’s projector/presentation technology, you may not need a camera that films in 8K. Spending the money to rent and use such a powerful camera costs more and delivers benefits that will go mostly (if not entirely) unnoticed by your key audience.

In contrast, spending the money to secure strong actors to act as your salespeople and be highly believable may be a much better use of the funds. An 8K camera at the cost of solid talent is a poor allocation of budget and leaves the opportunity of taking your video to the next level on the table. These are all factors to discuss with your team, agency, and production company to ensure you’re making the most of your dollars.

For help developing your video strategy and KPIs, consider working with a B2B video marketing agency.

A total video budget depends on a variety of factors including:

  • Research, strategy, and creative work needed to come up with the idea

  • Talent and talent usage rights

  • Music

  • Set locations and travel

  • Art/props

  • Crew and equipment

  • The number of final videos and formats

  • Paid media

Step 2: Creative 

step 2 of b2b video marketing process

Creative concepting

Now that you have your research and strategy set, you can begin creative concepting. This is fancy language for “coming up with cool ideas… that do their job.”

Video marketing (and marketing as a whole) is not just about making cool stuff. It’s about making cool stuff that accomplishes its goals and objectives (see above on how to set these) — delivering positive results for your brand or organization.

Viable creative concepts take the goals, objectives, and strategy for your video and combine them with creative approaches that grab attention and deliver results. This often means telling a story that grabs your key audience’s attention and makes them feel heard and understood. This also means presenting information in a way that people enjoy interacting with. According to the latest information on media use and trends, creating a video is a great way to do that.

Creative concepting does require a certain amount of skill. This is an area where working with someone who has experience in creative concepting can be valuable. Or having patience with yourself if you’re just getting started.

Creative resources

Here are some resources if you decide to develop the concept for your video yourself.

  • StoryBrand – We highly recommend this workshop hosted by Donald Miller. StoryBrand will help you clarify your message and write a script that empathizes with your target audience.
  • Death to the Corporate Video – Written by our Creative Director, Guy Bauer, this quick read will give you tons of practical advice on making an effective B2B video.
  • How to simplify your complex message with a video – This article includes 5 practical things you can do to create an idea that resonates with your prospects.
  • Made to Stick – The ultimate read on developing “sticky” ideas. The authors use science and psychology to really break down how to make effective content.
Presenting creative concepts

Scripting and storyboarding

Once you’ve landed on a solid concept, it’s time to pull together a script and/or storyboards. Scripting can take on many forms, depending on the type of video you are making. A piece with actors, spoken lines, actions, or voiceover needs a script to provide the blueprint for the video from start to finish.

The script can then be paired with images or sketches showing what each scene should look like to create storyboards. Storyboards provide inspiration, direction, and guidance for the director, art and props, hair and make-up, and lighting teams to ensure the agreed upon creative concept and vision come to life during the shoot.

If you are making a video that focuses on interviews, you may not need a script or storyboards. You should have a set of questions that have been formulated coming out of the creative concept to ensure you get the interview content and soundbytes that you need on-set to create an effective video.

Need help with your B2B video marketing?

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Step 3: Production 

step 3 of the b2b video marketing process

Pre-Production

Now that we’ve come up with the idea and created a plan for how we want it to look, it’s time to bring it to life.

Pre-production is the process of gathering all of the resources, people, and information you need to be able to effectively shoot and edit the video.

This traditionally includes the development of a director’s treatment to explain how the director plans to execute on the script, storyboards, and/or interview questions. This director’s treatment includes information and recommendations for the number of shoot days and shoot schedule, wardrobe, hair and make-up, propping and set design, the color, look, and feel of the video, and the type of equipment needed, based on the type of video and how it will be used. 

Once approved, the director’s treatment is a great tool to help the crew on set and should be paired with a pre-production book as the main resources for what’s happening prior to and during shooting.

The video production process

Planning the shoot right

The quantity of shoot days needed is dependent upon the creative concept and how many scenes/interviews/footage you need to capture. When to shoot is mostly dependent upon the schedules of all of those involved, noting that you want to make sure to give your team enough time to prepare before the shoot.

Often, people are in a rush to get to filming when they should first be focused on getting the concept and pre-production details right and set. With the proper amount of time, all of the production and post-production details can be decided with confidence instead of rushing to try and figure everything out as you go while the clock is ticking (and the dollars are adding up).

For the most part, you don’t need to determine these variables or prepare these documents yourself. An experienced producer, production company, or B2B video marketing agency will help you work through the details. You just need to provide them with the creative concepts, script, and/or storyboards to get the process started.

Production

When it comes to production, your goal should be to make the best looking version of the creative concept you developed while staying on-time, on-budget, and keeping everyone safe. Production may include many aspects like art and props, talent, grips and electric (includes lighting — often known as “G&E” in the production world), craft service, script supervision, data and tech, and photography/cinematography. All of these folks work together to create a beautiful video. You can expect an average shoot day to range from 8 to 12 hours, with an industry standard shoot day coming in at 10 hours including time to load in, set up, and load out.

Being on set can be surreal. There are lots of moving parts, people running around, and some terminology to pick-up. As stated above, a good agency, producer, or production company will make sure that everything is organized and executed per your director’s treatment and pre-production book.

Capturing all of the lines and scenes within your approved shoot days takes solid producing and intentional shoot schedules. Sometimes, scenes run long or are finished early, requiring changes in schedule. A solid producer or agency account manager will keep you abreast of the situation and make sure that you know what is going on and coming next.

What to expect on a video shoot

Having key stakeholders on set

Whether you are making your video in-house or with an agency or production company, having the key stakeholders on set is vital to a successful end product. We recommend the main marketing contact(s) and at least one subject matter expert (SME) be present to ensure there no issues with things like unrealistic or inaccurate scenarios, risk and legal sensitivities, or unmet expectations after the shoot is over and the first draft of the video is shared.

Your agency or production team will do their best to execute to the approved creative, but having someone who is very close to the product or service and who knows key watch-outs is invaluable.

It’s much easier to do a few more takes to ensure you’ve got things right on set than to have to try and finagle things in post-production. Changes in post-production require more time and money, and sometimes aren’t possible no matter how many times someone tells you “we’ll fix it in post.”

Once you’ve captured all of the scenes and the footage is looking great, it’s time to load out and get that footage and data over to your editing team to create the video.

Post-Production

Post-production also requires a unique and specific skill set to be done correctly. Even for a scripted video, a good editor does more than “paint by numbers.” It’s their job to comb through every last bit of footage and compile all of the best takes to create a holistic and effective video.

Editing

If you’ve been on set for two days, your editor is watching hours and hours of footage as their first step! Yes, the director and creative director should be providing the editor with guidance on the best takes, but ultimately, putting the best pieces together for the good of the overall video falls on the editor.

The editing process goes the smoothest when a creative concept and script/storyboards/director’s treatment are approved before the shoot. If that has happened, a video can be virtually finished after one draft.

Making sure the stakeholders are looped in

The editing process should involve all of the key stakeholders from the start of reviewing drafts to make the most of your post-production budget. The sooner in the process you can get a draft in front of the key stakeholders, the better. That way, you can confirm things are heading in the right direction from the get-go. While waiting until the draft is perfect before you show your boss or other key players may seem like the wise move, it can often result in blown timelines and extra costs if your key stakeholders haven’t accurately communicated expectations or there are changes in priorities that could have been mitigated if discussed sooner.

Sometimes, bringing a stakeholder in late (or later than desired) is unavoidable. If this is the case for you, working with your video marketing team ahead of time to create a project timeline that allows for unexpected changes or late breaking news from the start can be a good option. This will help you avoid blown deadlines when the inevitable does happen. Think of it as being proactive.

Video editor

Finishing, finalization, and archiving

So your video has gone through three drafts of editing and the story and general cut are looking great. Now, it’s time to add some polish with finishing.

Finishing includes adding the final elements of a video like color correction, sound design and mix, finalizing VFX (visual effects) elements, creating closed captioning (CC) files, and exporting the video in the formats needed based on your marketing plan. Finishing brings the final video from a draft to a true and final piece of work that is ready to shine!

Getting the files

To get the final video files into your hands, post-production teams will usually send you a link to download your files along with guidance on which file format is best for each use. Make sure to download all of the file types and save them to your company’s server or permanent files upon receipt.

You can also request a hard drive with all of the footage/files from your project to ensure you always have access if needed. This may come at an additional cost and require some additional time, but is worth it in the interest of protecting your investment.

Check with your agency or post-production house about their storage policies and if they can store all of your final video files for you if you’re producing high quantities of content and you intend to work with them for the long-haul. That said, we always recommend having the files yourself, just in case.

Step 4: Evaluate 

Evaluating the video’s success

Now you’ve made the video and the whole team loves it. But a happy boss is only one tiny element of success. Once the final video launches and heads out in the world to make its home in the consumer journey, it’s important to track the metrics you outlined as your KPIs at the beginning of the project and determine how your video is performing. Did you get the ROI you were hoping for out of your video? And how do you plan to measure success? Higher brand awareness numbers? Category sales lift? Annual revenues? Increases in social media engagement?

Download the flowchart below to help you to choose the right metrics for your specific project. Consider how you’re using the video and where.

Video Metrics Flowchart

Using the metrics right for you

Determining what’s “good” or successful for your brand will depend on your traffic and history of engagement. There is no set number of views that will tell you whether your video was successful, especially in the B2B space.

Comparing your YouTube views to other brands won’t give you the whole picture. Your competitor may have invested heavily in advertising, or they may have the video set to autoplay somewhere. Or they might have a lot of people watching for 3 seconds and then clicking away. The number of variables can make your head spin.

Average view duration

Are people spending more than 5 seconds watching your video?

Average completion rate

How many people are watching to the end? A related metric, audience retention rate, shows you on a graph where audience drop off.

Social engagement

Is the video getting comments, likes, and shares?

Bounce/exit rate

Are people leaving your site after watching the video, instead of converting or following the path you want, such as moving to a pricing or contact page?

Traffic sources

Are more people coming to your website from Facebook or YouTube since you posted the video?

Benchmarking pays off

Instead of obsessively tracking view counts, focus on improvements within your own organization:

    • If you’ve done video in the past, you can compare it to historical trends, say looking for an increase of 5 or 10 percent.
    • If video is new to your company, track changes in your traditional sales and marketing metrics. For example, did time on page increase? Product page exits decrease? Sales cycle shorten?
    • In either case, solicit feedback from your sales teams. What are they hearing from customers and prospects? Is anyone mentioning the video? (Yes, good videos get cited a lot.) Are they seeing increased engagement?

Don’t forget to promote

Remember, no one knows to watch your new video if you don’t promote it. Consider promoting it on social or purchasing Google Ads to increase traffic.

A video’s view count is only one part of the video’s success. To determine your ROI, make sure you’re looking at a complete picture.

And make sure to share your great results with your team! Nothing boosts a hardworking team more than hearing that their hard work delivered and helped shape the future of the brand and business.

After reviewing your KPIs and seeing the impressive results, you can take a look at your next business goal and decide if making a video can help you check it off your list!

KPIs for video marketing projects

Take a look at the numbers and do it all over again

Every six months or year, do a content audit of all your videos and other sales content. Evaluate what’s working and what’s not, what’s still current and what’s a little stale. Use this audit to determine your marketing priorities and to set your budgets.

Want to talk more about B2B video marketing?

We’d love to hear about your goals and how we can help you reach them.


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Umault is a boutique video marketing agency that helps B2B businesses create captivating content, engage the right people, and drive sales. We concept, script, and oversee video campaigns that make the complex simple and sexy, transforming ordinary businesses into extraordinary brands.

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