Traditional thinking has long held that B2B buyers made decisions based on rational factors like 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.
It also ignores the fact that marketing is not one-size-fits-all. Sales activation marketing is focused on short-term sales. It targets people who are ready to buy with messages tailored to them.
Brand building, on the other hand, creates long-term growth. A strong brand will deliver future sales from people not yet in market. A balanced B2B marketing strategy needs to have both sales activation and brand building activities.
B2B video marketing, done well, can be used for both sales activation and brand building. Different videos and video types are required based on your objectives, but one thing is always true: you need to capture your audience’s attention.
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, recommends 50% of your content should be video. That’s a lot of videos!
If “people like watching them” isn’t convincing enough, here are the top three benefits of video:
Have you heard about a new product but struggled to explain it to someone else? Sharing a video can be done simply and quickly, and no explanation is needed.
If you’re marketing a complex solution, a video can help your prospects better understand what your company offers. For example, you could make a video using an analogy to describe what your solution does in a way that informs and entertains prospective clients.
Research shows if both text and video are available on the same topic, 59% of executives are more likely to choose video. And posts with video perform better on literally every key social media platform.
Convinced? Read on to learn the full process for how to make an effective B2B marketing video.
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. This means doing an in-depth brand analysis with responses more detailed than “market changes.”
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.
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:
For more on how to develop a B2B video strategy, check out our free course.
Most marketers have used a 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. The standard funnel consists of four steps with a fifth follow-up:
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.
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.
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).
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.
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…
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.
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.
Description: The brand film is the highest-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
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
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 video 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: Consideration, Decision
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
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. It’s easy to record screens and edit video with tools like Clipchamp. 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
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. Before starting your video marketing project, 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!).
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.
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.
There is no average cost of a B2B marketing video, because of the range of video types and quality. For a video produced with an external agency, consider spending:
Learn more about making the most of your video budget.
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.
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. 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.
Remember, do not engage a video production company until you have a creative concept, script, and storyboard ready to go. Most video production companies are not creative agencies. Their role is to make the video based on your specifications.
Here are some resources if you decide to develop the concept for your video yourself.
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.
For an interview-based video, you’ll use this step to outline the story you want to tell. You should formulate a set of questions 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. We never recommend scripting anything that will be performed or read by non-actors.
Once the script is written, it can 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.
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.
If you’re working with an agency, they’ll bring you trusted production partners at this stage. If you came up with the idea and script yourself, it’s time to find a video production company. The production company will guide the video creation process.
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 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).
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.
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. For product videos, 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 also requires a unique and specific skill set to be done correctly. Even for a scripted video, a good editor does more than drop the video clips in order. 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.
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, you won’t have any surprises in post.
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.
After your video has gone through two to three drafts of editing, the story and general cut should look 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!
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.
Check with your agency or post-production house about their storage policies and if they will store all of your final video files for you, especially 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. You should 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.
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.
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.
Are people spending more than 5 seconds watching your video?
How many people are watching to the end? A related metric, audience retention rate, shows you on a graph where audience drop off.
Is the video getting comments, likes, and shares?
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?
Are more people coming to your website from Facebook or YouTube since you posted the video?
Instead of obsessively tracking view counts, focus on improvements within your own organization:
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!
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.
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.
Keep track of all your video content in a centralized place. Smart B2B marketers reuse and remix videos often. A video is a big investment. Get as much use out of it as you can!