Coming up with ideas for B2B videos is hard. The messages are usually complex and you have a plethora of different people to appeal to. We’ve developed a simple method for developing great B2B video concepts –  it revolves around eliminating ideas instead of coming up with them.

How to come up with a great idea for a B2B video in 4 easy steps:

  1. Create a persona for your single most valuable customer

  2. Get to the core of their problem to find your core message

  3. Research the competition

  4. Use the process of elimination to arrive at a video concept

Step 1: Create a persona for your single most valuable customer

Before we can even think about getting creative we have to understand exactly who we’re talking to. We need to develop an avatar, or persona, for our single most valuable customer.

Keep reading even if you already have buyer personas, because we have to identify the single most valuable persona this video needs to talk to.

Your single most valuable customer is an imaginary person. He/she doesn’t exist. It’s meant to be an average of the people you love working with who also love working with you. The customers who buy your most profitable offerings. The folks who respect your time and the way you work. These are the customers who, if you could clone them, your life would be amazing and your company – successful.

Have an idea of who this person is? If you already have your buyer personas done, pick the persona that most closely matches these criteria in the market you’re targeting with this video or campaign. If you don’t have buyer personas, you can download our persona worksheet to develop them.

Download the persona worksheet

Once you have your single most valuable customer persona completed, you’re ready for the next step!

Step 2: Get to the core of your prospect’s problem and find your core message

You’re in business because you solve your clients’ problems. Your video needs to show your prospects what problem you solve and how great you are at solving it, in one form or another. The better you are at relating directly to your prospect’s core problem, the more your video lands. The more generic you are, the more your video is like everyone else’s.

While this sounds completely elementary, you’d be surprised how many marketers assume the problem they’re solving for is the customer’s core problem when they’ve actually missed the mark. Or are trying to relate a list of 20 problems, ultimately relating to none.

The best videos focus on one core problem and therefore, one core message. That message may have RTBs (reasons to believe) that speak to other problems clients have but make no mistake, a prospect rarely has more than one core problem. 

The core problem is the one that keeps them up at night. The one they really won’t tell anyone, except their psychologist or significant other.

For example, say your most valuable customer is an IT leader at a pharmaceutical company. Their list of problems may include:

    • Downtime
    • Data governance
    • Upgrades
    • Antiquated physical servers
    • Cybersecurity
    • Frustrated users
    • Lack of agility

Any of these problems on their own are big, but they’re probably not the core problem of your most valuable prospect.

The core problem might be something like: “Our IT is a mess and I’m not sure I have what it takes to fix this.”

This problem trumps all other problems in the stack. The other problems aggregate to form this core problem. Notice how this problem isn’t just focused on the thing that is wrong. The problem is so big that it’s overflowing into the personal arena of self-doubt.

A great way to test if you’ve landed on the core problem is to see if it fits in a short sentence, under 140 characters (without commas and lists). If you can put the problem into a sentence this short and you can make a case for all of the sub-problems adding up to this core problem, you’ve got it. If you can’t, keep the burner on and distill it down some more.

Once you have the core problem, simply take the inverse of it and that should be your core message.

For example, “Our IT is a mess and I’m not sure I have what it takes to fix this,” turns into, “We give you the tools to take control of your IT.”

It really is that simple.

Step 3: Research the competition

How can you be different if you don’t know what “normal” is? The best way to stand out is to see what your competition is doing and saying, and then avoid doing and saying the same stuff. 

Again, seems elementary, but there are deep human desires to avoid risk. One of the ways we avoid risk is by staying creatively close to our competition aka fitting in. This is what leads competitors to start looking and sounding alike – just swap out the brand colors and fonts.

It’s important to map out where the competition is so we can find some blue ocean and say what they’re not saying. Or if we have the same message, say it in a different way. This is where competitive analysis comes in.

Make a four column table. From left to right label your columns “Competitor,” “What they say,” “How they say it,” and “How we’ll be different.”

B2B video competition research

I recommend running at least three of your competitors through this exercise.

For each competitor, scan their website, content marketing, social media and marketing videos. Jot down the key messages you hear/see during your scan in the “What they say” column.

Next, take notes on how they say it. Do they lean heavily on their blog? What does the imagery look like? Are the videos animations? Talking heads? Write down the different key ways they say their message.

Finally, jot down 2-3 ways you’ll be different than each of these competitors in the “How we’ll be different” column. Will your imagery be more approachable? Perhaps emphasize your expertise instead of your full product portfolio? 

Don’t worry if some of the items in this column contradict. We’ll sort it all out in the next step.

Step 4: Use the process of elimination to arrive at a video concept

Michelangelo supposedly said, “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” Put another way, the sculpture was always there, the artist simply subtracted extraneous material and set it free.

This is exactly what we’re doing in this step of the process. We’re going to lay everything we’ve done up to this point on the table and start eliminating things. Once we have eliminated enough, the idea will present itself – just like Michelangelo’s David.

Take the list of How we’ll be different items you came up with and start crossing off things that don’t sync up with your core message. For example, if your core message is, “We give you the tools to take control of your IT,” and one of the items in the different list is, “Showing off our new office,” you would cross this item off. It doesn’t relate to giving your customers tools or empowering them to take control of their IT.

After you finish this exercise, you likely have 3-6 things left in your How we’ll be different list. Take those items and see if they sync up with your most valuable persona. Cross off what doesn’t make sense. For example, one of the different items left is, “use social media influencer” but your persona doesn’t go near TikTok or Instagram, you’re probably going to want to cross that off.

Ok. You probably have 2-3 things left in your different list. Now here is the fun part. Gather your team and brainstorm video concepts that incorporate these elements with your persona and core message in mind. Odds are, the concept will come to you in a few minutes if it hasn’t already while reading this article.

We let the process of elimination do most of the work for us.

This isn’t the only way to generate a great B2B video idea, but it is efficient

Do you see what we did there? For more than 85% of this process we’re not actively trying to brainstorm a great idea. We let the process of elimination do most of the work for us. Then we swoop in for the last 15% with full creative energy and use the remaining elements to generate a solid video idea.

While there are a million ways to come up with B2B video ideas we’ve found this “subtractive” method produces amazing results. It allows us to spend less time banging our heads up against the wall trying to force great ideas and delivers viable creative options faster.

Please let us know how this worked for you! If you want to learn more about B2B video marketing, please check out our B2B video marketing guide.