B2B marketing is a different ball game. Chalk and cheese, night and day, apples and oranges, B2B marketing requires a unique skillset, greater tenacity and a higher level of strategy and patience that B2C marketing colleagues simply don’t understand.
No one knows this more so than the B2B marketer, but chances are, if you’re reading this, we don’t need to convince you. You’re probably reading this whilst consuming your fifth coffee of the day, smiling through gritted teeth whilst responding back to that ‘helpful’ Sales colleague telling you how to do your job!
Many make the mistake of assuming marketing is marketing – irrespective of audience and industry; however, the roles and requirements between the worlds of B2B and B2C are so different that this misunderstanding can lead to a wealth of internal exasperation, politics and let’s face it, headaches, for those working on the enterprise side of the fence. B2B marketers face challenges their B2C counterparts simply don’t have to deal with and perhaps top of that list is a lack of understanding about the life cycle of the B2B journey.
Firstly, customer acquisition – the bread and butter of marketing in general, is something that is specifically challenging for B2B businesses, in that they sell to one, versus their B2C counterparts who sell to many. For one, they are often targeting a very small segment of a market that needs their product and services. This can take a time to narrow down and home in on the right audience and identify the exact targets. The result here is higher marketing expenses compared to the average B2C company and that’s before the horse has even got out of the stable. With enterprise businesses, more research is required upfront, without yet having the results to justify the upfront spend, as the risk of making or failing to materialise a buying decision is high. In turn, to those who don’t understand the world of B2B marketing – in most cases, each and every one of your colleagues – it can create frustration, confusion and impatience from leaders as to why in-house marketers aren’t driving results more quickly. Try and tell an impatient Sales leader, itching to meet their targets, that ‘slow and steady wins the race,’ and you’re more than likely going to be on the receiving end of an, at best, passive aggressive email!
Secondly, the sales cycle is always longer for B2B companies and the process for lead conversion can take months, with the average B2B buying cycle being 6-12 months1, contrasting strongly with the nearly always instantaneous buying cycle for B2C purchases. As above, many companies can fail to see that this is a natural obstacle that many other B2B companies face – adding internal pressures and a lack of understanding to the situation. When marketers are not producing sales within a short timeframe, their role in generating sales loses clout, viewed as something that’s simply necessary as opposed to a role that’s mission critical to company success.
Thirdly, B2B marketers are generally not given the needed empowerment and freedom to extend campaigns to new channels, trying new strategies. Companies tend to prefer to allocate budget to what they know already produces results; preferring to stick to the ‘tried and trusted’ methods, refusing to deviate from existing strategies. This is the case even more so with larger companies, with a recent study showing that those with higher revenues exceeding $10M place less importance on marketing than companies with lower revenues around the $1M mark2.
Not to mention the facts that B2B products are generally more complex, priced higher, have lower conversion rates and require larger purchase buy-in… So a harder sell without the glory, what’s to love?!
Fortunately, a lot. While B2B marketers face more challenges, the opportunities for standing out are greater and content marketing is an especially powerful tool in helping to achieve this – and more specifically, video marketing. With 90% of B2B buyers watching a video as part of their product research before conversion3, it’s an integral part of the B2B marketing journey and a quick but effective way to generate wins as a marketer. Why? Video communicates complex ideas quickly, bringing a visual aspect to the buyer’s journey, illustrating the value, functionality, and practicalities of a product or service – an essential for B2B businesses. On average emails with video in the subject line are opened a whopping 7% more4 and Insivia recently found that viewers retain 95% of a message when ingested via video, compared with just 10% when read. Clickthrough, message retention and customer conversion, what’s not to adore?
The specific challenges experienced by B2B marketers can be overcome through carefully produced and targeted video content. While we’re biased, video truly is the ultimate solution to marketing troubles – even more so in the land of B2B. Video is the sharpest tool in a B2B marketer’s toolbox – the crown jewel, the feather in one’s cap, the crowning glory, piece de resistance, crème de la crème and the countless other metaphors available… And as the premiere video creation platform working with almost 14,000 creators in over 900 cities globally, 90 Seconds is the perfect partner for any B2B marketer looking to overcome these challenges and create cutting-edge content that cut throughs the competition… if you’ll forgive the alliteration. Here’s the type of video we suggest for B2B brands who aren’t quite sure where to start.
Studies show that B2B customers who have multiple responsibilities on their plate value video as a source of quick, reliable information. A video case study showcasing a successful customer journey and helping to visually illustrate this for other potential customers is a gentle but effective way to nurture leads.
13% of marketers name case studies as one of the primary forms of media used within their content strategy5; however, when surveying B2B marketers specifically, this percentage rises to 75%6. To produce a successful case study, it’s important to outline the initial problem the customer was facing, the solution applied and the results – doing so via video provides a powerful and authentic illustration of the benefits of a product or service.
It is also more trustworthy. Why? According to the recent Bright Local Consumer Review Survey 20227, 90% of consumers use the internet to source businesses with 82% stating they read online reviews. This very clearly illustrates that the vast majority of us look to peers ahead of making a purchasing decision in the knowledge that research and garnering others’ opinion, can spare us from a poor investment. Hence the solid gold value of a case study, in providing established and trustworthy proof that your product or service is of quality – as communicated in this example from Accenture in partnership with 90 Seconds.
We all wish we could write our own reviews, and in that vein, customer Stories are a fantastic way of doing so by quickly illustrating the value of a brand’s product or service. They bring clout and trustworthiness to a business, forging a connection between brand advocates and a viewer. As a result, potential customers receive the benefit of a third-party opinion and can overcome initial reluctance while increasing understanding of the value your business brings its consumers.
If you’ll forgive the shameless self-promotion, this video showcasing 90 Seconds customer stories and testimonials showcases the power and strength of this form of video – and as a B2B brand ourselves, it’s all the more fitting. It’s also an example of how a Customer Story video needn’t require great depth and production level; they can be short, cheap and cheerful. Sometimes less is more – even more so when coupled with multiple stories showcasing the depth and breadth of customers using your product or service as we’ve done here.
As B2B customers tend to make decisions on a large scale and must be certain of a product’s details, How-to videos or product demos can be immensely helpful. Given the complexities that tend to be involved with B2B products and services, a product demo can be a hugely influential tool in providing customers with that needed assurance.
Tutorials and demos allow B2B marketers the opportunity to present information in a way that makes sense to their audience. Like this example from the Standard Chartered Bank which demos their Discretionary Portfolio Solutions in a way that connects with their investor community outlining the breadth of product and service options. In addition, using animation can be a fantastic and strategic tool within this type of video content, with creative design helping to cut through intensive messaging and bring complicated and complex ideas to life. But we’re jumping ahead…
While traditionally B2B marketing can be seen as relatively ‘flat’ and lacking an element of emotion, marketers should not lose sight of the fact that, irrespective of your product or service, all purchasers are human. Cue shocked gasps!
B2B customers respond to creativity, humour and wit in the same way as B2C consumers do. In short this means, the ‘B2B content marketing is dull’ misconception is exactly that – a misconception. In fact, B2B marketers should take full and complete artistic license when it comes to crafting attention-grabbing videos.
Animation can be a powerful tool in achieving a video that sings creativity – even if the product or service may not be the most creative one in the world – such as the wealth management example from the Standard Chartered Bank above. This example from online travel booking platform, Zeno, showcases how through creative animation, you can capture customers’ attention for the duration of your video, whilst showcasing the depth and breadth of product capabilities in an easily understood manner. By doing so, Zeno have enabled their customers to easily understand the breadth of their service, whilst providing them with an easily forwardable tool to help communicate the offering and ensure purchase buy-in – not forgetting that B2B purchases tend to require buy-in from multiple parties.
Once completed – whatever style chosen – where is the best place to house your content? As the name suggests, there’s only one place for it – the homepage. Videos are an SEO powerhouse, favoured by search engines with people spending twice as long on websites with videos. So much so that brands and businesses that include them are about 53 more likely to rank on Google’s first page8 of search results. In addition, this uptick in search ranking enables your website to attract 157% more traffic according to Wix and WordStream recently found that having a video on a landing page can boost conversion rates by up to 80%.
With a longer sales cycle, a smaller target segment requiring greater research time and a lack of understanding and knowledge internally into the intricacies of B2B marketing, an enterprise business tends to face greater challenges than a B2C business in terms of driving quick customer acquisition, measuring success and showcasing results. That is, unless video is used – a silver bullet in helping B2B businesses overcome these challenges. When B2B marketers embrace creativity and add spark to video campaigns, they are easily able to stand out from competitors and drive the desired results. But don’t take our word for it – take the word of our clients – clients like HSBC, PayPal, IBM, HP, Uber and Amazon to name a small few, all of whom have experienced nothing but great results and high-profile success with their video marketing campaigns and production partnership with 90 Seconds.