Moving on: videos in B2B

When B2B decision-makers from Generation Y want to find out about products or services, they prefer to see a moving image. However, this is only one of many reasons why the use of video is now inevitable for the marketing of B2B companies. 

Almost half of all B2B buyers today are between 22 and 27 years old. Each of them belongs to Generation Y, has been familiar with the internet from childhood, and has grown up with mobile devices. It has long been known that B2B buyers from Generation Y generally find out about products and suppliers online. Less well known, however, are two aspects that B2B suppliers should give greater consideration to in their marketing mix from now on. 

Both are the result of studies of the British marketing experts Hotwire and the North American organization MarketingProfs in 2016. The first thing these studies show is that an increasing number of B2C buyers are finding out about products and suppliers on typical B2C platforms. Twenty-five percent of them favor Facebook over the Twitter and LinkedIn platforms. The second finding is just as surprising: twenty-nine percent prefer moving image formats, i.e., videos and animations, when searching for information. Case studies (19%) and whitepapers (16%), brochures (15%), webinars (11%), and infographics (11%) lag far behind.  

 

Emotionalizing and generating proximity  

There are many reasons why video has become one of the key marketing trends in B2B. No other formats convey emotions and information as effectively and efficiently as a moving image. As early as 2008, Forrester Research found that one minute of video corresponds to around 1.8 million words. Moreover, if realized well, videos are authentic and credible, establish confidence, and are still extremely versatile. 

From promotional videos, computer animations, and live streams to webinars, a wide array of moving image formats is available for a variety of purposes: 

  • Cumbersome industry products and services can be sustainably emotionalized and explained in practical terms using product and informative films.  

  • Job offers in the form of recruitment videos are less anonymous, create a connection, and give potential applicants a comprehensive idea of what to expect.  

  • Traditional promotional and corporate films are best suited to the emotional staging of the brand story and clarification of the brand positioning. 

  • Trade fair videos about products and services arouse curiosity and make it easier to start discussions with potential customers. 

  • A product film raises interest, informs, entertains, and sets the course for the sale with the right customer approach. 

  • Tutorials and interactive webinars for user queries and training courses or for product presentations are important tools for customer retention and lead generation on the website. 

 

A survey of over 300 companies and customers carried out by the British video production company Wyzowl in 2016 showed what B2B companies achieve through the use of explainer videos: 

  • 76% of companies increased the number of website visits. 

  • 53% of companies recorded a decrease in the need for telephone advice. 

  • 97% of companies noted an improvement in users’ product understanding. 

  • 81% of companies registered a rise in sales. 

  • 91% of online users found out about a product or service via an explainer video. 

  • 84% of online users made a decision to purchase after having watched a video. 

 

Videos do not have to be expensive (any longer)  

As good as these figures seem, it is ultimately a question of the necessary budget. It goes without saying that the cost of production for videos is generally higher than for texts, brochures, or whitepapers combined with product images. However, there is a world of difference between VR or augmented reality productions, an image video with 360-degree optics and animation, and a homemade mobile phone video. The amazing success of some simple clips on social media show that high costs and outstanding technical quality do not automatically guarantee effectiveness. It is crucial to have a good idea and select the right format for the respective channels and expectations of the target groups in the internet.  

The rapid technical development is also playing straight into the hands of B2B companies. Nowadays, some smartphones and most mid-class digital cameras offer an appealing video quality. Combining new technologies such as 3D and 360-degree cameras together with headsets such as Oculus Rift and enrichment apps with interactive elements, opens up completely new presentation and staging possibilities.  

Of course, this does not guarantee a blockbuster or viral hit. However, the barriers to starting or enhancing video communication with customers and new target groups, for Generations Y, Z, and beyond, are starting to come down. And this is a positive sign. 

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