B2B Marketing Meets Video: Insights from 21 Marketers

Just over half (52%) of B2B marketers are now using video, a 27% increase over the year before. However, that means nearly half of B2B marketers are not using video yet.

Last week for #B2Bchat I moderated a discussion on video in B2B marketing, including why B2B marketers should care, how to get started, production quality and tools and resources. A summary transcript from the discussion is below and is worth reviewing, there were a number of insights as well as individuals in the discussion worth connecting with.

Here are a few of my key takeaways from the discussion:

1. Quick B2B Video Wins

The group identified a number of potential quick wins, many of them are included in the Storify summary below. Here are two of the easiest opportunities for many B2B marketers to execute on:

  • Repurpose existing content. Examples include slides using a platform like Brainshark and creating short videos based on the content of existing blog posts.
  • Make video part of your content schedule, similar to blog posts and articles. Once you are committed, you will see opportunities for video the same way you identify opportunities for blog posts and other content.

2. Production Quality for B2B Videos

Top notch production and creative quality is not critical, however with the number of relatively low cost applications available today, there is no excuse for production values that detract from your message. Fuzzy images and poor audio are out and you can even improve on talking head videos without significant expense.

Hardware and software recommendations from participants are included below under Recommended Tools and Products.

3. Ideal Length of B2B Videos

Short. Videos should be as brief as possible while conveying the message. While acceptable video length definitely varies with the purpose of the video, the recommendations rallied in support of limiting videos to two minutes as a general rule of thumb.

James Lauffer (@jameslauffer) summed it up best:

4. Recommended Tools and Products

There were a number of hardware, software and service recommendations during the course of the discussion. Rather than include all in Storify, the recommendations are consolidated and organized here. Recent prices have been included where available.

Kodak Zi8 Video Camera: $419
Gorillapod Tripod: $14
Samson USB Microphones: Multiple options available

Final Cut Pro: $299
Adobe Creative Suite: $1,490 for Mac or $1,375 for PC
Camtasia Studio: $290
Audacity: Free

Hosted Software or Platforms for Creation and Production
BrainShark, Animoto, YouTube, LiveStream, GoToWebinar, MeetingBurner

Platforms for Distribution
YouTube, Vimeo, Tout, Viddy

Amazon links are affiliate links.

You can read the transcript below, or if Storify is loading slowly, you can view it on the Storify site here.

Join the Discussion

Join #B2Bchat every Thursday at 8:00 PM Eastern time on Twitter. Follow @B2B_chat for announcements of each week’s topic.

A summary of the discussion is included below. You can carry on the discussion in the comments or share your thoughts with me on Twitter (@wittlake).

Video in B2B Marketing: #B2Bchat Recap

Summary of B2Bchat discussion on 4/5/2012.

Storified by Eric Wittlake · Tue, Apr 10 2012 02:32:51

Many B2B marketers still don’t use video. What are key benefits to adding video to the content mix?
@b2b_chat A1 I think someone once said that if a picture is worth a thousand words, video is worth millions #b2bchatSched.org
@b2b_chat To me video is becoming a necessary feature of a multi media campaign, but short!!! #B2bchatMatt Salt
A1. Trend is clearly moving towards video. According to a CMI report, it is the #2 area for increasing investment. #b2bchatEric Wittlake
@b2b_chat A1 the other big benefit is that video is easier to consume. It is passive which is gr8 for the ppl who read all day #b2bchatSched.org
@b2b_chat A1. According to the Eccola report, video is the #3 format buyers use (behind papers and spec sheets) #b2bchatEric Wittlake
@sched The beautifully written word is still king amongst marketing tools .. #B2bchatMatt Salt
@sched Coming from a publishing association, we feel the written word still holds strong-can be ENHANCED by other platforms #b2bchatSIPA
How should marketers that are not using video today get started? What will give them a quick win and help solidify support in their organizations?
A2: Converting effective PPT decks to video is quick and easy-many tools available. #b2bchatMiles Austin
A1: Short form video works best – under 2 minutes is a key goal #b2bchatDanny Hanssel
@b2b_chat Do not think you need to go studio quality … A flip camera and relaxed presenter can be really powerful #B2bchatMatt Salt
@b2b_chat A2 Create YouTube channel #b2bchatJames Lauffer
A2: Use a decent camera and good lighting…do NOT use webcam #b2bchatDanny Hanssel
@b2b_chat @dannyhanssel And a mic! #b2bchatSIPA
@b2b_chat A2 a quick win would be a brief video discussing a blog post or doing a screen recorded interview e.g. over skype #b2bchatSched.org
A2: A great way to start & get "viral" is using social video apps like Tout and Viddy – produces shorts that shares to social #b2bchatSIPA
Q2. We use video to highlight people within our organization and our clients – Accessibility, Audience, Amplifiers… #b2bchatLiam J Bayer, Sr
A2: Tools like #Animoto can also be an easy starting point putting photos & images into video format #b2bchatMiles Austin
#b2bchat Q2 I think a good way to start is with an animation, or maybe a eye catcher that enhances the brand and it’s qualitiesRomano Azumont
A2: Also having a scheduled short video produced every week as part of overall social strategy helps fit it into your routine #b2bchatSIPA
You can do a long vid, people will watch or listen if they know they will get value, quick synopsis at the beg will do the trick #b2bchatBrandie McCallum
@sched You can do a 30 minute video. Just make sure anything you want some to see is in the first 2 minutes! #b2bchatJames Lauffer
Companies like @Eloqua have created some excellent B2B videos with high production values. Is there still an opportunity for B2B marketers with lower cost videos? 
A3: Don’t need Hollywood production values. But good lighting & sound and a steady image are requirements #b2bchatDanny Hanssel
A3: I welcome higher quality production, but still accepting of lower quality. Will we still accept lower quality in a year? #b2bchatMiles Austin
@dannyhanssel Production quality needs to be consistent with brand image #b2bchatJames Lauffer
Pack quality, content and engagement into 10 minutes. For training, etc. extend. #b2bchatLois Martin
Compelling content is the key regardless of format. Different formats for different audiences – all reinforcing your brand. #b2bchatKimbra Fox
@b2b_chat Agreed … If its coming from a human, it can look natural, not staged, I.e. not studio quality, perfect hair etc #B2bchatMatt Salt
content is king…and THEN production value…if you have both, you’re the king! #b2bchatDavid Krawczuk
I think low production value=authentic is a myth #B2bchattraci browne
If you’re B2B and recording from home, rethink. There are many up and coming companies willing to work with you for exposure. #b2bchatLois Martin
@LoisMarketing has a great point! I also use barter to buy studio time from video producers…better results and no cash cost! #b2bchatDanny Hanssel
So you have a video. How do you make certain your target actually sees your videos?  
A4: My highest return is when included in the Newsletter to subscribers #b2bchatMiles Austin
#b2bchat Q4 first of all and a must is social media, YouTube, Facebook and vitalize it with twitterRomano Azumont
A4 I think you’ve got to have a youtube channel for easy search…make it possible for people to stumble on it…then embed #B2bchattraci browne
A4 key word tagging sooooooo important #B2bchattraci browne
B2B? Through your communication channels — email, SoMe, include your YouTube channel in all of your correspondence for example #b2bchatLois Martin
A4: Also consider guest video speakers with a strong network to leverage their connections #sharethelove #b2bchatSIPA
A4: I use Twitter and LinkedIn to promote my vids on YouTube and Vimeo #b2bchatDanny Hanssel
You have to leave "breadcrumb" trails from everywhere your customers might be – Just make it easy for them to find #b2bchatDavid Krawczuk
A4: Experimenting with video hosted on AmazonS3 & played on our site. Provides control, distribution, & playback is better. #b2bchatMiles Austin
A4 In addition to social & web, video can be used at events, onsite, as part of campaigns & for Sales teams to leverage #b2bchatKimbra Fox
A4 Best sales tool ever is video of customers talking about why they bought #b2bchatMaureen Blandford
What are the biggest barriers to companies using more video in B2B?
A5 Barriers: tools and bandwidth #b2bchatMaureen Blandford
@wittlake A5 prioritization. IME it takes a lot of time to produce videos #b2bchatSched.org
@dannyhanssel A5 relevance #B2bchatMatt Salt
A5: Driving the right senior execs to visit site w/ ur vids! #b2bchatDanny Hanssel
Video is the easy part. Getting it seen takes work. #b2bchatSteve Garfield
A5: We all SAY that we’re going to do it, but actually starting to do it…well… #b2bchatSIPA
@b2b_chat A5 1.On-screen talent 2.Bandwith 3.Fear #b2bchatJames Lauffer
@b2b_chat A5. Biggest barrier for using more video in B2B …budgets #b2bchatKate Williams
A5. Editing and File Size. #b2bchatPatty Swisher
A5: mine is bandwidth. Streaming in HD just sucks the pipe dry. #b2bchatMiles Austin
@b2b_chat Streaming for Live Events is what I am referring to. #CreativeLive is just killing it for their market! #b2bchatMiles Austin
A5 biggest barrier…coming up with something to say your customer will find relevant #B2bchattraci browne
A5: Production, editing, time – we started one once & by the time we got it close to finished, 2 out of the 5 people left co. #b2bchatAmy Clausen
A5. Sometimes it’s a leap of faith that your vision will get executed correctly in video. #b2bchatKimbra Fox
If you want to do anything…from a blog…to a website…you have to DEDICATE to it – time and resource that will get it done! #b2bchatDavid Krawczuk
A5. Reources. #b2bchatLiam J Bayer, Sr
What are your favorite tools for video and why?
(specific hardware, software and service recommendations from the discussion have been consolidated here: http://b2bdigital.net/2012/04/09/b2b-marketing-video-insights/)
A6 when shooting at events…something to reflect light onto subject…could just be piece of white poster board…shadows bad! #B2bchattraci browne
@tracibrowne Lighting and sound are the main things people screw up! #b2bchatDanny Hanssel
Can you guys just turn on a web can and record some video? It’s so easy. #b2bchatSteve Garfield
A6: Brainshark is all about easily creating on-demand video content that you can easily share and, most importantly, track #b2bchatBrainshark
@MaureenB2B If you aren’t good on camera, try a screencast. #b2bchatSteve Garfield
A6: iMovie – Quick, simple, integrated! You can get a movie out in no time – and look good doing it! #b2bchatDavid Krawczuk
@MaureenB2B @stevegarfield I really like Camtasia by @techsmith great screencasting & DIY tools for amateurs to make pro video #b2bchatSched.org
A6. My favorite tool is Final Cut Pro because of the professional level quality one can produce. #b2bchatLiam J Bayer, Sr
A6: Use freelance videographers…they can do hi-qual prof. videos under 2 min. for $200 to $400 #b2bchatDanny Hanssel
@sched I use Craigslist, elance, local classifieds, LinkedIn and Youtube to find freelance video folks #b2bchatDanny Hanssel
@dannyhanssel Also check out @solvate – they do the screening for you #b2bchatSIPA
Side discussions worth sharing:

Video as art versus function
@KimbraFox re: video as art, I like the end result but I HATE producing videos. It takes forever. Much easier to produce blog posts #b2bchatSched.org
@KimbraFox Video doesn’t have to be art, just real. #b2bchatSteve Garfield
On the contrary Video production is an ART much like photography.. 😉 @stevegarfield @KimbraFox #b2bchatDuane Hogg
@stevegarfield Agree "Real" is good for client testimonials & tours. B2B videos may need some extra zing to go viral #b2bchatKimbra Fox
The voice and face of your brand, is it ready for video?
@sched If you are the brand and voice of your business and "aren’t good on video" there may be a bigger problem. #b2bchatJames Lauffer
@jameslauffer re: bad on video, totally agree if you are the brand and you suck on video, then you’re doing more harm than good #b2bchatSched.org
@milesaustin Just saying that if brand and voice of the business can’t come across on video, the brand and voice need work #b2bchatJames Lauffer

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