Yes, I thought ‘Best B2B video guide for electronics marketers’ was a recklessly bold headline too. It might seem an audacious fanfare, but this blog will present some useful insights on video content in a fast-evolving business landscape.
So without further ado, and avoiding any further hyperbole, let’s ‘make like Amazon’ and deliver the goods.
B2B video content has always been pivotal
Having produced dozens of videos of all types for many companies, as well as hundreds of other campaigns to technical buyers, we’ve learned a thing or two about what works in B2B marketing. Here are some essential tips:
Phoseon’s modular UV LED sales video keeps messaging clear and punchy
- Keep things short. Time pressure for engineers hasn’t gone away just because many are now working from home, so keep messages concise. According to Animoto, two-thirds of consumers prefer a minute or less. In contrast, explainer/demonstration videos for engineers and recordings of webinars will be much longer, but should still be optimised (edited to remove any irrelevance or needless repetition) to maximise consumption.
- Keep things real. Engineers can smell a marketing ploy from many miles away, so it’s vital to retain authenticity and deploy peer-to-peer communication. But engineers aren’t a homogeneous group. Analyse the different personas you are addressing, and contrast the different goals, needs and communication habits of experienced engineers with those of younger professionals.
- Keep things creative. Generally speaking, engineers are problem-solvers, and they like creative ideas as much as the next person. However, these ideas should be backed up with real data and a degree of logic. Have fun in your video, but don’t lose your audience.
- Keep your focus on planning. Of course, this wouldn’t be a blog on B2B marketing without mentioning the 80:20 rule. When it comes to developing videos, success is rarely achieved without spending the vast majority of your time (yes, at least 80%) on planning (concept, brief, script, storyboard, etc).
- Keep track of URLs. Tracking will determine where traffic is coming from, and help you understand the effectiveness of your B2B video.
- Keep SEO in mind. Evaluate how the videos are described, tagged and subtitled when they are uploaded to YouTube so they can be found. There is additional guidance on this here.
A recent example of an animated explainer from Mouser produced by Publitek
Videos are tutorials that convert, not simply promos that preach
There is a tendency for B2B brands to use corporate promo videos as the go-to video for a product launch. If your business doesn’t yet have one in its armoury, you should consider producing it.
There is a good case to create them to provide a broad overview of your business or solutions, and Publitek has enjoyed developing many like this example. These productions are useful to introduce a brand or technology to customers in new markets, but they should mainly be regarded as curtain-raisers. More often than not, these videos will not deliver sales conversion.
An effective way to boost conversions is to add an explainer video to your landing page. Explainers are the most commonly created video type, in contrast to testimonials, sales promos and video ads. Research shows that four in every five people think such videos are helpful when making purchasing decisions, and they are at least four times more likely to watch a demo video than read about a product. In my experience, electronics professionals find white papers as useful, provided they are relevant and meaningful to them. Indeed, there is every reason to adapt white papers into ‘teaser’ explainer videos which link to the written article and associated data sheets as further remarketing content to promote conversion.
Within the explainers category, animation videos are the most popular format such as this. Given their abundance, these types of videos can seem outdated if not produced correctly. Whiteboard videos have also suffered from overuse, but if done well these videos can still be valuable for an engineering audience. To stand out, it is important to develop clear, concise and well-crafted storytelling with solid graphics. A hybrid of animation along with stock footage or live action is very effective. And in my experience, using employees (such as design engineers) adds authenticity, raises engagement and reduces production costs. What’s more, developing a series of videos and producing them in batches further reduces overheads and makes such projects viable.
B2B video content taken at trade shows can be repurposed
B2B video content can become a smart pivot when an exhibitor can’t attend a trade show in case it is cancelled or postponed.
Light + Building was one of this year’s trade show casualties
B2B video content can become a smart pivot when an exhibitor can’t attend a trade show in case it is cancelled or postponed. igus recently developed a virtual stand, which it would have assembled at this year’s Hanover Messe, and produced an accompanying video to enable customers to visit, but virtually. Let’s face it, many marketers are still feeling upset about binning months of design efforts for trade booths and collateral, so this option will hold tremendous appeal.
Another important factor for electronics marketers to consider is whether they can repurpose existing video content taken to use at shows. For example, a client which had produced silent animated videos to play on display screens at exhibitions dusted the video files from their archives and tasked Publitek to create new edits with a voiceover and soundtrack. With some small updates to product imagery, we had provided videos to be re-used for new campaigns quickly and cost-effectively.
Of course, even when events return to something resembling ‘normality’ in the future, social distancing measures in place in a ‘Covid World’ mean interviews like this one will not be conducted at such close quarters any time soon.
Video calls have improved since this parody a few years ago, or have they?
On-demand webinars are now B2B videos in disguise
Organised by media outlets or directly by businesses, webinars provide a chance to turn live webcasts into B2B videos for on-demand viewing.
In the past, many companies complained that they didn’t have enough time to do webinars. Today, companies are reaching out in droves to agencies such as ours to host or manage a series of webinars, and implement a strategy to promote them. Once recorded, they can be uploaded to a company’s YouTube or Vimeo account and serve as rich ‘evergreen content’.
If you’re uploading content, you’ll find many essential tips in our free-to-download ‘Simple Guide to Optimising Your YouTube Uploads’.
Electronics Weekly wasn’t late to the web TV channel party
More trade mags use TV channels, not simply a smattering of videos
Of course, many trade media outlets (such as Electronics Weekly) added a web TV channel over a decade ago. Now, an emerging trend is the scale at which trade media are delivering video content.
Of course, this has been partly due to publishers turning their own events (awards and expos) into virtual shows; it is noticeable that some publishers that were light on video content before are now rapidly transforming into online broadcasters. Given online video was already on the up (with advertising spend on them predicted to grow from $45 billion to $61 billion, according to Zenith in October 2019), it’s no surprise that the global pandemic has accelerated this rise.
Usually, publishers charged for hosting such video content, and many still do. But some media outlets are encouraging free placements (with advertising add-on options) to build their libraries and larger audiences. Once they have sufficient video content, it is reasonable to assume they will revert to ‘pay to play’ positioning. Indeed, some (like Embedded Computing Design) take full full control of video production to add revenue streams, support their own brand and implement quality control all in one go. Given this situation, you must evaluate the level of reach each media outlet can offer carefully. Producing your own B2B videos and then promoting them on trade media websites via web banners tends to deliver significant value. Publitek’s Advertising Team helps to analyse these types of options for our clients.
Videos can create new solutions, not simply support them
It is useful to think that videos can create demand for products that don’t even exist yet. Take, for example, Ford’s video ad promoting its Max motor vehicles.
There’s no need to drive around to put your baby to sleep
As part of a successful viral video campaign, the company developed a prototype smart crib called Max Motor Dreams to help put babies to sleep by gently rocking, making engine noises and lighting up to simulate a car journey. The response to the ad was so astounding, the company promised to put its invention into full-scale production.
While this is an example of a B2C video, this type of approach could help electronics marketers to position brands as pioneers or test the appetite for specific solutions before advancing on expensive R&D – albeit with poetic license, and so long as the company is able to truly deliver on its technology concept. We’ve already emphasised that electronics professionals enjoy thinking out of the box, so applying this level of creativity to a message about innovation could also reinforce brand loyalty among peers.
Best B2B video guide for electronics marketers
So there you have it. Ultimately, you (and possibly singer Tina Turner) will judge whether this guide was ‘simply the best’ B2B video marketing guide. If you would like any video content developed, watch our Publitek showreel or you can drop us a line. We’d be delighted to hear what you have planned.
If you’ve reached this point, and you’re still hungry for extra guidance, download Publitek’s Fundamental Guide to Creating Video for Engineers.