This article was originally published at Forbes.
Why are so many B2B marketing videos unwatchable? It’s not that B2B products are uninteresting. The problems they address often are as dramatic as any new-and-improved laundry detergent.
And it’s not that B2B audiences enjoy bad videos. But we still see the same types of B2B videos over and over: A shot of the sign outside the company headquarters, some footage of the offices, the factory assembly line and four minutes of a static head shot in which some executive explains the features of the new product in mind-numbing detail. This needs to stop.
B2B marketing videos can be every bit as good as anything else published on YouTube or Facebook. And given the weakness of most of the competition, an excellent B2B video is really going to shine. Here are seven starting points for excellence in B2B videos:
Think about the target audience.
This seems obvious, yet it’s often ignored so maybe it isn’t so apparent. When a B2B video bores its audience, the problem almost always has its roots in the failure to think about its target audience. It’s really helpful to put some faces and names to the audience: Not only the company’s marketers, but the video production team should be able to talk in real terms about some of the people in the target audience.
Understand the platform where the video is likely to be seen, and customize the video for that platform.
If your audience is likely to watch the video on Facebook, a vertical or a square frame works best. For YouTube or a desktop, a horizontal frame works best.
Develop a script that tells a story and resonates with the people in the target audience.
We talk a lot about storytelling and here is how it should work: We meet the protagonist. The protagonist faces a challenge, overcomes it and then things are never the same. That’s the story arc of great novels and great movies, and it will be the arc of great B2B videos too. The use of a case study — a customer who used the product to solve a problem — is an easy tool to create a strong story.
Sell benefits rather than features.
Again, this one comes from the second week of Marketing 101. And it’s often forgotten when B2B videos are created. We ask a lot from customers when we tell them only that the product incorporates our great new Quistor technology. We help them when we tell them that the technology boosts product reliability by 118 percent. Products incorporate features, but customers buy benefits.
Tell one story at a time.
The worst cost-saving strategy ever is the creation of a single video that delivers multiple messages. We waste viewers’ time when we ask them to sort through a bunch of content that isn’t interesting in search of the bit that they’ll find useful. If necessary, create multiple episodes and allow each episode to tell one story about the solution of one problem.
Give viewers a reason to share your video.
Help them learn something about the industry. Show them how new products are changing their world. Provide a laugh. Think about the content that would cause them to forward a link to their co-worker in the next office.
Be clear with your call to action.
This starts with your own understanding of the outcome you expect from the video. Once you understand what you want viewers to do after watching the video, don’t be shy about telling them, too. Give them the tools they need to act in the ways that you want them to act.
A tight focus on the target audience and their needs always will lead to more effective B2B marketing videos. The best part of all? You’ll never again need to put your audience through that torture of watching yet another talking head.
SEE ALSO: 5 Keys to Better Product Demos
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