Top 3 Ways to Use Video to Fuel Your B2B Marketing Strategy



Tyler Lessard is the Chief Marketing Officer at Vidyard, where he’s responsible for driving Vidyard’s global marketing and partnership strategies, as well as establishing thought leadership in the areas of video and content marketing, data-driven marketing, sales and marketing alignment, and customer experience.

Tyler joins Renee Yeager to share his Top 3 Ways to Use Video to Fuel Your B2B Marketing Strategy. During their discussion, Tyler breaks down how to build awareness and interest using top of the funnel videos, how to fuel demand gen efforts in the middle of the funnel to quality and progress opportunities, and how to unleash the power of video to empower your sales team. Renee and Tyler also discuss how to incorporate video as a way to build more personal connections and stand out from the competition.

Renee Yeager: Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Top 3 for Tech Marketers Podcast. Joining me today is Tyler Lessard. Tyler is the Chief Marketing Officer at Vidyard, a pioneer and leading global provider of video marketing and video-analytics solutions to the enterprise. Prior to joining Vidyard, Tyler was the Chief Marketing Officer at Fixmo and Vice President of Global Alliances at Blackberry. Tyler is a passionate marketing product and business development executive with over 15 years of experience in high-growth technology markets. Welcome, Tyler.

Tyler Lessard: Hey. Great. Thank you very much. Really a pleasure to be here, Renee, and hello to everyone listening.

Renee: I’m super excited about our conversation today because we’re talking about video, and marketers love video, right? [Laughter]

Tyler: Video. Who doesn’t love video?

Renee: [Laughter]

Tyler: Yeah, and even more important, Renee, is that our audiences love video, not just the marketers but that our audiences do. Yeah, it’s always a fun topic.

Renee: Absolutely. Today, we’re gonna talk about the top three ways to use video to fuel your day-to-day marketing strategies. Our audience is made up of day-to-day marketers, so I know they’ll take an interest in this.

The first strategy you have for using video to fuel your day-to-day marketing is building awareness and interest with top of the funnel video. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Tyler: Yeah. It’s the area most people tend to first think about when they think about how to use video, whether it’s in B2C or B2B or whatever type of business that you’re in. It’s about leveraging the power of video as a visual medium as a way to build an emotional connection and is a way to stand out in a highly, cluttered market that we’re in these days.

We are seeing more and more companies in B2B markets thinking about how can video help us build brand awareness, how can it help us cut through the noise on social networks, on campaigns that we’re doing, on our inbound strategies to get people to pay attention, but to pull them into our stories. I think what really excites me about using video at the top of the funnel in B2B is it gives us an opportunity to really establish a personality for our company to be a little bit more fun or interesting and to start off by establishing a bit more of an emotional connection to audiences. Which frankly, B2C companies have known forever, right, and they’ve always invested in very interesting, fun content for things like TV commercials and others. I think us B to B marketers can learn a lot from that and think about ways that we can use video to not only build awareness of our brands and our companies, but of all the other types of programs that we’re creating as marketers.

For example, we don’t just do videos. We do eBooks and whitepapers and infographics and all sorts of other great content. Video is actually a great way to build awareness of those. It can be used as a fun technique to promote lots of different things that you do as a business. Again, I think it’s really becoming a great way for B2B brands to cut through the noise, to stand out and to get people to lean into their story.

Renee: We have really been looking at this closely with our clients in our agency and have noticed a dramatic difference in content absorption when video’s included. Hands down, it has made a huge difference to the point where we actually have one client that’s looking to incorporate video into almost every communication that they do to customers. It’s pretty amazing.

Tyler: Yeah, and I think—just to tap into that, I agree. We see many of the same things. I think that a lot of marketers still think about video as its own beast. Right? Either I’m gonna do a video campaign or I’m not. I really wanted to just reemphasize that last point you made, which is video can become a part of the other programs that you’re doing. It doesn’t have to just be a standalone. Yeah, we’re gonna produce this big video and do this.

I actually think in B2B it’s more effective when it just becomes a part of the other kinds of campaigns that you’re doing. Back to my point earlier of you may be doing another content campaign with some other call to action, or it may be a product launch, or it may be something else where just adding video into the mix of those campaigns, not necessarily always as the hero, but as a complimentary tactic can go a long way. It can help you, again, bring in new audiences or just reengage those that you already have.

Renee: Yeah. When you think about it that way, it kind of changes how you plan to do the video. Right? If you think about leveraging it as fast as you can, we have the typical 90 second to 2 minute video. How can we create smaller segments of that that can be used in social that can be leveraged on e-mail more efficiently? I think it’s keeping it in the forefront of your mind as part of the marketing mix can really be a game changer.

Tyler: Yeah. Absolutely. It, also, changes the way you think about your creation and production strategy of that content. It’s, again, if you think about—if you only think of video as like, “Okay. We’re gonna do two big brand videos this year, and that’s our video strategy.” You’re going into that with that mentality of, “Okay. I’ve got $50,000 of budget I’m gonna put towards these big brand videos.” That’s well and good, but the majority of the content we’re seeing B2B companies now create falls more into that second or third tier, if you will, where it’s more about the value and quality of the message and the story and the content rather than the production quality.

It doesn’t always have to be, “Yeah, we’re gonna get an agency and we’re gonna get drones and we’re gonna do this big thing.” In fact, in many cases, it’s the opposite. It’s getting people from your company on camera. Very authentic ways to educate the market on certain topics. Again, it could be getting customers of yours on camera in very simple ways, and it doesn’t always have to be big production.

When you have that mentality of, “Video doesn’t always have to be the hero. It can be a way to compliment the other programs I’m doing.” It helps ’cause it can mentally lower that bar of what you think has to go into production. That’s how you start to scale your use of it and find out what works and what doesn’t.

Renee: I know that you do that at Vidyard, right? Do you have any examples of maybe clients who really have success using Vidyard or how they connected with the audience doing something interesting, a little out-of-the-box thinking?

Tyler: Yeah. I think at the top of the funnel, what we find a lot of our clients are having work really well for them, particularly in B2B, is humor. Right? It’s one of those things where it’s a universal trait. We all love to laugh. In B2B it’s still few and far between when you get a marketing message from a B2B company that’s geared more towards that very approachable, fun tone. It still really stands out these days.

We see them doing it, again, whether maybe it’s a product launch where it’s a bit of a fun take. I actually remember one that I absolutely loved, which was Hootsuite when they did a take on making those mean tweets, where they did this one video where they were launching a new version of their product, and they decided to read all these really negative reviews of the previous version. They were all things they were solving. Right?

Right to the point where they got their CEO Ryan Holmes on camera reading these social shares, these tweets from people totally ripping into the product. Right? He played it up super well. Right? He reads it on camera. He looks up, gives that weird, funny look that you would expect. Getting like a late-night comedy skit. It was this really great example where you’re watching it, and, of course, you can’t help but laugh when these employees are reading mean tweets about their own products, you can’t help but—right?

It’s so relatable that just the idea and whatnot. Then, of course, the twist at the end where it’s like, “Okay, guys. We’re solving these, right?” Then you get that call to action, which is a very quick tease of the new version of the product. It’s just one simple example where—it was just one that I remember off the top of my head because it was just so fun, it was so unexpected and they did it on essentially pretty much a zero-dollar budget. It was all internal employees, and it was just their time to film it and to push it out there.

Renee: You know what I love about that? It’s so consumable, and you would look for the next one, right?

Tyler: Oh, absolutely.

Renee: It has [unintelligible 8:52] engagement. That’s fantastic. What a great one.

Tyler: Yep. Yep. It really was.

Renee: Your second strategy to use video to fuel B2B marketing is around demand-generation efforts, so middle funnel qualify and progress opportunities for the funnel. Let’s talk a little bit about that.

Tyler: Yeah. This might be a copout for my three ways to move you through the different stages of the funnel. I think it’s really important to frame the conversation up around that because, again, that first way, top of funnel, I think is—it’s not that surprising, but some of the tactics might be.

If you move to the second one, which is really what I think of as a B2B marketer, the middle of the funnel. This is all about how to do you activate, how to you nurture, how do you engage, how do you educate that audience that you’ve started to build, to turn them from people who have shown some interest, to people that have genuine demands for what you do. Right? I think at this stage of the buying journey, this is all about education.

Again, at the top of the funnel, it’s largely about interest building and standing out. In the middle of the funnel, now, it’s largely about educating that audience. It’s taking quick moments when you can to sprinkle in educational information. We’re all used to building e-mail nurturers that have whitepapers as calls to action or things like that or doing blog posts on educational topics to nurture our base and to make sure that we’re continuing to educate them.

Again, we could talk about the psychology of video for hours, but a lot of it boils down to the fact that we learn best from visual and audible information. Right? Our brain processes video 60,000 times faster than text. We process, again, visual and audible information in long-term memory as opposed to text we process in short-term memory. There’s so much more information that you can pack into a two or three minute video than you can the equivalent of text-based content.

Video is such a powerful medium for educating people for a number of reasons. I don’t think, again, as marketers we think about it or we use it enough in that way. We always rely on the good old eBook or whitepaper of written blog posts. All those are still important, but to compliment those with video-based content, whether they’re whiteboard videos explaining a topic or we do a chalk-talk series where, again, it’s myself or somebody else from our company on a weekly basis getting up in front of a chalkboard and talking through for five or six minutes a very specific topic that we often hear as a question from our audience to, again, really explain best practices and things like that.

There’s lots of different ways that you can use video in that education layer, whether it be stuff that’s going broadly out on your digital channels, stuff that you’re including in your nurture programs for those, again, who are in your database that you’re continuing to nurture through the buyer’s journey.

Or even, again, for those that are starting conversations with the sales team, but they’re not, yet, ready to go into that buy decision. That team needs, “What is that content that they’re sharing to help educate that audience and, again, warm them up for what it is that you do?”

Renee: Do you have any best practices for our listeners around types of video content that work best at different stages of the funnel? You mentioned white-boarding videos. We know the normal 90 second to 2 minute longer-form video. What else would you throw in?

Tyler: Yeah. We do. We’ve spent a lot of time on this and trying to understand from the market and from our clients. What are; A, the different kinds of videos people are using at these different stages. Then, also, based on that, what should their expectations be in terms of production quality, cost, how long should those videos be? Right?

Because generally speaking, as you move through the buyer’s journey, top of the funnel is typically higher-production value and perhaps cost because, again, you’re typically creating something that’s going out their broader with your brand. They’re shorter. Right? They’re usually 60 to 45-second teaser videos to pull people in. Again, you’re usually gonna use an agency or if you have a good in-house production team to create those.

As you move into the middle of the funnel with more educational content, right, this is where content can start to get a little bit longer in length. Right? It’s still good to keep it to a few minutes, but there is educational content. You’ve got a bit more liberty there. The production quality doesn’t need to be as high. In fact, at this stage, authenticity trumps production quality. This is where you want to have an authentic message. You want to have real people delivering real information.

These are the kinds of videos you can absolutely create with an iPhone and a microphone or it could be a DSLR camera that you have. Or, frankly, it could be a screen capture or your webcam and that sort of stuff still works at this stage.

Actually, if you’re listening, if you Google Vidyard 12 Types of Video, you’ll find an article in the infographic that we did, which summarizes some of our ideas on each of those stages of the funnel. What types of videos? What kind of blanks and what kind of budget you would expect for them.

Renee: That’s awesome. I know that, when you spend a lot of money producing a video, even if it’s a demo video, there’s an inclination to want to put that front and center.

Tyler: Right.

Renee: It’s almost like you’re bombarding people with this really deep content when they haven’t had an opportunity to get familiar with your brand or your value prop yet. I think that what you said there is really great advice.

Renee: Yeah. Yeah. You need to be smart about how is your map. It’s like any content-marketing exercise. Right? You’ve got to be smart about who’s my audience? What stage of the buying journey is it intended for? What’s my call to action? What’s my goal? Right? All those things have to go into any video that you’re producing, and those things are gonna dictate, again, to some degree in the style of the video and the length and the format and whatnot.

Even, yeah, mid-funnel and bottom-funnel. Some of those you are gonna create higher production value. They may cost you more. Again, the mentality of, “Oh, I spent $10,000 on this, I have to get 1 million views.” I mean, that’s just ridiculous because your goal as a B2B company should never be to get views. I’m gonna put it out there right now and say, “View counts don’t count.” When it comes to B2B, you’re trying to generate leads, pipeline and revenue.

You spend $10,000 to produce a video, and you’re using it strategically at the middle of the funnel to educate two or three hundred hot leads and a higher percentage of those end up converting, and your ROI is apparent. All the views you want, if you were able to influence or help close 5 or 10 more deals because of that video, your ROI has come through depending on what your business is. That’s the mentality you have to think about is, again, what are the goals and then how can you make sure that you’re building the content to drive that action, and you’re using it properly to make sure that it’s being the most effective.

Renee: Yeah. That’s really great advice. Your third strategy is to unleash the power of video on to your sales team or to empower your sales team. Let’s talk a little bit about that because I know, as marketers, we tend to be—I’ll say this in the nicest possible way, and I can say it because I am a marketer. We tend to be controlling, right?

Tyler: Yep.

Renee: We want to control the message, and we want to control what happens between sales and the end customer for the brand value. Right?

Tyler: Yep.

Renee: How have you seen this working, and what are some best practices here?

Tyler: Yeah. I’ll preface this by saying, as a marketer myself, I’m in a world here where I’m very much a pipeline and revenue-driven marketer. My team’s goals are all centered around how much qualified pipeline we help to develop and how much revenue we ultimately influence. Because of that, and I expect many of you are either in or will be going soon into marketing teams that have that mentality, it’s not just about the number of leads. It is actually about how much pipeline we’re generating, which makes us focused, not only on quality but, to me, that also means we have to do everything we can to help our sales team convert those leads into opportunities and into revenue.

I think for us and hopefully, again, many of you out there, you’re thinking about how can I not only generate all these great leads, but are there things I can do to help the sales team progress deals faster, to be more efficient with the leads I’m handing them, or to ultimately just boosts the conversion rates of what we’re passing over. When you’re in that mentality, you have to have that sales-enablement and sales-effectiveness hat on.

There’s lots of different ways in which sales teams can leverage video to do just that, to better engage their perspective buyers, to move them through the buyers journey faster. The reality is, in most cases, they’re just—it goes with a lot of content that we produce as marketers, they’re not using it.

Video’s even worse than other types of content because most of us, we create these videos for campaigns or the customer stories or things like that. They’re either kind of used, like a one-and-done. Then where do they end up? They end up on a YouTube retirement home somewhere. Right?

Renee: [Laughter]

Tyler: I’ve got this YouTube channel where all of my old videos are, and my expectation is like, “Oh, that’s where my sales reps are gonna go find them if they need them.” I don’t have anywhere on my website where I have a repository of these, and I may not even have an internal-content-management system where all these things sit and are available to my sales team. I say that videos are often worse than other types of other content because with eBooks and whitepapers, PDFs, things like that, at least you usually have maybe some shared folders where these documents sit and things like that. Video is hosted in the cloud and you may not have that same thing.

Long story short, I often find that we forget to make sure that our sales team; A, has easy, discoverable access to the great videos we’ve created as a marketing team. I’ll reiterate on things like customer explainers, they might product-demo videos, they might be customer stories, they might be competitive videos. There’s a whole range. They might be webinars that we’ve done in the past that, again, now who knows where you’ll find them. I think idea number one is think about how you can make sure your sales team knows about all those great videos that you have and that they have an easy, repeatable way to access those videos and to share them directly with prospects.

Of course, like any other piece of content, your coaching them on how and where and when to use them, mapping them back to buyer personas, things like that, so they know that, “Great. I’ve got a customer in financial services, they’re a midsize organization, and they’re main pay point is this, here is the three videos that are gonna help you progress this.” There’s a customer story. There’s a product demo, whatever it is. I think that’s the starting point. That’s part of getting more value out of that content you probably already created.

Then there’s two other things that I think about with video and sales. The second then is actually asking your sales team, and I know for us marketers this can be hard, but asking the sales team, “What new content would actually most help you in the next quarter progress or close some deals.” Right? “Are there some objections that you’re often coming up against?” Again, some teams do this, some don’t. I think the better marketing teams do this. They sit down with their sales team, and they’re like, “What are the top three objections you’re facing, and then how can we develop some content to support those?” It might be, “I’ll write a blog post to answer this question, and anytime somebody has it, send them to that blog post.”

What I’ll do is I’ll record—I mentioned that we do chalk talks. I’ll record a chalk-talk video, which takes me a few hours to script it and to draw up the chalkboard and then about 30 minutes to get a recording that I’m happy with. It’s really no different from writing a blog post. I’ll record a chalk talk on a certain topic. It might be how to boost your SEO performance, and I’ll record that. Now, not only does it potentially go out on our blog or other places, but I make sure our sales team has one-click access to be able to grab that and send it out. It’s back to the first point, but the idea there is, are there new videos the sales team could use that are really gonna help them progress deals.

So often I’ll hear that. I’ll, also, hear customer stories where they’ll often say, “You know what? I really need a great customer video of somebody in this market,” or something like that. Those help us prioritize new videos we create. Maybe I’ll give my third idea on this, and then we can [unintelligible 21:28] a little bit.

The third idea, then, is helping your sales team and coaching them on how to actually record and send personal-video messages as part of their outreach and their prospecting. This is something we’ve seen particularly with sales development.

If you’re in a B2B organization that has an inside-sales or sales-development team that’s handling your leads, having your reps, instead of, if you pass them a lead, and they’re like, “Great. I’m gonna send this great e-mail template that says, ‘I saw you did this on my website. I’d love to chat.’” The thing that nobody ever responds to. Well, what if instead of that as a follow-up, they record a quick video message where they actually did a screen capture with their face in the corner but the screen capture had that guide that they downloaded that’s familiar to them, and they were actually pointing at it and going, “I see you downloaded this guide right here. I thought I’d highlight a couple of key takeaways, and I’d love to discuss further how we can help you address some of these challenges identified in this document.”

When somebody gets a little video in their inbox of a real human talking to them about the real guide they downloaded, we tend to see much higher response rates and click-through rates because it’s not the same old templated, text-based e-mail. It stands out and it works. For me, as a marketer, it gets me excited because the sales team who’s handling my leads are suddenly having more conversations, they’re having more productive conversations and they’re more likely to convert them into an opportunity.

Renee: Yeah. I love that. We have some firsthand experience, here, using that, and it’s fantastic. One example was someone that went dark on us for a bit, and we sent that video out, and got an instant response. I mean, within 15 minutes. [Laughter]

Tyler: I hear that all the time. It’s funny. That is the one thing I hear all the time is the dark-deal-revival video. Where it’s somebody that went dark, and, yeah, we sent them e-mails, and then they never responded, and then I recorded.

Renee: Yeah.

Tyler: A big part to that, I mean, us as marketers can appreciate the power of empathy. I think a big part of that is you put yourself on—the tool I assume that you guys use is Vidyard GoVideo, which we’re very proud of as a product of ours. The idea of, “I can just literally hit a little button in my browser, record by webcam and say a message and then send it.”

The fact that you can get your face on camera, and I think a lot of that has to do with the empathy. When someone actually sees you land in their inbox and it’s actually you on camera and there’s that association of, “Oh, crap. This is a real person. I’ve got to actually respond to them.” Right? It instills that emotion. I think it’s so different from a text-based e-mail landing in their inbox. I think that’s why it’s so effective for things like that of the dark-deal revival. I hate to say it, but you play off of their guilt a little bit, and you get that human connection. It gets you back in the conversation.

Renee: I think that’s so true. I was thinking when we did it that it was just the perception that we went to this extreme to record a personal video for them.

Tyler: Yep.

Renee: Which the tool is fantastic, and it took seconds to do it really. It made this appearance that we really went above and beyond. It turned out to be a great tool for us.

Tyler: Yep.

Renee: Do you have any best practices or tips that you would give a sales team or even a marketing team that’s enabling their sales team to create these personalized videos, about how to record them? Is there anything you’ve found that works best?

Tyler: Yeah. A few tips. First of all, you have to make it—this is probably obvious—but you have to make it dead simple. The idea of recording a video, sending it to somebody isn’t new. For a sales rep in the old world, how would you do that, right? You’re at your desktop, and you’d go, “Okay. I’m gonna open Quick Time or iMovie or something, and I’m gonna record. Then I’ve got an MP4 file and I’m gonna upload it somewhere, and it just didn’t work.”

A, you’ve got to make it simple. That was when we built the Vidyard GoVideo app. That was priority number one. How do you make it literally two clicks to record and send a video, and you’re not dealing with video files and things like that. You’ve got to make it easy and make it integrated with their daily workflows. That’s, also, the idea of, “I can record right from my Chrome browser and then, inside of Gmail or Outlook, I can just hit a button to embed the thumbnail image and send it, and I don’t need to worry about anything else.” Number one is make it easy.

Number two is—and this is, again, probably obvious—practice and have fun with it because for a lot of people it’s new. They sometimes find it a little bit intimidating or they’re like, “I don’t like to be on camera.” The reality is, when it works, it really works. If you want it to work for you, you have to try, you have to get good at it and you have to let your guard down.

It’s very akin to—it’s like having a personal conversation with somebody. Right? Don’t be too formal with it. Be yourself. Be human. Be vulnerable. Right? Don’t worry if you stutter over a word or something. A lot of the value of it is that personal message, it’s the direct message, it’s the humanity of it. I think it’s like don’t overthink it, don’t over script it. Us marketers have a tendency to do that. “Here Syl 26:54. Here’s your template. Read this script every time you hit record.” That’s not gonna go well. I’ll tell you right now, it’s not gonna end well.

Renee: [Laughter]

Tyler: Yes, you can give them tips on, “Here’s some ideas on what to say and how to do it.” Ultimately, you have to give them some freedom to let their personalities out, to have some fun with it and to do what they would normally do if they were actually in a human face-to-face conversation, which is let them out a little bit.

I think, also, using it internally really helps. Send videos to internal colleagues just to practice it out. Right? Instead of typing a long e-mail to respond to something, record a quick video and send it. Just things like that that get you into the habit of doing it can go a long way and just get people comfortable with it as a mechanism for communicating.

Renee: Yeah. You’re right. If it’s over produced, over scripted or the setting is—I think it looks too formal. It looks too planned. It needs to look more impromptu in the sales cycle.

Tyler: Yeah. Yeah. I think it’s, yeah, there’s so much value in that. A lot of this—I mean, a lot of the things that we talked about here, the different ways of using video top, mid, bottom of funnel, whether it’s marketing or sales, so much of this is underpinned in bringing a face back to your brand, more humanized communications.

So much of this comes back to the point of we over rotated on digital and mass communications. We abused the heck out of marketing automation tools where, now, we’re almost addicted to templates and scale automation. A lot of this stuff with video, I get excited about because it brings us back to that more direct, more human mode of communicating.

It brings a lot of the emotion back, and it allows us to, again, connect with people. Even if it’s not a one-to-one conversation, again, like video, whether it’s something you’re sending out on mass or doing one-to-one, it gives you that opportunity to create a more emotional connection with audiences and kind of get back what we had 20, 30 years ago when you actually had to meet people face-to-face and have conversations. That’s the stuff that gets me excited about this to bring that back and help companies reinvigorate themselves with that idea of connecting with people in more personal ways.

Renee: That’s so great. I ask all of my guests a bonus question. My question for you is, what’s your favorite thing about being a marketer?

Tyler: Well, I hope you’ve gotten a sense that I’m pretty passionate about this idea of storytelling and visual information and connecting with people in personal ways. I will actually first admit I’m actually an engineer by trade. I graduated from an engineering program. I started my career as a software developer. Over many years, I ended up having much more affinity for communicating the value of technology and things like that and really migrated more into product marketing from actually being a real engineer.

Over the years, I just kept migrating over to that area of marketing, which is the creative aspects and being able to create stories, to tell stories that help find that sweet spot, that intersection between the customer, the market and your product and technology, such that you can hit them with both a rational and emotional response all at once and create those “wow” moments. That stuff really gets me going when we do those things that hit that sweet spot and you have those “wow” moments with people, and you really connect with them. That’s what I love the most about being a marketer today.

Renee: Gosh, I love that answer. As a marketer of technology products, humanizing them and making them feel attainable is such a great skill to have. Yeah. Wow.

Well, thank you so much, Tyler, for being on the podcast. If anyone would love to, and I would encourage you to go look at Vidyard because they are doing some really, really cool things at Tyler has, also, provided us some helpful links, case studies and 4 Video Marketing Best Practices, tips in generating more leads from video. We will include those in the show notes.

Thanks again, Tyler. Thanks so much.

Tyler: Okay. Thank you for having me. Thank you, everyone.

Renee: Okay. See you next time everybody. Bye.

[End of Interview]