Brands and businesses have already begun to acknowledge and harness the power of online video marketing in the Business to Consumer (B2C) space. More and more success stories are emerging as marketing directors, brand managers social media managers and their agencies are beginning to grasp the core fundamentals of establishing goals, optimizing content for sharing and search and measuring results. Likewise, brands and businesses are now turning to online video marketing to raise interest in and awareness of their products and services in the Business to Business (B2B) space, but with caution.

What differentiates a B2B from a B2C online video marketing approach is simply a shift in the focus of the creative and the viral marketing strategy. Always keep in mind that businesses are made up of people... who are consumers. A business doesn't watch and share videos, absorb a product or service message, read a blog post or article in a trade publication or share advice. People do these things on behalf of themselves and their brands and businesses.

This is not intended as a step-by-step guide but rather an outline to get you thinking differently about the perceived chasm that exists between B2B and B2C online video marketing.

Establishing B2B Goals and Objectives

A successful B2B online video marketing campaign will have both goals and objectives. Goals are predicted end results like "more sales" and "increased brand and product awareness." Objectives are short term and include targeted video views, video posts and re-posts, specific mentions online, comments and website traffic.

  1. Establish objectives that, if achieved, will reach the goals you have set.
  2. Establish goals that, if achieved, will warrant the investment you are making.
  3. Establish objectives that will achieve the goals.
  4. Measure the achieved goals against the investment to determine ROI.

The Creative Approach for B2B Video

  1. Target the creative concepts toward the end buyer. This is a person, or people responsible for purchases within the brand, business or organization. What type of content will inspire them to pass along the video and your message?
  2. Create videos in which they can see themselves and the problems they face... preferably in a fun or funny way. Allow them to relate to and share with others in your primary and secondary demographic.
  3. Target the creative concepts toward the viewers who influence them from both the Business and the Consumer worlds. Think in terms of primary, secondary and tangential influencers.
  4. Smart and clever vs wild and wacky: Arm influencers and co-workers with videos they will want to, and can actually share in the workplace without feeling embarrassed for liking them (even though they probably do).
  5. What factors influence their purchasing decisions?
  6. Create content that will entertain and make them aware of your brand, products and services without being overtly salesy. Most people don't share commercials.
  7. Establish a balance between entertainment value and marketing message.
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The B2B Viral Video Marketing Approach

  1. Target: Establish your target audience, direct influencers, tangential influencers. Where do they find information on the business products they buy? What blogs and publications do they follow? Target toward the end business consumer, target toward the viewers who influence them from the B2B and the B2C worlds to touch on something likely to be passed from one target audience person to another and also from outside the loop inward.
  2. Put enough budget behind the marketing of the campaign in the beginning to sufficiently seed the videos to the right viewers. The idea is to go from "paid" views to "earned" views by creating a scenario in which viewers are sharing the videos voluntarily, for free. Each earned view cuts the cost of a paid view in half and assures more accurate targeting.
  3. Invest budget or time into blog and publication outreach, social network marketing and paid placement on highly targeted online publication and social networking sites like Facebook and youTube to stimulate views and conversation. Again, you are ultimately going for lots and lots of "earned" views.

Search Optimization For B2B Video

  1. Create video content that addresses common concerns and problems your B2B customers/clients are facing. Establish which terms they will likely be searching for to get answers and include them in your creative.
  2. YouTube subtitles and/or closed captions create a searchable text version of your video so everything said in the videos becomes searchable.
  3. Optimize the videos (titles, descriptions and tags) for search so that when your target buyer is looking for a solution to their problems, they find your videos and the conversations they are generating under the search results.
  4. YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine next to Google. Google owns Youtube. Therefore, YouTube offers a powerful way for your brand, products and services to be found by the people looking for answers.
  5. Don't discount the video SEO value of other video sharing sites. They are important as well.

Video Sharing In a B2B Marketing Environment

  1. Sharing: A person (business or other) shares a video with your target buyer on their social networks, sends a link to a webpage, a Twitter re-tweet from a corporate Twitter account, a post on a business' Facebook page, a LinkedIn groups and business discussions, a personal email knowing your buyer would "appreciate this" and myriad other ways.
  2. Search: When purchase deciders within a business  search for solutions to their problems

Overall, we should look at B2B online video marketing much like we look at B2C online video marketing but with a slightly more narrow focus. Remember, businesses are people too!

  • AdrianLee

    I like the way you write the article in point form and made it quick to read and understand the difference between B2C and B2B... Though it seems there is very little difference.

  • Scott Miller

    The highest praise I've got for any article I'll give to you ... you've saved me time. Thanks!

    I'm in L.A., too, and I'm going to start following you on Twitter.

  • Sean Randles

    Hi David- excellent article- good to see b2b video marketing getting some coverage. We are specialising in this area and are finding our clients see real value in using video for short form elevator pitch videos- video case studies /client testimonials and visualisation of complex product propositions- here is a recent example of one of our b2b campaigns - the Money Map - However, the real power is then using the content for b2b direct marketing campaigns using FLIMP video landing pages which enables video email, video for social media and video SEO - to enage with prospect clients . For me this is the future of b2b direct marketing as you can create, distirbute and track video engagement in real time. Looking forward to more interesting stuff in this developing area going forward cheers Sean Randles

  • Ronnie Bincer

    Nice article! It simply seems like good solid advice for online marketing regardless of the target client.

    Good job... Woof Woof Woof!

  • Web Video for Small Businesses

    This is so far the best 'video marketing' article I've read in 2010! The creative and marketing approaches discussed in the article can be applied to other forms of content marketing and not just with videos. Thanks David for writing this article. I'd pick this article over some video e-books I've read anytime!