One of the things I come across pretty frequently in talking with business owners who are marketing to other businesses is that they just don’t take video as seriously as other, more traditional forms of content like text-based case studies and whitepapers. To my mind, this thinking is off-base and is predicated on some commonly-held myths that just don’t stand up to reason. And when we can continue these talks with business owners and explain some of the ways in which video actually makes a lot of sense, often times we’ll come away with a client. So I thought I’d tackle the three biggest misconceptions we come across.  We also felt so strongly about the missed opportunity in B2B video, that we took our own medicine: we made a fun, informative, detail-focused video about it!

Myth #1: Business Decision Makers Don’t Watch Online Videos About Business

This is a really common one. When you talk about online video, often times you’re fighting against that image of YouTube as a collection of videos made by teenagers in their bedrooms. And while YouTube definitely has plenty of that, there’s obviously a lot of serious content out there as well. Google and Forbes Insights did a study a while back that found that 75% of executives at the nation’s largest companies watch business-related videos every week. And 65% had visited a vendor because of a video. What’s important to keep in mind here is that while we might all like to imagine decision makers as digesting every relevant written report for their industry, the truth of the matter is that these people are busy. Really busy in most cases. And video can be a great way to break through, even if the ultimate goal is to simply make them aware of a longer, text-based report you’ve developed.

Myth #2: Video Is Too Simplistic For To Put Our Message Across

The first thing I’d say on this point is that simple doesn’t mean simplistic. Great videos, especially animated explainers, feel simple because a lot of thought has gone into pre-production and concept development. Our process pretty much always starts with our clients dumping a ton of information on us. Our job is to sort through it and hone a message that delivers the most important points in a way the intended audience is going to be receptive to. Also, as anybody who has ever worked in video knows, video is the most dense, sophisticated medium there is. It operates on a lot of levels. The interaction of the voice-over with the on-screen imagery gives huge opportunities to subtly makes points, add humor and irony and develop your brand’s voice. That great explainer videos deliver such high conversion rates surely has something to do with all of the emotional and informational levels video is acting on simultaneously.

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Myth #3: Creating A Professional Video Is Completely Out Of Our Budget

Well, the overall trends in the pricing of production in the video industry are on a dramatic downward arc over the long-term. And as the technology allows ever-more sophisticated tools to scale, more and more talented professionals can get more and more great video projects to market. But another big consideration that is often over-looked by business owners is the ‘one-timeness’ of the investment in video. The business pays once and owns the copyright to the video. Every time they get a share after that or an earned impression online, it’s free. It’s also free to put it in emails, use it at the beginning of presentations and to display it at conventions. Traditional printed collateral has to be continually physically re-produced, and at the end of the day, it will always inevitably end up in the trash somewhere. Not only is video free over the long-term, but it actually continues to work for you! A good video that has driven online engagement and built audience and credibility on a site like YouTube gives lasting, long-term exposure benefits.

  • Carl Hartman

    I disagree. Prices are going up, up , up unless you are a bottom feeder mistreating your video producer.

    If you are foolish enough to hire someone that runs out with a camera, you get the crap you pay for.

    We spend a lot of time in research and creating high value content. Our labor has almost tripled and we charge for that.

    People that are abusing video producers that do quality work should be ashamed. Treat your video producer like they work in an Indian sweat shop and their work is worthless.

    The costs have NOT gone down. My cameras and a few other pieces of gear may have dropped in price - SLIGHTLY - but I need to keep replacing it because it goes bad fast. $10-20K of equipment for 5 years, or $2-4K for 1 year. Its the same money. Plus, my overhead, staff time, researchers, insurance and all the other costs have not changed. You are full of crap.

    Sure. Be a fool. Go hire a kid out of college and get the shit they provide at a lower cost. Its stupid. Pure stupidity. Hire a kid to do your marketing work.

    Make no mistake, WE are the marketers now. Not a cheap ass web company in India or Pakistani graphic artist. - Easily, the starting rate for a low cost video is about $1000 per finished minute, go up to about $5000K for richer content.

    This is how the whole problem started. People were to f-ing cheap to create great content, so they hired really bad writers for about $2/page and churned out crap. Cheap bastards! Now, they think they can do the same thing with video.

    Explainer videos done cheap. Useless! Contrived. Not rich content.

    People living the lifestyle of your brand. That is rich content. Showing how your brand functions in the real world. That goes deeper.

    So, I friggin' do deep research on your brand, your ideal customer, how they think, the total customer experience, what elements build a relationship with that target, the neural hooks that connect, what elements answer critical and compelling questions that evoke a purchase decision.

    Prices are dropping? You must be crazy. My labor and time to do an amazing jog for my clients keeps going up. But, I get 40-200-800% increases in sales for my customers.

    Oh, and the rights. You are sooooo wrong. If you are paying lower than usual rates, I own the copyright. So, if you come to me and are a cheap bastard, here is the deal. 1) I own the rights and 2) I get a percentage of your business and percentage of the gross profits. Yes, those are the rules!

    People that write this crap should be flogged. Prices are dropping? --- Let's drop your prices! You are worthless. You have no value in the process. You deserve sooooo much less.

    Maybe your explainer videos are cheap, but my real content that actually gets people traction is pricy. I can't believe someone in this industry says prices are going down. What planet are you from?

  • Phil Donaldson

    Good points to share with others who face the same concerns and to have a conversation about, Adam.

    I would add to Myth #3 that building a B2B marketing video around evergreen content will boost ROI. In other words, base the video on a topic that will be relevant six months down the road, one year down the road.

    Positioning the video as a pointer (or gateway) to other up-to-date content will insure its long-term value. Employing a call to action that points to a landing page which serves as a content hub provides a place for viewers to experience various forms of ultra-relevant content.

    By the way, I dig your animated whiteboard video.

    • Adam Levy

      Thanks Phil. Sorry for the extreme delay in response here. The point on using evergreen content integrated into the strategy with video is well-taken. In an ideal world, evergreen video content is part of the strategy, but I definitely agree a long-lasting video can be a great intro/anchor for other types of content.

  • Sam Thom

    Interesting post!

    I've been working as a video journalist in marketing for about 5 years now (4 as a freelancer and the past year for a UK-based marketing agency) and I've never heard the first two myths. The final one...actually, I've never heard that, but I have heard plenty of people ask: "How much will it cost?" and a few say, "I could do it way cheaper!"

    It's really difficult to point out myths, because you need evidence to back up your alternative belief. And so I can only draw on my own experience: here are my B2B myths.

    Myth 1: It's possible to hire a production company that will make a viral video.

    Myth 2: We'll get someone out of college/university and they'll make make great video

    Myth 3: You'll only need about 30 minutes, right?

    Myth 4: It will be a good idea to do a Gangnam video, lipsync video or 'tour of the building' video

    Myth 5: The MD is a great speaker (therefore) he'll be great on camera

    I concede some of these apply to B2C, as well.

    • Carl Hartman

      I agree. Who in their right mind would tell the industry they should be charging less. Only if you don't respect your work and your time. Hint, even my low level artists, I bill out at $500/day. Producing live video (much better to drive sales) I bill my staff out at $155-165/per hour. That is less than the going rate. It should be higher.

      What is going on. Let's pull down the rates of the industry and sent them into poverty by telling the world its soooo much cheaper now.