Want us to follow up? Fill the form

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Something went wrong while submitting the form.


How to use video throughout the B2B customer journey

B2B marketers are often dealing with tight budgets. To stretch their marketing dollars, they decide to make one video that can be used across the sales cycle. One video for the home page. Use it again for social media. Use it again in sales presentations.

The problem with this approach is that it completely ignores the fact that prospects at different stages of the customer journey need different things. Early stage buyers need to be inspired. Late stage buyers need to be reassured. You can’t do both at once without ending up with a mullet video.

Tailoring your video content to each stage of the customer journey allows you to support your prospects where they are, and to maintain control of your narrative. Learn how on this episode of “Death to the Corporate video.” Listen using the player below or read the full transcript.

For more on using video throughout the B2B customer journey, check out our complete guide.

You can listen to the episode using the player embedded above, or you can read a full transcript below.

Episode transcript

Hope Morley: There's sometimes a resistance in B2B, to thinking that sales conversations are going on without you. There's a desire to control all those conversations and make sure you're always having the conversation with the salesperson, we don't want self-service, blah, blah, blah. But at the end of the day, it's not practical to assume that these committees are going to get on the call with your salesperson every time they have a question.

Hope Morley: Hello, and welcome to Death to the Corporate Video, a podcast with tools and advice to make B2B videos that people actually want to watch. I'm Hope Morley.

Guy Bauer: I'm Guy Bauer.

Hope Morley: Today, we want to talk about B2B marketers' obsession with awareness videos. When we start a project with a new client, we always start with a strategy session. Part of that strategy phase of the project is that we do a questionnaire with people, and we always ask where in the sales funnel that they plan to use this video. Is it awareness, consideration, decision, where throughout that customer journey are they planning to use it? More often than not, I would say the most common answer we get is, "Well, this is an awareness video, but we really want to use it for everything. We're going to use it throughout our marketing. It's going to be everywhere. We want one video for everything." We understand that people want value, it's a big investment to do a new spot, but there's a big problem with trying to use the same video for everything.

Guy Bauer: Yeah, and that's that people's minds are in different places throughout the sale. I stole this from Blair Enns, who I believe stole it from someone else. It's not stealing, it's leveraging.

Hope Morley: It's the cycle of thought leadership, really.

Guy Bauer: Yeah. But he always says early stage prospects want to be inspired, late stage prospects want to be reassured, and you can't swap those, that's what they have to be. Yeah, and when you try to show awareness videos to people who want to be reassured, it's not the right message, it's not what they need to hear. And vice versa, if you show content that reassures someone who is early stage who just needs to be inspired, you're taking it way too fast. You're giving them way too much information, they just barely are aware of their issue or they're just coming to terms with their issue that would necessitate your solution.

Guy Bauer: The enemy of all this is that one-size-fits-all piece of video. I wrote an article about it. It's mullet videos. If the inspire piece is the long haired rock star and the reassure piece is the short hair business person or the neat, kempt hair business person, then when you combine them, you make a mullet. That's what most B2B brands do, is they try to pack everything into the same thing so that they can one size fits all. They can use it anywhere throughout their sales process. That just doesn't work, that's not how people think.

Hope Morley: Yeah. Those mullet videos, those are the types of B2B videos that you see that start really inspirational. They're, "Imagine what the world could be if everyone was connected." They start with those big lofty ideas and then they end up ending with the nitty gritty of what your product features and benefits are and they're like, "The Server Max 3000 can have 800 data pieces a minute."

Guy Bauer: Bits, yeah.

Hope Morley: I know words.

Guy Bauer: And screen grabs, screen capture of the actual solution.

Hope Morley: Yes, and screen captures of, "With an easy-to-use cloud computing platform." Your brain just doesn't want both those messages coming at it at the same time.

Guy Bauer: I'll give you an example. We recently went camping and we rented a Sprinter conversion RV, so not a full RV. It's van life. We rented one of those and I started getting interested in the brand that we were renting and like, "Oh, what other models do they have?" So I went to the brand's homepage. From the homepage, I went to their product main landing page, where they list all the different models. Then I drilled down into one particular model and so I was on the actual product page of the van I was interested in. There was a video and I was like, "Great. I want to see what the inside of this van looks like."

Guy Bauer: I press the play button and I'm greeted by a one-minute montage of millennials living van life, but no shots of inside the van, what I'm really interested in. It's them climbing mountains and taking selfies by the shore and doing cliff jumping and diving, all millennial stuff. The van is kind of in the background and all the music is just meant to inspire me to go on a trip. I was upset. I'm like, "No, no, no. I'm on this product page because I'm inspired to take a trip." I'm actually-

Hope Morley: Right. I'm already ready to go take selfies along the shore with, in your case, your family.

Guy Bauer: Right. I want to know how much and what it looks like. I need to be reassured. I'm already inspired enough to be on your product page, which is four to five pages deep off of your homepage or wherever landing page I came in. I'm demonstrating that I want detail at this point. I don't need to be inspired by millennials living their best life, as good as it was. Where that millennial video should have been on the homepage or that would have been great as a feeder on social.

Hope Morley: On social.

Guy Bauer: Right, and it feeds into a landing page because they ... Anyway, total mismatch. They tried to inspire someone who is a later stage prospect who wanted to be reassured, or at least given info. I want to know more info at this point.

Hope Morley: Yeah, you were ready for information. They didn't give you that and it left you frustrated as a consumer because you want the video on the landing page or on the product page. If you're going to be on a product page, it needs to be a product video.

Guy Bauer: You know what's interesting is the brand itself, on their owned channel, failed to give me information. So what did I do?

Hope Morley: Bounced.

Guy Bauer: I bounced. I went to YouTube, typed in the model name, and let a stranger tell me about their van. Instead of them controlling exactly what they were going to tell and not tell me, they let it up to a stranger to tell me.

Hope Morley: Yeah, they lost control of their own narrative there.

Guy Bauer: Correct.

Hope Morley: I often also see the opposite problem in B2B, that a lot of brands, they have a big brand film or an awareness film and they also have product videos, but they don't always know where to use those product videos. You'll see sponsored product videos on social, where people maybe are in that awareness, inspire phase, like they don't actually know what they're looking for yet. When you're sponsoring a video with the features and benefits and all that stuff, unless you have really excellent targeting that you're retargeting people that have already been on your site, which is, as we all know, getting harder and harder to do depending on what device the person is coming from, if you don't know that that person, like in Guy's story, has already been on your homepage, been in your product pages and maybe need some more information, sponsoring that product video is just giving them way too much information before they're willing to absorb it.

Guy Bauer: The person that needs inspiration just needs 15 seconds, 30 seconds. We've found in our own marketing, the shorter spots work the best for the awareness. Then consideration, that's a 60 second, and then as you really get close to decision, those are the long form videos and pieces of content because that's where you have to get past gatekeepers. The gatekeepers are going to try to ding you on the details.

Hope Morley: In B2B, as marketers, we're constantly told to know your audience, know your target audience. I think B2B marketers are generally pretty excellent at knowing who they're talking to, but the next step is knowing where that person is in their journey when you're talking to them, because having that higher level of, well, I know that I'm talking to sales directors at this level, in this size company, that's great, but that doesn't tell you everything about tailoring the content to where they are in their emotional journey through this change management. I think it's Rory Sutherland who says that people, they make decisions based on emotion and then they justify them with facts. You need to get them on board with your new product with those emotional things upfront, the inspirational pieces, that's your awareness plays, and then you need to feed them content that has the logic behind it so they can look at their product features so when they go back to the committee that's making the final purchasing decision they can easily justify the decision that they may have already made in their mind.

Guy Bauer: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Need to make a video for each step that they're in, and even if it's not video, content, but video is honestly the best. When I was looking at that RV, I didn't want to read, I wanted to see what it looked like. I wanted to see how buttons moved. You could show me a photo, but until I see it moving-

Hope Morley: You wanted to see how close your head was to the toilet when you were sleeping.

Guy Bauer: Yeah.

Hope Morley: Very important things.

Hope Morley: I want to dig in and give some examples of the types of videos and how you can use them throughout your funnel and your specific journey. I will say that we have a whole guide to this on our website that I'll link to in the show notes, that gives a lot of details on how to make different decisions for different types of video that you can put on your website or throughout your customer journey. But let's start with those awareness videos because those tend to be the big budget thing, the big ticket that all brands want to have. Guy, what would you say should be a goal of an awareness video for a B2B brand?

Guy Bauer: The goal should be to get awareness.

Hope Morley: Thank you for that.

Guy Bauer: But I mean, honestly, it's how do you get awareness? You get awareness by being interesting, by sticking out, by doing something crazy or bold or just way different. That's how you get awareness. Awareness is the sign flipper. They get awareness because they're like, "Ooh, flipping signs." The first sign flippers, I'm sure-

Hope Morley: They catch your eye.

Guy Bauer: Yeah, right? An awareness video is the master inspirational video, it's the master inspire. It's a rockstar, looks really cool and sounds cool, but the lyrics are whatever, it's not a Beatles song or anything, it's not like Pink Floyd where it's going to change your life. It's a rockstar, it's just meant to capture your attention and potentially resonate with your target audience of where they are in life. Keep in mind that only 5% of your target audience are ever in market for your solution. 95% are out of market, meaning they'll need your solution sometime in the future, but not now.

Guy Bauer: That's why you shouldn't really talk about your product at all. You should really just get into inspiring and agitating a problem that your prospect either currently has or may have in the future, and do it in a memorable way, get their attention so that that in-market audience may potentially convert and move over to a landing page, demonstrating interest, or the out-of-market audience scrolls past, but they remember. They're like, "Oh, remember that thing," and then two years later, because your spot was so darn interesting and memorable, in a meeting two years later, they're going to go, "Hey, remember that? Yeah, I think it was this brand. They did a really cool thing, I think. Yeah, let's just look them up." There you go.

Hope Morley: Yeah. Once you have that attention, then you move into what we like to call the consideration phase. I know people use different funnels and different customer journeys, we use consideration for that next step. But basically, then in the consideration phase, people have decided that they are going to invest in a new solution or they're going to look for something, but they're still exploring their options. What, Guy, do we recommend for people who are in that part of their journey?

Guy Bauer: What I recommend is your awareness spot should be very short, 15 to 30 seconds maximum. What you do though, is when you're making that awareness spot, make a 60 to 90 second alternative that just digs deeper, that answers more questions, that gives a little bit more detail, but it's still cool and still in the same vein. This is where you get double duty. Now, the people that convert off of your campaign, when they convert to the landing page and now they're greeted with the consideration video, it's the same story and same visuals they've seen, now just more detail. Potentially what I like to do too, is you set up a story in the awareness or you set up questions and then you resolve them with the consideration. That's another way do it. But the consideration is a longer form spot that starts to reassure, but is still not getting into the specifications. It just starts to reassure a little bit.

Guy Bauer: The awareness spot is 30 seconds, the consideration is 60 to 90, think of it like that. It's just the story continued, because now your prospect has demonstrated some interest and they're going to give you more attention. As prospect interest goes up, their attention span goes up. They're giving you permission to now start marketing at them, basically.

Hope Morley: Basically, yeah. Yeah, That's a good way to put it. They decided that they want to be marketed to.

Guy Bauer: There is a careful thing we have to do though, is as someone gets closer and closer to buying from you, as they move from inspiration to reassure, the marketing language has to slow down, has to decrease as they go down the funnel. It needs to start getting more factual and actually more "boring". The thing is we always say like, "Don't make boring things," and that's what leads brands to not actually capture leads as they go down the funnel, because there's this like, "Well, we don't want to be boring," but a customer that far down wants to start being bored. And guess what? It's not boring to them.

Hope Morley: Well, it's not boring to them.

Guy Bauer: Right.

Hope Morley: If you're ready to get a product demo, the product is not going to be boring to you. At that point, when you're getting closer to that decision phase, you want to see the product in action. That might be a series of videos that, we always say, you don't have to make fancy, expensive animated product demos. They can be a salesperson doing a screen grab on their computer and just walking through, because at that point, that's what people want. They want to see it, they want to see the inside of the RV and get the details.

Guy Bauer: Well, and there's also another ... We should make a graphic about this because there's another thing, is that as a prospect moves down the funnel also the polished-ness of your video content can go down as well.

Hope Morley: Yeah, absolutely.

Guy Bauer: Because they don't want vaporware, They want real. That's why if you can show a screen grab and a screen recording as they get closer and closer on the product detail page and all that stuff, that's fantastic. It proves it's real.

Hope Morley: What you see is what you get. They want to be seeing what what's the actually be opening on day one when they start onboarding.

Guy Bauer: Yeah. If consideration was the longer form awareness spot, and that's on a landing page, like a product master landing page. The consideration spot will live on that services page, and then once you get into a product page, that's where now you can have somebody do a screen recording or just something on their iPhone. It doesn't need to be fancy because they've made it so far.

Hope Morley: There are some brands and companies that they don't want to have really detailed product walkthroughs on their website. You can gate them or you can have it that you have to reach out to sales before you have access to that, that's fine, but you do have to serve people that are doing the research. They might want to come back to it, especially thinking about committee decisions and B2B. If one person gets on the phone with your salesperson, but then they have to go back and tell six other people what they learned and try to sell your company to the rest of the committee, if you give them a good product walkthrough video, and when I say good, of course, like we've been saying, it doesn't have to be written by a professional copywriter, it doesn't have to be fancy animated graphics, just something that has everything that they need, gives all the details, shows off the capabilities of your product. Then they can use that on their own time when they're going and pitching you to the rest of the team.

Guy Bauer: The more you can arm your advocate, the person who you have inspired, who sees it, who is ready to go, the more you can arm them with all the information and the details that their committee, whoever their gatekeepers are, the better. The problem is, is those gatekeepers don't want to be inspired by people climbing mountains and living their best life. They just want the facts in that moment, or they want any question they're asking to be answered in any moment. That's why you can't show them these mullet videos that start with a planet rising or a mountain climber, because that's not what they want. In fact, that could really backfire on you because then their vaporware alarms start going off, like, "Oh, I've seen this," or, "This looks just like all the other companies you're putting in front of us. Then they disengage before the 45-second mark, where that mullet video turned into a reassure video.

Guy Bauer: When you're arming your clients with only one mullet video that tries to do everything at once, most likely what's going to happen is the committee is going to disengage 40 seconds into it and they're out and not even see all the cool reassuring stuff. Separate that stuff out, give your client sales enablement content, give your client the content they need to go sell you internally. How many meetings? I would argue that there's more meetings held without you, as the sales and marketing person on your client's side, than there are held with you. For one meeting you're having with your client, they're probably having three to decide what they really want to do.

Hope Morley: There's sometimes a resistance in B2B to thinking that sales conversations are going on without you. There's a desire to control all those conversations and make sure that you're always having the conversation with the salesperson, we don't want self-service blah, blah, blah. But at the end of the day, it's not practical to assume that these committees are going to get on the call with your salesperson every time they have a question, every time they're trying to run it up the chain to see if you're going to move to the next step of the process. It's just not going to happen. You're not going to have a salesperson in every single meeting.

Guy Bauer: Yeah, and so if you've given your prospect a fleet, and if you've armed them with an archive of content, not overwhelm them, but little bits of content, where they can play a video with any question that comes up in that boardroom, now guess what? Your brand is in those meetings. How many times have you had a sales conversation where the key decision maker isn't on the call? You're talking to all the people that are going to now have to go pitch you. What are the odds? How long did it take your salesperson to get trained up on your product? What are the odds that your prospect is going to be trained enough off of a half-hour sales call or an hour sales call to go pitch their boss?

Guy Bauer: That's where the video comes into play, because instead of them, you now let the video. But they're only going to show the video if it's applicable to what the boss wants. If the boss is like, "I want to know about this, this and this and this," and then they show mountain climbers, you know what the boss is going to do? They're going to say, "No, no, no, I'm done." I've been in so many of those meetings where the big CEO is just like, "Turn this off, no." They will give you 10 seconds, you have to come with.

Guy Bauer: Really I think the main takeaway is stop making mullet videos, stop making one-size-fits-all videos and break them up into many different things so your client can pick and pull from this archive. You know where you can put that? On your website, so that in those sales conversations with the CEO, your website is being screencasted on the boardroom monitor and the CEO goes, "How long does implementation take?" "Let me just scroll down, scroll down. I know there was a video. Oh, okay, here. Yeah, implementation." Boom, 20-second video of someone on your staff. It's not a crazy overproduced video.

Hope Morley: Mm-hmm (affirmative), walking through their 60-day onboarding process.

Guy Bauer: Boom, case closed. We win.

Hope Morley: I mean, it allows you to keep controlling the narrative even when you're not in the room, and that gives you a lot of power in the sale.

Guy Bauer: Yep, and the medium is the message always. If you've been this mindreading-ish, your client starts getting the feeling that the expertise lies in your company, that you were able to answer questions so well not even in your presence, but through the content and through the experience they've had with you, that working with you will be just as easy. Make lots of videos and know where your customer is though, and stop trying to make everything so one size fits all. That's, I think, the biggest thing.

Hope Morley: Yeah, that's the takeaway. Just as a reminder, we are saying make lots of videos, but we're not saying make lots of super expensive videos. We're saying make a lot of content that people find useful. The budgets start high up at the top of the funnel and they just shrink on down as you go to the bottom. That's a good way to think about it, is just align your budget to the funnel.

Guy Bauer: Yep. Cool, this was a good episode. We sounded smart, I think.

Hope Morley: For anyone who wants more information, I mentioned that we have a whole guide to using video throughout the customer journey on our website. I'll link to that in the show notes. If you want more information or if you have any questions or comments, you can find us on social media @Umault, or you can always email the show at hello@umault.com, it's U-M-A-U-L-T.com. Thanks for listening.

Guy Bauer: You're welcome.





Picture of Guy bauer, founder of umault

Guy has been making commercial videos for over 20 years and is the author of “Death to the Corporate Video: A Modern Approach that Works.” He started the agency in 2010 after a decade of working in TV, film and radio. He’s been losing hair and gaining weight ever since.

linkedin logo