• Four Critical Lessons from a Viral Explainer Video

    by  • March 4, 2013 • Content Marketing, Design, Inbound Marketing, Social Media Marketing • 0 Comments

    Explainer videos are increasingly common. Not just for B2C companies – they’re also invaluable for helping B2B communicate to target prospects:

    • Why our new product category is relevant to you
    • Why our differentiation is relevant to you (even if in an old product category)

    Nirvana is to have an explainer video that is so great it goes viral like this video.

    (Mashable’s chart showing the number of times the video was shared in 24 hours)

    This video explaining wealth distribution demonstrates the first four parts of Chip and Dan Heath’s SUCCES formula for communicating idea that are heard and remembered.

    • Simple
    • Unexpected
    • Concrete
    • Credible
    • Emotional
    • Stories

    Simple: This video might have gone longer than its 6 minutes to explore specific causes of and ways of rectifying the wealth imbalance. Instead, it stuck to conveying 1 point: not only is the actual US wealth distribution worse than what people believe is ideal, it’s much worse than people people believe it is.

    => B2B explainer videos conveying why a new category is relevant to a prospect are more likely to go viral if they don’t have a sales pitch tacked on the end. A simple sponsor logo can help build the desired connection.

    The video used very simple graphics and limited motion to illustrating the contrast of 3 key numbers: expected, ideal, and actual.

    Which of these two approaches makes the key point fastest?

    We know simpler is better, but B2B companies are often undermined by graphic artists who want to strut their stuff and overly complicate how a message is conveyed (the top box is from a B2B website).

    => B2B marketers need to detect and correct overly complex graphics that do more for the designer’s leads than the B2B company’s.

    Concrete: Too often B2B companies throw up numbers and statistics expecting readers to immediately comprehend their import. Many miss the opportunity to illustrate the magnitude of either the number or the probabilities. This video uses 2 ways of illustrating its point graphically. See how much more powerful this approach is than simply listing relative percentages. And the video takes the time to highlight how little wealth the bottom 40% of Americans hold: “It’s hard to even see them on the chart.”

    We humans are especially bad at interpreting statistics and relating them to own circumstances.  Selling things like software to help with risk audits or antivirus are challenging until companies or a peer company experience a bad event.

    => B2B companies can use graphics to better convey likelihood and magnitude of damage to spur buyers to act faster when the purchase is to minimize risk.

    Unexpected: This video sets up viewers for a surprise by showing first what a broad sample of citizens believe is the current distribution of wealth in the US. Looking at it, we’re tempted to think, “that looks reasonable.” We’re all the more struck by the difference when we see actual wealth distribution than if we had just been shown the ideal and actual.

    => B2B companies can set viewers up for a surprise by  asking them what they expect a number to be before disclosing what it actually is.

    Credible: The data for what US citizens believe about how income is distributed today and how it should ideally be distributed came from a survey of 5,000 citizens by a Harvard Business School professor and economist.

    B2B companies understand that prospects pay attention to data. But B2B companies get into trouble when they use broad statistics rather than data relevant to their target market. Misleading data can work in some cases. One B2B company had all its employees invest time over a year in building up Facebook likes because it fell for statistics like this.

    This data doesn’t cite source (B2B or B2C companies?) and may be reporting growth based on a miniscule number (2 last year and 4 this year?).

    We know prospects respond most to data related to their peer set.

    => B2B companies should invest in gathering data that will be credible and relevant to their prospect base.

     In Summary

    Explainer videos are great tools for B2B companies, many of whom have to convey complex concepts to get prospects to consider buying or buying their solution. To make your explainer video more viral, invest in the SUCCES formula as illustrated by this viral video.

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    About

    B2B marketing is a little like kayaking in the everglades. You don't have signs to let you know the exact right route. Deep experience elsewhere doesn't always help in the current situation. Plotting your course by interpreting the moves of others can mislead you. You can spend a lot of time testing the wrong channels before you find the right one.

    I started this blog to share tips for how to achieve the insights that help you plot the right approach to attract more prospects and win more customers.

    For more on this story see http://bit.ly/qw0G9c

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