As consumers, we watch videos for entertainment and information. With projections that streaming video will encompass 71 percent of internet traffic in the next four years, it’s clear that the demand for video consumption for work and play is not going away anytime soon. Consumer-facing companies in markets including healthcare, retail, financial services, entertainment, technology and more have been using video for years as a way to highlight their products and services and engender brand loyalty.

But what about B2B companies whose direct customers are not consumers? For B2B companies, I’d argue that video is even more advantageous.

 B2B companies often operate a bit more behind-the-scenes than consumer-facing companies. Videos are an effective ‘show and tell’ medium for B2B organizations to communicate about what they do and why it’s important.  Additionally, they enable companies to demonstrate how business customers and end-users already rely on their services. Also, as companies expand solutions and extend into new markets, video can be a powerful tool to introduce these organizations to a whole new crop of customers. Although videos may not replace written marketing materials, they should complement them.

JDSU determined that video was the best means to tell its story and show its customer solutions, and JDSU.tv was born. In late 2009, JDSU launched “JDSU From a Different View,” a marketing campaign designed to visually depict how its technologies affect people’s everyday lives.  The ongoing campaign is divided into segments, each showcasing a different technology that is featured on JDSU.tv. These segments highlight the company’s solutions in areas such as mobile communications, rural broadband connectivity, entertainment and anti-counterfeiting, and feature customers from Cisco to Verizon and, most recently, Frontier Communications.

We’ve established that videos are an effective medium for B2B companies to reach customers. What should they convey? Here are five key considerations to make these videos the most impactful.

  1. Customers can be a powerful ally in telling your story. It’s one thing for a company to try to explain what they do, and another for a customer to share how a company solved its particular need. Videos that demonstrate customers using the solutions give companies the application stories that are so beneficial in driving awareness. For example, Dell produced a video in 2012 featuring a Nasdaq executive explaining why technology performance is so critical to its success as an exchange, and a Dell representative addressed its partnership with the organization. This provided a good overview for how Dell supports the financial services industry.
  2. Keep the content at a high-level. We’re all subject matter experts in our respective fields, but bear in mind that current and prospective customers as well as partners that view video content may not understand our products, services and industry as well as we do. Cisco took that into account and created a channel called TechWise TV, featuring a series called Networking 101. This entertaining and educational segment features short videos on technology topics such as: virtualization; port versus socket; quality of service; and switch latency.  A “professor” in a sports jersey explains these technical concepts in simple language while some informative and humorous notes flash across the screen.
  3. Showcase your solutions. Companies can use video to highlight its key products and solutions. Amazon Web Services and AMD have both done this successfully, using highly different approaches. Amazon Web Services created a two-minute video of its Amazon Cloud Search, featuring animated characters enumerating the benefits of using its hosted, managed search tool and demonstrating how it works. AMD introduced a video on its Radeon™ HD 7900 graphics card. It is a visually powerful video that conveys the message of how this product allows for higher frequencies and high resolution for gaming.
  4. Thought leadership goes a long way. Videos can demonstrate industry expertise, becoming another effective way to attract customers. Verizon, for instance, produced a video called “What’s Hot in Tech for 2012” featuring an executive enumerating his vision of what businesses and consumers can expect to see in the coming year. All these trends – from the growth in video to intelligent networks to security to environmental sustainability – link to Verizon’s capabilities and solutions. For the past two years, JDSU has also produced videos featuring its annual technology trends predictions.
  5. Don’t forget the company overview! B2B companies in particular should have an overview video which broadly summarizes what the company does, key products and services and markets in which it operates. Corning, a maker of specialty glass and ceramic solutions, produced a particularly inventive video called “A Day Made of Glass,” a futuristic portrayal of how glass can be used throughout the day at home, on the road, at work and at retail stores.

It used to be said that the pen is mightier than the sword.  For B2B companies, the flip cam just might be mightier than the pen!

Experts predict that more than 50 billion devices will be connected to the network by 2020. The surge in numbers of devices, compounded by the growth of mobile video usage, presents tremendous opportunities for B2B companies. They should capitalize on these trends and escalate their use of video as a means for education and communication to audiences around the world.