Let's be honest. B2B marketing is hard.
You need to get across more complicated ideas than B2C ever has to deal with, but your marketing still needs to be short, snappy and engaging.
Yes, your product or service is complex.
But you don't win any points for creating complex B2B marketing.
Your audience wants simple ideas that grab them.
So how can you distill all the complexity of your B2B offering into marketing plain yet potent enough to emotionally engage your audience?
Well, there's good news and bad news.
The bad news: it's not easy, or everybody would be creating outstanding B2B marketing. (They're not.)
The good news: certain types of marketing and certain types of content can make expressing complex B2B ideas much simpler. Like video marketing.
B2B + Video = Appealing Simplicity
When you're trying to explain a tricky concept to someone, what do you do?
You draw a simple diagram. You use a visual metaphor. You tell a story.
Video is a form of content that helps to refine and clarify. It gives you the whole range of visual and aural understanding to help fine-tune your message for your audience, and it works even better when that message is a difficult one.
But transforming anything from complex to straightforward requires some time and thought.
You can't rush the process of creating great B2B videos.
Every day we work on videos that help businesses express their complex B2B messages in simple and captivating ways. This is how we do it.
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1. Find the Simple Root of B2B Complexity
The mighty oak, aching under the weight of its hundreds of branches and forks, begins with a tiny acorn and a single root.
And every complex idea begins with a simpler one.
You need to find the simplicity in your B2B product, service or brand.
Get to the essence of what you offer and what you want to tell your audience. For example, we're a video agency that offers a fairly complicated variety of services. But we can boil down everything we do to one simple idea: we help brands and businesses achieve their goals with video.
A great way to simplify is with a core metaphor or comparison.
Take this stunning example of simple B2B video marketing from Umpqua Bank.
Now, Umpqua Bank is a financial holding company in the USA. They do a lot of complicated things: loans, wealth management, fraud prevention.
But instead of explaining all that in this video, they decided to use an elegant metaphor to express their core purpose and drive.
A small seedling that grows into a blossoming tree.
The underlying idea here is that Umpqua Bank helps things to grow. People, businesses, communities.
It's so much easier to understand this idea than an explanation of wealth management.
By turning their complex B2B services into a simple core message and visual metaphor, Umpqua Bank succeeds in producing a piece of video marketing that grabs their audience by the collar.
2. Link Core Idea to Your Audience's Pain Point
Simplifying your B2B message is one thing. Making sure it's actually what your audience care about is another.
For this stage of the process we fall back on that excellent marketing mainstay: pain points.
Whatever your clients' problems are, you need to be addressing them. With your services and in your marketing.
And the simple idea behind your B2B video marketing should be directly related to your target audience's concerns and challenges.
Here's a good example from IT provider Sprint Business.
In this video they're promoting their 'Workplace-as-a-Service', a complete IT and communications package that helps businesses set up new offices. It's pretty complicated with lots of components and options.
But, although the video explains the basics of what the service offers, it doesn't delve in too deep. Instead, it focuses on a a powerful yet simple pain point to illustrate why the service exists and why you might want it.
The pain point: opening offices is a huge pain in the ass.
By honing in on the pain point of their target audience, Sprint Business reduce their complex service to a simple solution that leads are immediately interested in.
Opening offices is a big hassle, and you should pay to have it taken care of.
That's not hard to understand at all.
3. Reveal Complex Ideas Layer by Layer
Metaphors are great, but sometimes you need a little more.
Sometimes in B2B marketing you need to get a bit more specific.
Particularly if you're creating content at different stages in the buying funnel. Generally, the further down the funnel you go, the more complexity about your product or service you're going to have to reveal.
At this point leads are closer to sale and have more ingrained interest in what you're offering.
But there's no rule that says you have to show the full richness of your idea all at once.
In fact, it's generally more effective to introduce layers of complexity one by one. Don't overwhelm your audience.
Begin with your simple root, then add extra branches incrementally.
Tangoe is a company that provides IT management software. They created an animated explainer video to advertise their new technology and services platform:
The core message of the video is that the workplace is changing rapidly, and Tangoe will help you keep ahead of the curve.
Rather than diving into the features of the platform immediately, we are initially introduced to that simple idea and pain point.
Later, additional features and complexities are also added.
In this way Tangoe ensures their audience understands each layer of their message before moving onto the next. And it never gets overwhelming.
4. Embrace Power of Video Comprehension
Video is unique because it involves both visual and aural senses at the same time.
This makes video more immediately engaging and more effective for learning than other types of content like copy or still images.
When planning your B2B video marketing, you should take advantage of the features that make video ideal for helping your audience understand your message (no matter how complex).
Use simple visual explanations. Use graphs. Use a voiceover.
Video is built on layers of meaning. Beyond the actual words that are spoken or displayed, the use of visuals, sound, colours, and movement all give implicit meaning to viewers.
It's the perfect vehicle for getting across those complex B2B ideas with simple tiered communication. The shots, sound and script can all back up your core message.
This is how SolarCity, an American energy provider, did it:
The message running through this animation is that solar power is simpler, faster and cleaner than oil power.
Does SolarCity express that by focusing on the solar power itself? No.
In fact, they do the opposite. They stress the slow, complex, inefficient process that leads to oil power by cleverly embracing video as a medium. The rushed voiceover, hurried shots, and accelerating music all make the point without them needing to say it outright.
And in a much simpler way than other forms of B2B marketing would be capable of.
Round-up: A Better B2B Viewing Experience
B2B marketing is hard, but that's no excuse for making confusing, complicated content.
The simpler and more appealing you can make your B2B offering, the more success you'll have at engaging leads and encouraging them to choose you over the competition.
Video marketing can help you boil down complexity into a single clear message.
Just remember to follow these 4 steps.
And keep it simple.