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Video – one to watch for 2012

Back in the summer of last year, at an industry dinner arranged by the good people at Market Makers, I was asked to prophetise the next big thing in B2B in 2012. Caught slightly on the hoof, I had to think quickly, so I plumbed for video, given that mobile apps are still a bridge too far for many B2B brands.

Six months later, I stand by my choice. Don’t misunderstand me: I’m not pretending that B2B video is anything new. But recently a number of things have changed: Video is now far better optimised; it’s easier to place on your website and syndicate; it’s easier, cheaper and quicker to produce; and – most significant of all – marketers increasingly understand how important it can be in conversion.

Whether we like it or not our culture is defined by sound bites and instant gratification: It’s been widely discussed how ‘digital natives’ expect to get information immediately, but it’s not just them who are becoming increasingly impatient. Those of us who remember the pre-internet workplace also increasingly expect answers to work questions instantaneously.

By providing concise, focused and easily digestible content, video can meet the information needs of time-poor business decision makers. It can also bring life and personality to a brand, in a way that other formats can’t, consequently providing unrivalled engagement opportunities and funnel fodder.

Of course, by itself, video is certainly not a panacea. But if used as part of an integrated marketing programme, with pre and post-engagement devices, it can prove highly effective and add another dimension to your online marketing.

Awareness of the power and potential of video marketing is gradually growing across B2B sectors. Actual utilisation, however, is less widespread, meaning there’s still the potential for competitive advantage for those brands who are at the vanguard. My advice: If you’re not thinking about video already, now would be a good time to start. Like any great TV programme, you can’t afford to miss it.