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Is viral video the new killer app for b2b online marketers?

William Benn, Sales & Marketing representative for www.explania.com asks "Is viral video the new killer app...

William Benn, Sales & Marketing representative for www.explania.com asks "Is viral video the new killer app for b2b online marketers?"

There are a lot of b2b companies out there that would love to tap into the power of video and animation when it comes to their marketing and sponsorship efforts, but the cost of developing this kind of content can drain resources and budgets with alarming speed.  Fortunately, there is a new (and less expensive) way to introduce video into the b2b marketing mix.

An increasing number of businesses have begun embedding short topical generic videos into their corporate website.  Why? Because these videos tend to be educational, informative, instructional, clear, concise and linked to a very specific topic – and because they offer an interesting alternative to traditional advertisements.  The result is an exciting new way to attract targeted traffic to the website (and offer added value to visitors) with little or no expense.

Meanwhile, for the video's sponsor, there is a fantastic opportunity to link your product or solution with the video, complete with their logo and optimised landing page imbedded in the video player.  After that, you can simply sit back and watch as the video is distributed across the internet virally. Not only do videos like these spread like wildfire, but they are also very quickly linked to similar online content, since they tend to address broad topics like ‘What is RFID?’ or ‘What is Twitter?’ The ‘What is Twitter?’ video has actually been sponsored by Bseen (an SEO agency) in Holland and has been embedded on 234 Dutch websites and been viewed 225,396 times. Bseen is now seeing an increase in incoming enquiries from corporate clients looking for help with their SEO activity. In the UK the movie has been embedded on 120 websites and has 12,255 views at last count.  http://www.explania.com/en/animations/detail/what-is-twitter.      

Because these videos help to demystify a variety of information, concepts and terms that are often confusing for business buyers, many companies have now begun sponsoring and/or creating educational videos comprised of this kind of independent content, and then using them to re-direct the viewer back to the company's own website for further information.  In doing so, the company is embedding their content in the long tail for that topic. In other words, their sponsored content will appear in exactly the blogs, forums, groups and sites most relevant to a buyer searching for that type of content.

The real beauty of these short videos, however, is that they aren't actually selling anything.  They're fun, creative, interesting – and often educational – but they are not adverts.   And, because they aren't adverts, they tend to be acquired, uploaded and shared by anyone interested in the subject matter at hand.   As a result, the videos and their messaging continue to spread across the internet, their keywords soon dominate the search engine results, and their audience continues to grow and grow.

This model therefore achieves the ultimate goal of modern marketing, which is to put key corporate messages in front of the largest audience for the lowest cost per viewer. At one time, this was accomplished through radio advertising – then via television – but the internet is now allowing people to share this information in ways that one never could have imagined before.

The lesson here is simple.  Today’s savvy b2b buyers simply have no appetite for stodgy sales pitches.  Instead, businesses should aim to associate their brand with something that's creative, memorable, interesting, and maybe even a little bit unexpected.  With this approach, marketers can create viral campaigns that will be able to attract interest on a global scale.