How To Make B2B Video with @TimWasher

Tim Washer, Senior Marketing Manager at Cisco, sat down with me at MarketingProfs B2B Forum in Boston and shared his advice about making video for B2B companies. Tim had previously compiled a list of the 10 B2B Comedy Videos for this site, and these are good examples of what marketers can do when they stretch the bounds of their creativity.

Advice for Creating B2B Video:

  • Don’t talk about your product
  • Create or find an interesting story about your company
  • Focus on customers
  • Need someone who can write comedy for humorous video
  • Start with the pain point that your product solves

IBM Embraces Video to Connect With Businesses

This post is a recap of a case study presented at the recent B2B Social Communications event held in New York City. Tim Washer (@timwasher), Social Media Productions – IBM Communications, shared examples of how IBM uses video and social media to achieve their B2B communications objectives.

Video is an effective medium for creating awareness to a message or a brand. As the above video entitled The Art of the Sale shows, video, and especially humor, can be used by B2B companies to share a message.

As with any new corporate marketing program, you must first get agreement on the rules. A team of bloggers, marketing, public relations and legal gathered together to establish guidelines. In the early days of social media, employees were encouraged to experiment within the firewall. This IBM mainframe program was conducted in 2006, so there was a lot more latitude to be creative and there was much less understanding of social media on the part of management. It was also still the early days of YouTube, so much of the sharing was done via email. And as the program got some big hits, they promoted that success.

There are a variety of approaches to video in a business setting, but you must start by finding your most compelling stories. This is coupled with having you most compelling experts tell your story. These stories can be presented in a news format or in the reality show/ documentary style that has been popularized by shows like The Office. The sample video is in this documentary style. In an attempt to “go viral,” or spread widely beyond your company’s network, you can use nonsense, humor or absurdity.

The objectives of the Art of the Sale campaign, and these were business objectives of the mainframe division, were to create awareness for a new mainframe value proposition. IBM had a new, more efficient mainframe available for $100,000. This was significantly less than the $1 million price tag customers were used to. The other objective was to increase awareness of IBM mainframes with college students.

The video was posted on YouTube for easy embedding on IBM blogs. Blog traffic increased 25 times, and the campaign received mainstream press coverage. It showed that story trumps messaging and targeting. Social media is the perfect medium if you have engaging stories to tell about your business. IBM is now using video to tell its stories about a smarter planet.