Is it time to make a B2B video case study?

All articles | Marketing
Published Mar 20, 2019 | Written by Jeremy Knight

Case studies tell the inside story of your business partnership with customers. Typically, they delve into the initial challenges a user grappled with before finding you, and then share an honest, detailed account of how your business helped them to overcome those issues.

Video is just one of the ways you might choose to chronicle your customer’s experience. Here’s a summary of why case studies are an asset that can be folded into your B2B video marketing strategy.

Social proof

Social proof describes the tendency people have to take a specific action more readily after seeing others embrace it. Plainly, it reminds me of lemmings. Social proof is underpinned by the comfort we take in collective decision making.

One of the biggest motivators for B2B buyers emerges from evidence that other users have enjoyed success with a product or service.

Before today's buyers make any big purchase decision, they conduct their own research online. Case studies appeal to an outcome focussed audience - for them, the proof is in the pudding.

From high praise on social media, to user reviews, testimonials and case studies, social proof permeates that online research. Whenever your current users enthusiastically recommend your products and services they are engaging in an act of persuasion - knowingly or not. 

Read more about the role of social proof in B2B conversions

Share-worthy content

It's also worth considering that a B2B buyer may be on the hunt for something they can easily present to others. Perhaps they are responsible for justifying the investment to management, or just want to float the idea past other members on the team.

This wouldn't be uncommon: 3/4 of buyers discuss planned purchases via social media. And as you know, people are used to pinging links back and forth. Research suggests that the average B2B opportunity has 5.4 decision makers involved.

Video is a neat way to package your case study. It gives prospects something to share, comment on and engage with. Choosing an exciting custom thumbnail is likely to spark viewership and promote discussion.

A case study doesn't have to go viral to earn its keep. When it comes to finding your audience, it's a case of quality not quantity. In front of the right people - those ready for conversion - a case study video hits the mark.

Visual appeal

Visual media can be highly influential. It is easier for us to process images than words, and they are adept at inspiring emotion. 

Research also shows that people place more trust in general knowledge claims that are accompanied by video or images. Have you ever seen inspirational quotes misattributed to famous historical figures? Their circulation online is symptomatic of this trusting attitude we have towards information presented in a visual way.

The knock-on effect for marketers is that content is far more compelling when it can be easily visualised. As Katie recently pointed out, a simple interview comes to life on camera - would you rather watch a video interview or read the bare bone transcript?

If you want to communicate the USPs of your product or service by way of showing, rather than telling, video is perfect for the task. 

Align with Sales

Authenticity is a driving factor for B2B buyers. Being able to see the star of your case study helps your audience connect with the story and picture themselves in the user's shoes. It makes the message of your video much more relatable.

To get a sense of what I mean by that, check out this lighthearted case study by Slack. The points they make are simple, frank and unspectacular. They don't blow the viewer away with an inflated sales pitch. However, it's actually easy to see how those things would genuinely help your average office worker, like me.

Studies show that 95% of purchase decisions take place unconsciously. Appealing to emotion and building trust are essential B2B marketing tactics, and these goals are easier to achieve through video.  

A case study showcases your solution in action. Remember, video is available for consumption 24/7. When your prospects are on the hunt for information outside of working hours, it's there at the ready.

Video case studies are an especially useful tool for sales and marketing teams; cold calls and emails are become increasingly ineffective as the B2B buying process evolves. 

Benefits to current users

We've covered why businesses might want to invest in a video case study. But what’s in it for your participant?

The person you have in mind may be more than happy to recommend your product or service in a review or testimonial, but it’s important to recognise that asking them to feature in your video case study takes it to the next step. It will take time, effort, and perhaps a little bravery.

But there are some perks for your case study star. Here are some things you can offer to gain favour:

  • Brand awareness for their business
  • Networking and career development
  • Backlinks
  • Website traffic
  • Product discount/special offer
  • Opportunity to demonstrate expertise
  • Experience in how to prepare for a B2B web video

Filming a video case study could also help your future customers. As part of your pre-production activity, you'll have to conduct some detailed research on your case study participant and their views. This will greater enhance your buyer persona development going forward. You'll revisit the specific goals that you helped your customer to achieve and finish the video with a much greater understanding of your customer's perspective. 

Listening to - and acting on - customer feedback is essential for business growth. Some of the answers they provide might surprise you! 

The ideal viewer for a case study video is likely quite deep in the decision stage of the buyer's journey. They might be compiling a shortlist of suitable vendors, service providers or products, ready for comparison before they commit to a purchase. A case study video could provide the confirmation they're looking for, that your business really is the right match.

Looking for more video marketing tips? You might enjoy this eBook:

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Published by Jeremy Knight March 20, 2019
Jeremy Knight