Slow Clap is proud to announce that, we’ve been included in the 2021 Clutch 1000, a list of the top 1,000 firms worldwide on their B2B service provider platform. This is a huge validation for us, as a boutique San Francisco Bay Area video production company that’s been dedicated to delivering nothing but the best work for our clients since our founding in 2014.
Over the years, positive feedback from clients on Clutch has been our North Star. It’s how we know we’re meeting our mission, to help brands engage with their audiences through authentic video storytelling.
The insights provided by our clients motivate us to continually improve our collaborative and creative processes. Here are a few of our favorite nuggets:
“Slow Clap delivered a high-quality and professional video that mirrored our client’s production requirements. Their creative and orderly approach made each phase seamless, especially our location shooting. Overall, their team met our standards with their cost-efficient and timely deliverables.” – Polly Ikonen at Landis Communications Inc.
“Slow Clap was a team of dynamic storytellers and highly skilled writers. They translated our complex project into a narrative that was easy for the community to understand.” – Reuel Daniels, Community Engagement Manager at Brookfield Properties
“Their team doesn’t create videos that are off the shelf. They create something that engages the viewer emotionally. Professionalism and creativity are hallmarks of their high-quality work.” – Jack Vaughan, Director of Education & Video at Glide
We’re honored that Clutch has recognized us for this global award. A big thanks to all our clients for sharing their unique stories and collaborating with us.
In this post, we’ll explain what case study videos are, show you five great examples, explain why they work so well, and tell you how you can borrow their tactics to gain trust with new audiences.
When making a purchasing decision, reviews and testimonials are pretty much a requirement today. You can find a testimonial shot on a smartphone on nearly any kind of product. But in the B2B world, it’s still a challenge to easily find objective reviews of niche products and services.
Can you connect me to somebody who has invested thousands in this particular B2B product? I’d like to know if it’s worth our time, money, and reputation.
Thanks, Sally Shot-CallerBig Company, Inc.
Because the demand for this information exists, it’s a good idea to make sure your audience can see a testimonial of your product. And there’s no better way than to present that testimonial as a complete story, in the form of a case study video.
A case study features a real B2B customer discussing the impact a product or service had on their own business problems. The customer is the hero, and your product was the magic sword that shaved 20% off their overhead and got them promoted.
Good case studies don’t just shoot from the iPhone. They’re planned, produced, and edited to tell a real-world success story using your product.
But case studies are doubly powerful because they establish trust as they inform about a product. Instead of making predictable “marketing claims,” the video provides human proof. And with good production, they do it while entertaining, informing, and ultimately, selling.
So here are five great case study videos you can use to inspire and plan yours.
Slack is a multi-billion dollar company with clients worldwide, but it’s useful for the most agile organizations too. And in this case, that was part of the point: small and large teams can find success together, as evidenced by Masks for Docs and Frontline Foods.
The video really shines where it gets specific, with Frontline Foods hero Jacinth Sohi explaining how they got rid of email and used Slack instead – and how their impact multiplied as a result.
Another great point: it finishes strong. “I don’t know if we would have been able to do it prior to Slack being around.” Hard to beat that.
Built in Slack was produced by Slow Clap, and screened at Slack Frontiers 2020 to much community love.
02: #WhyWeWork – Duet
Duet Display is an app that lets you use your iPad as a second monitor for your Mac. While that sounds basic, users like Jared Erondu use these displays for top-tier design, making for a beautiful demonstration of how the app enables him to create any time inspiration strikes.
Duet Display used a subtle hero story in their #WhyWeWork series of case studies: feature somebody compelling, but show up in the background as the “sage” or “muse” who enables their growth. So Duet captured Jared telling his story, shot footage to match, and is invisible but present: they’re hidden in the screen he uses to design.
In selling supplements to gyms, Six-Pack Shortcuts uses NewVoiceMedia for live data on prospect and closing rates in its call-center. The video uses immersive visuals to bring the audience into the unique culture at SPS, and lets the narrative tell the success story. The result is an uplifting and straightforward success story.
04: Marriott is a Trailblazer – Salesforce
Marriott is a Trailblazer is the story of real employees serving a family that is a stand-in for all vacationers. To give vacationers everything they dream about, Marriott uses Salesforce to organize tasks and communications.
The Marriott video is a good example of what Hollywood screenwriters call “A Story/B Story.” The employees do their jobs, and the family has the time of their lives because of it. It’s easy to put yourself in the shoes of both parties, so it’s easy to understand how Salesforce helps Marriott succeed.
05: Valpak is a Trailblazer – Salesforce
Valpak is a national company with thousands of contracts around the U.S. They managed all of their contracts on paper. That gave them problems. Sometimes the paper process delayed a customer’s advertising. Other times, those contracts got lost.
So Valpak switched to the most powerful CRM in the world and has enjoyed an upward trajectory ever since.
This video gets right to the problem without unnecessary chest-puffing, and it keeps the pace with visuals that explain the client meeting process, and the relief that Salesforce provided for their complicated workflow.
How to make a case study video
Creating a case study video depends less on creativity than on research. The story already happened, but you must figure out who to talk to, what questions to ask your customer, how to visually convey the story, and how to arrange the story to be clear and powerful.
Find a champion
Creating a case study worth watching starts with a great client, a “champion.” You’ll need somebody who will tell the story of your partnership, and tell it with enthusiasm.
You can create case studies with just text facts, but the audience will know that you’re the one telling the story, and not an objective third party. So capturing an authentic interview with someone that’s going to be a great ambassador for your company or product is key.
Plan your story around your audience
Before you begin writing, consider your audience. Answer the following questions:
What do they believe is true about their industry?
What result do they want?
What do they need to hear to take action?
Write questions for your champion
With those answers in mind, you need to write questions for your champion. Here are good starters:
What problem led you to seek us out?
How was this problem affecting your business?
What did we offer that interested you?
How did our solution help your problem?
What was the result of working with us?
How do you feel now that we work together?
It’s a good idea to have a brief conversation with your champion before filming anything. Ask them these simple questions.
Estimate your audience’s reaction
Ask yourself, “Is this story believable? Is it too miraculous? If it’s a dramatic change, what will we need to prove it’s true?”
Get additional perspectives
Often the answer is corroborating testimony – which, outside of Law and Order, means another point of view. Somebody else to help tell the story.
Get data – even anecdotal data
Numbers are gold. If your client’s sales went up by 29%, that’s invaluable. But even a ballpark estimate can be valuable, such as “it used to take us half a day to load a truck. With the RoboGo, we can load one in around an hour.”
Choose the right music
The theme is already “success.” But music can provide the atmosphere and backdrop that makes the story enjoyable for your audience. While a software video may rely on Indie music popular with office jockeys, a cattle company will seem odd when paired with a generic version of The Arcade Fire.
Open with a hook
Get to the problem right away. “We sell copy machines, but they often broke during shipping.”
Give the solution a clear transition in the story
Sometimes the solution can get buried in your customer’s account. Don’t let that happen.
Give a pause before and after introducing the solution. “When we used PenguinPack, none of our machines broke on the trucks.”
The one thing you need associating with your brand is the solution. Your logo should be all over the place when the problem gets solved.
Keep the length just right
How long should a case study be? You may feel tempted to add too many details about your client. They may want to talk about their company mission. But this is neither the time nor the place.
If any shot, sequence, or sentence doesn’t support the story of how you succeeded together, cut it.
Don’t let them forget your brand
Use your colors and fonts in the video. Don’t use a sub-brand or anything confusing.
Include branding throughout the video, but only where it’s natural.
Finish with a result that highlights your brand. “If I hadn’t consulted Dr. Jaime” or “because we packed a RoboDog…”
Conclusion: you lived this story. Share it.
If you helped a customer, that’s a good thing. Others need your help to realize their dreams and potential. And a case study is often the right way to tell that story: you’re talking about a customer of yours, but done well, your audience will realize you’re talking about their success too.
To make effective B2B videos, you have to think differently than B2C.
This is a guide to making B2B videos, or videos that sell from one business to another.
Is there a difference? Put simply, the B2B audience is small and practical. They are company decision-makers, managers and CEOs. They have strict budgets, stakeholders to please, and employee jobs to protect.
B2C markets don’t have to be so methodical. While a B2B software company may have 10,000 real-world prospects, a B2C software company may have 10 million or more. And their purchase habits can be guided by logic – but they can also be for curiosity or comfort.
Therefore, while all advertising requires emotion to sell, B2B depends heavily on concrete data to close a sale. Statistics, industry knowledge, and proven results are required.
Sounds daunting, right? Well, in a lot of ways, we’ve found that B2B video can actually be easier than B2C, because if you know the industry, you know precisely what the players need. And creating videos to position yourself as an indispensable guide can actually be fun.
Slow Clap Productionsis a San Francisco-based creative video production company that helps B2B brands like GitHub, Slack, Blue Shield of California, Capital One Small Business, and Insightly use video to its full potential.
This article will show you:
How B2B video is different.
The best types of B2B content to make.
How to choose which content to make.
And where to deploy your videos for maximum results.
So let’s get started.
Great B2B video starts with B2B marketing fundamentals
B2B video follows the same principles as any great marketing, but differs in the where and how the message is delivered.
Start by thinking about who buys. Are they the director of marketing? Purchasing director? Or field supervisor?
Next, what does this person want? They may have a large budget, but misspending can damage the company and possibly cost them their job. A B2C customer can suffer a broken hair dryer, but a B2B customer may not be able to survive faulty software.
Your customer’s first desire is safety (not to lose), but their hopes are pinned on products that go beyond “staying the same.” They do want software that really does save them an hour a day.
Because these are the stakes, the goal of B2B marketing is first and foremost to build trust.
To build trust, We suggest you demonstrate five things:
You understand their industry. You know their operations and supply chain. You speak their language, including industry-specific lingo. Our testimonial video collaboration with GitHub, for instance, targets a very specific audience interested in cutting edge cloud computing, featuring Spotify, Google, and the Apache Foundation.
You can prove your results. You gather testimonials from other customers – ideally recognizable brands, but at least companies in the same industries as your prospective customers. The video we made for NewVoiceMedia (now Vonage) about DoorDash does a great job of laying down the concrete benefits of their product.
You can show relevant data. This includes test data, like “our drills lasted 40% longer in an independent study.” And related data, like “tungsten has shown to outlast other metals by as much as 90%” Our animated videos for States Title, for instance, use data points to make a strong case for their solutions.
You know the culture of the industry. Like CRM, where sarcasm and color are encouraged. Or IT, where being efficient and correct are virtues. Or law, where reputation and power matter most. Stampli’s audience is Accounts Payable, one of the least sexy silos in a business. But they know their audience and know that AP teams love a good sense of humor. We made sure that shined through in our Stampli brand videos.
You have a clear message that wraps the first four together. “Suppliers who use HoverTruck pay half as much in mileage costs, and it’s trusted by brands like FedEx.” Blue Shield of California did a great job of this when discussing new emerging technology, Virtual Consults, in our animated video series Health Reimagined.
How to use this knowledge in your B2B video best practices
Video is arguably the most powerful marketing short of a friend’s referral, but it faces the same problems as every other type of online marketing, including:
How will we get them to find it?
How will we get them to click on it?
How will it resonate with the audience?
How will it persuade the audience?
To tackle these, answer the following questions.
Who is the hero of the video?
More specifically, who is your customer “avatar?” What are their demographics and gender? How do they dress? How do they talk? If using actors or animated characters, you’ll need to make these decisions so you can include characters with whom your audience can identify.
“To be good at sales, you have to be good at basically duplicating and mirroring the person you’re selling to and giving them the personality they need to feel comfortable to buy,” says Benjamin Denehy, CEO of The UK’s Most Hated Sales Trainer.
What story does your customer need to hear?
It’s a simple formula – your customer has a problem (X), so they obtain your product/service (Y), and get a specific outcome (Z).
Even in B2B video, most of your storytelling should be about your customer. This means skipping the office tour video unless it’s relevant – for instance, if you want to show that your employees all share a background in the same industry as your clients.
How is your customer searching for answers?
You solve a problem. Your customer asks about how to solve that problem in different and sometimes unexpected ways.
Promising these answers is the key to being found, being watched, and (eventually) being purchased.
This is first a problem of defining the answer, and then using keyword research to find out exactly how your audience is really asking it. For example, if you run a SaaS company, a frequent search is “software as a service vs. subscription.”
Source: Answer The Public
One way to begin is by using Answer the Public, which is sort of a reversed search engine. You type in a topic, and you’ll get questions and queries most frequently searched in Google that includes that search phrase. Be sure to try different search phrases – and consider comparing them in Google Trends to see which one(s) are searched most overall.
So maybe we don’t exactly “buy with emotion and justify with logic.” But either way, data is necessary to sell. Here are four easy-to-use forms of data for your B2B videos:
Before & after: Whenever possible, show the problem, action, and result
Testimonials: “I’m director of marketing at TechCorp, and video helped us grow tremendously.”
Primary data: “In our tests, video had a 20% higher conversion rate than email.”
Secondary data: “According to X, 90% of marketers say video brings them success”
During planning and scripting, consider adding every credible form of proof to your video. Rank them by how impactful they are to your avatar. Safety is always the first concern, with success coming second.
Where will they watch this video?
The last consideration in this set is choosing where to launch your video for best results. This involves some knowledge of platforms.
Start with these questions:
What platforms will you use?
Is that platform’s culture best for this content?
What are their size limits?
What are their runtime limits?
Should you upload the video natively on the platform, or embed it from another platform (e.g. Wistia, YouTube, or Vimeo)?
If you’re hoping to be found organically, ask these:
What keywords would bring your customers there?
Are the keywords found in the video? Or the video’s description?
Is your thumbnail eye-catching to your customer avatar?
And if you’re using advertisements, consider these:
Which platforms have the most professionals?
What keywords would target them best?
The best formats for B2B videos
A customer’s success story is worth… well, don’t tell them how much it’s worth, or they may invoice you. All the data in the world still doesn’t compare to a trustworthy recommendation. Even better: a human from a brand recognized in your industry.
For instance, our case study video of how Asana’s legal operations pros use Ironclad is worth its weight in gold. It describes a story of a company department (legal ops) on the cutting edge of an industry (business contracting) all powered by Ironclad.
Ask an outspoken customer who loves your product for help.
Film them in their native environment, using a professional production team.
Have them speak to an interviewer. It’s easier than talking to the camera.
And for basic interview questions:
Who are they, and what does their business do?
What was their problem?
How did they know that your product had the answer?
What was the result?
Do they recommend you?
Explainer videos aren’t always about animated characters facing abstract problems. They can be live action, too, with a company representative talking about their methods. The common element is that they sell by explaining their unique solution to a problem.
You’ve seen a million of them – but they don’t need a million views. They only need to be seen by the right people. So targeting and promoting is just as important as creating a clear message.
Webinars live or die on audience participation, so we recommend you devote a large portion of time to answering questions. Lecturing through a pitch deck is boring. Keep your presentation short and open up the mic as soon as possible.
Besides planning, spend time promoting your webinars. Use your email list and your social media. And offer value. Your webinar should be worth skipping lunch. Two great methods include offering answers customers can’t get elsewhere, and offering discounts on your product.
Lastly, make sure you partner with an event production agency, or have an internal event producer, who knows the ins and outs of attendee registration, and how to turn registrants into high quality vetted sales leads.
Interviews with Experts
Often in B2B marketing, the word of an expert can be as good as a testimonial. If you make medical-grade masks, talk to a microbiologist who can verify that some masks – like yours – can stop even the tiniest of viruses from passing through.
People understand that experts are busy and often live far away, so they don’t expect a full-scale production. Their first concern is getting answers. So your two priorities in expert interviews are good audio and good questions.
To create great expert interviews:
Contact the expert with full disclosure about who you are and your intentions
If they’re unwilling to host a film crew, ask them to record in a quiet area, preferably with good lighting
Educational videos naturally include teaching your customer how to use your product or service. If you don’t show them how, somebody else will, and you don’t know what they’ll get wrong, let alone what they’ll say about you.
If you have no video content whatsoever, this is the B2B video marketing strategy we recommend:
A great explainer video. Your customer must first understand how you help them through a problem.
Testimonials. Even when filmed on a phone, testimonials can build trust. But capturing them professionally demonstrates your success and reliability.
Webinars. These help you build email lists, meet people interested in your product, and find out more about what they value. It’s win-win stuff.
Educational videos. First, create some on how to use your product (if necessary), and second on heavily-searched topics related to your business. If you recorded a great Webinar, it can easily become an educational video.
Interviews with experts. They’re essentially more educational videos, but it’s harder to predict if the content will answer specific questions your audience has. Sometimes, though, you need somebody with more authority to prove your own credibility.
Choosing the right platforms
As always, go where your audience goes. But in B2B, that’s a somewhat predictable breakdown:
If you’re starting from scratch, build your presence in the top four platforms (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube). You can use programs like Hootsuite to post to every platform on an automated schedule.
Remember that total views and total subscribers are nice, but they’re not the metrics you want. Your goal is engagement with actual customers. It doesn’t matter if you only get 25 views in a month if one of them is a major customer.
Tips for better videos and better outcomes
Start with a script. It’s a lot easier to change paths on paper than it is mid-filming or in post-production.
Add captions. Captions make your content friendly to hard-of-hearing and increase engagement from users scrolling down feeds. Some platforms offer them for free. Rev.com offers them at just over $1/minute.
Hire a top-notch production company if the video is going to directly impact your sales. Reach out to us to start the conversation.
Follow the 80/20 rule. Spend 20% of your time on creation, and 80% on promotion. Use it in ads. Put it on a social media schedule.