The July/August 2009 issue of Fortune Small Business featured Carousel Designs, a niche baby bedding manufacturer, for its Tool Kit | Makeover story. (For these Makeover stories, Fortune brings in three experts who analyze the company’s financials, sales, marketing, etc, and then make recommendations on what needs to be changed.)
David Nies, a marketing and branding consultant with Flexible Executives in Atlanta, praised Carousel Designs’ two owners for two Website innovations (a gift registry and a tool that lets shoppers customize bedding) but took them to task for a website video “that showed the factory where muscular workers stuff bedding into shipping boxes.” Says Nies to the two entrepreneurs:
A mom-to-be doesn’t want to see the factory floor. She wants to see your mom – now a grandma – talking about raising her kids while designing beautiful nurseries. She wants to see you, your wife and your children, discussing the importance of a safe, comfortable nursery. You have a great opportunity to become a trusted resource for expectant moms. They can’t get that at Pottery Barn Kids.
The Carousel Designs shop floor video is now gone and has been replaced with a terrific blog that answers customers’ questions about ordering baby bedding. And, the Carousel team developed a video on how to order fabric swatches for baby bedding – a question many customers apparently have.
Although this is a business-to-consumer marketing example, B2B marketers can learn something, especially when it comes to replacing those photos of the exterior of the “state of the art manufacturing plant” or video showing machinery working – which, let’s face it – are pretty boring.
Instead of posting photos of your building, use video to communicate directly with customers and prospects – as these five companies have cleverly done:
Waters Corporation – Taking the customer testimonial to the next level, Waters Corporation filmed over 50 customers talking about their work in the life science area — and how using Waters’ instruments helped them in their work. Wouldn’t you kill to have your customers talk like this about you?
Fujitsu Hitachi – In a piece for the Discovery Channel, Hitachi demonstrates how it manufactures plasma televisions at its Miyazaki, Japan location. Think about how much impact a video like this would have on your prospective customers – versus tired and stale “we’re the leader in producing high-quality widgets, blah, blah, blah” Web copy.
Magnet Productions – In this professionally shot video, Magnet Productions shows how it can increase traffic to your tradeshow booth using real tradeshow floor examples. Do you think the company would have been able to communicate the same message without video? And, aren’t you ready to hire the company – like today?
Cisco – Turn your boring PDF product datasheets into cool video datasheets the way Cisco did. The company started off with three videos and after noticing they were the top downloaded pages on their site, added a dozen more.
ReachForce – A provider of targeted leads, ReachForce asked attendees (including their partners and prospects) at the MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2008 in June questions about the sales lead process. According to Leigh Anne Wallace, MarCom Manager for ReachForce, the company shared the video on its blog so that those who couldn’t attend the event could still learn from it. Says Leigh Anne, “This was our first foray into video on our blog – it was a lot of fun!”
The bottom line: video, when done right, shows your prospects and customers that your company has some personality. After all, it’s run by people . . . and people do business with people they know and trust – not buildings.
Do you have a B2B video campaign that you’d like to share? If so, send your details to me at firstname.lastname@example.org – and if it’s a good story, I’ll feature it on my blog, LinkedIn, and Twitter.