Forrester encourages B2B marketers to use online video, recorded Web seminars, and other rich media to educate, train, and persuade buyers. Through testimonials and case studies, video creates a lasting impression and emotional bond that is important in business marketing. It’s also less risky to experiment with this medium with the cost of recording decreasing.

But how far can B2B marketers push video from traditional interview or demonstration formats into non-traditional word-of-mouth? Clients see consumer-oriented video ads on YouTube and ask if we see viral video work in business marketing. The answer? We don’t see much.

Exceptions do arise: Scalent VP of Marketing and friend, Kevin Epstein, sent me an April Fool’s joke video his team put together, and – on a whim – decided to post on YouTube.  Kevin wrote about this decision on his blog and I asked Forrester’s marketing research team to look and weigh in. Our take: video may become the digital tchotchke: logo-emblazoned pens, toys, and other useless items companies give to prospects or hand out at tradeshows.

Kevin spent about $500 making the video, which is similar in cost to a run of booth bric-a-brac. After about a month, the video received over 8000 views with only WOM publicity from Scalent engineers and employees. Compared to tchotchke junk – which most people toss into a corner of their office or give to their kids – his return on investment shows more promise. Scalent has seen a measurable increase in investigative visits to their site ( after the video debuted.

As a team, we liked Scalent’s use of humor and how they caricatured the problem they solve. The video might improve if they put the advertising at the end. Or solicited viewers to send other inventive ideas on ways to kill servers. We also thought an alternative video shot in a humorous, exaggerated way could show lab-coated Scalent engineers – posing as their software – take one of the unfortunate machines and resurrect it. But for a video that started out as a prank, we think it’s got unique potential in the category of awareness-raising giveaways.

I’d be interested to hear about your experiences with B2B WOM video – or to get your pointers to creative videos you’ve seen for business-specific products or services. Show me what you’ve seen and, if interesting, I’ll look into researching this trend further.

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