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Whether used to inform or entertain, videos are claiming a place of prominence in the world of B2B content assets. And it’s no wonder. When asked which content types they had consumed in the previous six months to evaluate a technology purchase, respondents to the Eccolo Media 2011 B2B Technology Collateral survey listed videos third behind brochures/data sheets and white papers.

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Findings from research conducted by Searchmetrics help explain this trend. The search analytics software company found that, of content included in Google’s general search listings, video appeared most frequently, being displayed in over 70% of search results.

It’s no surprise then that the use of video is on the rise, according to the 2012 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends report published by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs.

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Why to Use Online Video for B2B Marketing
Looking for more reasons to produce videos? Salesforce.com lays out plenty of compelling arguments inthis video explaining why and how it uses video in its own marketing. (For what it’s worth, this video earned the Grand Prize in Beagle Research’s Short Tale Awards 2011. Be sure to visit the Beagle link for more award-winning examples.)

Inspiring Real-World Examples
The problem is that too many B2B videos put us to sleep. Once you’ve been wowed by the interactive wizardry and special effects served up by Hollywood, it’s hard to settle for a talking head juxtaposed against tedious office and product shots. How can you make sure your videos are standing out when 60 hours of video are uploaded every minute and over 4 billion videos are viewed a day on YouTube?

For better ways to use the power of video to engage your audience, check out these inspiring examples.

Eloqua: What is Revenue Performance Management?
According to Eloqua’s PR firm, SHIFT Communications, Eloqua and JESS3 tried to blur the lines between art and marketing with this video. As they say, the result goes beyond the average corporate video – it’ something like a Rube Goldberg machine built by Salvador Dali.

When it was first published, an earlier Eloqua video — The Future of Revenue — resulted in the most traffic to Eloqua’s site in the company’s history. It’s hard to believe the traffic surge was due to the subject matter alone. Rather it’s quite likely that the hand-drawn, animated nature of the video encouraged views and sharing. In fact, the video won in three categories of the 2011 Beagle Research Short Tale awards: Best Story Telling, Best Video with an Educational Theme and Best Animation. As Beagle said, “… the animation is continuous stream of clear and relevant visuals punctuated by consistently enlightening and interesting information.”

Velocity Partners: Application Intelligence
Velocity Partners in the UK takes a similarly creative approach to covering what could otherwise be considered a dry topic: outlining the problems suffered by companies with huge application landscapes and a sensible solution. Check out the video and Velocity’s considerations as it developed it on theVelocity blog.

Kinaxis: Supply Chain Entertainment
Kinaxis has taken B2B videos to an entirely new level with its humorous, entertaining, and self-deprecating takes on supply chain management software. According to a write-up on the Social Media B2B site, prospective customers says the videos make them feel they already know Kinaxis by the time they meet company reps at trade shows.

Bonus: Coca-Cola – Content 2020
Though not from a B2B company, the Content 2020 videos produced by The Coca-Cola Company offer plenty of creative goodness and a solid walk-through of the process to develop and execute a content strategy. You can find links to these at the bottom of my post on the Content Marketing Institute blog covering the top 3 lessons B2B marketers can glean from these videos.

Time to Jump on the Video Bandwagon
Convinced but feeling lost about how to execute a winning video? Your best bet is to engage a creative firm with the chops to pull it off, such as Velocity Partners or JESS3, the agency that developed several of the videos that won Beagle awards. If you’re determined to handle it on your own, check out this video from Salesforce.com outlining how to create a successful one.