In this episode of the Rethink Podcast, we interview Tyler Lessard, the chief marketing officer for Vidyard, one of the leading video hosting, analytics and lead engagement providers.
More and more B2B companies are adopting video into their marketing mix. But as Tyler explains, there are still opportunities to unlock the potential of video for your company. This includes utilizing personalization, improving how the sales team leverages your videos, and taking a thoughtful approach to how videos are used throughout the sales funnel.
Enjoy the conversation, and, we hope you can get one or two takeaways that you can bring to your business.
[Video] brings personality and emotion back to that process. We’ve lost a lot of that as organizations. You go back 10, 15 years and selling and marketing were all about establishing emotional connections and relationships with people. … I think video just kind of goes back to being able to unlock that personality and that ability for us to actually see people again.
This transcript has been edited for length. To get the full measure, listen to the podcast.
We’re super excited today for another installment of the Act-On podcast. Today we have Tyler Lessard of Vidyard. I’d love to learn a little bit more about Vidyard.
I’m the chief marketing officer here at Vidyard. I’ve been with the company for about 2 ½ years, and as per my role I head up the global marketing programs. That’s everything from demand generation and lead generation in digital, to creative and content, product marketing and so on.
At Vidyard, we are a video platform for marketing and sales teams. We help businesses expand their use of video content around marketing and sales; track and analyze their video to better understand what’s working and what’s not; and also better understand their viewers and be able to understand who is actually watching, how long are they engaging and use that information for better business insights. It’s a great mix of art and science within the video space, which is something I’m passionate about both in the business that we do and in my role as CMO here.
I’ve been familiar with you guys now for a couple years. We use your product. It’s been very, very useful for us, very beneficial. I’d love to dig in a little bit more, find out what’s the big problem that you’re solving, and maybe what the big problems are that you see across marketing and sales today.
Ultimately, video has become an important and powerful medium for all of us in marketing and sales. There’s a few reasons for it; the market itself has changed, our buyers and online audiences are expecting video content as part of what you’re serving them. If you’re not using video as a way of engaging people on your website, engaging them in inbound and outbound campaigns, or using it as part of the sales cycle, it’s a real missed opportunity. But the reality is most of the customers we work with are using video in one way, shape or form.
But there’s two or three big challenges they’re facing. One is the lack of data and really understanding what’s working and what’s not, and “how can I optimize my use of video throughout the funnel?” Typically, they’re just getting view counts and they’ll know, okay, this video got 1,000 views and this one got 100 views. So the one with 1,000 views is probably better. But is it? Were those relevant people? Did the 100 views over here actually result in sales opportunities while those 1,000 views had no influence at all? So that’s one big challenge is understanding the impact and attribution of that content as it’s being used throughout the funnel, which is something that we help to address.
The second is turning the content itself into more active tools for demand generation and qualification, as opposed to just a medium where somebody is watching. Video has the unique characteristic of being able to track people’s actual engagement. So we can tell you if this individual, Kevin Bobowski, you’re on my website, I can tell you that you watched 30 seconds of my homepage video, and two minutes of this product video, and then 10 minutes of a webinar that I have. And that actual engagement data is real gold and it is something that people can use really effectively in their qualification process.
And then the third piece is enabling sales teams to effectively leverage the video content you’re producing as marketers. And this is something even I face. And I’m in the business, I’m in the company, but I face it as well. We produce a lot of great content. We have customer testimonial videos, we got product demos, and explainers, and campaign videos, and all sorts of great things. But our sales team isn’t really effectively using it as part of their selling process.
I think one of the other big mistakes I’ve seen with content marketing is a lot of production of content, but less activation of it. So how do you activate it? And I think you really hit that point, the third point, which is around how do you get sales to use it. Because I think we’ve gotten to the point now where sales teams are more familiar with how to use eBooks and other content like that. But I don’t know if they’re there yet with video. I don’t know if you’re seeing that as well.
It’s absolutely right. And there’s two challenges on the sales side of the fence. One is accessing and using that great content that already exists within the organization and what you’re producing. And it’s often as marketers, we don’t think about it as much. We product the content, we put it out on our different channels, and we put it in different places. But we just assume the sales team can find it out there. But they don’t. Maybe they’ll scour around your YouTube channel hoping to find it. But generally they don’t. And so that is one issue.
One of the things I’m excited about these days is making it really easy for people in sales to actually create videos. And I know that might scare a lot of people listening. I often get that reaction, No way I’m allowing my sales people to create video content. But I’m not talking about creating some big brand video. I’m talking about a sales rep being able to record themselves in front of a camera, personally giving a message to somebody, no different from how they write an email, but instead of writing it out in three paragraphs, record yourself, say it, bring a personality to it, and then send that video to somebody. It’s kind of like a video message or a video greeting.
And once you learn how to do it, it’s so easy and it’s so effective, but it’s kind of crossing that chasm of making it simple for people, making them comfortable in front of the camera. But once they do, man, I tell you, some of the reps that we have and that I’ve heard out there who use those little selfie videos, it’s so, so effective, and I think the opportunity is immense there.
What we’ve learned is when we do live videos for a demo or a sales call, those deals close at a higher percentage than when we don’t. And then number two, our team has used your product to create their own videos and send them out, sometimes in prospecting, but for other reasons, too. And the engagement and the open rates on those are significantly higher.
Yeah. It brings personality and emotion back to that process. We’ve lost a lot of that as organizations. You go back 10, 15 years and selling and marketing were all about establishing emotional connections and relationships with people. But we don’t make a visual and audible connection with people. It’s too rare now.
It’s always been an important part of the buying process. We buy largely based on emotion. We buy from organizations as much because of why they do what they do, and the relationships we’ve built with people there, as much as the features, and specs, and speeds and feeds. I think video just kind of goes back to being able to unlock that personality and that ability for us to actually see people again.
Can you share any case studies, or examples of maybe a recent Vidyard customer that’s just done something really incredible that the audience might appreciate and learn from.
With customers that we’ve seen out there doing kind of interesting things or successful things with video, there’s a lot in terms of using video more strategically throughout the funnel. And I think that’s the less exciting, but more practical one for a lot of people. We’ve got lots of companies now that I’ve talked to who it just gets me excited to see they’re taking a thoughtful approach to how video plays a part right from awareness through to closing a deal. And making sure that those buyers who expect or want to consume video are going to be served throughout the funnel, and so they’re not just constantly focused on top of funnel, but they’re actually consciously building out awareness content, educational content, peer-based content of customer testimonials, product demos, sales tools for SDRs and BDRs. Not overly exciting, but it’s effective when you’re smart about where you’re fitting video into the funnel, and just executing on that as part of your content strategy.
The other that’s probably more interesting and exciting is we’ve seen more of our customers using personalized video. It’s something I know you guys at Act-On have actually used as well to great success. And the idea of personalized video is the ability to actually weave in the individual viewer’s name or company name or company logo right into the video itself. And so you literally bring the viewer into the story. And what we found here is if I – when I’m running a marketing campaign and I send out an email blast, if I had a video into that email as the main call to action, I’ll see a slightly higher lift in conversion rates. If I had a personalized video, where you actually see a thumbnail of a video and your name is in the video itself, the click-through and engagement rates are through the roof.
We had one of our customers have a 5X increase in click-through rates. They went from an average of about 1 to 2 percent, and they were nearly at 10 percent click-through rate on their personalized video campaign. And those who watched, over 70 percent watched all the way to the end, and then they also had a higher likelihood to convert into their next CTA and call to action down the funnel. And it’s working so, so well, which I’m really excited about. And it’s like that merging together of an amazing medium like video, true personalization, where you’re bringing the viewer into it and making sure the content hits the mark. So really excited about that one.
You can try out your own personalized video on our website at vidyard.com and check for personalized video. And you could actually put in your name and have a video generated for you just to experience it yourself. Because when you see it, you actually get it, and it’s really, really, really cool. But more effectively, it really works.
It does. We did a personalized video as a holiday campaign here at Act-On. And I remember when the team sent it to me, and I was blown away. I must’ve watched it three or four different times. And then immediately I asked, how did you do that? And we loved it. I think the sales team loved sending it out, the whole company got a big kick out of it. Interestingly enough, Tyler, we actually won an award for that recently. The team was super excited. It was really well done.
Lenovo did a similar kind of personalized video campaign to a list within their database of unresponsive leads, so people who had not responded to campaigns in more than six months. And so they used it as a trigger to try to reactivate. And what was amazing was they saw approximately a 5 percent click-through rate on the campaign, which was about four times their average. But taking into account that those were unresponsive leads, it was a huge win for them.
Are there quick wins and examples of things people can do to build some momentum and get started?
It’s interesting, I think the people we’re seeing be most successful are finding the right mix of working with agencies to create a couple of really important videos for big campaigns that are going out, but then also doing a lot of scrappy video, in-house.
It doesn’t have to be specifically a video campaign, but maybe you are launching a big eBook or a research report. What if you did a video as a way to help promote it? It’s almost like a commercial. But something that was fun and engaging, and as a way to once somebody watches that 30 to 60 second video, maybe it teases them with what’s in there, but then it drives them to actually download that eBook or that research report. And if you see a lift from promoting the video to bring people in, you know it works. So that’s one way of tying it to existing campaigns or things that you’re working on, but being explicit about trying video.
That’s great. My takeaway was the perfect may be the enemy of the good. You don’t need a super high quality, super highly produced piece of video that you’re going to submit for an Emmy. You need something that’s consistent with your brand, that’s solid, but you don’t need to spend a lot of money and get agencies and spend months on it. You could do something simple and straightforward and see where that takes you.
Yeah. And if you’ve got great content marketers who are already writing great content, ask them to write scripts. A great video is based on a great idea and a great script, not a great camera. So come up with the idea, write a good tight script for it, and you can nail it ’cause it’s all in the story. So take those storytelling resources you have internally and see what they can come up with video, and you might be surprised.
Telling the story. This is where we started where you talked about your passion for telling a great story. And it seems like video’s a great way to do that. So Tyler, it’s great having you on board today.. This has been super insightful.