The role of the catalog is changing. It used to be the only customer communication and sales vehicle but today it is one element (albeit the main course!) in the customer communications mix.
In the B2B world the cost of not having the product….or the information to use the product to achieve the business objective….is often more than the cost of the product itself. The information (in the web world it’s called “content”) that B2B merchandisers have about problems, solutions, applications, installation, maintenance, repair, warranty, etc. surrounding their products is enormous. Often customers value the consultation as much as the actual item that ships in the box. Online videos delivered via You Tube, etc. give the B2B catalog merchant a huge opportunity to communicate a great deal of information in 30, 60 or 90 seconds.
Combine this fact with the following …
1) Video communicates better than a printed instruction manual. Don’t you wish you had a video to help you install that new consumer electronics gadget you bought recently? The same applies to B2B items that require some knowledge before installation and use.
2) Video production costs have fallen dramatically. Do you have a Smart Phone? Often real “in the field” videos are much better than a costly professionally produced video. Timely, low quality or “folksy” videos are often not perceived as “advertising” and come across as more “real” and creditable by your customer.
3) No need to hire video talent. You probably have several knowledge filled, “wannabe video stars” on your staff so no need to hire models and write scripts.
4) Videos help internal training. Videos produced by your merchandising folks also make good product training tools for your sales staff.
5) Videos encourage sharing on the part of your customer. They show/educate their co-workers and maybe pass it around to other professionals in their field. It helps “word of mouth” advertising. With the advent of specialized social media sites for your specific target audience you will see your videos posted by customers for a broader audience.
6) Video engages your catalog users and site visitors.Video is a familiar format. Customers “get it”. If your catalog item is marked with a video icon indicating a video is available and your website has a “Find a video” search box customers get familiar with where to find and how to use your video content. Most marketers link video to the item number and keywords allowing intuitive search for video content. Video may also have an embedded call to action and easy flow to the shopping cart.
7) Video builds your brand and trust. Your brand personality can come through on a video much easier than a catalog. Also, the creditability of your spokesperson and in-depth explanation that a video allows removes any hesitancy customers might have about purchasing online. The peace of mind the customer gains from the video positively impacts he way he or she feels about the brand and website overall, building trust and credibility.
8) Video increases customer loyalty Regular video communications like video emails or video newsletters are more likely to attract and keep your customers attention. By some estimates, the open rate for a video newsletter is two to three times higher than for a text-based newsletter. Video communications can also be personalized for each recipient with individualized greetings, references to past purchases, or offers based on site shopping history, geography and other segmentation.
B2B Catalogers with all their content have a valuable story to tell on many fronts. Inexpensive video is a great way to tell that story in social media and promote word of mouth advertising. So, get ready for your close up and get those cameras rolling!
Terence Jukes is president of B2B Direct Marketing Intelligence LLC, a strategic B2B direct marketing consultancy based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that services clients in the U.S., Canada, France, the U.K. and Germany. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (954) 383-5221Terence Jukes is president of B2B Direct Marketing Intelligence LLC, a strategic B2B direct marketing consultancy based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that services B2B catalog company clients in the U.S., Canada, France, the U.K. and Germany. You can reach him at tjukes @ b2bdmi.com or (954) 383-5221
Comments or questions are welcome.