While the development of B2B streaming services has been a natural advancement in the industry, there is no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent global lockdowns have accelerated the development of the trend. According to a Salesforce study, 88% of customers expected companies to accelerate digital initiatives after the pandemic, and 62% said they lived their lives online. Coupled with the continued inclusion of B2C strategies in B2B campaigns, changing social trends, and a new cohort of industry leaders, the perfect storm has been created to lead video marketing into its next era.
“The way content is consumed is changing rapidly, largely due to demographic change,” said Justin Keller, VP of Marketing at Terminus. “Two out of three B2B decision-makers are millennials now, and they don’t like to sit and read a blog or white paper. Cable TV is a bit antiquated at this point too – people want to see what they want, when they want, and they don’t want (for the most part) to be burdened with advertising. Think of it like TikTok: people want to learn something new, have a good idea, and laugh in less than two minutes. “
The three most important streaming competitors in the B2B sector include Terminus with Terminus TV, Salesforce with Salesforce + and Demandbase with DBTV. Jon Leiberman, VP of Content, Social and Influencer Marketing at Demandbase, said the company had 10,000 views on DBTV in its first month, “dwarfing anything we’ve ever done.”
With the strategy already producing impressive results, it is time to examine the success factors, understand what the audience is looking for, and learn how to use the full power of this strategy.
Say hello to Marketing’s little friend
For astute marketers, the rise of streaming services has always been just around the corner. The “Content Preferences Survey 2021” of the Demand Gen Report (DGR) found that 62% of marketers depend on more content in order to make B2B purchase decisions.
Additionally, companies have relied on content hubs for some time to keep all of their assets in one place, but as buyer preferences grew, a collection of static content was no longer enough. The same DGR survey found that 46% of customers preferred interactive / video content the most, while a Salesforce study found that 69% of customers wanted new ways to get existing product services, and 80% of marketers said that the customer experience (CX) is a key competitive differentiator. Consequently, this demand for CX manifests itself in the form of personalization, as 76% of customers expect more personalized attention from marketers and sellers.
The non-statistical component that drives streaming services is the personal and professional preferences of individuals that are starting to bleed together. Whether you’re an eight-digit CEO or an entry-level clerk, chances are you’ve both seen Stranger Things – and loved the accessibility and on-demand consumption options.
“They started out with Netflix and Hulu, and we subscribed to them all,” said Eric Rudolf, VP of GTM at Brightcove, a live streaming and video communications platform. “Since companies like to have these services in their private lives, you have seen how they implemented in-house Netflix / Youtube channels for their employees, which prevailed. From then on, companies realized they could broaden the perspective of their corporate channels to create content that would appeal to outside people. We are currently in a phase in which companies are finally dipping their toes into streaming. “
Nobody puts video in a corner
While the premise is the same – apps with tailored, personalized content – the execution is different. For his part, Terminus opted for a slower start to test the waters before diving upside down.
“We started flirting with the idea of very consumable video content, so we put out around 25-30 two-minute videos,” said Keller. “Within four or five months they had around 55,000 views – we were blown away. We thought, “Okay, let’s do more of this in different shapes and forms of content,” which became Terminus TV. It started with five shows and will be a new publishing platform for us in the future. We’ll be releasing new content all the time, such as a sitcom and full-length documentary, available for download on Roku, Fire TV, and Apple TV. “
On the other hand, DBTV started with 80 unprecedented video content and plans to put out two to five pieces each week. Leiberman said it was important for the company to create brand new content because “we didn’t just want to aggregate and assemble videos that were already on the site”.
He went on to say that the main purpose of DBTV – besides educating prospects and delivering personalized content – is to present the brand for what it is: human.
“We want to communicate like you would with a B2C brand or a TV network,” said Leiberman. “The first goal was to create content that is entertaining, informative and that makes it easy for the audience to consume. Historically, so much B2B content is gated, so we made DBTV completely uncoupled so you can watch whatever you want, whenever you want, wherever you want. “
As more companies create streaming services, it is undeniable that the platforms will be similar as they are all based on the same premise: to provide customers with educational, engaging content to encourage further promotions with a brand. The inevitable influx of streaming services drives companies to always be one step ahead in the variety of their offerings.
“To be honest, I hope the streaming field gets a little oversaturated,” said Keller. “Because then it’s not about the availability or the type of media strategy; It’s about the creativity and implementation behind it. “
Houston, we have a platform
Given the popularity of streaming services – “I’ve had three different customer calls asking how they can set up their own streaming platform,” Leiberman said – the industry will no doubt launch new platforms and expand existing services.
Marketers should take it easy when getting started with streaming services as it looks deceptively simple. Brightcove’s Rudolf explained that getting started is easy, but scaling the platform and delivering quality content is harder than it seems.
“Success with streaming services ultimately depends on security, scalability, screen reliability, and video quality,” he continued. “You can put together the best experience, but if the stream buffers, drops a lot, the picture is bad, and you are easily hackable, then you fail. You cannot just use your standard enterprise content management system. If you are successful with your video platform and experience and have thousands of viewers every day, it will take quite a bit of juice to deliver the right video to the target audience and protect their identity. “
B2B streaming services are still in their infancy, but there is no doubt that these platforms will ultimately become a mainstay of the industry. The more companies throw their hats into the streaming ring, the more diverse the field becomes with platforms that differ in scope, specialization and offerings.
“A streaming arms race would make life a lot more fun for marketers and encourage creativity,” said Keller. “You have to get ripped off and start thinking like a television producer. A lot of people didn’t jump into B2B to think about their media streaming strategy, but here we are. “