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B2B Businesses Figuring Out This Viral Video Thing

April 14, 2010

Most marketing departments – especially small business marketing departments – struggle with how viral video marketing measures up to their other (read: proven) marketing efforts. Not every organization has a following like Coca Cola, whose first viral video, recently released, was watched by millions without much promotion necessary. Unless you sell junk food, soda, or drugs, you probably don’t have customers who absolutely can’t quit you. How do you justify spending money on something that might not produce measurable ROI? Then again, what if it works like crazy? How do you reconcile the fear that your video will come and go without making even a ripple (and let’s face it, the likelihood of that happening is high) with the possibility that it might be a mega-success?

MediaPost brought to my attention today a video created by a company called CompareNetworks whose client had the following limitations to deal with:

1. B2B client: It is notoriously more difficult to build community when your customers are other companies. When the consumer market isn’t the main focus, it is hard to convince management to commit resources to social media and video marketing. It has a much lower track record of success for B2B than it does for B2C.
2. Insanely boring product: The company being marketed in the video below sells “electrical impedance-based cell monitoring systems.” Um, excuse me? Basically, the technology they sell tests for disease (or one’s propensity to get a disease in the future), paternity, and other boring or scary things.

What kind of video could one possibly dream up to make something like Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), which is how crime labs and Montell Williams test DNA, fun and interesting? Behold, a well done, totally rad parody of Michael Jackson’s “We Are the World.”

Though Coke’s video make me smile, it makes for a lousy case study. What interests me is when companies who, by all accounts, should NOT have produced an awesome viral video do, in fact, produce an awesome viral video that actually increases sales.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 15, 2010 7:50 pm

    That’s a pretty cool video. I wish I have a vendor machine like that at my house. HaHa. Anyway, you’re probably right. Coke is an established name. And I’ve always been amazed with Coke’s marketing strategies. Over years, they’ve reinvented their images lots of times but still they retain in the minds and hearts of the people. I still remember the Always Coca-Cola song. HeHe.
    I don’t know if viral videos would work for B2B Businesses. They might be a little harder to please than the regular audiences and their needs tend to be on the boring side. LoL. I guess it can be done when it is done in an out-of-the-box kind of way–something creative and attention-grabbing. It could actually work.

  2. April 20, 2010 8:16 am

    Truth be told, creativity and good communications strategy has always been critical to b2b! Today through new tools, transparency and accountability are becoming common conversations in business. Having worked in the AIDS world, Dynegy/Enron environment, etc. I so wish these tools had been available .

    Finding a firm that is not just about PR but communications is really the tough part today! Love your world Esther and the many gifts you bring to the new tools!

    • Esther Steinfeld permalink*
      April 23, 2010 11:12 am

      Sara you’re amazing! You’re doing incredible work.

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