“Holy Shit! A huge rocket, landing on its feet?”
This was the reaction of Chris Anderson, editor in chief of Wired, during an interview with Elon Musk in October 2012. Musk was talking about the Grasshopper Project and sharing the possibilities of a space rocket fitted with a landing gear that can take off and land vertically.
Just three years after this interview, SpaceX successfully landed back its first rocket on Earth. A feat which was unimaginable and unthinkable by rocket scientists since forever. But nevertheless, achieved by someone who had no specialization in rocket science.
Elon Musk achieved something unimaginable because he did not adhere to the old process used by rocket scientists and tried a completely different approach. In his own words “I don’t believe in the process. The problem is that a lot of big companies, the process becomes a substitute for thinking.” These are his lines from the same interview for Wired, quoted above.
Inspiring, isn’t it? These groundbreaking achievements as an entrepreneur have given a cult status to Elon Musk, and his actions have inspired a lot of people, in the business world or otherwise.
Today the challenge is, businesses, just like rocket science, are set around a process. You set a goal, follow an established process in marketing to mobilize your sales force, deploy tactics to fend off your competition and push harder. And harder. Bottom line, you stick to a tried and tested process to achieve your goals.
Till someone comes along, challenges this set process, and achieves a better result using her/his fresh perspective. Let’s call this maverick with a fresh perspective, a Growth Hacker for the business. One who sets a new path for others to follow.
Today, the B2B marketing process is witnessing an upsurge of these mavericks. These growth hackers are experimenting with newer ways to take their business to greater heights. Playing by the rulebook is not something they are good at. Hence the term growth hacker. They set their own rules, and their success is emulated by other aspiring growth hackers.
One such area of experimentation by B2B marketers is witnessed on social media. Considered a marketing playground exclusively reserved for B2C businesses, B2B marketers used to stay away from social media mainly because of the serious nature of their target audience, mostly from the corporate world.
ROI was another crucial factor in choosing social media campaigns. B2C campaigns on social media doled out relevant and entertaining content for its audience and got a greater engagement for every dollar spent. But B2B campaigns could not replicate that kind of success on social media. This lack of enthusiasm by the audience on social media for B2B campaigns was because they could not relate with the content served by the B2B marketer.
Even though social media comprised a mix of an audience from different backgrounds and interests, B2B campaigns lacked a clear goal on social media to drive results. That was the number one reason for not getting good ROI. Secondly, B2B campaigns mostly focussed on business-oriented content, which was not relevant for an average social media user.
Today, the video is the most preferred form of marketing content everywhere. Even more so on social media. B2C social media campaigns have been already using video content successfully. But owing to the nature of the target audience in B2B campaigns, video content could not be readily adopted.
However, now with the accessibility of producing quality animations and using storytelling as an approach, B2B marketers have discovered a sweet formula for their successful campaigns. Instead of flooding social media pages of an average user with business concepts explained in a business-oriented language, it is better to create content from the perspective of a social media user. Something they would love to know and can add value to their life. In short, content which educates them while keeping them interested. This approach is seen to work best for creating awareness about a B2B brand and get the social media user interested enough to do business with the brand. The advantage of animation in this context is that unlike other forms of content, an animated video is capable of maintaining the non-casual approach required for the B2B target audience. Moreover, there is also a scope to educate the audience entertainingly.
Although, it was a little bit unusual for B2B marketing campaigns to provide entertaining content for the audience instead of their usual content centered around their products and processes. Few marketers took a leap of faith and tested animated storytelling on social media.
The outcome of these animated video storytelling campaigns has been quite promising. For the first time, the audience has started engaging with the content offered by B2B companies. The format of animation is key to keep the tone of the content non-casual and entertaining. Social media has been lapping it all up because now the content is relevant to them.
This sweet spot of success on social media further encouraged B2B marketers to push for better ROI. Today, many marketers are using animated storytelling videos to drive growth for their business by generating demand as well as creating awareness about their services. Indeed, animated videos have proved to be a boon for B2B marketing, turning ambitious marketers into growth hackers.
Today, the number of B2B marketers experiencing success on social media through animated videos are increasing every day. Instead of pushing generic video content in business language around the process and services, companies are putting relevant content for social media users in an interesting way. Now, some might say, “interesting” can be a very vague term. But if you look at the pattern of successful animated video campaigns for B2B, you will notice that almost every video has some relevant educational content leveraged by the power of animation. For these B2B marketers, the idea of interesting content on social media is a mix of education & entertainment. For those who want to dissect this new trend in detail, this blog page detailing a case study will be of good interest.
Ten years ago, almost every major influencer or thought leader in the field of marketing started preaching the idea “content is the king.” Five years ago, every trendsetter in marketing was pushing for engagement through content. Today, everything is around videos. From major social media platforms to new and upcoming apps, everything is revolving around videos.
According to some trade journals, by 2019, videos will comprise 80% of all internet traffic, and according to this article in ADWEEK, two out of three marketers expect videos to be the majority of their content in the near future.
Videos are booming and so are animation videos. Today, most B2B marketers have chosen a path to go for animation videos as this form of animation creates a non-personal medium for their communication strategies. Like the usual pre-production process for a normal video, the turnaround time for animation videos is quite shorter, and the impact of these videos on social media can be mind-blowing.
Moving forward, as more and more B2B marketers will start discovering the benefits of using animation videos in their marketing strategies, the animation industry will witness even more significant growth, thanks to these marketers. After all, it’s better to put an animation video out there with a longer shelf life than posting a live-action video which might become redundant the day the spokesperson in the video switches jobs or gets mired in a controversy.