Tech Vendor TOFU Video: Where’s The Beef?

Lack of lower funnel video content leaves B2B tech buyers asking, "Where's the beef?"

In 1984, a feisty woman by the name of Clara Peller shot to fame when she uttered the phrase, “Where’s the beef?” in a series of Wendy’s hamburger restaurant commercials. In the first ad, Ms. Peller (along with two other elderly women) seemed dumbfounded by the sight of a hamburger where an oversized bun dwarfed the ground beef patty. While the two other women were transfixed by the giant bun, Ms. Peller was focused on something more important. “Where’s the beef?” she yelled. That line resonated with a nation of people who shared her disappointment in not receiving all that was expected. The catchphrase was so popular that it reverberated in the culture-at-large for many years, even being used by politicians in national campaigns (anyone recall the Mondale-Hart exchange at the 1984 Democratic debate?).

This same question often comes to mind when I consider tech vendor marketing videos. Some of these firms are pretty good at the awareness-stage explainer video. However, when it comes to advancing prospects down the purchase path to a decision, the content just isn’t there.

As buyers hunt for information to help them shortlist tech vendors (and convince their buying committees), these poor souls are hard-pressed to find valuable content. Hey tech vendors, where’s the beef?*

Now don’t get me wrong, there’s definitely a need for TOFU (top-of-funnel) video content, but there is a dearth of good later-stage videos aimed at answering the specific questions of evaluators who are trying to create a shortlist of viable solutions to their business problems.

The Rush To Demo – Who’s In Control?

In a recent buyer persona interview, an interviewee told us:

“My pet peeve is that a lot of vendors want to provide a live demo because they think they have more control. But there are times when my team would like to see a 3-5 minute video that we can look at on our time, before we commit the time to seeing a [one hour] demo.”

Recent content marketing studies have revealed that while marketers have matured with their use of content, many still struggle with overall marketing effectiveness. In the case of technology vendors, I’m not surprised. So much emphasis is place on content at the top of the funnel and product features, with nothing substantive to support buyers at later stages.

Vendors rely heavily on promoting product features and benefits. But prospects want to dig deeper to understand how they would use the features to accomplish a goal. Buyers need use cases. Yet the only way most firms give buyers access to this info is during a lengthy live demo.

Is that in your buyer’s best interest of your sales team’s?

While there may be a thimbleful of prospects ready to leap right into a sales demo when they first arrive at your site, most buyers need more to go on. They’re doing their darndest to arrive at an informed decision.

They need to understand how your product meets their needs before they’ll be ready to sell you internally to the buying committee.

Beyond TOFU Video Content

Let’s remember, we live in the age of The Self-Empowered Buyer. They’re the ones in control. The early part of the evaluation stage is crucial. That’s when buyers make their shortlist decisions. If they don’t understand exactly what you offer, you ain’t gonna make the list!

So, how can you ensure that your company gets included in the shortlist?

According to Vidyard’s Michael Litt, the bulk of your video marketing plan should address the mid and late stages of the buyer journey. This is your opportunity to walk prospects through real-world use cases that are meaningful to them. (To do this, conduct buyer persona interviews to identify specific problems and produce use case videos that address those problems.) Once qualified prospects are satisfied that your solution fits their use case, they can then request a live demo. This also helps your sales team focus their efforts on better-qualified leads, as prospects that are not good fits will disqualify themselves.

Food For Thought

So if you’re wondering how to engage prospects with video, here are some ideas..

Vidyard recently awarded several companies with their 2015 Video Marketing Awards. Some of the recipients were cited for their ability to speak to various stages of the buying process. Salesforce’s Sales Cloud Professional Edition video (no longer available) did a good job of covering a few use cases while spotlighting their solution’s key features. According to Vidyard, this video has delivered a huge ROI, having influenced at least $2.8 M in sales in 2015 — all while produced by one person an a minimal budget.

BenefitMall, a company that provides solutions for payroll, HR and benefits services was cited for their strategy of addressing later stage issues. On their video page, visitors are presented with options to view videos on a particular topic. These range from TOFU videos and product features to valuable tips and customer testimonials.

This BenefitMall video page provides TOFU, MOFU and BOFU video content.
click to view page

Here’s a great example of “demos on demand” concept. Zuora recorded a live demo and placed it behind a registration form:

Zuora placed a recorded product demonstration behind a registration form.
click to view page

The on-demand demo addresses the needs of various departments in a 30 minute presentation. Beneath the video are options to contact a sales rep or go to a page to view more videos. These videos tell the stories from the perspectives of personae in three different departments and offer a free trial of the product at the end. For the most part, the company does a nice job of providing information and paths to content discovery. As for the use case videos, I love how they begin with, “Let’s give some context…” and set up the stories. The videos have the right level of quality for attracting an audience. Zuora certainly lives up to their story about delivering an experience that keeps customers coming back for more.

There are some great ideas in these examples for tech vendors seeking to serve up a heaping helping of valuable content to prospects. What are your prospects looking for? Are you addressing their business problems with use cases and walking them through a process of possibilities?

At PropelGrowth, we’re currently working on multiple projects with clients to produce MOFU (middle-of-the-funnel) and BOFU (bottom-of-the-funnel) videos. If you’d like to discuss how we can help you attract prospects with video, give me a call. Or, if you’re working on similar video projects, I’d love to write about it.

If you’d prefer to continue doing business as usual, you could always study these infomercials — maybe you’ll get lucky:

*Apologies to all of the vegetarians in the audience.