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November 2010 Archives

Creating a "Curriculum" For The B2B Buyer

Posted by Bill Lee on November 18, 2010 at 01:31 PM

Nice article <> by the Seybold Group about Pam Casale, Director of Marketing, Trusted Cloud Computing Division of CSC. A former teacher, she creates a sort of currriculum for buyers that's designed around the questions they have in their search for solutions to their challenges. And chances are, their questions aren't going to be about your products and services--certainly not in the critical early stages of the buying cycle. Instead they're wondering "How are others addressing my challenge?" or "How will I sell this to my management."

Pam works carefully to map out the full range of questions likely buyers for CSC solutions will be asking, including how they're likely to get from one answer to the next question, and then figures out the best way to deliver content that can answer them, as well as suitable calls to action (that may well lead them to content that answers their next logical questions). It goes without saying that a lot of the most informative answers to buyers' questions will come from CSC customer content, such as videos, case studies and the like. By adapting and repurposing existing content, she avoids long lead times in putting it all together. 

The piece makes another good point from Pam: People don't learn from isolated facts, but from relating something new they've learned to something they already know. Which means that in new fields--such as cloud computing--it's important to provide them with a vocabulary and definitions for new terms, and to relate them to something familiar they already understand.

The $5,000 Customer Video Is Here

Posted by Bill Lee on November 8, 2010 at 01:53 PM

Just had a chat in lovely Palo Alto with one of the leading customer advocacy managers in Silicon Valley, who's cracked the code for creating affordable, good quality customer videos. As we know, buyers value information from their peers--including your existing customers--more highly than other sources. And video content is king. The major hurdle in taking advantage of those facts is cost--good quality customer videos can cost well into 5 figures.

Until now. Here’s the formula for a good quality $5K video (and it doesn't’ involve sending the customer a flip camera!):

- Don’t work through agencies or other firms that would hire a video contractor. Work with the video firm directly. You need direct communication to take advantage of their artistry, which is important to the result.

- Find one or two that you trust and pay them to travel. A reasonable cost is $1000 for travel anywhere in the US. That avoids many hassles if you try to work always with locals.

- For each shoot, provide your video firm with a script. Get them to use stock video footage that every firm has of its campus and offices. You want your video firm to only shoot the customer responding to your specific questions.(It might also be worthwhile to engage with the customer video team to see if they'd be willing to contribute more to the shoot.)

- The most important aspect of the shoot is the editing. Make sure the video firm you use is excellent in this area.

Budget for a $5K customer video:

  • Travel: $1,000
  • 1 day shoot: $1,000
  • Editing: $3,000
And just to confirm, I know a top reference team that's getting very good videos done at that price. Which means you can too.