As marketers and strategists, we love knowing the upcoming trend before it even happens. We always want to be 10 steps ahead of the competition so we can find new and better ways of engaging with our target audience. Recently, these trends have included agility marketing with social media’s short-term thinking ability and predictive analytics.

But few trends have had as big of an impact in 2015 than video marketing. About 96% of business to business (B2B) marketers are now using video, according to a recent study by the Web Video Marketing Council.

Over the past few years, digital video marketing has become an increasingly vital part of a huge number of brands’ content marketing strategy, particularly those in the B2B space.

Marketing strategists have learned that a professional video enriches the customer journey and it is more effective at attracting attention than other methods of converting buyers. According to Lessard, 2016 will be a year of taking what we learned in 2015 and apply it to expand to new applications, create better content experiences, and telling stories with more impact. In addition, marketers are going to get serious about return on investment (ROI) to optimize strategy and results.

Here are Lessard’s four expectations of video marketing in 2016.

1. Video will play a larger role through the customer journey

Since video works throughout the buying journey, its importance shouldn’t be underestimated in a world where buyers are up to 90% the way through their purchasing journey before contacting the vendor. A recent study from Ascend2 found that customer testimonials, demo videos, and explainer/tutorial videos were the most effective at helping convert leads to purchases.

There are three tiers of video for the customer’s journey:

  1. At the top of the spectrum, fun, light video content is great for exemplifying your company culture. This could include personal thought leadership interviews to demonstrate your executive’s personality and expertise and how-to videos for products.
  2. In the middle of the spectrum provides more detailed product demos, video case studies, and client testimonials to build the trust of potential customers.
  3. To get the sell, personal greeting videos, customized product demos, and culture videos are a great way to showcase what it’s like to work with your business.

In 2016, more companies will produce a video for each step of the customer journey, and many will empower their sales teams to create content to help them collect more business.

2. More companies will invest more in video marketing because they see the ROI

Ascend2 also found that 91% of companies say they’re still seeing the effectiveness of marketing videos increase, and 71% of those with successful video programs say they’ll increase investments in video production in 2016.

It’s clear that the return on investment is there. Organizations that use video are seeing growing revenues of up to 50% faster each year than those companies without professional video content.

In the past, businesses have been slow to adopt video production. The cost of technical equipment and the nervousness of how to use it all correctly hindered in-house production. But now that many video production agencies can shoot, produce, and edit a promotional video in only a couple short weeks, companies are seeing the benefits of outsourcing to share a beautiful, meaningful, shareable video.

3. The numbers back the push for video content

Video provides the opportunity to measure success much better than text-based content. As many of us know, our bosses focus on marketing ROI and love seeing details and specific areas of growth. With video ROI, we, as top-notch employees, can show our higher-ups what our target consumers watch, how long they’re paying attention, and the moment they take action or leave the process.

Promotion, please.

As marketers optimize their video marketing strategies through analytics, they will find more ways to successfully distribute content and drive engagement. The numbers they find are supporting additional dollars in video production budgets because the see the importance.

4. The rise in interactive and personalized video content

Until recently, online video has been used as a one-to-many marketing communications where viewers have a very passive approach to video watching. However, that will change in 2016 as video content becomes much more interactive and personal.

For many years, interactive video has been discussed in the context of business to consumer (B2C) commerce. For example, a potential customer can see a video of a pair of shoes on their social media news feed and simply click the video to purchase.

New technologies designed for B2B marketers are making it easy to turn videos into engaging, lean-forward experience that can help turn viewers into customers. There are so many ways to use a video as an interactive experience with mid-roll surveys and questionnaires, and choose-your-own-adventure style videos. Video personalization is the idea of weaving the viewer’s name, company logo, or social media profile picture seamlessly into the video content in order to include the viewer in the story.

In conclusion, 2016 will be a year for 1-to-1 personalized, meaningful, shareable videos and content individualization. These strategies will soon find their way into modern marketing plans. With our tools and creativity in 2016, you won’t be producing videos to only tell your story; you’ll be customizing videos to show how it’s your consumers’ story too.

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