The Future of Video Marketing: Dive Into Automation Programs

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What if you don’t have a marketing automation program and don’t plan on deploying one anytime soon? Find an OVP partner that collects some of the data described above and makes it available within its own systems. For example, in addition to having marketing integrations with several platforms, OVP Wistia lets you collect email information before displaying your videos, and shows you how much of each video a particular user watched, in graph form. This is shown in Figure 3; and if you didn’t opt for an email gate, the system shows you information gleaned from the IP address.

If you do opt to collect email addresses, Wistia can integrate them into mailing lists for further follow-up. While it’s not suitable for larger organizations tracking thousands of prospects, this scheme could certainly work well for smaller companies tracking a few dozen leads a month.

For demand-gen marketers, each content type is judged not only according to its effectiveness in advancing the prospect through the cycle, but also by how much information it can feed back into the MA program. And this is where webinars can really shine.


Figure 3. Someone from Salisbury, Md., watched 94% of the video, including several sections multiple times. Email capture would make it possible to contact this person. 

Webcast Systems

With video, you can harvest the percentage of video played, information about the viewer, and perhaps insert a call to action. With webinars, you can track how long the viewer stayed, whether she responded to polls, downloaded any documents, or asked any questions. This flows back into the MA program where, if and when appropriate, the lead is passed to a sales rep for email or phone follow-up. You can imagine how much more effective that sales rep will be with this information in hand.

Even better, the richness and polish of webpage and email communications delivered by MA programs help improve the effectiveness of the webinar platform. According to Sabrina George, vice president of marketing at Onstream Media, the goal of her company’s integration with Marketo was to allow their joint customers to create all marketing-related content in Marketo, with information fed back into the Onstream platform as needed. During the webinar, the information flow reverses, and viewing and activity data are fed back into Marketo.

“Before our integration,” George says, “these integrations were performed manually, which was time-consuming and error-prone. Now the information flows automatically, so marketers can convert the data into automated smart campaigns that further nurture the prospects. While analytics will always be available in our platform, we expect that most users with MA programs will access them within those systems.”

Erika Jones, senior marketing program manager at MicroStrategy, a provider of enterprise software programs, feels that the integration of webcasting and MA improves the utility of both programs. Her company, which uses the ReadyTalk webcasting platform and Eloqua, had run multiple webcasts before the two were integrated, and while the results were good, there was definitely room for improvement.

“Before the integration,” Jones says, “we created all landing pages, reminders, confirmations and other transactional emails in ReadyTalk. We were limited in our ability to design webpages and customize the emails. After the webinar, we had to manually load the registration-related information into Salesforce, which was time consuming and delayed the flow of information to our marketing and sales team. Now that the programs are integrated, we create all webinar-related registration pages and emails in Eloqua, which offers superior design features, and helps us maintain visual consistency across all marketing campaigns.”

Beyond appearance and the speed of data flow, the integration lets Jones make use of Eloqua features that she can’t access in ReadyTalk. For example, MicroStrategy uses a service called DemandBase to harvest more data from site visitors. Jones can integrate DemandBase with registration pages created in Eloqua, but not in ReadyTalk.

Eloqua also enables Jones to access features in ReadyTalk more efficiently. For example, a feature called simulive allows MicroStrategy to use existing recordings as part of a live event. With simulive, MicroStrategy can produce a webcast once, record it, and run it multiple times around the globe with local staffers on hand to answer questions, so the webinar feels live. But setting up the rebroadcasts in ReadyTalk alone was cumbersome.

“Between ReadyTalk and Eloqua,” Jones says, “the process of running these ‘simulive’ webinars is almost completely automated, so we can set it and forget it, perhaps running the webinar 10 times a day with minimal effort.”

What does this all mean for you? Well, if you use a marketing automation program and produce webcasts, you should make sure the two systems are integrated. If you have an MA program and you’re considering which webcast platform to use, dig into the integration documents to learn which data points can be transferred from the webcast system to the MA program. For example, INXPO is a webcast and virtual event provider, and Figure 4 is a screen adapted from the Marketo INXPO Adapter Setup Guide that details how to integrate data from INXPO into Marketo.


Figure 4. Integrating data from INXPO into Marketo 

As you can see, the integration goes far beyond how long the customer watched the webinar (or more accurately, how long the webinar player was open on his computer). Rather, the INXPO/Marketo integration allows you to capture engagement-related data. While most webcast systems provide a similar toolset of surveys, polls, downloadable documents, and Q&A, not all transfer these data points over to the MA system. So when choosing a webcast platform, look beyond the mere existence of the integration and dig into the details about which data is transferred over.

Online Events

If videos provide a trickle of user data, and webcasts a stream, online events provide a torrent of data. (See Figure 5.) While not as commonly used as video or webcasts, it’s interesting to look at these events from the eyes of the demand-gen marketer. Briefly, an online event is like a virtual tradeshow, with registration, exhibit halls, meeting rooms, sponsor space, and other features. MA software provider Marketo runs an annual online event called Marketing Nation Online that draws over 25,000 attendees. During the event, attendees can watch video presentations, visit booths, and read marketing literature, both live during the conference, and later on-demand.


Figure 5. Virtual events like this one produced using the INXPO online event platform provide a river of user data 

Philip Chen, an enterprise marketing manager with Marketo, runs all of his company’s virtual events. In comparing the effectiveness of virtual events to live events, Chen says, “If you hold a live conference, you have many similar behaviors, attendees watch presentations, visit booths, and read marketing literature. But none of this rich information is capturable with the ease and accuracy of an online event, which makes it much harder to effectively leverage after the event.”

It Doesn’t End When You Close the Deal

Rather than ending when the deal is closed, some demand-gen marketers see continued value in tracking customer behaviors in a similar way. For example, Act-On tracks customers’ website visits and video consumption to enhance their customer support efforts.

“We make the same information available post-sale to our customer success team as we do pre-sale to our marketing team,” Act-On’s Linda West says. “When speaking to a user, team members can see which pages they’ve visited and which training videos they’ve watched, which helps them understand the customer’s needs and allows them to help the user more efficiently. We want to stay with customers through the entire journey, to make sure they’re happy and become strong brand advocates.”

While all this tracking undeniably feels a bit like Big Brother, remember that MA programs help companies quickly discern which campaigns are working, and which aren’t. So you can expect that any campaign that irritates more prospects than it nurtures would get terminated quickly. Even so, marketing automation is here and will only become more pervasive, whether you like it or not. So wherever you are on the video production and distribution value chain, make sure you leverage that reality to your advantage.

This article appears in the January/February 2016 issue of Streaming Media magazine as “The Future of Video Marketing.”

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