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The Future of Video Marketing: Dive Into Automation Programs

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Let’s face it. For-profit enterprises post videos, hold webinars, and produce virtual events to drive sales. How effective are these mediums for that purpose? There’s lots of positive anecdotal evidence, but where are the hard numbers?

A marketing automation (MA) program such as Eloqua, Marketo, or Act-On can track the effectiveness of your videos, webcasts, and virtual events down to the penny—but only if you can integrate data from your online video platform (OVP), webcast, or virtual event provider into your MA program. While this integration was rare 2 or 3 years ago, it’s becoming increasingly common to very good effect. In this article, I’ll define marketing automation and show how recent integrations help make all these tools much more effective.

About Marketing Automation

It’s probably happened to you dozens of times. You check the price of a particular product—say a new set of golf clubs. The next 15 times you visit a site such as ESPN, CNN, or Amazon, you see an ad for that same set of golf clubs. Or maybe you registered for a webinar or to download a white paper, and all of a sudden you start receiving emails or even a call from the company. Both of these examples are MA at work.

Marketing automation is like the proverbial elephant that varies in definition based upon where you touch it. At a high level, it’s software that tracks all interactions with a company’s website, as well as communications between the company and a prospect. It typically starts with your first visit to a website. You click on a particular page and the website issues you an anonymous cookie. As you click around the site, data is associated with your cookie, which converts to a live profile if you register with the site.

This sounds insidious at first, but the goal of MA is to help companies identify real potential buyers and close sales more quickly and efficiently. One fundamental MA concept, called lead scoring or interest scoring, is shown in Figure 1. As customers move through the website, they gain or lose points based upon the content that they visit. Prospects who achieve a certain score are passed on to the sales department for email or phone follow-up. Prospects who don’t meet that threshold are cycled through nurturing programs designed to increase their engagement and potentially move them down the funnel.


Fig 1. Marketo’s vision of interest scoring through the sales funnel, from a presentation on the Marketo website 

Of course, the prospect’s journey isn’t passive. One critical feature of MA programs is the ability to create campaigns to move the prospect along—perhaps an email pitching a webinar, or an advertisement that appears when they visit the site.

Clearly, the more information you know about the prospect, the more effective these campaigns can be. For example, knowing a prospect’s employer or job title can help you create segmented or even individual campaigns customized to their specific needs. Video, particularly webcasts and virtual events, are rich with potential customer behaviors that are relevant to lead scoring, but only if this data can be captured and efficiently input into the MA system.

“Deploying video in the sales cycle without MA integration is a disjointed experience; there’s lots of useful information, but no way to track it,” says John Stetic, Eloqua’s VP of product management. “Via integration, video consumption is added to the prospect’s video profile, what we call his digital body language. This allows the marketer to see which content and topics are important to the prospect, so they can demonstrate how the brand can solve their problem.”

Act-On is another MA program, and Linda West, Act-On’s director of digital marketing, agrees with Stetic. “From our perspective,” West says, “video is 10 times more powerful when hooked into an MA program, as the views and other analytics become useful across the buying process. On its own, video isn’t necessarily that compelling to a demand generation marketer, which might be why many demand generation markets don’t use video.”

Both Eloqua and Act-On practice what they preach; Eloqua uses OVP Brightcove to distribute video on their website and pass prospect information back to their MA program, while Act-On does the same with OVP Vidyard.

How it Works in OVPs

Just as Eloqua uses Brightcove for its video distribution, Brightcove uses Eloqua as its MA program. Figure 2 shows a simulation of how data fed back from Brightcove into the Eloqua system can help segment viewers and fuel a nurture campaign to further move the prospect through the funnel.


Figure 2. Moving prospects through the sales funnel via Brightcove video and the Eloqua marketing automation program 

It all starts on the upper left, with a video made available on the Brightcove website. To create the link to the Eliqua system, you would log in to your Eloqua account from the Brightcove system to create the player and the necessary embed code. Once the video is embedded into a web page, all playback data is fed automatically to the Eloqua system. This information is shown in the upper middle. Not only is the video name and date preserved, but the system tracks the percentage viewed, as well as that viewer’s contact information and URL. This information is sent to a custom object in the Eloqua system that maps the information to a contact record, if one exists.

Once in the Eloqua system, Brightcove can segment prospects based upon how much of the video they watched. For example, prospects who watched 100% of the video might be sent down one path, while those that stopped watching after 10 seconds might be sent down another. Without the integration, Brightcove marketers wouldn’t know whether the prospect watched the video at all, which diminishes the utility of the video from a demand generation marketer’s perspective.

Marketing Automation and You

What do these capabilities mean to you? Well, if you have a marketing automation program and you’re using video in your sales funnel, you obviously need to check if you’re integrating playback data into your MA program. If your current provider doesn’t offer MA integrations, and won’t in the short term, you seriously need to consider using another vendor.

You might also need to rethink the utility of posting marketing videos on YouTube or other UGC sites that report views, but don’t send prospect-specific information back to the MA program. Michael Ballard, senior manager for digital marketing at Lenovo, a Vidyard/Eloqua shop, defines the issue this way: “YouTube provides lots of exposure, but from an analytics perspective, it’s generic. The big metric is pageviews, and pageviews don’t pay the bills or allow me to pass qualified leads to my sales people.”

Rob Bois echoes this sentiment. Bois is director of product marketing at Plex, a developer of cloud-based manufacturing ERP (enterprise resource planning), who also uses Eloqua and Vidyard. His pet peeve is that the company’s sales reps often share videos with prospects from YouTube, which not only deprives him of the data, but also prevents him from directing the prospect to additional information based upon the viewing data.

“Our Vidyard integration is particularly useful,” Bois says, “because we can assign calls to action within the videos, so if the prospect wants additional information, or to be contacted by a sales rep, they can request this within the system. Not only can YouTube potentially suggest a competitor’s video when a prospect is done watching ours, we lose the ability to help direct the prospect further through the sales funnel.”

Eric Hanson, director of demand generation at Cetera Financial Group, a retail investment advice platform, also uses Vidyard’s pop-outs to good effect.

“While visitors are watching a video about a product or service, we can pop out a link to a flyer with more details, and track whether they download the flyer,” Hanson says. “We can also pop out a contact form at the end of video, which feeds directly back into Eloqua. If a prospect wants to speak with someone further, we can make happens in short order.”

These pop-outs and calls to action raise an interesting point. It’s not just whether a video platform offers integration with your MA program; it’s also whether it offers marketing-oriented features, such as calls to action or contact info collection, that allow the video platform to function more effectively as a component of an your marketing schema. Vidyard does this directly, but it can also be accomplished via integrations with other partners, which can add a variety of interactive elements to the video platform.

You should also make sure that the OVP supports the MA system or systems that you’re currently using. Most OVPs integrate with Marketo and Eloqua, but Vidyard offers 13 integrations, including these two, as well as multiple components of the Salesforce ecosystem, including Chatter, and email providers.

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