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Editor’s note: This post was contributed by Michael Block, VP Client Success at QuickFrame. QuickFrame is a LinkedIn Marketing Partner for Content & Creative. Contact their team here.

As we charge into 2021, it may be tempting to never look back. The numerous challenges over the last year forced us to recalibrate our lives — and our marketing strategies. Any marketing playbook you may have had was rendered obsolete, and the course out of the pandemic remains an uncertain one. So what now? 

One thing is clear: this year, we need to leave room for unpredictability. If there’s any “new normal”, it’s that there is no such thing as “normal” anymore — and that can be disconcerting.

To help you establish a foundation from which to work, QuickFrame recently surveyed 166 marketers to surface the top video marketing trends for 2021. 

We’ll show you what you need to have on your radar as a B2B marketer and how you can effectively — and affordably — use video throughout the customer lifecycle to attract, convert, and delight.

Video Use Continues to Grow

Marketers have overwhelmingly recognized the power of video. As competition for market share grows in nearly every industry, video is the optimal medium to connect with your audience at every stage of the funnel. 

What’s more, according to the QuickFrame survey, over 80% of marketers incorporated video into non-paid advertising strategies in 2020. This included using video for organic efforts, PR, website, content, internal communications, and more.

In 2021, video’s dominance is slated to continue. Not only will video-first platforms continue to proliferate, but with the rise of 5G and unprecedented download speeds, video will become the default communication currency. If a movie took six minutes to download on 4G, it will take less than 20 seconds on 5G.

The vast majority of marketers are keenly aware of the need to deliver a constant stream of fresh, relevant video content to their audiences. Remarkably, nearly 85% of marketers surveyed indicated plans to maintain or increase their video marketing cadence in 2021 with over 45% planning on using more video next year. 

How to Use Video to Make an Impact in 2021

If you aren’t already using video in your marketing, it’s probably time to start. And if you are using video, you’ll likely need to ramp up your cadence of production in order to stand out in a content landscape that’s more saturated than ever before.

Here’s how you can leverage video to deliver the greatest ROI:

  • Account for all audiences and objectives in pre-production. Thorough pre-production planning can unlock extreme potential. To have the largest impact, your videos need to not only be relevant to your audience(s), but they also need to speak to where the viewer is in your buyer’s journey. Rather than producing one video at a time — which can get very expensive very fast — plan videos across objectives and target demos all at once. That way, you can bundle production (whether it be live action or animation) to unlock cost savings while generating numerous video assets you can use over time.
  • Test and iterate. Running one or two ad creatives at a time won’t break through the noise in 2021. Run multiple creatives simultaneously, testing variables methodically at every touchpoint to see what resonates most with your audiences. With thorough pre-production planning, you can produce iterative assets and still stay well within your budget. 
  • Lean on post-production techniques. Repurposing existing assets (e.g., photography, footage, stock) is often the most cost-effective and fastest way to get timely, relevant video content. Post-production techniques like motion graphics can animate stills in a visually dynamic way. Since these projects are mostly just editing work, they can be turned around in as little as 48 hours. 

Icertis used simple animation and existing photography to launch a new brand identity on LinkedIn.

Communication in the Digital Era

There’s no doubt that COVID-19 impacted our working lives in 2020 and will continue to for the bulk of 2021. Social distancing directives closed offices worldwide, and many are slated to remain closed well into 2021, if not permanently.

As business operations adapted, so did video production processes. QuickFrame’s survey revealed that more than 50% of marketers had to cancel live action projects or pivot to remote production options (e.g., virtual production, post-production, animation) to execute marketing initiatives because of the pandemic. 

Many of us have also been forced to bring our workplaces into our homes, and this shift appears to be a lasting one. More than a quarter of marketers expect to be permanently WFH and nearly half think they’ll be remote at least 2-3 days a week — even after the pandemic ends. This is a remarkable shift that cements the permanence of communication, collaboration, and productivity in the digital realm.  

B2B Video Marketing in a New Reality: Production Recommendations  

With social distancing likely to be required for a good chunk of the year, lean on video to stay personable with prospects and clients.

  • Stay communicative. The path out of the pandemic remains unpredictable. Though it’s looking more likely by the day that we’ll be able to resume normal lifestyles sometime in 2021, the trajectory of the transition is unclear. Pair lower-cost production techniques (e.g., using existing assets or stock photography, motion graphics, remote video production using webcams, sourcing UGC footage) with relevant topical messaging to keep your audience up to date on relevant COVID-19 business developments.
  • Command the conversation. In our socially distanced world, community lives in the digital realm. Use video to establish your brand as a thought leader in your space. Integrate videos into your content marketing plans to attract prospects with value.

An animated video, part of a content series on the “New Normal” by Citrix.

  • Convert with video. Bring dynamism to your case studies by showcasing relevant client work with video. With in-person interactions restricted—or relegated to the computer screen—case study videos can dynamically showcase your brand while hammering home your key value propositions to nurtured leads.

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A Square video case study.

  • Elevate recruitment efforts. Recruiting and onboarding new employees in a remote environment can be challenging. Consider adding culture videos to your hiring processes to attract applicants and give viewers a good sense of what it’s like to work at your company. Don’t have footage from office life? You can record company members on video calls, have employees self-record, or organize a remotely directed shoot.

A Cruise recruitment and brand video showcasing its internship program.

Staying Agile in 2021

If the past year has taught us one thing, it’s that marketers are an incredibly agile bunch. 2020 required quick thinking unlike any in recent memory. And marketers met the challenge: you adapted strategies, restructured workflows, and continued to grow your business.

In a world reliant on digital communication, many discovered the efficacy and efficiency of using video at all stages of the customer lifecycle. As we settle into a new post-pandemic reality, it’s uncertain what former business practices will come back into favor, but our communication habits are likely to be forever altered.

Agility will continue to be the name of the game. Use these tips to unlock speed, affordability, and reach in your creative production so you can make an impact with your B2B video marketing.

For more more video tips and tricks, subscribe to the LinkedIn Marketing blog. 

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