How To Boost Customer Advocacy With Creative Video Content

Wouldn’t you rather watch a funny video to learn how to use a product than read through some boring support documentation? So would your customers… and creating engaging content is the first step to customer engagement. In his 2016 Advocamp AMP talk, Tyler Lessard, CMO at Vidyard, details the ways his marketing team uses video content to fascinate their customers and create advocates.

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I’m here to talk about boosting customer advocacy and Net Promoter Score through the use of creative video content. I’m the CMO at Vidyard, so I have the opportunity to lead a team that focuses on video content as a business. More importantly, I work across our client base to understand how customers are using creative content, including video, to better engage their audiences all the way through their customer journey.

One of the things I’ll touch on is the importance of thinking about advocacy, customer engagement and  brand affinity from the first time you communicate with your prospects all the way through to when they become a customer. We talk about that as the full customer life cycle.

This is something that I’ve learned as a marketer over the last few years. It’s important to take a passionate approach to creating content that ultimately surprises and delights our customers.

I’m not here to talk about Vidyard. I’m here to talk as a marketer who, over the last couple of years, has had the opportunity to use video in lots of creative ways to build relationships with our prospects and with our customers. I’m mostly going to show you examples of things that we’ve done that have worked well to get our customers excited, to get them engaged in our brand and to make them advocates for us.

I’m overwhelmed at how many times I hear people are advocates for us who aren’t even our own customers. Time and time again at events, we have people coming up and saying, “Oh, I love your brand. I love what you guys do.” We’re like, “Oh, you’re a customer?” “No. We’re on your mailing list and the stuff you do is great, and we love you guys.” “Do you know what we do?” “I don’t know, but just keep doing it.”

This is great, and it’s very flattering for the team. There are things we’ve done that have really helped us build affinity with our clients, and I want to share some of those experiences with you today.

Using video in your customer engagement strategy

First and foremost, we’re very passionate about video. There’s a number of reasons why we believe that video is the premium content type when you’re looking at engaging with buyers. It’s not the only content you should be using as part of your advocacy and engagement programs, but it has the innate ability to strike an emotional cord.

The interesting thing with video is that there’s a bit of mystique to it, but it also has the potential to educate, to entertain, to inspire. When was the last time you read a white paper and laughed out loud? Anyone in the last week? In the last two months? Nope. I didn’t think so.

Ultimately, what we’re trying to do here is get responses like this. That guy is happy, not angry or in pain. He’s what we call our happy customer, or our happy advocate.

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We really believe that advocacy starts from day one in the touch point with your brand. Advocacy starts the first time they interact with your content or interact with your brand, and it continues through until hopefully forever.

We believe it’s important to be thinking about that in your content strategy. Although some of you may not have responsibility of the top end of the funnel, as you think about the content you’re creating in your business, it’s important to be thoughtful about it.

If you are responsible for customer advocacy, I encourage you to talk to people who are out there on the front lines in the prospect world. If somebody comes in without a great affinity for your brand and they bought just because it’s a great product, not because they love your company, they’re less likely to become an advocate. Advocacy starts from day one, so make sure you’re thinking about that as a team and be mindful of what your team is doing upfront in the first communications.

How Vidyard creates advocacy for their brand

I’m going to show you a few examples of things that have worked well for us to build advocacy through creative video content. You’re going to see stuff we produce partly to make our audiences laugh. We find laughter is a great way to build affinity with a brand. It works in our market, so it may not work for you, but nine times out of ten we see people who really resonate with humorous content. Content that’s personal and transparent and shows you’re humans is also important.

This example is an early stage form of content. We use this across our base with our customers as well. This was a fun little video we produced to help promote the Video Marketing Handbook that we created.

When we thought about what do we wanted to do as a concept, there are a lot of reasons why we landed on this video. We asked:

  • Is it going to surprise and delight our audience?
  • Is it going to make them engage with us?
  • Will it make them laugh?
  • Will it build their affinity?
  • Is it going to be educational and make them want to take action

When we script these things, we’ve got two video producers, three content marketers, and three graphic designers. We produce all our video content in-house and it’s easy and quick to do, but it starts with great writing and great storytelling.

That’s just a fun example where we got a lot of great responses back and everybody was tweeting about it. You’re like, “Yeah, it was good. It was funny.” And then people go on to download the really boring eBook and white paper.

I hope they actually read some of it because we put a lot of effort into it. We know that people watched and engaged in that video. We saw a lot of great feedback from people, both customers and prospects.

Here’s another one which was a huge success for us. I’m not going to go too much into shameless plug mode, but this is using some of our own technology to do personalized video. How many of you saw the video from Influitive promoting Advocamp where your name showed up? This personalized video is something that we’re seeing a lot of success with, where you can pull somebody’s name right into the content.

This was a great example during the holiday season. Holidays are an amazing time to surprise and delight your audiences and build in some fun. 

That was a no-ask program, it was just to wish you a happy holidays. We got some great social responses The feedback to our customer success and accounts team was phenomenal from people just engaging in our brand. We kept seeing the word “love” come up. This got shared tremendously partly because it had their own name in it. There’s a novelty effect in that, but the fact that we produced something like that had nothing to do with our company or product. It was just a fun happy holidays video instead of sending a boring old card. No offence if you sent holiday cards out this year. It was a great way to build that interest.

Engaging new customers

Another thing we do is sending our new customers some form of onboarding gift. This is a great thing for any of you in advocacy and engagement, and I think it’s the least we can do.

At a certain tier, we send the super package. It’s called our Studio In a Box. People get a video camera and a tripod, and things to help them make video. More importantly, as part of that package, they get a video card inside. Have any of you used or seen these cards that have video screens in them? It’s a physical card that you send in the mail. In this case, it’s in the packaging and it’s got a video screen on it.

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When they open up this box and they hit play, it’s their first touchpoint or experience with our brand post-sale. We give them another little introductory video here.

The idea of this is to share another delight moment with our customers, where they have a physical touchpoint with our brand. The video may not even be the most important part of this, but it wraps up the whole experience and brings a face to our brand. Since we’re selling digital goods, we decided it was really important to have a physical presence for our brand as something our customers could touch and feel.

We got amazing feedback. I’m most proud of the feedback from Anthony at Gainsight because Gainsight is in the business of customer success. They’ve set the bar extremely high, which is very much an honor for us, but others are very specifically talking about the video card we sent and things like that.

You can see that there’s an emotional connection due to the fact that we took the time to package this up and produce a custom video for them. It doesn’t take much time. It’s really easy to do. Those things really, really build customer advocacy.

Using video to onboard your customers

We use a lot of video content when we’re onboarding our customers. I’m sure that some of you do as well. This is, again, a great place to make sure you’re overachieving on the expectation scale with your customers. Make sure you’ve got great onboarding videos. Don’t force your customers to read a ton of onboarding documents, or whatever it is depending on your business.

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Use video content to help them get going. Show, don’t tell. This works incredibly well for us. We have onboarding sessions with our clients where we record the live GoToMeeting that we do, then we make sure that video is then sharable within their base. Now they can actually share it with others, and they actually see the face of the people on the other side.

Video becomes a really big part because you’re seeing the face of the people on the other side of the digital divide. We also have a lot of video content in our support articles. There’s a reason YouTube is the number two search engine online. People are constantly searching there for quick hits of educational stuff.

It’s a great way to make your customers’ lives easier and show them that you care. You actually spent the time to create a 90-second video to show them how to do something as opposed to forcing them to read a document.

Using video in customer support

Something else our team does really, really well is what they call ‘Just In Time’ support videos. Sometimes when they have a support ticket with a customer, instead of writing a big response or knowledge article, they’ll record a video response.

We have a closet video studio with a white wall. They’ll do a quick recording talking through the solution or they’ll use Camtasia or some other desktop software and record showing them. They save it, upload it and send it. They can then use it for other clients with the same problems.

They can often do that in the same amount of time it would take to write out the solution or create a new knowledge article. The response we get to that stuff is really, really great because they see we’re taking the time to respond and they see the faces on the other end.

Using video content to showcase company culture

Culture videos are a great way to build brand affinity with your base. They’re just ways to move beyond this product-sales relationship we have with our customers and be human. We’re people, you’re people. Let’s connect, let’s have fun, let’s talk about things.

Watch this fun example of one we did last Halloween called The Vidyard Family to see how we do this.  It was another fun example of video that we created just to delight our customers. We got some really phenomenal feedback from people just saying, “Hey, this is so much fun. Love the cooky and geeky crew over at Vidyard. Check out this video.”

From our existing customers, our account managers got tons of, “Love that you did this. Thank you very much. This was so much fun.” Little things like that go a long way. Be creative in how you think about the content you’re producing for your customers. Think about how video can play a big role.

The last thing we did is bringing one of our customers into our story and creating a fun animated video about her. This also went a really long way. She’s now a much bigger customer since we produced a fun video about her story about their success with Vidyard. There are lots of different ways that you can use video content.

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