Jeff Leo Hermann – Where B2B Marketers Should Be Focusing in 2018

Video, Video, Video, Video, Video!

Jeff Hermann is a B2B showrunner and president of Madison, Michigan, and Market. Content Marketing writer, speaker, and mobile marketing pioneer, Jeff loves helping CMOs align their content marketing strategies to a winning sales process. Jeff has an intense belief that organizations are better off engaging their audiences with educational and entertaining content rather than blasting them with traditional interruption-based advertising and sales campaigns. I had the privilege to talk with him about his thoughts on video as a strategy.

Chris Karel: So you are a YouTuber?

Jeff Leo Hermann: (laughs) I don’t know if I’d say I’m a YouTuber, but I would say that rolling up your sleeves and embracing video as a strategy is what anyone and everyone should be doing. So in that regard, yes, I’m a YouTuber.

CK: In reading your blogs and watching your videos, I’ve heard you talk about sales and marketing working together. What can sales and marketing do right now to improve their working relationship?

JH: Break the tribal mentality. Sales teams and marketing teams have to find a way to align and level-set their goals. Sales is great at building relationships, but there are so many things that marketing can do to communicate with customers that will deliver valuable insights back to the sales team. All too often, marketing will bring leads through the funnel until the lead becomes a prospect, then sales will remove them from the marketing database and control the relationship. If sales and marketing can align their goals, then marketing can help improve the relationship, finding out what resonates with prospects and customers based on which emails they open, which videos they watch, etc.

CK: So, what is the biggest gap that needs to be filled between sales and marketing?

JH: It’s the notion of a hand-off. We have to get out of the tribal mentality. If the goal is to hold the client’s best interest in mind, by educating, communicating, engaging the prospective customer, and giving them the value they want or the solution to their problem, then you can’t use a product-centric approach. Oftentimes sales communicates in product features and benefits, but that’s really not where we live today because prospective customers have access to so much information that they can get the features and benefits on-demand. They really want to know what kind of impact it’s going to make or how it’s going to improve their lives.

CK: How do you convince the C-level that the publisher model works?

JH: It’s extremely hard to do so, but the notion of taking your audience into perspective is what people should consider. In Kevin Kelly’s book, “Inevitable,” he talks about 12 trends that will shape our world, our economy, in the kind of consumer-centric life we will be living. He talks about the idea* that everything is shifting to services and subscriptions, like ride-sharing. To thrive, you have to build an audience.

The sooner that people can embrace the fact that they have to create these long-term lasting relationships through educational, problem-solving, functional content that’s not egocentric, the better off they’ll be.

* The Kevin Kelly “idea” Jeff is referring to is “Becoming: Moving from fixed products to always upgrading services and subscriptions.”

CK: Ah, we are doing a deep dive into CMI’s tasty punch bowl of “content cool-aid!”

JH: Yes, we are.

CK: I do love that Content Inc. cool-aid. So, let’s turn a bit and share your take on where you think B2B marketers should be focusing in 2018.

JH: Video, video, video, video, video.

CK: (chuckles) Wow! 5 times.

JH: How do you scale your relationships? How do you communicate with someone who is not physically there? Video. It’s building trust and credibility. It’s showing the authentic self. What it’s like to work together. I mean, that is the most visceral way to communicate with your audience. Text is amazing. Audio is amazing. But, video – you know this! – video dominates our world.

So the sooner that you can develop a strategy that will reach and satisfy an audience, you will quickly realize that video will be a big driver in that strategy.

CK: Now we are cooking with truffle oil! I’m always trying to learn more about the types of videos people want to make so that I can help deliver those video products. What type of video do you think people should use as a driver in their video strategy?

JH: There isn’t just one type. It all depends on where the audience is in the buyer’s journey, and what information you are looking to provide at that time.

To create demand, you need more compelling, appealing style of video. To capture demand, you have to get into problem solving, where authenticity and expert opinion helps the audience. From a decision making and retention standpoint, testimonials are great. Testimonials are great case studies that can help convince an audience, but I’m more of a fan of influencer marketing.

When a brand or company or individual can interview other people in an industry and give them a platform, then you can find ways to cross-promote solutions to various audiences. We had a client that we brought onto a video interview platform and learned about what they were doing to solve a problem, and the result was a video interview that both of us could use for marketing purposes.

CK: Interesting you say that Jeff; our January AMA event is called “Shift in Influence.” It will feature John Lytell from Progressive Insurance talking about the value of influencer marketing and we’ll have influencer, Charity D’Amato, of studio Chartreuse there as well.

JH: Yeah, that should be a cool event.

CK: Speaking of events, tell me what people can expect on January 9th, at the AMA Special Interest Group (SIG): Align to Accelerate: The Top 10 Critical Factors to Drive Growth in 2018.

JH: The workshop is a fast-paced look into the functional aspects driving sales and marketing alignment. Some of the key takeaways are authenticity, collaboration, transparency, and predictive models. We’ll delve into the world of forecasting, specifically the roles that sales and marketing play in creating better forecasting methods and methodology. We will also explore how business objectives align with the buyer’s journey and the importance to recognizing the customer expectations depending on where they are in the journey. The ultimate goal is to connect content marketing strategy to sales process design.

CK: OK, one last question. If there was one thing you could tell all marketers right now what would it be?

JH: Just repurpose! Take the time to create an amazing content asset, be it a blog or an infographic. Create a concept that is really compelling and dense, but then work hard on leveraging and repurposing that concept or theme every way you can until it’s exhausted. Too often, people move from one story to another. I’d say really finding different ways to tell the story that fits with the needs of the audience is what everyone should be doing.

Final Note: This may sound surprising coming from someone who works at a video production company, but I agree 100% with Jeff’s assertion about repurposing. Video should be thought of as a strategy, a central driver in an overall content marketing plan–like recording a live interactive event and repurposing clips from that event into a wide variety of video products.


More about Jeff Leo Hermann:
YouTube  – Linkedin Twitter Madison, Michigan & Market

More about Chris Karel
LinkedIn Twitter Cinécraft Productions

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