How to Engage Customers With B2B Video

Video can build a powerful emotional bond between consumers and brands. Over the past year, I’ve written several case studies that looked at how marketers at small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have created that bond and found success on YouTube. These include:

The BBQGuys at
Owner Staci Perry of
Susan Gregg Koger and Eric Koger, the husband and wife cofounders of
The Richard Petty Driving Experience team
TRX, founded by former U.S. Navy SEAL Randy Hetrick

But all of these examples come from B2C marketers. Can B2B marketers use video to engage and build relationships with customers? Even B2B marketers at SMBs?

Yes, we can.

Many of the keys to success with B2B video are ones that B2C marketers use to avoid the pitfalls, seize the opportunities, and get back home by six o’clock:

  • Mapping out your video marketing strategy.
  • Making videos worth watching.
  • Creating content worth sharing.
  • Customizing your YouTube channel.
  • Exploring YouTube advertising.
  • Optimizing video for YouTube.
  • Engaging the YouTube community.
  • Trusting, but verifying, YouTube Analytics.
  • Studying YouTube success stories.


Morgan the dirty tongue, star of
Orabrush’s YouTube ads.

One of the case studies that I discussed during my SES Chicago presentation was originally shared with me by Jeffrey Harmon, the chief marketing officer at Orabrush, and Austin Craig, Orabrush’s spokesman. Orabrush is the first product to jump from almost no sales online or offline to nationwide retail distribution only using YouTube.

In 2009, the 75-year-old inventor of the Orabrush, Dr. Bob Wagstaff, teamed up with Harmon and Craig, then college students at BYU, to figure out how to sell his tongue cleaner online. They went on to sell more than a million tongue cleaners using YouTube. But even after tens of thousands of consumers asked via Orabrush’s YouTube channel if they could buy the tongue cleaner in major stores, the company had difficulty getting a hold of major retailers like Walmart.

A Walmart store manager in Utah had seen Orabrush’s videos and ordered a tongue cleaner. After using it for several months, he contacted the company and said, “Hey, I’d love to carry your tongue cleaner in my store.” Walmart managers from other stores who were going on a tour through his Walmart were so impressed by Orabrush’s display that they decided to carry the product.

Within about three weeks, 20 Walmart stores were carrying Orabrush. The sales in Utah were so good that Orabrush knew that it was time to get in touch with Walmart headquarters to do a broader launch beyond Utah. They advertised in magazines and spent over $20,000, but were still not successful.

Then Orabrush sent a link pointing to an unlisted YouTube video to the buyer at Walmart headquarters. The personalized video addressed the buyer by name and featured Craig and Orabrush’s mascot, Morgan the dirty tongue. “Hi, we’re Orabrush,” they said. “Here are our sales numbers from the test market in Utah.” They incorporated clips from Orabrush’s video ads, episodes of the “Diary of a Dirty Tongue,” and excerpts of user reviews. They also included a lot of mainstream media coverage.

Orabrush was hoping that the buyer at Walmart would email them to request a face-to-face meeting. Instead, Orabrush received an email that asked, “Can you support 735,000 Orabrushes by August?” There was no in-person meeting; there wasn’t even a phone call. With one email linking to an unlisted video on YouTube, Orabrush got nationwide retail distribution in 3,500 Walmart stores. And it did it in the oral hygiene category – a remarkable accomplishment considering that this category is dominated by a few big companies.

So, yes, B2B marketers can use video to build relationships with customers. Even B2B marketers at SMBs.

This article was originally published in SES Magazine – Chicago in November 2012.

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