Videos and Retention: Why Engaging Content is Not Just for B2C Anymore


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Business-to-business companies make the same mistake over and over: they think of their customer base as fellow businesses, not as regular people who have the same interests and habits as regular consumers.

So it’s little surprise that often you find dry, dull, and dense content on B2B websites, emails, and even ads on Facebook. Logically, all businesses should want a perfect summary of software or products they are considering buying. But this type of content lacks the imagination that everyday people engage with in their social media feeds.

As Zendesk entered its tenth year in 2017, we took a risk: we started creating informative but entertaining content, specifically to encourage current customers to explore features of Zendesk that they weren’t using.

And lo and behold, we are seeing such great results – a nearly 5X improvement in product feature adoption compared to a control group. Imagine the possibilities if you could influence your customers to engage your product 500% more often! We continue to see improved customer retention as a result of our efforts.

Here is our three step process tips on how B2B companies can increase product feature adoption and customer retention.

Start with Video
It is impossible to deny the power of video in this era of the mobile consumer. More than half of people watch videos online every single day. Almost 50 percent of internet users look for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store. And 80 percent of consumers say a video showing how a product or service works is important when learning about a company.

So why are we, as B2B companies, so committed to PDF white papers, ebooks, webinars and fact sheets? Our products and services may not be sold at your neighborhood retailer but they are still used by humans – the same humans who get drawn into a black hole of cat videos.

We theorized using video would increase retention and product adoption with existing customers. We analyzed our internal data to understand which product features made some of our long-standing customers stick around (and expand!) and found that there is a core set of features that really make a big difference in customer health.

From there, we worked with our in-house video team to create two-minute, light-hearted, and visually-interesting videos (such as this one) highlighting these features. (I’d recommend farming out the videos if you do not have the luxury of an in-house video team. There are hundreds of very capable studios out there and your videos don’t have to be especially complex.)

We distributed them via in-product messaging and email to our customers who had access to these features already, but were not using them and, according to our analysis, would benefit from them. We’ve created just over a dozen videos so far that have earned 10K+ views.

Speak Not About Your Product, but About Their Needs.
Narrate the video from your customer’s point of view. How will this feature help them with their next project (or campaign, or analysis, or…)? It’s a delicate balance, but the ideal narrative speaks to both why and more importantly how they’d use this feature. Too many marketers get caught up in the why without thinking of the customer’s next question: “great, now how do I use it?”

Finally, keep it short. Two to four minutes tops. If you need more time, you’re saying too much, and you risk overwhelming your customers to the point of them clicking out.

Push Out Videos — When Appropriate
We are fortunate to have an in-house in product messaging (IPM) tool called Zendesk Connect that distributes these videos to the right accounts at the right time. But your distribution channels may vary – you could use email, your sales team, or even advertising.

It’s key to know which product features your customers already have access to but are not using to avoid spamming. We use spreadsheets listing customers who are eligible for each video, with a different feature on each tab for easy tracking. Right message, right time, right person.

The education we are getting about our customers’ learning preferences with this product adoption campaign is invaluable. As a “Phase 2,” we are creating bespoke customer journeys that involve multiple IPMs that dynamically fire if the customer did or did not adopt the previous feature they watched a video about. This would have been possible if we relied on dense white papers!

A Final Point
It is important to reiterate these how-to videos are not strictly selling products.They are about educating customers and giving them more value from what they already purchased.The aim is to push customers to use your product more frequently and, ideally, think more critically about how they could expand with it in the future.

Trust is at the core of every customer relationship, so we work hard to maintain that. Educating with hyper-focused content is win-win: the customer gets more immediate value out of the product they already purchased and we keep more customers logging into Zendesk everyday and expanding with us down the road.

Jacob Meltzer
Jacob is the director of customer marketing at Zendesk. He has over 10 years of B2B, SaaS, B2C, and ecommerce experience at high-growth companies in the San Francisco Bay Area, including Zendesk, Symantec, Pagerduty, and Google. Jacob’s background is rooted in building in-house lead generation and customer marketing teams, scaling localized global campaigns, and he helped Zendesk achieve IPO.


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