Play the King & Win the Day!

Episode 13 - Tyler Lessard Vice President of Marketing at Vidyard and Co Author of The Visual Sale

January 17, 2022 Season 3 Episode 13
Play the King & Win the Day!
Episode 13 - Tyler Lessard Vice President of Marketing at Vidyard and Co Author of The Visual Sale
Show Notes Transcript

In Episide 13 we caught up with Tyler Lessard Vice President of Marketing at Vidyard to discuss a recent book he Co-Authored with  Marcus Sheridan  called "The Visual Sale" on how the use of video is transforming the selling landscape.

About the Book:

More than ever before, buyers and consumers are demanding for more video. Just "reading" about a product, service, or company will no longer do the trick. Today, they must "see" it.  Not withstanding this increased demand for video, most businesses and organizations have struggled to quickly adapt. In fact, many have no idea as to how or where to get started. For this purpose, The Visual Sale was written. Finally, businesses and organizations have a clear guide that will literally show them, in simple, clear, and actionable terms, exactly how they can build a culture of video and start "showing it" moving forward, ultimately leading to a dramatic improvement to their sales numbers, marketing strategy, and overall customer experience.

Read the Book

Play the King:

Our guest today is Tyler Lessard, VP of marketing at Vidyard. And he's here to discuss his recent book, which he co-authored with Marcus Sheridan, and it's called The Visual Sale on how the use of video is transforming the selling landscape. Here's Tyler.

Tyler Lessard:

Hey, it's great to be here. My name is Tyler Lessard. I am the Vice President marketing here at Vidyard. I've been at this business for just over eight years now, if you can believe it, like that's like 75 years in the world of SaaS technology. So I have had the chance to live in this world of video in business during that time. And it's actually been a really phenomenal experience to see the rise of this market. It outside of that, I have four wonderful kids who are all still at home trying to do school. So bear with me. If you hear anything in the background and I am an avid basketball player in my spare time. All right , Tyler,

Play the King:

This is sort of a two- fer starting off easy here. I'd like to hear, you know, we were all around eight years ago, but it's easy to forget of the state of things back then, as you said, things move so quickly. What was online video like eight years ago when you entered the space and then maybe you could transition from there to telling me how you got to where you are right now?

Tyler Lessard:

Well, it's a , it's a great question and a great point, because as we look back nearly a decade video, of course was already a big thing, right? Youtube was proliferating. We had people in their personal lives consuming more and more online digital video content obviously than ever before. And it was absolutely part of the main stream. B2C companies, large consumer brands were already figuring out online and digital video as a part of their business marketing programs and ways to engage consumers, but in the world of what I'd call either B2B businesses or, or frankly just your average business or marketing team video was still very much in its infancy. It was difficult and expensive to create. It was largely used just for brand marketing or social media programs where we could get a lot of reach. And most of us, if very few frankly, had the ability in-house to create video content. So it was very much a premium medium, if you will, fast forward to today and like, wow, have things changed. And even over the last 18 months to two years have really accelerated to the point where businesses and even individuals in those companies can and do create video content frequently. There's lots of different ways we can now create video and it's become such an important part of how people consume information that we all need to be thinking about it in how we market and how we sell and how we can communicate our important messages. So over this last eight years or so, it's been really interesting to see the demand for video content from our audiences has always been there, but the ability for us to supply it as marketers, as sellers, as business leaders, is able to level up to that. We're able to create, share different styles and different formats of content much more frequently and across our different programs. And I think that's been the biggest thing that I've seen. And the thing that gets me most excited is this accessibility of video and how we can all make it a part of how we communicate our important messages.

Play the King:

So looking back to sort of the infancy of commercials, let's say like video, video marketing , it was on TV, right? And it was a 30 second spot or maybe a little longer, it was pretty uniform from that sense, these days you could be seeing video anywhere. I mean,you're walking d own t imes square and there's a huge screen or you're on your phone or you're watching TV still, or you're streaming. How does the complexity of sort of the delivery of video? How has that sort of changed the way that people who are using it for marketing have to think about, I guess what they're doing? You know,

Tyler Lessard:

One of the big things you're saying there, which is so important for us to be mindful of in today's business world is the definition of what is video, you know, as a marketing medium, as a selling medium and so on, what is it? And you know, how can we use it is changed significantly. Again, if you go back to this dawn of video, you would say, well, what was video in marketing? It was a commercial, it was an advertisement. And it was a very narrow definition of how it was used, but in today's world, people expect video, not just as a promotional medium, but as a way to learn about different topics as a way to interact with brands online in both short form and long form content we're producing and sharing our long webinars that people are watching and binging on during business hours to learn about a company or to learn about a new topic. We're watching two minute explainers, we're watching 10 minute deep dives, again, as ways to learn to self educate and to also get a more personal connection to the people behind these businesses and the experts out there that we're listening to. So that's been this big shift and what we all need to embrace is this notion that video as a medium isn't one thing or another, it is a way to deliver our message, to deliver our content to our audiences. And that changes the way we think about it as marketers. And in last year, I had the opportunity to, to co-author , a book called The Visual Sale with my great friend Marcus Sheridan. And we dive into this quite a bit in the book and it's something I had a , a lot of time to research and understand how are different marketers using it. And why like, what is so special about video, that's making it work for them. And I'll just end the answer to this question with one of the things we talk about in the book is what I call the four E's of video. That's the letter E not the word E so the four E's of video are the things that make it particularly compelling over other content format. And as we about the ways we use it as marketers, the four E's can help guide us and think about where might video play a better role. T he first E is that it's more educational than other static forms of content, right? Our brains process, visual information differently than we do the written word. And even the listened voice, it's more engaging in many ways than other forms of content, because we have the ability to do more storytelling, to draw people in with visuals. It h as the opportunity to allow us to be more emotional t han static content and the fourth E , w ell, like any good marketer. I'm gonna w ait t o t he end of this episode to tell you about that one.

Play the King:

All Right! I'd like to drill down a little bit on some of the things you were just sort of addressing at kind of a high level, what are some of the ways that companies need to, or have been needing to rethink how they go to market and what are the , you know, specifically as it pertains to video and the content they're creating?

Tyler Lessard:

Yeah, well, so much of this is driven by something I alluded to earlier, which is the changing expectations and preferences of our prospects, of our buyers, of our online audiences. Right ? If you go back again, you know, 10, 20 years, when a lot of our businesses kind of rebuilt our engagement and content strategies, it was a very different world in terms of what people expected. You know, social media was the big thing where we said, oh my goodness, if we can actually start to share stuff on a daily basis on social channels, like that's a whole revolutionary thing. Well , what's happened since then, is that again, people's expectations of the types of content they're consuming, the accessibility of that content. The frequency of that content has continued to change a lot of course, things like Netflix and Amazon and all those we know have had an influence on that. We're very spoiled. <laugh> , that's a communication culture , if you will. And again, we have very high expectations. So we know that a lot of our prospects and customers in most business worlds are listening to podcasts, right? Those of you listening right now, right ? 10 years ago, you probably weren't listening to business related podcasts, but now become a part of your day to day repertoire. You're watching videos, of course, both in your personal life, but also your business life and your expectation for what those videos are, has also changed. Again , going back 10 years, even five or three years, we typically expected when we saw videos start to play, we expected and really lean towards things that were a much higher production. They felt like commercials, things like that. But nowadays we see this interesting shift where people are actually gravitating more and more towards more authentic content, things that were actually created much more genuine and a much more easy way, right? We have sales reps who just record a quick video on their phone or on their webcam and send it out to a prospect. We have marketers who get their executive on camera. And when I say on camera, I'm doing air quotes, because again, they may just be holding up their phone, recording an update on something important and putting it out there into their channels. And people are devouring that kind of content. So again, as we think about this as marketers and where do we go, there's been this big shift in what our audience has expect from us, the kinds of content they want to engage with. And if your content strategy as a business is still just the written blog post or updates on your website or text based post on social media, right? Now's the time when you really need to think about this evolution of video, audio, and other forms of media as a day to day way you engage your audience.

Play the King:

That's an interesting point. I guess, you know, when I think about an executive who maybe holds up his phone and, or her phone and records a message and puts it out there and everyone's like, oh yeah, that's just like, that's the raw stuff. You know , that it feels that way. Right. But to do it well still requires some Polish, some behind the scenes magic. Some I , I guarantee you , if you ask , nine out of 10, VPs of marketing, say to hold u p t heir phone and record a message. It's not gonna come out the way you necessarily picture it in your head. I guess I want you to reflect on how companies, how teams can sort of hit that magic middle, where they're like, you know, it feels authentic and raw and real. Y eah. But has like, you know, it's not embarrassing a nd, a nd it works and i t's not, you know what I mean?

Tyler Lessard:

You're spot on . And it's such a great point. And I, I honestly believe that, you know, a number of years from now call it three years, five years, I don't know at the time horizon, but you know, we'll get to that point where now this is just a natural part of what people do and much the , like, you know , as a salesperson, you make your first cold calls. And it really sucks when you start. And then, you know, you get into a rhythm or, you know, as a writer, you write your first blog post that takes forever. It comes out really difficult, but practice, practice. And eventually it just becomes second nature. And I think we, as a business culture are going to get there in the, not too distant future. But until then, you're absolutely right that most people aren't yet comfortable. They're not equipped. They're not savvy at getting on camera, being a one take wonder, making it feel just right and putting it out there. So I think today there's a number of things that we can do to, to start to get there. I mean, number one is to, just to that point, start to make, get a part of the culture of the business. Start to make these short videos, featuring real people from your company, something that you do in a continuous fashion, because if you make one video of your executive doing a big annual update and that's it for the year, right? Every year it's gonna be a big lift. But if it's something that they start to do continuously again , they will start to get a better feel for their style, what works for them. And every video is gonna feel a little bit more natural, a little bit more authentic. The second thing in addition to consistency is a reminder that with something like video pre-production or pre-planning is more important than the actual production itself. So to say it another way, don't wing it, don't freestyle it. You always think, well, oh , to be the most authentic, we should just freestyle it. And it never actually works that way to be the most authentic, to be the most valuable in your content. You want to be confident going into it and confidence comes with preparation. And if I go into making a video, having a good sense for, okay, what are we going to talk about? What's the story arc here? What are the three main points I need to hit? Where do I start? And where do I end? Right. Those things are going to give me the confidence to then communicate naturally to deliver it in a way as if I were having a conversation with somebody. And that tends to come out the best. So don't mistake, authenticity for off the cuff. In fact, you know, again, the more preparation that you can do, especially when folks are early in their video careers, if you will, the more that it's gonna give you a better finished product.

Play the King:

So we talked about, you know, use of video in , in modern marketing. I think that's where my brain goes, because, you know, as a consumer on Instagram and whatever, YouTube, I'm constantly seeing ads, but let's drill down on a slightly different, I guess, genre, which is videos for sales teams and, and people who are, who are using it to , to sell. Wonder if you could just talk about what you're seeing, that's really working for, for teams that are doing this virtually and what, what role is it playing in , in , in their arsenal? I mean, in relation to some of the other more traditional methods, I guess, well,

Tyler Lessard:

Let me start by saying, I love the word genre for this. So kudos to you for bringing that out , uh , because this is a , a new genre of the kinds of videos that're, we're seeing in the world of business. And when you say sales reps using video, there's a few different things that that can mean . And that it does mean first of all, is as marketers are recreating video content that our sales teams can be using throughout the sales process, knowing that their customers will probably rather see than just hear about things that you do. So arming our sales team with great demo videos, great customer story videos, great explainer videos, things they can be sending to their prospects that they can watch and consume on their own time to learn right back to that one E of video, it's more educational to really draw them into your story and build almost a personal relationship part of the engaging nature of video and something that makes them well, frankly, just kind of feel something like get excited just back to the emotional piece of video, but the other way that sales reps have started to use video. And this is what I find, you know, really exciting right now is this rising use of their own recorded and, you know, generated video messages and kind of custom screen recording videos, which actually brings me to the fourth E of what makes video so compelling is that it allows you to be much more empathetic to your audience. And by that, I mean, it allows you to come across and be more human, to be more relatable to them, to demonstrate through your own, not just words, but through your tone, through your body language, that you understand them, that you're appear to them in this conversation. And you're genuinely here to help them and sales reps who are recording and sending video messages instead of just text based emails or leaving voicemails, those short video messages, they're often delivering the same information, but they're delivering it in a more impactful, new way, right? It's a way in which they get their face in front of their prospects. I mean, take yourself, George. You probably get the odd email from somebody trying to sell you something, right. I'm sure you can reflect on your inbox and think about every once in a while. Yeah . To maybe a hundred emails, you get a day from a sales rep trying to get your attention. I would, I would even ask you how many of those emails that you open up, have a video in there of that salesperson actually authentically delivering the message to you where you can get to know them. Have you, have you ever received a video message from his sales rep yourself? Yeah,

Play the King:

Yeah, I can't think of, I can't think of one actually. No,

Tyler Lessard:

No. And now that you reflect on it, you , you might even go like, yeah, why is that? Like I get text based emails, right? That's 99% of what I get from sales people . Every once in a while I know personally on LinkedIn, I'll get a , a voice memo because LinkedIn allows them to send little voice memos. Those are still rarely used as well. But the interesting thing is when a rep sends you an email, an email, doesn't just have to be text. And you know, there are tools out there now, Vidyard being one of them. Of course, that's why I'm so close to this topic that make it, you know, simple for a sales rep to record a 30 to 62nd video and send it over via email. It shows up as a nice big thumbnail image in the email. So you can see them click the play button that pulls up the browser, the video automatically plays. And again, now you can hear them, get to know them and maybe even see something right. Sometimes they'll do a screen share video where they'll actually quickly walk you through. Hey, I just wanted to show you this one thing. So you understand what it's all about. So these little short video messages are becoming an integrated part of a lot of people's sales processes and , uh , are really changing that dynamic of how they connect. And it goes back to where we started, which is this is, you know, it's, it's tapping into those changing expectations of these audiences, right? People are consuming video all day long zoom and all the things that have happened have made these like kind of ad hoc, personal videos, more, you know, accepted and in many cases appreciated. And now when they see a short video come through from a salesperson, in many cases, it's quite refreshing and it's a lot more valuable than the other things that they tend to receive normally. So that's having a really big impact on a lot of different

Play the King:

Books . No , that's interesting. Tell to wrap it up, I would like you to make some recommendations for people who are listening, who maybe you want some inspiration, some, some more knowledge, I , you wrote a book, the visual sale, which I I'm sure is the , the top of your list for recommendations. So I'll make that recommendation for you, but you see a lot of video. What, maybe one recommendation for something, something people can go and maybe read or watch to understand this even further. And then maybe two, three examples of video that you've seen that is super effective, maybe innovative, something that , really can inspire people to, to sort of think about their own business, their own sales practices , uh , and incorporating video into , into those.

Tyler Lessard:

Yeah. So I , I will amplify what you said, and I appreciate that The Visual Sale is a book that it's a culmination of so much of what I've had the opportunity to see in the market. So many different examples from companies doing video successfully, but to be clear on very little budgets, right? So we're, we're not out talking about, Coca-Cola making a million dollar commercial. These are like real day to day businesses who have just made video a part of their culture. So certainly the book is a tremendous asset for that. And we talk about the strategy and execution ideas for video throughout both marketing and sales. I'll sort of continue on that because some of the best examples I've seen are ones that we share, of course, in the book and we share their stories. So I'll, I'll just share a couple quick ones here. One is we've seen more and more companies moving to on their websites, offering online on demand , very clear and transparent demonstrations of what they do, of what their products do, of how their services work and so on. And this it's a really simple idea, but it is having such a huge impact on a lot of businesses right now. Because again, think about your own life as a consumer. If you were researching, let's say you were researching Vidyard as a potential solution and you came to our website and you had two buttons available to you. And one said, book, a meeting with sales. And the other button said, watch a demo right now, right? Like which one would you click on? I've never had anybody say I'd click the button that says talk to sales. And yet that's what most of our websites say today. And so companies that have made that small shift and said, what if we offered an online video based demo of what we do, how could that change? How many people engage with us on our website? How many people actually learn what we do? And a lot of people are afraid to make that because make that change because it's, it's a big change to their sales process. But, every time we see it done consistently, it is higher conversion rates on the website, more leads for the sales team because people click, they watch the demo for 3, 5, 10 minutes, they learn a ton. And those that you like, what they see are way more inclined to book that meeting with the sales rep. So that's a very simple idea. Online video based demonstrations of what you do to educate your audiences. The one other thing that we've seen a lot of recently is organizations investing in more thought leadership, video content, things that aren't about themselves that are more about topics in their market questions. Their audience may be asking similar, the kinds of things we would traditionally tackle in written blog posts, but now tackling that in video format because it gives us again, an opportunity to visually describe different ideas, to have hosts that actually build relationships with your audience and create more of an emotional connection. And so that's another place we've seen. A lot of businesses investing is in those educational videos to share with their communities, to get on their websites, to get on their YouTube channels and in some cases doing them as episodic series instead of just sort of random acts of content. So those are a couple of things that , that get me really excited as ways to engage kind of one toin audiences today. And again, there's lots of examples of those in the book. As we dive into some very specific stories of people who have done it really, really well.

Play the King:

Tyler, I am going to force you to give me a couple of examples here of , of videos that you've seen that were super effective. Maybe people could just like pop 'em in the Google and search 'em and find 'em out. But like who like call , call one out call , call two out would love to see an example of, of a company that's doing this well, in your opinion.

Tyler Lessard:

So, you know, it's funny because when I think about those doing it well, I'm like I'm , I'm back to like the , the , the net results. It's very rarely like the video itself crushed this, but let me give you a couple of specifics. So when I just talked about the, allowing you to watch a demo on your website, if you go to marketo.com , right? I I'm , I'm thick in the B2B marketing world. Marketo is somebody that I've worked with a lot in the past. And if you go to their site, you'll see a big flashing, watch a virtual tour or take a tour or, or get a demo , watch a demo on their website and you'll see they have like a dozen different demos up there. That, again, what's so great about this, George is that the videos themselves they're really straight forward, right? They weren't like massive productions, but it's the content value that is so high. And when people go in there and they binge on these demos, I've seen the conversion rates, they're astronomical, it has been hugely successful. So there's just one example where again, you're not gonna be blown away by the content. What I hope you're blown away with is the, the strategy behind how it's execute it. That's great.

Play the King:

That's great , I know I put you on the spot and, but hearing you talk about why it's so important to contextualize the video itself within, you know, all the other things going on is, is just, you know, I think that's a great point to make , so I appreciate that.

Tyler Lessard:

Yeah. Well it's like it's back to this, you know, video is just, it's not, it's it's own silo anymore for us. It is a part of these different and strategies that we do a great thought leadership series. I mentioned that, you know, for educational content and some of them are doing episodic series. One of my favorites from , another B2B brand is a series called lucid thoughts by a company called lucid works . And they're a company who does technology for AI, artificial intelligence and machine learning. And you know, this is a really great example. You can, you know, it's a , they have a YouTube channel dedicated to it. You can search , uh , YouTube for lucid thoughts. You should be able to find it. And it's just a great example of a really well executed video based series, where they answer a lot of the common questions that business people have about artificial intelligence and machine learning, but they do so in a way that's very visual, very engaging, very helpful. And it's not about their products and services, right? It's very much thought leadership, but you can see the connective tissue back to their brand. And as you watch these and they answer some of these questions, if you're really interested in AI technology it's always one click away to go and check out lucid works and see how they actually help you do this. So it's a couple of examples you can go out there and, and Google and check out that I think again are well executed strategies for the use of video in marketing.

Play the King:

All right! Your Website is vidyard .com . Do I have that right? vidyard .com ?

Tyler Lessard:

Well, that's another great place to see lots of videos, isn't it? Yes . vidyard .com . And actually we have a tremendous amount of resources. Uh , we invest a lot ourselves in, in helping to share best practices around the use of video. So yeah, on vidyard .com you can check out our resources, our blogs, our video libraries. There's lots of helpful content there on how to do a lot with video and , again, be successful with it!

Play the King:

Yeah. Tyler Lessard VP of Marketing at Vidyard co-author of a book that everyone listening to this should probably check out The Visual Sale.

Tyler Lessard:

Yeah. And if you are interested in checking out the visual sale head to the www.thevisualsale.com and you can learn more about the book, a lot of the background of why we wrote it, the approach we took and how to get the most out of it, or you can just search on Amazon or your favorite online bookstore for the visual sale, and you should be able to find it there it's available in both of course. Good hardcover copy as well as on your Kindle or other E- book tablet machine.

Play the King:

Well , we are selling a book , uh , via podcast about video. So I think we've covered all this and appreciate you being here . Thanks a lot . Thank