Game Changer Tyler Lessard, the VP of Marketing at Vidyard joined us on Game Changers to discuss how he grew his audience to 100k subscribers in just one year, the KPIs he’s tracking to justify the quarterly expense of entertainment content and its role in his holistic content strategy.
Vidyard sought to reach one specific audience: sales professionals (Vidyard also targets marketers and business leaders). Because Vidyard is the leader in video messaging for sales, marketing and business leaders, the challenge was not in convincing those who wanted to use video as part of their thought leadership and outreach strategies. Rather, the challenge was in convincing the portion of sales professionals who did not use video in their sales process to see the value in doing so.
The project that drove his channel growth: Sales Feed. Designed as “a media network for a new generation of sellers,” Vidyard was searching for a new way to reach and engage their sales audience.
Tyler built a team to create short-form multimedia content pushed to their sales audience that will help them learn and make them laugh. “The most important thing,” Tyler stressed, “is that we rarely ever talk about using video for sales.”
Over the course of two weeks, Tyler interviewed colleagues, both internal to Vidyard and within his team’s networks to better understand how sales professionals prefer to consume content, on what platform, and in what format. The team researched top social media channels, podcasts and content brands in their target market, based on followers, subscribers and engagement. They then used that information to understand what was resonating best within the target community.
Rather than diving right into creating content, Tyler spent some time speaking with his intended audience. He learned from the swath of sales professionals that they were seeking short-form, visual content that was pushed to them on channels where they already were.
“And then we found some gaps,” Tyler explained. While there was an interest in sales humor and meme accounts, the same one kept coming up over and over again. “There was one meme account for sales that everybody follows. It has nearly a million followers.”
He also saw an enormous and largely untapped audience on TikTok. “We found that TikTok was a highly underutilized channel by B2B marketers, but individual influencers … had hundreds of thousands of followers on TikTok. So we knew the community was there.”
Tyler brought together a team with the right expertise, creativity and chemistry to build a media channel with community in mind. Then, they took risks and built upon successes.
With a game plan in hand, Tyler set out to bring in a team to help him execute it. He understood how difficult it would be to launch a media channel without a team with the right knowledge and creative edge. He brought in a team of three experts to help build Sales Feed:
The TikTok expert
“He came from the world of sales but already had a really successful TikTok account and was doing great humor already,” Tyler said. “This guy knows how to create super-relatable humor content and he knows how to do TikTok. He’s not a producer, he’s not a writer, he’s a creator.”
The YouTube expert
“The second person on the team comes with a lot of experience and background in YouTube. He studies all the greats to understand what makes their audience really crave their content.”
The Content expert
“Then we have our writer, our show-runner. She takes our wild ideas and tells us how to package it up.”
Tyler runs Sales Feed as a media brand or creative studio, rather than a content marketing team. The team meets weekly to discuss strategy and ideas, and Sales Feed creates and posts new content every day. “We run our office like a writer’s room, like SNL or late shows. We start with an idea and riff on it until it’s something great.”
“It’s so rare for companies to start a content strategy that says, ‘Let’s take away what it is we do or what we want to talk about, and let’s honestly focus on the audience and say, where is there an opportunity? Where is there a gap?”
Most importantly, Tyler recognizes that Sales Feed is just one step in the path to conversion for Vidyard. “It has to be part of an integrated strategy,” he explained. “The metrics and conversions [that we track] happen as part of the broader program.”
The entertaining content created for Sales Feed is effective in building their audience, and Tyler uses that community to better understand, segment and convert that audience using hero-related calls to action. “On social, we’re saying, ‘Like this video on cold call openers? If you like these openers, check out this ultimate guide to cold calling.”
Vidyard has multiple paths to conversion, all which are intended to further nurture their target community. They encourage attendance at virtual events, downloads of cornerstone content, enrollment in their email newsletters, and starting a free trial of Vidyard. All of these paths lead to becoming a customer, but they keep the readiness of their audience to convert in mind at each step and tailor the content accordingly.
There are three areas that Tyler focuses on when assessing the impact of his marketing efforts: reach, resonance and ROI.
This includes community size: the number of followers across their different channels.
This KPI measures engagement. How many likes, comments and shares is the content attracting? Clarifying how the two KPIs inform each other, Tyler said, “You can have 20,000 followers on a channel and post something that gets two likes. That’s not useful.”
This measures traffic through their conversion paths. Tyler measures how many people are signing up for Vidyard, but there are other conversion points, too. “The lowest conversion is to try Vidyard for free. But we have other ones like signing up for a virtual event [or] hero assets. We have targets around how many people we’re converting over to these other assets that have a high potential to convert them eventually into a customer.”
Tyler Lessard shared how he built a community using creative media to drive an integrated marketing strategy. Game Changers is a live, interactive session designed to highlight the leaders who are shaking things up in their respective industries. It’s designed to engage, entertain and educate fellow marketers and features a live Q&A session not featured in this blog.
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