Live Streaming for B2B Marketers

Live Streaming for B2B Marketers

Slack and Company | August 22, 2016

Chief Digital Officer, Rich Dettmer's view on the opportunities live streaming bring to today's digital B2B marketer

As a digital marketing technologist, the most common question I am asked is: “What is new and exciting that I should pay attention to for digital B2B marketing?” Often my answer to this question is related to what I would consider basic blocking and tackling in the art of audience segmentation, targeting and effective digital reach. But from time-to-time the landscape shifts and exposes a digital marketing opportunity that really should be evaluated by all B2B marketers.   

The newest instance of this is the rise of live streaming technologies. The combination of the near ubiquitous availability of high bandwidth wireless internet connections with smart-phone technology has lowered the technical bar for event streaming so as to put it in the hands of every marketer. This landscape is maturing quickly with several key technology service providers that are playing in this space. These key providers are: Facebook Live, UStream, Periscope, Meerkat, LiveStream and YouNow. Each of these tend to hit different audiences, so the choice of which you use should be based on a study of which audience best meets your target audience profile.   

But what should we do with it? That is a great question. 

The nature of live streaming doesn’t lend itself to passive observation. The staff webcams of yesteryear that broadcast the corporate break room is so 2004. What is important for live streaming is to create or document an event of interest that is “in the moment” and take advantage of live dialogue that makes for interesting interaction between your stream and audience. Here are a few ideas:

  • Run an “Ask me anything” with one of your organization’s technical experts where you might address an interesting topic but then take direct Q&A from the stream audience      
  • Share important company events, like a key product launch or organizational milestone      
  • Create a more “human” perception of your organization by taking viewer’s “behind the curtain” with a regular “reality” stream that follows interesting members of your staff-sales tends to have some great personalities-and even allow the viewers to engage as the events unfold   

The bottom line is that however you decide to integrate this technology, close ties to a well-designed content strategy are key to keeping it aligned with your overall marketing programs. Also, you can’t forget that if you are planning a live stream, you must promote it to your audience. Otherwise, it is but a tree falling in the forest. 

But what if you aren’t ready to start streaming today? Maybe there is another way to get in on the new channel. Facebook recently announced a “mid-roll” opportunity for advertising placements in the middle of their live streams. Perhaps this would be a great way to stick your toes in the live streaming water and see if the temperature is right for your organization.   

My media counterpart, Terry McDermott will likely say I am jumping the gun-or the shark-on this, but I am very excited about the new channel opportunities that this technology opens up, and look forward to seeing my clients dive right in!   

What do you think? Is live streaming the next hot channel for Digital B2B marketing?   

I look forward to all of your thoughts, particularly that curmudgeon McDermott (read his response here).

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