Interview: How to choose and collaborate with a creative video agency
Video is an important part of any B2B tech content marketing strategy. I spoke to Gabriel Whitehead, managing director of Finance Shoots, a video agency targeted at fintech and financial services companies, about how to create great B2B tech videos and how to choose and collaborate with creative agencies when it comes to video.
Welcome, Gabriel! Can you introduce yourself and your experience?
Hi! I help marketing, comms, and sales managers in financial services and fintech, build brands, convert more, and communicate better. At Finance Shoots we do this by empowering you to create better, more interesting design, videos, and events.
What questions should B2B tech (content) marketers ask when they are looking for a video agency to work with?
Three key things to look out for are an understanding of your vertical - especially since B2B tech can be a somewhat complex space, defined production processes to ensure a smooth workflow, and some proof they know what they are doing - examples of exactly the type of video you're looking to create. If you check these boxes you should be on your way to productive collaboration.
How do you advise managing workflow and approval rounds?
Any agency worth its salt should have a structured way of doing this, so the first thing to do is ask them how they normally work. Having said that, workflow and approval processes vary depending on the type of video you are creating and the exact deliverables.
To make sure everything runs smoothly, it is better to have a clear project manager. This person should be empowered to get consensus, have a vision for the deliverables, and be able to sign off on feedback, because editing by committee is a recipe for disaster. Our general rule of thumb is to front-load the process as much as possible to avoid extra work later on.
What are the key types of video B2B tech (content) marketers should be looking at?
The obvious types of video content that most B2B tech companies look at are brand and product, and both of these are critical for marketing efforts - brand to give that emotional touchpoint with your company, and product to give a high-level overview of how your solutions work.
But there are other less obvious opportunities for video. We do a lot of content series - basically experts discussing a topic in a Zoom meeting, after which we add some branding elements and edit it down. We have a number of customers doing this already. But in my opinion, many B2B tech companies can establish authority and credibility by formalizing these as video podcasts, with a regular host, a planned series, and distribution around it.
Do you think it is wiser to do the copywriting side of things in-house or outsource to the agency?
I’d say that provided you can brief well, and the agency understands your vertical, it is better to leave the copywriting to the agency. This is because copywriting for video is a specific skill, and copywriting for a voice-over or a text animation is an even more specific skill. On the other hand, in-house makes sense if you’re producing very regular video content, in which case an agency can help most with content strategy.
Copywriting for video is a specific skill, and copywriting for a voice-over or a text animation is an even more specific skill.
Do you have any pointers to make sure your story/copy is strong?
The biggest determinant of a great video in terms of messaging is to have a distinctive voice - this means have an opinion and something to say that sets you apart from all the noise, while being in line with your brand voice. But there are several common things that can trip you up as you go. The first is that there is a tendency to try to say too much or use too much technical language. This can be exacerbated by internal stakeholders wanting to put their stamp on the story. And the second thing to look out for is risk aversion. It is easy to play it safe, but that is not going to get you anywhere. Both of these risks also tend to go up if you write your copy in-house - having that extra distance from a copywriting perspective by putting it in the hands of a capable agency can help insulate you against those pressures.
What are some common things B2B tech marketers can improve when it comes to video?
One of the common collaboration challenges we face is that there is not a shared language around what exactly we mean when we say things such as "brand", "product", or "explainer" videos. Sometimes even if you have a brief, there can be some confusion as to what you are actually talking about. Rather than these terms, sometimes it helps to ask yourself what you are trying to achieve with the video. For example, if it is going to go on your homepage and needs to be high-level, then it's a brand video, and should not need to talk about product too much. Think about it like this: a good brand video makes you want to go off exploring and understand what you offer; they don't explain what you offer by themself. The product video explains your product at a high level, and sits on your product page.
A good brand video makes you want to go off exploring and understand what you offer.
Another thing we see often is that once marketers have their video, it is treated as an individual piece of collateral rather than seamlessly integrated with their landing page or product page copy. A really good example of a video with a distinctive voice, that complements the landing page around it - as well as being a great video, is this example from WeTransfer. It doesn't shy away from being bold and having a strong opinion. But the marketing team did not forget that the video is only one touchpoint in the customer journey, which needs to connect to everything around it.
Thanks! Final question: What is your favorite piece of client work that you have made?
Probably this piece we did for a fintech company, Contis. It is a text animation, which is a very popular format at the moment. The copy is direct and impactful, and we tried to make this really connect with the animation as well. We also got to push and develop their brand a bit, the 80s track, 3D backgrounds, and 2D gradients all come together in hopefully a really unique way!
Gabriel Whitehead is co-founder and Managing Director of Finance Shoots, a creative video agency targeted at fintech. Find out more at: https://www.financeshoots.com/