Tyler Lessard of Vidyard: Never Too Small for the Power of Marketing Automation

As an increasing number of people choose to consume information by way of video, business have to find the best way to integrate it into their engagement strategies.

Tyler Lessard, CMO of video platform Vidyard, shares with us how using marketing automation to integrate video into lead generation and opportunity management processes can help small businesses speed up customer acquisition. (This transcript has been edited for publication. To hear audio of the full interview, click on the audio player at the end of this article.)


power of marketing automationSmall Business Trends: Can you tell us a little bit about your personal background?

Tyler Lessard: I’m an engineer by trade, spending many years at Blackberry moving through a number of different groups, but ultimately, found I most enjoyed translating technical requirements to technical products into everyday value propositions and everyday business requirements, which ultimately lead me down the path on the marketing side.

Small Business Trends: What kind of signals or kind of telltales that you get from video content that you might not have gotten in other forms of content?

Tyler Lessard: We know audiences like to engage in video, but from a marketing perspective, what’s very interesting is that because video is a linear stream, you’re able to track and understand not only did somebody click play, but how long did they watch? Which parts did they skip? Which parts did they re-watch? And that’s something very different than downloading an e-book or a white paper, right?

So, we see a lot of marketers who have built out, for example, lead-scoring models. That would say if somebody downloads this e-book, give them 20 points. They’re a high-value prospect, but they really have no idea if that person even read the white paper. If so, how much of it did they read, and which parts did they actually interact with.

So, somebody who downloaded and never looked at it looks the same as somebody who downloaded and read it four times. Video, on the other hand, because you can actually track the second-by-second playback, we’re able to tell you this person not only clicked play, but they watched it 80 percent of the way through, whereas this person clicked play and dropped off after ten seconds.

Having that kind of insight into the actual engagement and the content is a very interesting capability. And we’re seeing more and more customers using that as a way to better qualify and score their prospects. And they’re even getting to the point where they may create different responses or nurtures based on how somebody interacted with the video.

Small Business Trends: How does video impact lead scoring, lead qualification, lead conversion all the way to working the full-blown opportunity?

Tyler Lessard: That’s a big focus of what we do in our product and how we work with our customers is we ensure that as they are tracking each of their individual prospects that data can flow right into your marketing automation and your CRM systems. And those engines can, of course, aggregate lots of other data about those customers and use that master set of information to drive automated action.

In the case of integrating with marketing automation, again, having the ability to score video views is very, very important, but it’s complementary to the scoring you’re doing based on other digital interactions of that person. It’s equally important, if not more, I think in some cases to tracking page views or blog views by that individual. But, that marketing automation system is a phenomenal platform for aggregating that data and driving the automated responses or the flipping them to the sales team.

Analogously, on the sales side, we see a lot of cases these days where marketing teams collect a lot of information about their prospects. But, when it gets flipped to the sales team, not all that data goes along with it. And you’re losing a lot of the potential value of having that information. So, it’s critical if you’re, in this case, tracking which videos each prospect is watching, that that data goes right over into the CRM records. And that’s, again, something we facilitate with our customers so that as a lead does get flipped to the sales team, right inside Salesforce or their CRM system of choice, they can see in that prospect record which videos they watched, when they watched it, and again, how long did they stay engaged in that content.

Small Business Trends: There’s two paths that can be taken from a service like yours like Vidyard into a marketing automation system, like Act-On for example, that enriches the lead score and sets the path for when it should cross over to a CRM system; or it goes directly into CRM.

Tyler Lessard: Yes. We think this is very, very important because as marketing, in general, evolves these days and as our new modern marketing practices are proliferating, one of the big trends we’re seeing is the push towards marketing and sales alignment. And it’s really happening where having an end-to-end process for marketing and sales is built on the same collaborative set of data, the same collaborative set of processes, can add high value to an organization, particularly, early in this new digital age.

I think part of that is the underlying technology to make it all happen. So, we see an amazing boom in marketing and sales technology happening right now. And a lot of it is happening because of those underpinnings, because marketing systems and CRM systems are getting cross-integrated and the data’s flowing between the two.

Small Business Trends: How is your job as the CMO changed? The most important changes to the role that has taken place as video moves to the forefront?

Tyler Lessard: The way we use video is that it can now contribute to the creative side. So we get a ton of great inbound and a ton of high engagement from our prospects because we use a lot of creative video content. And we find people love it.

We can do humorous videos. We can do animated videos. It brings our audience into our message. And allows us to convert them into other types of activities. So, video is really fueling a lot of what we’re doing on the content marketing side and driving a lot of great inbound leads to us.

On the flip side, when we use that data on video views, that’s a big part of our lead-scoring methodology. Now, of course, we also score and contract people as they’re interacting with our blogs and as they are downloading e-books and other types of content from us, but we move leads quickly through the funnel because of our ability to also score them on their video views. And that gives us incredible insight into what interests they have and how far down the funnel they are.

Small Business Trends: Maybe you can talk to the importance of having these kinds of systems in place, even if you are a small business.

Tyler Lessard: Vidyard itself is a very young company. We’ve grown extremely fast over the past two-to-three years, in employee numbers and our revenue.

Colleagues in the market are often blown away by the number of leads we process through our system, the kind of lead-scoring models we have in place. And the sales process we have in place is tied to that.

I absolutely agree you’re never too small to start considering marketing automation, CRM and the related technologies to build your brand and build your face.

Small Business Trends: Where could people go to learn more about Vidyard and also, just using these type of systems to be a modern marketer, as you kind of phrased it?

Tyler Lessard: Our website at Vidyard.com has a lot of great information not only about us, but we also maintain a very active blog and resource center.

This is part of the One-on-One Interview series with thought leaders. The transcript has been edited for publication. If it's an audio or video interview, click on the embedded player above, or subscribe via iTunes or via Stitcher.

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Brent Leary Brent Leary is the host of the Small Business Trends One-on-One interview series and co-founder of CRM Essentials LLC, an Atlanta-based CRM advisory firm covering tools and strategies for improving business relationships. Brent is a CRM industry analyst, advisor, author, speaker and award-winning blogger.

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