As a creative agency, producing educational and training videos certainly aren’t the sexiest work we do, but there’s an art to doing it well and we’re happy to share our experience.
This year we’ve had the good fortune of producing a series for Marketo, a marketing automation software company. The software helps marketers master the art and science of digital marketing to engage both current and prospective customers. This was the first time Marketo had attempted video training on this scale and they were happy to report that their efforts had been paying off.
Studio B Films has produced a multitude of educational videos over the years, but the Marketo video series has been a particularly deep dive into software training. The process has taught us a lot about what goes into producing highly successful software training videos. David Collier, Founder and Director of Studio B, interviewed Brian O’Leary, Director of Educational Marketing at Marketo, to discuss those learnings.
Q: As Director of Education at Marketo, what overarching goals do you have for your department?
I’m responsible for building out all of the content that we use to train our customers to learn Marketo in order to do their jobs, which is marketing their products and services with the company they work for or their customers.
We provide training in a couple of different formats– we do live instructor training (people in a classroom). We also do live instructor training for people via virtual classrooms.
Our goal is basically to prepare new customers to use Marketo, to prepare people who are interested in learning Marketo for how they use it on their job or to train students, who are going through a university or business school or something like that, studying business or marketing and how to use Marketo for when they leave their school environment and move into the workforce – that’s my main goal with my curriculum, building coursework and getting it out for how to use Marketo.
Q: How has video transformed the way in which you train your customers?
The whole reason we went to video was for the scale, the number of users that we can reach at Marketo. In the classroom training, we are limited by how many people we can have in a classroom and also limited in terms of the price tag associated with it. We chose to produce this video series because it was the most engaging option and the most impactful, and it would also work really well with the way we designed our curriculum.
All of the videos that we produced with Studio B, we basically made them available for free for anybody who wants to come view them. So far our investment has greatly paid off because just in the first three months we had over 25,000 people come and look at our videos at Marketo.com and that’s well over what we can train in one year in our classroom visits with a face-to-face audience and also in our virtual training.
We are actually using our own software to engage with the people that come to our training. Once they get there, we can engage with them and we can do all kinds of interesting things. If I get what their interest is and show them more training that’s similar to it or if they only look at one of the videos in that module, like say they only look at the concept video, we can e-mail them and let them know “there are more videos on that topic” or “there are other related topics”.
The other thing we can do, and we are just starting to really delve into this right now, we can start to look at long-term. What was the impact of the videos on Marketo’s revenue? In a couple of different ways – did it influence new license sales, are we able to draw inferences between someone having taken training and someone who hasn’t – whether or not they engage more with the product or implement it further. We can also tell what type of support questions were already answered by someone taking training versus someone having to make a call or send a ticket into our support team. So there’s all sorts of things we can do once we have information about learners and what they’ve been interested in and what we’ve been able to tell from them when they’re looking at our videos. We can also tell what videos are getting more attention than others and see what features the customers are more interested in, to maybe provide more training on those features. And maybe what they’re not so interested in, but we think they should be, so that we can send them information about how to make use of those features that they’re not necessarily utilizing – that way they can get the most out of their investment with Marketo.
Q: What makes video unique over other training formats?
I think, for me as an instructional designer, what makes it much better is that it is extremely engaging if you do it right…if you build your scripts correctly, if you have the right talent, if you have the right team, if you’ve got the right amount of interactions and graphics, and if you’re showing things that are relevant and make sense to the viewer, it is more engaging, immediate, and relatable.
As a designer, I feel that I can actually cover a lot of ground that would take me much longer to do in any other format. I can use certain techniques of storytelling and in the way that I grab the user’s attention and try to keep it that I can’t really use in a live training as much. In a live training the student has paid, they are going to sit through the entire course. In these videos, if they don’t like what they’re seeing, they will leave immediately, so I have to keep them engaged, I have to keep it very personable and immediate and relevant and kind of entertaining, to be honest. I feel all of that makes it better for what we are trying to do at the scale that we are trying to do it at. I’ve done training in every other format that is out there and I’ve not been able to pull it all together in one self-contained unit like I have with video training.
Q: How was it working with Studio B?
Studio B has been fantastic. We couldn’t have hopes for a better partnership with a vendor like what we have going with Studio B. From the very beginning, working with the team when we were just scoping out this idea, just a little bit less than a year ago, the amount of education and information that Studio B brought to the table to educate me on what I should be looking for and what my videos could be like was impressive and helpful. When we went out and compared what Studio B could offer to what other vendors could offer, Studio B’s team and operations were just the best that we could find and that’s consistent every step of the way, from working with the producers to the graphics team and the crew at the shoots, all have been extremely professional. We’ve overcome lots of obstacles and you guys just help us meet every deadline and even went out of your way to help us meet our first deadline to get the videos ready for our summit conference earlier this year. So, you guys have done a lot to educate us and take us into a realm that we haven’t been familiar with, and made it so that we felt safe and comfortable. You’ve brought a lot of ideas to the table that we have considered…I could go on! I’ve been very, very happy!
You guys have enriched our educational offerings – you guys really helped us up the quality of our training that we are putting forward to the public, and now we need to go back and bring that same level of quality and professionalism into other things we are doing as well.
Q: What kind of feedback if any have you received from your customers.
I do have some stats actually. We do have our quizzes, which lets us know if people are learning the material. You don’t wanna have a quiz that everybody passes or everybody fails, you’re looking for something that’s kind of, you know, most people are going to pass, but not everybody cause maybe they did not pay attention or whatever the reason, so that’s good.We also have the rating system for our videos – our rating system is five stars. Our average rating across all the videos is between 4.2 and 4.6 stars, so that’s really good and that’s consistent across all the videos.
Then, we have a lot of people who enter written feedback in a form that we have. The overwhelming sense that I get is that it is positive and customers really like what they’re seeing, but they are also giving us ideas and suggestions about how to make it better and we are listening to that.
We wanted to make sure that we were putting things out there that people were finding useful…so far so good. If it’s not useful, we’re not doing our job correctly. We have room for improvement, but when we get to the point where we will build new things, we have ideas for how to make it better.